Lucid Absinthe Review

At long last, the glorious day has arrived. ..

The day when an American can legally purchase a bottle of genuine absinthe within the United States. I think many of us anticipated this day to be much further ahead of us, but weep aloud my friends, for the time is now.

Not to say it is a nice bed of roses, as Lucid is currently the ONLY absinthe that is available legally. Several other brands including Kubler and Matter-Luginbühl AG’s latest, Mansinthe, are pending approval, so Lucid will have some competition before long. So, as someone who has tried both Mansinthe and Kubler do I believe will Lucid be able to stand-up to its future competitors? Read on.

In an obvious attempt to be an eye-catcher on the liquor store shelf, the top of the bottle has a pair of luminous eyes. This may just be my imagination, but the bottle itself looks better in your hands than online photos make it appear. It is not nearly as dark tinted as you would imagine, and the “lucid eyes” aren’t as glaringly obvious and intrusive as one would think. The back label gives an excellent history of absinthe right up to modern day, albeit in microscopic print. There is a little blurb on the website explaining how the concept of the bottle design came about and it’s historical representation with a “modern twist”. Their explanation is fine, but to anyone who hasn’t been interested enough to visit their website and read that small paragraph will have no idea and almost immediately make the connection that this is aimed at a younger, potentially non-absinthe drinking crowd. Aside from being a little gimmicky I don’t have much of a problem with it, but obviously some absintheurs will…

Breaux did make it clear that the colour would differ from bottle to bottle, and the green in my bottle looked particularly weak; much more transparent than I would have liked. Immediately upon uncorking, there is a faint, but distinctly sweet, chocolate aroma, with anise and fennel. It has an earthy quality, but is held back by undertones of funk. Individual herbs are a bit muddled, and I could not detect the wormwood. The alcohol was subdued well enough.

Results:

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Natural glad green. Not bad, I like it.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
The louche was quite good, building up slowly, tightly condensed, with a fine ring along the top. Unfortunately it seemed almost too condensed as there were almost no swirls in the glass, merely like a point slowly expanding.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Mid-green of great clarity without any solid artifacts or haze.

AROMA 18/30
The alcohol base (a mix of some sweet addition) along with a bit fennel and wormwood are dominant. A (nice) hint of green anise. All in one a acceptable balance.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Tasted neat there was more anise than I would have thought from an absinthe crafted for “US tastes”, but it still stayed within the boundaries of moderation, fennel is weaker than the aroma lead me to believe. Upon louching, a new bouquet of peppery spiciness unfolds, but the alcohol doesn’t want to leave, making it seem alright, but not really a pleasant smell. The louche concludes resulting in a grayish-green hue.

TASTE 14/20
Spiciness and anise are prominent, while the sweetness of fennel finishes on the back of your toungue well, not too dry. The wormwood is there, but seems dull and lacking, lost in the background, which surprised me; before tasting I would’ve thought the anise and wormwood’s roles to be reverse what they are now, again, to adhere to American tastes. Feels good in the mouth with a silky consistency, but it does teeter between velvety and oily, and is not as creamy or thick as an absintheur would desire. Because it must be consumed at a strong ratio, there is a bit of a bite, but it is more than tolerable for anyone accustomed to high-proof spirits. Drinking with sugar makes the flavour rather murky and overly-sweet, and transforms a silky texture to a slimy one.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
Alas, Lucid is thujone-free (or very nearly so). Prepared in the traditional, Rimbaud-era manner—slowly diluted (sometimes over a sugar cube, but absinthists skip this) with ice-cold water until it becomes cloudy (called “louching”) and reaches about a 1:3 concentration—it’s less anise-heavy and more herbal than other “genuine” European absinthes I’ve tried.

TOTAL SCORE 72

I used for my review’s some inspiration from other Absinth com’s. (Review system by feeverte board, I am member too there)
After a mail from another member I have to give them credit for this system. You are my heroes. Thx!

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Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 1:04 pm  Comments (4)  
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” THUJONE SUN ” – A Grandious absinthe from jamaica.

Thujone Sun - My new favourite absinthe

I ever loved the Jamaican quality rum…

.. .and now I love their Absinthe too =)

My friend made me a great gift from his holliday last week. A beauty bottle wormwood from Jamaica.
Yesterday I’ve tried this awesome drink called Thujone Sun. Very positive surprise ! This is an excellent kind of taste and color. In the bottle is a layer with selected wormwood herbs.

