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Review Detail

Traditional Absinthe
Polly Want A... Perroquet!
(Updated: June 18, 2012)
Overall rating 
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
OK, for the second time, I've decided to post reviews of two sibling absinthes, completed the same day, tasting each side by side. This review and the review of the La Berthe De Joux, dated the same, are intended as a pair. There have been many commentaries on these two recent E. Pernot vertes, so here's my "compare and contrast" impressions. Everyone seems to have their favorite. I wish I could be that decisive.

Unlouched, beautiful crystal clear peridot with impressive golden reflections. Clarity and brightness are top-notch. Jewell-like, brilliant. Louched, significant retention of the green. With low light, a classic jade green. Under very good light, highlights of yellows, golds, whitish blue at the edges and a very pretty tangerine glow at the bottom.

This is opalescence, a nice kaleidoscope of classic louche tones. Great sheen, almost "glassy" looking. The "weight" and translucence are right at the limits (upper and lower, respectively). Any more, and I would consider this too opaque. For good measure, the entertainment getting there is worth the price of admission... nice thick jell-looking trails, rolling, fogging, a lengthy show (I'm sure 72% abv has something to do with this).

Unlouched, anise and fennel in impeccable balance with bright herbs and flowers. Clearly a grape base, very clean. Louched, balance, balance, balance. I'm not sure I've ever experienced another absinthe where there are so many identifiable facets with this level of balance. Great balance of the trinity, with "airy" little speckles of other herbs and flowers dancing around the edges. Occasionally a slight waft of brandy/honey/chocolate/toffee peeks out. Really quite complex. No sense of alcohol heat neat, or louched.

Overall a very sweet, fruity impression. The anise, fennel, and hyssop are so perfectly in tune, lending that "confectionery" character I find an absolute turn-on. The wormwood and pontica nip away at the edges of the tongue from just a half-step behind. The myriad herbs and flowers carry over from the nose. Nice sense of weight, but not too much. A very satiny mouthfeel. A slight, slight spice on the attack, a slight tingliness on the entire palate. Everything focused by a hint of lemon.

A perfect linear fade of all the nose and palate impressions, and a long fade it is. Bright, fresh and refreshing... very serious. Nothing frivolous or overdone here. A slight drying, countered by a salival activating juiciness. A long subtle tingling on the tongue. Not wildly complex, but just beautiful.

This is right in the mix with the best absinthes I have tasted. Complex, balanced, classic, intriguing. My favorite dilution is knocking on the door of 5:1. It's so clean, so correct, it could be the high end Pontarlier prototype. I love its sibling LBdJ, but there the slight imbalances and excesses are what create its distinctive character. This one, however, is a classic beauty. It reminds me, in principal, of Pacifique... do it right, do it well, don't over-do it. The recent output of the E. Pernot distillery has established them clearly as one of the best in the world for absinthe. Bravo Perroquet!

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 4:1, 4.5:1, 5:1 and no sugar.

Perroquet 10/03/10, 10/06/10, 10/09/10, 10/30/10, 10/31/10.
All evaluations had consistent notes.

Some comparisons of Perroquet and La Berthe De Joux

Perroquet is classic peridot.
LBdJ is classic peridot.

Perroquet is all the expected louche tones in the zone.
LbdJ louche is slightly more bluish, slightly more "glassy" looking.

Perroquet is very highly complex.
LBdJ is highly complex.

Perroquet is classic, refined, detailed.
LBdJ pushes limits without going over the top.

Perroquet if you like Bentleys, Vuitton, and Harry Winston.
LBdJ if you like Hummers, Prada, and Chris Aire.

Perroquet for the "pinky out" crowd.
LBdJ for those who have hair on their chest (or those who want some!).

Perroquet - "Polly want a cracker?"
LBdJ - "Polly want some crack?"

So... I can't tell you all what a process crafting these two reviews has been. These reviews probably represent the sacrifice of 80% of a bottle of LBdJ, and 65% of a bottle of Perroquet. Recently, in a WS thread, there was some talk about how others impressions of beverages set one up for expectations of what to perceive. I'm as susceptible as anyone, of course. As such, I have parsed these offerings more, and compared more thoroughly to other top-notch absinthes than any other reviews I have written (including tasting short doses of my top 4 or 5 rated absinthes immediately after writing these to serve as a double-check). And I can say that any rating of "4" that either received, was so close to a "5" that I could have knocked it over the line with my heel (the same is probably true with "4" ratings for other top absinthes I've reviewed). Both are stunningly good, both are worthy of any serious absintheur's attention.
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