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Traditional Absinthe

La Clandestine

La Clandestine

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3.9 (2)
 
4.3 (18)
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Editor reviews

Average editor rating from: 2 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
3.9
Appearance 
 
4.0  (2)
Louche 
 
3.5  (2)
Aroma 
 
4.0  (2)
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0  (2)
Finish 
 
4.0  (2)
Overall 
 
4.0  (2)

Color
Unlouched, it is perfectly clear, really sparkling clarity like crystal vs. glass. Louched, very milky white, and I mean white white. Early in the dilution, some bluish highlights, final color has just the slightest bluish-gray highlights.

Louche
Really nice swirling thick trails initially, clouds at the bottom with unlouched layer at the top. This all changes real fast, though. Cloudiness comes on pretty quickly starting around .5:1 and drink is pretty much opaque by 1:1. And then it's just drip, drip, drip. Consistency looks very correct, and in color, it has a nice vibrancy.

Aroma
Nice! Not the anise bomb that the "K" brand presents. Initial nose is more fennel forward with good support from the wormwood. Anise is there, of course, in nice balance. No alcohol heat on the nose, either neat or louched. Very clean, fresh, and natural... the more herbal and floral notes appear on the nose after going to palate.

Flavor
Again, very nice! Terrific balance of the trinity. Great fresh herbal impression. Everything about the ingredients here just seems less "dried" than the "K" brand. Creamy attack, nice balance mid-palate, and a subtle burst of spice on the back palate. Yummy!

Finish
Follows aromas and palate very accurately. This is really enjoyable, great balance, nice and satisfying wormwood "pull" on the palate. Ever so slight tongue numbing. Clean.

Overall
This one ratchets up the blanche category for me. Substantial quality, really nice balance, reasonable complexity. I hate to keep referring to the "K" brand, but it was my first blanche, and while I still think it has plenty of charms, this offering clearly has a higher level of raw material and refinement. A fine blanche.

7/06/09 Revisit - This evaluation is right in line with the evaluations done in November 2008. None of the original text is altered. A couple of observations... Even though I would still rate the louche a 3 because it is so fast, I must say that with a slow drip, it is really entertaining while it lasts. Also, my initial evaluations were both done at a dilution of 3:1, and as I gain more experience with absinthe, I'm finding higher water levels to be desirable. Just the addition of an extra .5 part of water has a real controlling effect on the "pull" and "tongue numbing" I mention in my comments on finish. So don't be afraid to play around with dilution. You may just find it enlightening.

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 3:1, 3.5:1, and no sugar.

La Clandestine 11/15/08, 11/23/08, 7/06/09.
All evaluations had consistent notes.
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0
Reviewed by Michael Meyers November 23, 2008
Last updated: September 12, 2012
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (53)

Life After Kubler

Color
Unlouched, it is perfectly clear, really sparkling clarity like crystal vs. glass. Louched, very milky white, and I mean white white. Early in the dilution, some bluish highlights, final color has just the slightest bluish-gray highlights.

Louche
Really nice swirling thick trails initially, clouds at the bottom with unlouched layer at the top. This all changes real fast, though. Cloudiness comes on pretty quickly starting around .5:1 and drink is pretty much opaque by 1:1. And then it's just drip, drip, drip. Consistency looks very correct, and in color, it has a nice vibrancy.

Aroma
Nice! Not the anise bomb that the "K" brand presents. Initial nose is more fennel forward with good support from the wormwood. Anise is there, of course, in nice balance. No alcohol heat on the nose, either neat or louched. Very clean, fresh, and natural... the more herbal and floral notes appear on the nose after going to palate.

Flavor
Again, very nice! Terrific balance of the trinity. Great fresh herbal impression. Everything about the ingredients here just seems less "dried" than the "K" brand. Creamy attack, nice balance mid-palate, and a subtle burst of spice on the back palate. Yummy!

Finish
Follows aromas and palate very accurately. This is really enjoyable, great balance, nice and satisfying wormwood "pull" on the palate. Ever so slight tongue numbing. Clean.

Overall
This one ratchets up the blanche category for me. Substantial quality, really nice balance, reasonable complexity. I hate to keep referring to the "K" brand, but it was my first blanche, and while I still think it has plenty of charms, this offering clearly has a higher level of raw material and refinement. A fine blanche.