Here my personal results:

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10

Appears to be a somewhat deeper shade of green, being a most attractive medium / smooth peridot in tone.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10

Very elegant, slow, and fantastic louche, swirling from the bottom up, and lovely to watch.

Mostly opaque, with a bit opalescence.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10

Retains a natural amount of the original green.

Atractive to see.

TASTE 19/20

This is the strongest aspect of this absinthe, a very nice harmony.

Its very clean, with a lovely wormwood / fennel / anise balance, coming in that order.

AROMA 28/30

Neat !
The aroma is very balanced, with no trace of funk.

No excess alcoholic heat, and a lovely perfumed fennel and anise is what I detect the most.

I dunno if a small proportion of grape spirit was used in the recipe, but I detect a bit of that in the nose, as well.

Louched, there is a complex herbal/bitter scent, which is extremely appetizing.

MOUTHFEEL 9/10

Rich with an unknown aromatic note, with a fresh texture.

A smooth bitter finish (caused by the herbs I think).

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10

This is a very beautifully made absinthe with sensible real quality.

I would most certainly not hesitate to buy Thujone Sun on a regular basis.
In fact, I would say it’s my favorite commercial release thus far.

TOTAL SCORE 94

I tried to order more, but its not easy to manage. The sellingrights owned by a company in Europe now.

So its seems to be hard to receive this into US.

Kubler Absinthe Review

kubler.jpg

It has finally happened! Kubler Absinthe has landed in Chicago! I haven’t found it at a Binny’s yet, but Sam’s Wine carries it. Sam’s is selling it for just over $50 for a one liter bottle. This is more economical than $65 for a 750ml bottle of Lucid, though Kubler is of a lower proof and some people would call this a trade off. I will do my usual weirdo literary review after the break, but those that just want the facts can get it right here.

Asides from the larger bottle and lower price, the most notable difference between Lucid and Kubler is the color. It is a Swiss “La Bleue” or “Blanche”, this means that it is clear instead of green like Lucid. There are subtle differences between these two styles I cannot expound upon as this is the second true Absinthe I have sampled. The folks over at the Wormwood Society are the go to guys for fine details.

The smell upon opening the bottle is not nearly as strong as one would expect from a 106 proof beverage. I caught anise, fennel and a very small alcohol scent. Quite pleasant.

I poured a pony of it into my glass and dripped spring water slowly into it. I drank my first glass ‘Sans Sucre’ (without sugar) as that is the way I tend to enjoy Lucid and araks araks and coffee and pretty much anything else that is often sugared. The louche (fogginess) came on rather quickly compared to Lucid. I was disappointed at the lack of eye candy during the louche, but this comes second to taste. I watered this glass with a 1:4 ratio of absinthe to water, though the bottle says 1:5. A 1:5 water ratio seems a bit dilute for a 53% alcohol absinthe. As always find your own ‘Golden Ratio’.

The bouquet expands nicely after the drip, though not quite as pungent as Lucid. The taste on first sip is glorious. My mouth is filled with anise (heehee) fennel and the earthy punch of wormwood. The finish is smooth and I can now taste a hint of mint on my tongue. There is no ‘Spiciness’ like I tasted in the Lucid.

This is a fine absinthe in my opinion. It is not as rich or layered as Lucid, but this is not always a bad thing. I could see a beginning absintheur having a much easier time enjoying Kubler then Lucid. For my money I will be buying Kubler simply because it is a good bit cheaper per bottle by volume then Lucid, but I enjoy them both equally, just in different ways.

General Absinthe INFO

 

What Is Absinthe?

Although wormwood-infused drinks have been used in medicine for thousands of years, when we speak of “absinthe” nowadays, we are evoking a very specific spirituous liquor that rose to popularity in France and Switzerland beginning in the 18th century. There are many traditional drinks from around the world which include wormwood, and yet they are not absinthe. It takes more than simply including wormwood as an ingredient to be able to be justifiably categorize a spirit as “absinthe.”

