Germain-Robin Absinthe Superieure
Apple-Honey Mead Brandy
Distilled with Herbs
45.15% Alcohol (90.3 Proof)
Absinthe has had quite the history. Absinthe was banned in America from 1915 through 2007 due to the belief that it made people crazy and more prone to criminal behavior. The belief that absinthe causes hallucinations and such was widely blown out of proportion, although it sure is tasty stuff.
Any truth in the absinthe myth lies in one of real absinthe's prime ingredients, wormwood. Wormwood contains the chemical thujone, and although most experiments have shown that thujone causes no psychoactive effects in and of itself, newer research theorizes that thujone blocks the receptors that are responsible for the central nervous system (CNS) depression alcohol causes. What all this geeky alcohol science means is that the wormwood in true absinthe will simply make you feel less drunk than you really are. And it's true, this does make the "buzz" from drinking real absinthe feel a little different than any other alcoholic beverage. Although, the effect is still rather mild. Ever since absinthe was legalized in America again in 2007, after its almost one century ban, its popularity has risen exponentially, likely due to its epic reputation. There are now more absinthe distillers than ever before.
Absinthe comes in two main varieties: verte (green) and blanche (white). Germain-Robin makes a unique version of Absinthe Superieure using an apple-honey mead base which is then distilled in their antique pot stills. (I've previously reviewed Germain-Robin's wonderful Single Barrel Colombard and Coast Road Reserve brandies.) According to Germain-Robin, the brandy base is then macerated with "rose geranium, lemon balm, wormwood, hyssop, lemon verbena, star anise, fennel seed, and lemon peel, among others," which is then distilled again in small batches. Aside from the unique base and distilling method, it is also bottled at an unusually low 90.3 Proof, whereas many absinthes are around 120 Proof.
|Before and After|
Looking at Germain-Robin's Absinthe Superieure, you see that it is really quite clear and colorless. You add some cold water and it immediately blooms into a cloud of white. This louche (the transition from clear to cloudy and opaque) is really quite impressive and quick. It smells very, very floral and sweet, with clear notes of star anise, mint, and lemon. This absinthe tastes obviously of star anise, but it is also very minty, like menthol and wintergreen, with a background of sweet lemon and some earthy wormwood. The oily mouthfeel of many absinthes is rather subdued in this. Germain-Robin's absinthe is light, complex, and unique, yet sweet enough that the addition of a sugar cube isn't really needed. Very interesting stuff, indeed.
Drink This: if you want a unique, different take on a blanche absinthe.
Don't Drink This: if you don't like star anise or mint, seeing as this has both in spades.
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