7/06/09 Revisit - This evaluation is right in line with the evaluations done in November 2008. None of the original text is altered. A couple of observations... Even though I would still rate the louche a 3 because it is so fast, I must say that with a slow drip, it is really entertaining while it lasts. Also, my initial evaluations were both done at a dilution of 3:1, and as I gain more experience with absinthe, I'm finding higher water levels to be desirable. Just the addition of an extra .5 part of water has a real controlling effect on the "pull" and "tongue numbing" I mention in my comments on finish. So don't be afraid to play around with dilution. You may just find it enlightening.

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 3:1, 3.5:1, and no sugar.

La Clandestine 11/15/08, 11/23/08, 7/06/09.
All evaluations had consistent notes.

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December 2009 update: The vinegary note I originally found in my bottle is no longer there. Aging must have helped it. Scores changed to reflect that.
Original aroma: 3 - New aroma: 4


------------
CLB was my first foray into blanches, and it was a great place to start.

The look was very bright and clear. It was very quick to louche, but it didn't leave a lot of nice oil trails, which is why I only gave it a 4. It did come out very nice in the end with a blue hued creaminess.

The initial smell had hints of something I couldn't put my finger on. Almost vinegary, but with water, that dissipated and ended with a wonderful woodsy scent with gentle hints of anis and fennel. I had to give a low score here mainly for the peculiar initial notes.

It had a very nice, milky mouth feel with lots of anise and wormwood and a clean finish. Very light.

Overall, a very enjoyable blanche.
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0
Reviewed by Brian Robinson June 24, 2007
Last updated: December 16, 2009
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (192)

A wonderful blanche

December 2009 update: The vinegary note I originally found in my bottle is no longer there. Aging must have helped it. Scores changed to reflect that.
Original aroma: 3 - New aroma: 4


------------
CLB was my first foray into blanches, and it was a great place to start.

The look was very bright and clear. It was very quick to louche, but it didn't leave a lot of nice oil trails, which is why I only gave it a 4. It did come out very nice in the end with a blue hued creaminess.

The initial smell had hints of something I couldn't put my finger on. Almost vinegary, but with water, that dissipated and ended with a wonderful woodsy scent with gentle hints of anis and fennel. I had to give a low score here mainly for the peculiar initial notes.

It had a very nice, milky mouth feel with lots of anise and wormwood and a clean finish. Very light.

Overall, a very enjoyable blanche.

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User reviews View all user reviews

Average user rating from: 18 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
4.3
Appearance 
 
4.6  (18)
Louche 
 
4.1  (18)
Aroma 
 
4.2  (18)
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.5  (18)
Finish 
 
4.2  (18)
Overall 
 
4.4  (18)
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This is good stuff... Among the blanches I've tried, I prefer La Sorciere Bleue, but this is real close to that. No real flaws, well-worth drinking.

Appearance: having seen three quite good blanches in person so far, I begin to understand why some are very reluctant to award "5"s to blanches... I'm not necessarily reluctant, just concerned that I haven't seen the best a blanche can be yet. I use "reservoir" type absinthe glasses-- when it gets so clear that I can lose the "water line" against the pinch in the glass between reservoir portion and main body and really have to look to see that there's anything in there, I'll give a "5"-- because I'm told that there are blanches that clear out there, and La Clandestine isn't quite that good (although it's really close)-- I'm giving it a 4.5.

Louche: Down at 3-- because it's acceptable, but very opaque. Also because I stacked this up against the other two blanches I had on hand.... and I had trouble telling them apart (the Kubler actually had the best louche).

Aroma: I'm not really good at judging this part-- but it smells good to me.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Excellent. No flaws. Perfect? Probably not... I think the La Sorciere Bleue is a little better, on the other hand, this is a little better than Kubler. It's well worth drinking...

Finish: Excellent, intriguing. Good stuff

Overall: La Clandestine has the reputation of being the blanche against which all other blanches are measured. I think the reputation is well-earned.
Overall rating 
 
3.9
Appearance 
 
4.5
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0
Reviewed by m_glenn April 10, 2016
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (11)

A classic that deserves respect

This is good stuff... Among the blanches I've tried, I prefer La Sorciere Bleue, but this is real close to that. No real flaws, well-worth drinking.

