Eichelberger Verte 68 Limitee
50cl 68% abv (136 proof)
The modern absinthe revival owes a lot to the German fascination with the drink and its history. A small group of serious enthusiasts, dedicated to improving absinthe's misunderstood image, are found on-line at the forum of Absinth-Guide.de. In 2005, this group decided that they had had enough with the over-all poor quality of German-made absinth(e)s and held a contest to develop a true, quality distilled absinthe - Made in Germany. A noble experiment, and about 15 different home-made (know as Hausgemachts or HG) absinthes were entered, with the winner to be placed into small-scale production just for the pleasure of the German forum members. The winning recipe, by Michael Weinzierl (known as Deep Forest) was up-scaled to just 30 liters, which created an instant success with the forum members and others who had the chance to taste it and, not satisfied with a 'one-off' experience, they demanded commercialization.
Michael had previously visited the Eichelberger Distillery in Taxöldern, because it was near his hometown. Located in southeast Germany in the picturesque and forested Bavarian region called Oberpfälzer Seenland, the Eichelberger (in English - Acorn Mountain) Distillery is a family run, hobbyist enterprise owned by Dr. Lili and Rudi Wild. This modern, yet very small distillery, is capable of distilling only 30 liters at a time, but always with utmost care and attention to quality. As passionate advocates of liqueurs and eau-de-vie, they were enthusiastic when approached with the idea of distilling a 'specialist's' absinthe. They offered their services to distil the first, historic run of Michael's creation, what is now known as 'Eichelberger Absinth 68,' using the German spelling that drops the 'e.'
Unlouched, a very pretty light peridot with nice amber/gold highlights. Louched, an opaque milky amber with slight bluish highlights at the edges and meniscus.
Louche is quite thick, maybe just a little too thick, greenish tinged amber with slight blue and orange highlights under good light. Just a little dull. Nice trails, action, and layering while forming.
Wormwood anyone? Anise and fennel are there but there is a really strong push from the wormwood. This is very herbal on the nose with a lot of florals and "tan" tones... hay, straw, silage.
Again, clearly an anise flavored beverage, but such a strong push from the wormwood. Big, round mouthfeel... good definition, great grip. A little mint, citrus, spice, significant white pepper. A much drier palate impression than most.
Aggressive and pushy spiciness on the finish. Not off putting, but very assertive. Citrus, pepper, strong herbals gnash down on the palate and just go on and on. Again, lots of grip on the finish, with all the herbal components totally in control.
A very purposeful, precise, clean, well built beverage. I wouldn't call this "sexy" but it really is impressive. All herbal all the time. This is one I have to be in the mood for since it is rather challenging... in a good way. Don't even think of anything less than a 4/1 dilution with this. At 4/1 there is still plenty of aggression from all palate aspects. Not an absinthe for times of "mellowing out", but if you really want an active and interactive absinthe experience, Eich is one hard charging ride.
Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 3.5/1, 4/1, and 4.5/1, and no sugar.
Eichelberger Limitee Verte 12/31/08, 10/10/09, 11/22/09.
All evaluations had consistent notes.
The louche is wonderful. Nice and thick, and builds slowly to a thick opalescent white drink with just hints of green.
The aroma is almost citrusy with nice doses of anise and fennel. The wormwood becomes more pronounced with the addition of water.
The taste is crisp and clean with a thick mouth feel. The citrus is here again, along with a pleasant dryness, with some spice and also just a pinch of sweetness. I like the balance.
Overall, an extremely well made absinthe. One of my top ranking absinthes.
The color pre-louche is light green with yellow.
I don't get the standard "black licorice" on the nose -- it's all dried licorice root tea, herbs, and grasses, like an herbalist's shop (but especially the licorice root). These components are present on the taste as well. There's a natural sweetness to the herbs though, so I'd highly recommend trying this absinthe without sugar first. It's both extremely fragrant and full-flavored. The most purely "herbal" absinthe I've ever tasted. Top-notch quality.
Louche: lovely oily trails during formation, with some orange. At 1:3 the louche is already so thin to stop from adding water.
Aroma: mostly wormwood and fennel, some alcohol, very little anise, rather dry, some liquorice.
Taste: consistent with the aroma, a lovely bitterness from wormwood. Rather creamy in the mouth. Complex. Somehow dry.
Finish: a long persistence of bitter wormwood and spicy fennel. Very fresh.
