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est. 2007

 

La Clandestine 53 Absinthe Review:

 

Close-Up  Limited Edition

-53% abv, .75 litre

-Country of Origin: Switzerland

-Winner of numerous awards since its debut

-TARN recommends buying from Drink UP NY

 

****AGED La Clandestine Comparison Notes:  Aged about 15 months. Aroma was more harmonious and had a faint fruity vibe.  The hyssop had also developed noticeably, but I missed the more intense wormwood from the fresher batch, so I enjoyed it better consumed while still relatively fresh.****

 

I've already reviewed the long-awaited first verte from Claude-Alain Bugnon, Angelique.  Now, at long last, I evaluate the initial absinthe that built the excitement for all releases to follow, La Clandestine 53 (also referred to as Clandestine La Bleue. or CLB).  Those seemingly endless months of waiting for it to arrive in the US have not been for naught!

I composed this review from three bottles: a fresh import bottle of CLB, a fresh US bottle (then tasted again after two months, which is what the main body of review is based on), and a 15 month old import CLB.  I tasted the first two bottles to confirm that the formula had remained unchanged, which it has.  I have since been given the official word confirming this.

Once cold water is added, swarming layers promptly appear.  Nice show, forms a little quickly, but has great opacity. 

Neat, the aroma is mainly sweet fennel, hyssop and anise, and just enough wormwood to balance things out.  It's a sweet one, all right, but an absinthe you just know is going to be a favourite from the moment it hits your lips.  Wormwood and fennel are central during mid-sip, with a lively fennel and hyssop finish.  It is very easy-drinking, with multitudes of flowery aromas and flavours wisping about.  You'll want to dilute just past the 3:1 mark as this avoids the numbing from stronger ratios and is the most "refreshing" dilution.  But I also think the hyssop gets lost when diluted much further, so don't get carried away with that water, bucko.  Luscious consistency, absolutely no heat at all.

This absinthe does not need additional sugar, and it should be illegal to do so.  If you insist on proceeding with such an atrocity, you will earn you a voucher redeemable for one (1) thirty-minute beat down* from my close associate, Tiny.**

To be honest, La Clandestine doesn't really do anything groundbreaking to differentiate itself from the ever-growing pack of la bleus...it just gets everything RIGHT.  Exceptional floral bouquet, plenty of lively fennel, makes for a tour de force of delicate, but masterfully balanced character; this is truly the current measuring stick of all la bleue style absinthe.  Like my pal Alan Moss said to me recently, "It's going to be a white Christmas!"  Though I usually think immediately of cocaine when I hear that phrase, don't let me spoil the mood for you; pour a glass, pass, and enjoy a wonderful Christmas, everyone!

 

Other Notes: Unmistakably better at room temperature. 

 

Presentation: 8.75

Louche: 7.75

Taste: 9.0

Value: 8.0

Overall: 9.0/10

 

*No expiration date.  Vouchers may be combined.  **Tiny is not small.

 

 

 

Published 12/25/2008