Appearance: having seen three quite good blanches in person so far, I begin to understand why some are very reluctant to award "5"s to blanches... I'm not necessarily reluctant, just concerned that I haven't seen the best a blanche can be yet. I use "reservoir" type absinthe glasses-- when it gets so clear that I can lose the "water line" against the pinch in the glass between reservoir portion and main body and really have to look to see that there's anything in there, I'll give a "5"-- because I'm told that there are blanches that clear out there, and La Clandestine isn't quite that good (although it's really close)-- I'm giving it a 4.5.

Louche: Down at 3-- because it's acceptable, but very opaque. Also because I stacked this up against the other two blanches I had on hand.... and I had trouble telling them apart (the Kubler actually had the best louche).

Aroma: I'm not really good at judging this part-- but it smells good to me.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Excellent. No flaws. Perfect? Probably not... I think the La Sorciere Bleue is a little better, on the other hand, this is a little better than Kubler. It's well worth drinking...

Finish: Excellent, intriguing. Good stuff

Overall: La Clandestine has the reputation of being the blanche against which all other blanches are measured. I think the reputation is well-earned.

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Color: Perfectly clear, absolutely transparent.

Louche: With the first drops: nice oily swirls bluish and orange, with some purple. Then a very thick, milky, creamy white with some blue. It reminds me, just visually, of Italian “orzata”, an almond based drink for kids. Pearly opalescent.

Aroma: With the first drops the aroma explodes, Mostly anise. Alpine woods. Some wormwood.

Flavor: Anise, and wormwood. Complex, with restrained bitterness. Like other Bugnon absinthes I tasted, all rough edges seem to have been distilled away. Only sweetness and balance remain.

Finish: Creamy in the mouth. Anise and wormwood lingering for long.

Overall: A lovely absinthe. I drink almost exclusively green absinthes, so I’m not a competent judge. It has all the marks of Bugnon's excellent craft.
Overall rating 
 
4.4
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.5
Aroma 
 
4.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.5
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.5
Reviewed by Chiopris April 02, 2016
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (17)

Bugnon's craftsmanship

Color: Perfectly clear, absolutely transparent.

Louche: With the first drops: nice oily swirls bluish and orange, with some purple. Then a very thick, milky, creamy white with some blue. It reminds me, just visually, of Italian “orzata”, an almond based drink for kids. Pearly opalescent.

Aroma: With the first drops the aroma explodes, Mostly anise. Alpine woods. Some wormwood.

Flavor: Anise, and wormwood. Complex, with restrained bitterness. Like other Bugnon absinthes I tasted, all rough edges seem to have been distilled away. Only sweetness and balance remain.

Finish: Creamy in the mouth. Anise and wormwood lingering for long.

Overall: A lovely absinthe. I drink almost exclusively green absinthes, so I’m not a competent judge. It has all the marks of Bugnon's excellent craft.

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I usually drink this around 3/4:1, no sugar. I first tried this before it was legal, when it was sold by Betty. Betty's La Bleue's. I now regularly keep this in stock, partly because it has been readily available in Quebec for the past several years.

Color: Perfectly Clear

Louche: Opalescent white with blue around the edges. Finishes quickly

Aroma: Anise, spice, white pepper, herbs, wormwood, a bit of earth, pine. Alpinely, crisp and cold. Very complex. Amazing.

Flavor: Matches aroma. Anise, white pepper, menthol. Crisp, clean and very refreshing. Sweetness and bitterness in perfect balance. A bit tongue-numbing

Finish: Excellent mouth feel, not thin at all, has some weight, but also not too thick. Sweetness fades fast, then long bitter tongue-numbing. Piney and bitter til the end. Lasts a long time. In no way unpleasant.

Overall: A top-notch absinthe. Sweet enough to not require sugar (I sugar most of my absinthes). The bitterness of the wormwood matches the sweetness perfectly. A perfect balance.
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
5.0
Reviewed by Babel April 10, 2014
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (14)

One of the Best

I usually drink this around 3/4:1, no sugar. I first tried this before it was legal, when it was sold by Betty. Betty's La Bleue's. I now regularly keep this in stock, partly because it has been readily available in Quebec for the past several years.