Overall: an interesting absinthe, with less anise than usual and with a lovely bitterness lingering for long in the mouth. Having read other reviews, I was surprised but the very thin louche. My bottle was purchased in early 2016. To preserve some louche, little water must be added, but the result is the rather high in alcohol.
Enjoyed at 4:1, both with and without sugar.
Color was clear, natural and just the right shade of peridot, yellows and golds flashed at the facets of my glass like a gem. At 4:1 louche color was just the right shade of light green.
Louche had lovely thick slow trails giving way to wisps of smoke, then slow tendril-like clouds from the bottom up, with a clear defined layer. enjoyable and dramatic. The final louche was opalescent and a great light greenish-white.
Aroma was fresh and clean. As water is added, the wormwood and herbal elements become more clear. A promising aroma, and I couldn't wait to taste it.
Flavor is balanced and delicious. Anise and fennel with a lightly minty, floral wormwood . I enjoyed its light peppery spice and slight citrus tang...very yummy. It has quite a bit of perfume, which some will love, others not.
The finish was really nice; it starts with a spicy pinch on the tongue and roof of the mouth, and builds nicely. Assertive, but elegant. Complex herbals, spice and citrus fading to powder and distinct fennel.
This is a focused absinthe statement, and a good one. I would like to always have a bottle on hand.
COLOR: This one had an appropriately green color for a verte. The peridot was a bit pale, but it didnâ€™t edge into the yellow spectrum like some others.
AROMA: The nose was a pleasantly clean, with the scent of minty wormwood being most prominent. It would have been better if the aroma had been a little more expansive, as you had to be close to the glass to detect it.
LOUCHE: A potentially active, though delicate, louche. I achieved more energetic results with a thin stream of cold water than I did with a fountain drip - thin trails developed briefly into small roiling clouds with the stream, while some minor cascades barely registered on the drip.
FLAVOR: This Eichelberger has an excellent balance, with a pleasantly peppery bite when prepared with an appropriate amount of water. It may be interpreted as having too mild of a flavor to some, but I found it refreshing and more enjoyable than other â€œcrispâ€ absinthes (such as Lucid, for example) as long as there wasnâ€™t too much water.
FINISH: The mouthfeel is right in the sweet spot of the midrange (being neither too thick, nor too thin), and the faint taste of pepper (with a lemony trace) and mint lingers pleasantly for a long while.
OVERALL: I am impressed with the Eichelberger, and I think it would make a great everyday absinthe if only it were on the shelves here in the United States. It is easy to overwater this absinthe, which overpowers the best of what it has to offer, and for me I found 4:1 to be a good ratio of water to spirit. A ratio of 4.5: 1 is the very upper limit, and going beyond that is not recommended. If anything, I would recommend erring on the low end, and trying this one at 3.5:1. Given the reported propensity for bartenders in the U.S. to err on the side of too little water (or sliding you a glass that holds no more than 4 or 5 oz total), I believe it would do well in the bar scene, too.
Color: light peridot green, very nice, natural. Would have liked just a little more depth in the color, but I'm picking nits here.
Nose (neat): good anise, spice, nicely aromatic. Very herbal as opposed to flowery. Occasional bit of alcohol burn, but not surprising for 68% spirit. Balanced and soft, rather than powerful.
Louche: great swirling trails with ice cold water drip. Good layering, nice finished color, minty green, clear with slight hint of blue at the liquid/air interface.
Nose (after louche): very similar to the pre-louche aroma, maybe leaning a bit more to the anise. Not huge or room filling, but very nice.
Flavor: great balance. Sweet anise, spicy, hint of mint flavor (from the wormwood?); not a strong peppermint, but just enough to give me a feeling of mint, like green mint ice cream. At this point I'm thinking this is what Lucid should have been -- excellent balance, very clean, not too intense for the "uneducated American palate". Good body, I wouldn't go so far as to say "creamy" but I may have overwatered this one a bit at about 4:1. Starting to get some mild clinging to the tongue.
Finish: nicely balanced finish. Some tip-of-the-tongue prickly feeling. Finish starts with anise, moves to a nice complex alpine herbal, and then to the bitterness and tongue-numbing sensation. Very nice. By end of the glass, I'm getting more of the tongue coating and numbing.
Overall, 4's all the way across the board. I really liked this verte, and while I'm still pretty inexperienced, this is probably the best absinthe I've had to date. I've had what I thought were more interesting aromas and finishes, but when taken as a whole, this is the best all-around absinthe in my brief time as an absinthe drinker. This one is getting me seriously thinking about making that first LdF order ...