This is one of my favorite absinthes. It has a very different nose and flavor from many anise-heavy (if not anise-overloaded) absinthes of modern manufacture. Upon opening the bottle, the scent of wormwood is very pronounced and pleasant. Rather than overwhelming, the effect is alluring and intriguing like incense.
I don't put much value on louche. The more anise, the denser the louche, and the more exciting to watch it form (depending on what excites you). Compared to others, this absinthe has a light, unexciting-to-watch louche because there is less anise. Big deal. I have lava lamps for that.
On the tongue the wormwood becomes regal and dominates easily, while the anise/fennel flavors follow it at a respectful distance, in perfect compliment, like footmen carrying the monarch's train. Tasting this was a very enjoyable drinking experience, all the way to the last few sips.
Color is a nice, clear peridot. Nothing too striking but quite proper. For the amount of alcohol present, the neat aroma is surprisingly not as overpowering as one would expect with the unmistakable scent of Pontarlier wormwood right up front. The louche forms nicely and results in something thick and lovely. The taste itself if earthy, woody, powdery... lovely bitter wormwood. In fact, I taste lots of wormwood the first few sips - but things become more balanced and sweet as the glass goes on. The flavor is quite enjoyable and fun to explore seeing as how it does tend to shift somewhat over the course of a glass... an adventurous spirit :)
I do perceive where many of these reviews detect a "medicinal" quality to this absinthe. It is there... but I don't find it distracting at all. I'd like to view this aspect to be more of a wild or untamed attribute to this particular brand.
5/28/14 update: Seems I've gotten a bad bottle for my second. I've taken down the scores for flavor and finish, and the overall score has been lowered significantly. I wouldn't buy another bottle until we are assured that the problems with Roquette batches has been sorted out. A real shame :(
Appearance: A near perfect but deep and dark peridot color. Very clear and pristine appearing.
Louche: There is a large variance inn hue once the louche is finished. The louche ends at a perfect translucence and displays many hues in the light as well as large light blue bands at the edges.
Aroma: Mint, anise, and a very menthol smelling wormwood are very pronounced alond with notes of petite wormwood and hyssop. The scent fills the immediate air and it is very sweet smelling on the scent-finish. The menthol note makes it smell a bit heavy and medicinal as well.
Flavor: The menthol wormwood, mint, and hyssop burst forth. There is a smooth texture and some spice notes from heavy pontica use as well. The medicinal camphor is distracting and this absinthe might benefit from a higher dilution and sugar use for those who don't normally do so.
Finish: Bitter and lingering flavor that leads to a sweeter anise finish. It's slightly astringent and feels crisp as well as lasting a long time. Once again the medicinal feel is distracting.
Overall: The medicinal nature hurts this otherwise excellent and quality absinthe. It's certainly an absinthe with character and bound to polarize people into love it or hate it camps. I personally like it a lot but it is not your typical commercial offering at all.
*Received as sample in absinthe explore set from absinthes.com
Appearance - Clear, attractive, and natural. In fact, it was the most obviously "natural" color among our samples - there is nothing artificial about its appearance.
Louche - While pleasant enough, Roquette doesn't put on the spectacular show that some of the other samples provided. However, once louched, it was correct in appearance: not too opaque or translucent.
Aroma - This was the point when we knew we had something special. The aroma of the herbs in perfect balance filled the entire room. As soon as the water hit the absinthe, it was as if we had fallen into an herb garden.
Flavor - Extremely interesting. This is not what we had pictured when we thought of "absinthe" (wormwood and anise). This is much more complex with many more colors going on aside from the usual suspects. To be so rich and complex, it is extraordinarily well-balanced. There is nothing that stands out too much and overshadows the other players - everything complements the product as a whole.
Finish - Long-lasting and pleasant herbal finish. It definitely adds to the experience.
Overall - Of our ten samples, this was the favorite. Although it was vastly different than the other absinthes, there was something "extra" with this one. It is definitely not typical or pedestrian, but truly felt artisanal as opposed to a mass produced product. This will definitely have a home in our collection.
Color- Inviting peridot. A tad too weak but attractive.
Louche- Not too many oil trails but more of a slow transformation of cloudiness with a sizable miniscus until about a 2:1 ratio. Correct opalescense when fully louched.
Aroma- Very rounded aroma of Wormwood & fennel. Multi-layered with herbacousnes that's covered with powdery hyssop and other herbs that I can't decipher. Interestingly, this reminds me a lot of PF 1901.
Flavor- Rounded just like the aroma. Expansive in the mouth. Wormwood and hyssop mix with flavors that are carmely and woody. Full bodied and balanced with nuanced flavors.
Finish- A bit of alcohol heat with the wormwood bite. Anise lens it's presence towards the end of the finish.
Overall- It appears to me that although almost everyone can agree that it's a well made absinthe some just don't like the flavor profile. I happen to enjoy it a great deal.