Color: Perfectly Clear

Louche: Opalescent white with blue around the edges. Finishes quickly

Aroma: Anise, spice, white pepper, herbs, wormwood, a bit of earth, pine. Alpinely, crisp and cold. Very complex. Amazing.

Flavor: Matches aroma. Anise, white pepper, menthol. Crisp, clean and very refreshing. Sweetness and bitterness in perfect balance. A bit tongue-numbing

Finish: Excellent mouth feel, not thin at all, has some weight, but also not too thick. Sweetness fades fast, then long bitter tongue-numbing. Piney and bitter til the end. Lasts a long time. In no way unpleasant.

Overall: A top-notch absinthe. Sweet enough to not require sugar (I sugar most of my absinthes). The bitterness of the wormwood matches the sweetness perfectly. A perfect balance.

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Wow - this absinthe is absolutely transparent unlouched. Looks like water with no particles present. Aromas are lovely, floral, balanced, and inviting. The louche consists of pretty trails which turn to a billowing fogbank! Quite exciting to watch. Very pure white when completely louched and noticing some bluish tints around the edges. Striking! Sweet, quality flavor and aroma. You can really tell the quality of ingredients and the mastery of the distillation process in this absinthe.

With this being a blanche - some of the normal flavorings of a verte are noticeably absent... but this is such a great product that it truly makes up for anything which might be considered "lost" by working so well with what *is* there. An absolutely beautifully crafted spirit.
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.5
Aroma 
 
4.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.5
Overall 
 
4.5
Reviewed by josephlabrecque November 10, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (47)

Sneaky Blanche!

Wow - this absinthe is absolutely transparent unlouched. Looks like water with no particles present. Aromas are lovely, floral, balanced, and inviting. The louche consists of pretty trails which turn to a billowing fogbank! Quite exciting to watch. Very pure white when completely louched and noticing some bluish tints around the edges. Striking! Sweet, quality flavor and aroma. You can really tell the quality of ingredients and the mastery of the distillation process in this absinthe.

With this being a blanche - some of the normal flavorings of a verte are noticeably absent... but this is such a great product that it truly makes up for anything which might be considered "lost" by working so well with what *is* there. An absolutely beautifully crafted spirit.

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Appearance: absolutely clear, almost invisible

Louche: Beautiful, but it's over pretty quickly. Pearly white with a few blue overtones.

Aroma: No-nonsense, unadorned absinthe goodness. Nothing stands out, but that's not a complaint. Everything harmonizes into a nice bouquet.

Flavor: Wow. I'm partial to vertes, but if all the blanches were this good, I wouldn't be so biased. Rock-solid blend of the trinity, slightly bitter (but not too much), seductively spicy (but not overpowering), and a hint of numbing that just begs for another sip.

Finish: Slightly dry, slightly bitter, a hint of anise, a dose of pepper... long after the last sip.

Overall: This will absolutely be my go-to brand when I want to introduce someone to absinthe. It's not edgy, it's not unusual, it's not trying to be anything other than a really, REALLY good absinthe, and it hits the mark almost perfectly. I'll definitely have this on hand all the time.
Overall rating 
 
4.6
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.5
Reviewed by coasterguy June 08, 2013
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (6)

It's a keeper

Appearance: absolutely clear, almost invisible

Louche: Beautiful, but it's over pretty quickly. Pearly white with a few blue overtones.

Aroma: No-nonsense, unadorned absinthe goodness. Nothing stands out, but that's not a complaint. Everything harmonizes into a nice bouquet.

Flavor: Wow. I'm partial to vertes, but if all the blanches were this good, I wouldn't be so biased. Rock-solid blend of the trinity, slightly bitter (but not too much), seductively spicy (but not overpowering), and a hint of numbing that just begs for another sip.

Finish: Slightly dry, slightly bitter, a hint of anise, a dose of pepper... long after the last sip.

Overall: This will absolutely be my go-to brand when I want to introduce someone to absinthe. It's not edgy, it's not unusual, it's not trying to be anything other than a really, REALLY good absinthe, and it hits the mark almost perfectly. I'll definitely have this on hand all the time.

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