I was expecting Sauvage to be very similar to Roquette, but (although similarities exist) this wonderfully bucolic absinthe stands head and shoulders above its archival predecessor in every respect.
The color, neat, is a very vibrant emerald green tinged with yellow, beautifully clear and inviting.
The louche is extremely gradual with a subdued snow globe effect, not turbulent and rife with fog banks, but a delight to watch as it languorously unfolds. The end result is a near-perfect display of almost opaque, but slightly translucent green with bluish and amber highlights.
The nose is redolent of wormwood that has a very unusual aromatic profile. I get hints of mint tea,and nopal cactus. There is also a definite tangerine quality.
These elements are also present in the flavor (the wormwood is huge, extremely floral, and very juicy) but (as with Roquette) there is a decidedly powdery, candied, medicinal quality to this absinthe that is definitely in keeping with the primary purpose it would have served in 1804. I'm also noticing more than a hint of underlying smokiness that reminds me of Laphroaig or Laguvulin, or perhaps a bit more like that found in a modern interpretation of a 16th century Bamberg smoked beer (Hair of the Dog Adam) in the finish, along with a distinct pepperiness that melds perfectly with the citric notes.
While the wormwood definitely takes center stage here, the supporting herbs (including a very fruity fennel) play an important role, and are much more vibrant than they are in, say, that other notable wormwood showcase, Doubs Mystique.
Sauvage is a bit of a paradox in that it is, at once, rustic, and not incredibly complex, and yet also very eccentric and dynamic. All the flavors are beautifully harmonious, and (although I don't generally believe that there is any such thing as an "expert's" absinthe, I would venture to agree with the Michael Meyers assessment that Sauvage is a grownup's drink, and a wondrous one, at that
Really wish I could get my hands on more of this!!!
I bought 3 bottles and thus far have managed to store one which I plan to drink with my youngest daughter when she is drinking age ( She's 7 now so its going to be hard wait). Unfortunately, I had better get that bottle out of sight because its too much of a temptation.
Color: Sunkissed yellow honey, very nice and attractive.
Louche: builds slow and best with the coldest of mountain spring water. Take your time don't rush this for both the louche and the flavor.
Aroma: Wormwood forward waves of scent nicely balanced by fennel and a spicy mintiness.
Flavor/mouthfeel: A tad on the bitter side but not as much as the Roquette 1797, infact it grows on you but likely not for the novice to absinthe unless they are prepared for it. Upon tasting just great vibrant wormwood flavors.
Finish: Complex, and wild and lingers nicely for some time.
Overall: A great product with an exciting marketing campaign that delivers on many levels. The distillation is unique and reveals the very best in special artisinal attention creating a truly unforgettable absinthe experience. The label and bottle design completes the entire package. If you can get a hold of a bottle somewhere somehow please send it my way. I miss this stuff!
Appearance: Very deep color, clear and natural. Almost a topaz (but still slightly green,) understandable from the barrel aging.
Louche: The louche was very thick and creamy (almost TOO thick) with nice layering for a long time. I've gotten better results with the louche going a bit faster. Very deeply colored: buttery and slightly green, orange and moon highlights. Extra iridescent.
Aroma: Very floral wormwood, minty and peppery, with a balancing sweetnexx, fennel, but not much anise to be found.
Flavor: REALLY excellent wormwood profile with enough anise and fennel to support it (but definitely doesn't balance the wormwood.) Peppery and sweet, and very herbal (almost leafy.)
Finish: Not as dry as I expected...it has a very lengthy fennel and orange flavor (aside from the continuing wormwood punch.)
Overall: I was very surprised at how fresh all the elements taste...it's hard to imagine these herbs being aged for so long. Very, very enjoyable and delicious.
Sampled over several days at 3.5:1, and 4:1, with and without sugar. This review is written at 3.5:1 with 1/2 sugar, where I enjoy it best.
It's appearance is attractive, natural and clear, with a light yellow/green hue. As it is aged 18 months before bottling, this may account for the ever so slightly yellower cast to the color neat than I've seen in other Pernot offerings.
Its louche develops slowly and evenly with a steady build. There is nice smoke and fog action, and a clear distinct layer that disappears right at about 3.5:1. The final louche is pretty, opalescent, and has a color that is a mix of whites, greens and coppers. It is not as thick as some others, but is perfectly acceptable. I prepared this several ways: a fountain with a steady drip, an auto-verseur, and a single-hole glass brouilleur with a steady thin stream. In all these cases, the louche formed evenly and was just slightly translucent.
Sauvage's aroma is so promising. It is fresh, crisp, herbal and clean. There certainly is an alpine personality here. I detect more anise and fennel in the aroma than in the flavor, which is fine, as when drinking, the aroma supports the absinthe so well. It is an elegant and gentle aroma, yet has the promise of something spirited within. It was room-filling as water was added.
Its flavor is all about the wild-harvested wormwood; it is feral, clean and crisp, but also round and mellow. Perhaps this is due to the aging. There is an insistent pleasant bitterness that does not overwhelm, but I find 1/2 a sugar cube supports the absinthe well without changing its spirit and personality. The other elements reveal themselves behind the wormwood, in a clear, well thought-out supportive role.
The finish is wonderful. A quick build of spice, then a ballooning of florals and citrus. It lingers nicely, then starts to fade. However, just as you think it's over, there is a secondary, lesser bloom of citrus and pepper that is literally mouth-watering. At 3.5:1, the mouthfeel is rich and satisfying, It thins out a bit at 4:1, but I prefer this absinthe stronger, and thus rated it a 5.
I absolutely love this. For wormwood-forward fans, it's a must.
Color: A deep yellow chartreuse color. Dark, heavy, and strong but still clear.
Louche: Slow to start with nice layering. Ends up thick and still retains quite a bit of the original color. Nice blue hue towards the edges of the glass though. Very thick, but still pretty.
Aroma: Wormwood forward and this one really opens up at higher ratios. Not an overly strong smelling absinthe but that's not a bad thing. The aromas are more of a wormwood and fennel combo that appears light on the anise despite the thick louche.
Flavor: A showcase of some good wormwood. Very unique in it's taste. A smooth and round texture comes out as well. This is a very sweet absinthe so no sugar is needed for my taste. Hints of citrus and even something almost like sage interplay. Delicious, complex, and thankfully different.
Finish: Surprisingly the wormwood ramps up then dies off a bit early leaving a vanilla finish with a slight pop of spice as well. Very nice change from the flavor and again, really smooth.
Overall: The maturation has a nice effect in smoothing the taste. This is a wormwood showcase with a complex layer of flavors just underneath. The smoothness makes this one go down really easy, and my first glass was empty a bit too soon. Overall Sauvage is a pleasure and well worth the wait.