An Absinthe Review from Jean/Siobhan

Seamus suggested that I write up a review of the three different types of absinthe that we have had the pleasure of trying thus far. This subject came up as we were discussing our most recent purchase from the local liquor emporium of a locally distilled absinthe. Since I seem to have such strong opinions on the subject (Opinionated? Moi?), it was suggested that I share my experience with the 3DC at large.

The first that we tried was Lucid, which we purchased online from DrinkUp NY. Incidentally, they probably sent us the bottle in error since they really shouldn’t be sending spirits to Or.; but I digress… this is one of the first true absinthes to be produced after the US ban was lifted, so how could I say no?

There was a fair amount of experimentation on Seamus’ part. What is the proper amount of water? Sugar or no sugar? You definitely shouldn’t drink this stuff straight – I imagine it would taste something like battery acid. Seamus settled on a 3:1 ratio of water to absinthe, over one sugar cube. The predominant flavor of the Lucid is strong anise. I normally do not like anise (at all), but there was enough herbal character in the bottle of Lucid to keep it interesting.

After about 10 minutes of sipping, WHAM! Suddenly my vision was extremely clear, and I felt alert. There was no gradual progression, it was just THERE. Not an unpleasant feeling by any stretch, but very unusual if you aren’t used to it. There were no negative after effects, and no standard feeling of intoxication, just a little buzz. I think that bottle of Lucid lasted us two weeks, tops.

The second that we attempted was an absinthe distilled in Switzerland named Kubler. After my positive experience with Lucid, I had high expectations. Sadly, I was disappointed. The anise flavor was harsh, and there was no discernible wormwood content to speak of, so I ended up with a nasty taste in my mouth and drunk to boot. I have not had any since the first taste, but Seamus has been picking at it a little, since he is partial to anise in any form. I think we still have at least 1/3 of the bottle left.

The third is a bottle that I was going to keep my eye open for, because it is distilled in good ol’ Portland, OR. Seamus and I went to the local liquor store in a strip mall by the house to pick up some gin and bourbon/scotch for mixing.

{tangent} OMG, this liquor store has the most amazing selection of scotch that I’ve seen in a little podunk liquor store. I almost fell over. And the prices! Did I mention there’s no sales tax?{/tangent}

They had FIVE different kinds of absinthe, including the Lucid. And a few bottles of the local version – Trillium.

Of course we had to grab a bottle. After my previous experience, I was careful not to expect too much. But I was not disappointed this time. The taste was pleasant and more nuanced without being too overpowering. The “effect” was definitely there, but more subtle than the Lucid – I realized I was holding the Aran sweater I was knitting close to my face because I could see every little fiber of the wool. All in all, a very nice bottle.

If I were to compare all the bottles, and toss in a wine analogy, it would go something like this:

  • Lucid     = a bold, punch-you-in-the-face Syrah.
  • Trillium = a complex Pinot Noir. (Support the local economies!!!)
  • Kubler   = like going on a date, drinking some Mad-dog 20/20, expecting to get laid, and just coming home drunk and disappointed.