To put it concisely: Absinthe is an wormwood-flavored anise spirit distilled from anise, fennel and absinthium wormwood. Although it is often referred to as a “liqueur”, this isn’t really accurate, since liqueurs are pre-sweetened and absinthe is not.

Absinthe takes its name from the wormwood, whose botanical name is Artemisia absinthium. “Absinthe” is the French word for the absinthium wormwood plant and the name of the liquor, extrait d’absinthe, simply means “wormwood extract.” This shouldn’t be confused with wormwood extracts sold in herbal apothecaries. These are not distilled, but rather simple tinctures—wormwood soaked in alcohol.

Other traditional absinthe ingredients include petite wormwood (Artemisia pontica), melissa (Melissa officinalis) and hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis). Absinthe is very high in alcohol content, usually in the 55% to 72% range (110 to 144 proof) for comparison, whisky is generally around 40%, or 80 proof. Absinthe is intended to be served diluted with iced water at a ratio of approximately three to five parts water to one part absinthe.

What Does Absinthe Taste like?

Absinthe is, above all, an anise spirit, similar to ouzo, raki and arak. Depending on the variety, the flavor of genuine absinthe is primarily that of anise and fennel with a subtle, meadow-like herbal bitterness from the wormwood. It is not as bitter as its century-old reputation suggests, and proper absinthe never has been, as can be attested by those who have tasted pre-ban absinthe. But there’s no denying it: it has a peculiar flavor and is often an acquired taste. As one gains experience in tasting absinthes, one can discern the various herbs which make up its complex and interesting flavor.

Many associate the flavor of anise with black licorice, to which it is only slightly similar. Part of the reason for this is that most licorice candies are actually flavored with anise oil. With very little experience, one can easily tell the difference between anise and genuine licorice.

Many people who wish to embrace the romance and spirit of absinthe just happen also to dislike the flavor of anise, and inquire if there are any non-anise absinthes. To this the purist will reply: “That wouldn’t be absinthe.” An analogy would be asking for orange juice that didn’t taste like citrus. However there are always entrepreneurs eager to fill a need, so many liquors have come along with little or no anise and are being marketed as absinthe. In our opinion “absinthe” is an inappropriate designation for this type of spirit, although in a well made absinthe, the anise flavor is balanced with the other botanicals in such a way that it tastes much more complex than just licorice candy.

Absinthe is not a drug and it never was.
It won’t make you “trip”, hallucinate, cut your ear off, or anything else you wouldn’t ordinarily do when intoxicated with liquor. Alcohol is technically a drug, but that’s not usually what we mean when we say “drugs”. Otherwise, we wouldn’t say “drugs and alcohol.” The terrifying hallucinations suffered by early absinthe abusers were most likely due to the withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism: alcoholic hallucinosis, or, the DTs. There are no psychedelic or psychotropic ingredients in authentic absinthe. Absinthe is not a drug.

Thujone isn’t a drug either, and it’s not related or similar to THC.
Thujone, the primary volatile oil in wormwood, is present in only in trace amounts in absinthe and is subtle in its effects at these levels. The current “high-thujone” and ” extra strong” hype on many sites selling absinthe is a marketing gimmick aimed at the gullible who are in search of a new high. The role of thujone in the so-called “secondary effect” is greatly exaggerated, as is the effect itself. If you’re here to read about thujone, read through the articles in our Absinthe Science section. The similarity in effect to THC was an un-tested conjecture from the mid-1970s and is unsupported by later studies. Thujone is NOT: a hallucinogen, a psychotropic substance, or a psychedelic. Thujone isn’t a drug either.

• Burning sugar or flaming absinthe has never been an authentic absinthe tradition
– not in France, the Czech Republic or anywhere else prior to the late 1990’s. There are a number of time-honored classic drinks which are flamed, but absinthe isn’t one of them.

Burning sugar or flaming absinthe has never been an authentic absinthe tradition
– not in France, the Czech Republic or anywhere else prior to the late 1990’s. There are a number of time-honored classic drinks which are flamed, but absinthe isn’t one of them.

Authentic absinthe isn’t horribly bitter,
less so than unsw
eetened tea. The primary flavor of absinthe is anise—what most people call the “black licorice” flavor—but well-made absinthes have an herbal complexity that makes them taste like more than just licorice candy.

Published in: on December 17, 2007 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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