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Review Detail

 
Vieux Pontarlier
Traditional Absinthe
Color
Beautiful lighter (but not pale) golden-green with flawless clarity. Very jewel-like and breathtaking in how natural a "new leaf" essence it exhibits.

Louche
Very nice initial louche. Great oily looking trails. Clear delineation of layers... Cloudiness on bottom, roiling trails in the middle, and clear unlouched layer on top. Very entertaining and pretty. At 1:1, things start happening more quickly, and drink is mostly opaque by 2:1. Very creamy looking louche. Final color is a very pearlescent yellowish-green with yellow highlights and milky white at the meniscus.

Aroma
First impression is clean and fresh. A hint of citrus, florals, creamy, fruity (yes, I finally get that fruity thing!) wormwood, and a slight hint of vanillins. A little swirl brings the anise/fennel duo into play in excellent balance. This absinthe doesn't feature one herb in a starring role with a great supporting cast. It is a perfect ensemble performance, yet each herb is clearly identifiable. Now that's a neat trick! The aromas of each component are very fresh, herbal, floral and immediate, but not heavy handed, and together are brought into focus by a slight hint of lemon curd and mint.

Flavor
First of all, just creamy mouth-feel with a nice tension created by the "pull" and drying of the wormwood and hyssop. Everything the nose tells me is present in the palate. Anise leads the charge by an iota, but all other herbs are clearly present and accounted for. As with the nose, the flavors are very immediate and fresh. Nothing timid here, however this absinthe is not trying to make it's impression by horsepower alone. There is a nice spice and a beautiful very high grade drying impression from the wormwood. As I review my notes for all evaluations, three things are a recurrent theme... finesse, complexity, and balance.

Finish
Beautiful and satisfying gentle wormwood "pinch" on the palate to wrap up the whole package. The finish, as a whole, follows the nose and palate perfectly, with very good length and just a little additional burst of spice. Again, nothing about this is heavy handed or clumsy. The word "fine" keeps coming to mind. Do I want another sip?... Sorry, already took it!

Overall
So much to like and admire here. This goes down way too easily. I guess now I'm going to have to order the Jades just to dial some perspective in to this end of the spectrum. This is everything any great beverage is made of... high quality, balanced, distinctive. Has a real artisanal presence. In my third evaluation, at one point I got up and left the room. On my way back to my desk, I couldn't help but notice (from 6 feet away) how extraordinary just the color was. That's what I'm talking about. Artful from every angle. This is a fine traditional offering.

7/05/09 Revisit - While most of my initial impressions persist, well... I did order the Jades, and several other elite-tier absinthes since my initial review of VP. An additional eight months as an absinthe taster, and experience with a broader range of offerings has demonstrated to me that my initial scores of 5s for Aroma, Flavor, and Finish here were not warranted, so I have changed them to 4s. No offense to VP, it is still a well above average offering and provides plenty of bang for the buck. Overall a real winner!

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 3:1, 4:1, and no sugar.

Vieux Pontarlier 10/31/08, 11/03/08, 11/09/08, 7/05/09.
All evaluations had consistent notes.
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0
Reviewed by Michael Meyers November 12, 2008
Last updated: September 12, 2012
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (53)

A Winning Traditional Verte!

Color
Beautiful lighter (but not pale) golden-green with flawless clarity. Very jewel-like and breathtaking in how natural a "new leaf" essence it exhibits.

Louche
Very nice initial louche. Great oily looking trails. Clear delineation of layers... Cloudiness on bottom, roiling trails in the middle, and clear unlouched layer on top. Very entertaining and pretty. At 1:1, things start happening more quickly, and drink is mostly opaque by 2:1. Very creamy looking louche. Final color is a very pearlescent yellowish-green with yellow highlights and milky white at the meniscus.

Aroma
First impression is clean and fresh. A hint of citrus, florals, creamy, fruity (yes, I finally get that fruity thing!) wormwood, and a slight hint of vanillins. A little swirl brings the anise/fennel duo into play in excellent balance. This absinthe doesn't feature one herb in a starring role with a great supporting cast. It is a perfect ensemble performance, yet each herb is clearly identifiable. Now that's a neat trick! The aromas of each component are very fresh, herbal, floral and immediate, but not heavy handed, and together are brought into focus by a slight hint of lemon curd and mint.

Flavor
First of all, just creamy mouth-feel with a nice tension created by the "pull" and drying of the wormwood and hyssop. Everything the nose tells me is present in the palate. Anise leads the charge by an iota, but all other herbs are clearly present and accounted for. As with the nose, the flavors are very immediate and fresh. Nothing timid here, however this absinthe is not trying to make it's impression by horsepower alone. There is a nice spice and a beautiful very high grade drying impression from the wormwood. As I review my notes for all evaluations, three things are a recurrent theme... finesse, complexity, and balance.

Finish
Beautiful and satisfying gentle wormwood "pinch" on the palate to wrap up the whole package. The finish, as a whole, follows the nose and palate perfectly, with very good length and just a little additional burst of spice. Again, nothing about this is heavy handed or clumsy. The word "fine" keeps coming to mind. Do I want another sip?... Sorry, already took it!

Overall
So much to like and admire here. This goes down way too easily. I guess now I'm going to have to order the Jades just to dial some perspective in to this end of the spectrum. This is everything any great beverage is made of... high quality, balanced, distinctive. Has a real artisanal presence. In my third evaluation, at one point I got up and left the room. On my way back to my desk, I couldn't help but notice (from 6 feet away) how extraordinary just the color was. That's what I'm talking about. Artful from every angle. This is a fine traditional offering.

7/05/09 Revisit - While most of my initial impressions persist, well... I did order the Jades, and several other elite-tier absinthes since my initial review of VP. An additional eight months as an absinthe taster, and experience with a broader range of offerings has demonstrated to me that my initial scores of 5s for Aroma, Flavor, and Finish here were not warranted, so I have changed them to 4s. No offense to VP, it is still a well above average offering and provides plenty of bang for the buck. Overall a real winner!

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 3:1, 4:1, and no sugar.

Vieux Pontarlier 10/31/08, 11/03/08, 11/09/08, 7/05/09.
All evaluations had consistent notes.

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