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belewfripp

Absent Minded - Pittsburgh Distilling Company (a.k.a. Wigle Whiskey)

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A bottle of this arrived this morning. If you haven't read the info in the 'Shipping Absinthe to Pennsylvania' thread, this was just released back in December of last year. From the Wigle Whiskey website:

 

 

Pot-distilled from local, organic wheat, this absinthe was infused with organic wormwood, fennel, mint, orange peel, and star anise and then re-distilled. When mixed with chilled water, the Swiss-style absinthe will properly louche (pronounced “loosh”) and release a wonderful bouquet of herbs and citrus. Bottled at 124.1 proof, this one will warm your senses in this chilly weather.

 

It's $42 for 375 ml, and I salute the distillery for resisting the urge to call it "Absinthe-Minded", even though they are still playing on the same pun.

 

Opening the bottle, the aroma is unlike any other absinthe I've yet tried (which isn't saying much). I was worried the star anise was going to be running rampant in this, but I can only just detect some of that anise-y sweetness. Not much alcohol smell, either. Instead there's what I can only describe as an earthy citrus, with mint overtones and some anise sweetness 'along the outside'. Woody/floral overtones, too, but everything is roped-in/centered on the earthy citrus.

 

Intrigued, I louched a very small amount (it is still before noon, here, after all) just to see how it changed on louche. The louche is quite nice, with some green and even red/orange opalescence, pretty thick, good cloud action. The aroma is fairly expansive, but it doesn't change a whole lot except to let out a bit more of the floral and woody fragrance. I'm still struggling to describe exactly how to term that earthy citrus. I want to say spicy orange, but it's not a piquant spice, it's more grounded than that.

 

A small sip - some anise and fennel/sweet-and-spicy notes, but the major players are still citrus, earth, wood. It's good, I'm just a bit at a loss of how to describe it better.

 

Overall, it seems enjoyable, and I'm going to do a proper review of it, but will wait a day or three to do so. I've found my impression of an absinthe is different on first opening the bottle vs a few days later. I'll have a real glass of it this evening, and see if I can narrow down the profile a bit better.

 

 

 

Edited by belewfripp

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I see from your quote the distiller uses orange peel and mint, that is what is probably whats going on with the 'spicy citrus' notes.

My experience with the mint-y absinthes such as VC and Obsello is that the minty-ness jumps out more on a freshly opened bottles, then subsides a bit after a week or two.

 

(Gotta say I don't care much for the name and label, or the complete use of star anise instead of green anise.)

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Thanks. Yes, the citrus and the mint are clearly from the orange peel and...well, the mint. Its the earthy character I'm having a harder time with. That's interesting you note that about VC, as my initial impression of it was "anise, anise and more anise". Just recently I had a glass and only now am I tasting mint. Could be "user error" on my part, though.

 

The star anise was a concern for me initially, but so far (based on a few sips), the anise is subdued and no prickly tingling.

 

I'm neutral on the name and the label. On the one hand, I like the wormwood pattern, the pun could have been worse, and at least it's not lurid or sensational. On the other hand, I am a fan of old-fashioned/subtle labels and names more than "modern" styles.

 

That said, this distillery seems to be more playful/colorful in their product styles and names, even as they distill older spirits like Monongahela rye, genever and absinthe. If it proves to be solid, it could be a nice way to get absinthe in front of a younger audience without resorting to schtick and spectacle.

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.. That's interesting you note that about VC, as my initial impression of it was "anise, anise and more anise". Just recently I had a glass and only now am I tasting mint. Could be "user error" on my part, though.

 

The first batches were very heavy on spearmint notes..They have dialed it down since.

 

As for Pittsburgh,it would be interesting to see what flavors you notice with time.

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Tried some more of this tonight, in various levels of dilution and both with sugar and without. So far, based on the character of the absinthe after about a week, I would say 3:1, maybe 3.5:1 is about the most I can go with water level on this one. Given the ABV, you'd think it might be able to take a little bit more, but I find it quite watery at 4:1 and above. I also have to say sugar is a good option, at least for my tastes.

 

The earthy character I described before now seems reminiscent of cinnamon. There's no cinnamon in this, so I'm interpreting this as the orange peel combining with the fennel and anise to form a sensation that my nose interprets as cinnamon. Doesn't taste like it, though - I get anise, spice, mint and citrus in the flavor, and bitterness in the back of my mouth; definite bitterness in the finish. Overly so? Not with sugar. Without sugar, yes.

 

I noticed on the bottle today that this one is from batch #3 and was only just bottled on 3/2, so it's only just a month old. I think I'm going to let it sit some more and see what else happens with it before I do a real review. Speaking of which, in reading old threads it seems usually new review pages were added by an admin, but when I log in it gives me the option to add a new listing. Is that kosher? Will it let me? I don't want to do something I shouldn't.

Edited by belewfripp

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I almost always sense cinnamon notes in star anise. Just this evening, in explaining to someone the difference between anisette and sambuca, I told them that sambuca (star anise) is more agressive, prickly, and frequently has cinnamonish notes as opposed to anisette (green aniseed) being more mellow, organic, and gentle.

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After drinking half the bottle over the last week (it's only 375 ml), I finally pulled the trigger on doing a review. My overall score was a 3.5, but because I scored the color a 4.5 (after reading the back-and-forth in earlier threads on scoring blanche color and reading the tasting guide section repeatedly) the site's Overall came out to a 3.6. Given my lack of experience with blanches, I can't say that will match exactly with what someone else would think, but overall I think it's good, and while not a must-buy, it's worth a try.

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