Saturday, January 30, 2016

Week 5: Absente [52 Whispers From The Muse]



Overall Rating: 2.4

Appearance: 3.0
Louche: 3.0
Aroma: 2.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 2.0
Finish: 2.0
Overall: 2.5

Style: Verte        
ABV: 55%
Country: France       
Distillery: Distillerie de Provence  

Appearance: A pleasant pale green that seems natural enough if a little dull.
Louche: Louched quickly with a thick fog to a nice milky green. A little thick but pretty.
Aroma: The aroma was not unpleasant but it was all a flat plane of anise. Not very strong, not all that remarkable.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Like the aroma it didn't taste bad but it was very one dimensional and over sweet with the only characteristic to stand out being a very sweet Star Anise.
Finish: It's kinda like Absinthe. The sweetness lingers with the Star Anise.
Overall:  Not a lot of character but I can see why someone might like it. It's mellow, sweet and not very strong. It might be good in a mixed drink that you don't want overpowered by Absinthe?

I don't know if I'd call Absente a good introductory Absinthe but it does seem to be available everywhere. It is actually even safe to say that it's not a true Absinthe as the label even lists it as a Liqueur, By definition a liqueur is bottled with added sugar. Unfortunately it's my understanding that there are still not strict, official definitions of what Absinthe should be across the globe but a true Absinthe is not a liqueur and had no added sugar when bottled. Whether you add it yourself at the time of imbibing or not is a whole other story.

I am glad I had a chance to try this in a formal tasting. I did have a chance to try some form of Absente many years ago before they advertised that it was made with Artemisia Absinthium, but to be fair it wasn't a proper tasting. I was already drunk, ogling my then newly acquired girlfriend while she danced in a short skirt, with the Absente quickly diluted with bottled water and then heathenly served in a viking drinking horn.

Liken it to supermarket sushi; There are just some times when you really crave sushi and it's right there in the supermarket when you're shopping for food. You're already hungry, you remember how much you love sushi and there it is, right in front of you beckoning you to indulge. It's convenience and availability make it so very appealing to your short memory of the disappointing regret you'll have after the desperate need for it is unsatisfyingly squelched.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: The Sun Always Sets

The Sun Always Sets

2 oz. Twenty Boat Cape Cod Amber Rum
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Fresh Blood Orange Juice
1/2 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
1 tsp. Pernod Absinthe Recette Traditionnelle

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Blood Orange Wheel.

Everything both good and bad must sometime come to an end. Today is the first day of life after leaving a job that became increasingly more arduous and stressful each and every month. The company at one point tried to stress a "Work Life Balance" but the only way I could balance this job with my life was to leave. Even if the job I'll be heading to next week proves to be as stressful and demanding, I still now will get all of my weekends off which makes it all the more tolerable. I imagine tho, that the entire experience will be better and a fresh start is much needed.

This cocktail was originally just going to be a variation of 10th Kitchen's The Sun Also Rises cocktail (which is in itself a variation of's The Sun Also Rises cocktail) and I was going to spin this as some positive, new fucking beginnings post but it didn't seem right, or even within my power. The substitution of Blood Orange Juice for the Grapefruit juice and an Amber Rum instead of White made this a darker, richer drink. So, this drink became not a sunrise but a fitting sunset and this post is about endings and good riddances.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Carthusian Sazerac

Carthusian Sazerac

2 1⁄2 oz. Maison Rouge Cognac
1⁄4 oz. Green Chartreuse
1⁄2 tsp. Simple Syrup
St. George Absinthe rinse
2 dashes Hella Bitters Citrus
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Lemon twist garnish

Add a splash of absinthe into a chilled coupe glass and swirl to coat the inside of the glass. Stir Cognac, Chartreuse, and Syrup with ice and strain into the Absinthe rinsed coup glass. Top with bitters and garnish with a lemon twist.

A little while ago I had the idea that I'd go back through a bunch of my old Instagram posts and repost a bunch of my old Sunset Cocktail pics to help pass the winter. Along with my weekly 52 Whispers from the Muse I'll be irregularly posting Sunset Cocktails. To start it off, though, instead of digging up one of my old pics, I took a new one.

I had a craving for a Sazerac and just got a new bottle of Cognac. The original recipe for a Carthusian Sazerac from the Saveur site calls for Rye Whiskey, as most Sazeracs do, and the omission of Peychaud's in favor of a Lemon Bitters. I've always loved Cognac Sazeracs and I couldn't bring myself to make a Sazerac without Peychaud's. It was like a fucking compulsion tho I had a feeling that this particular drink, in it's original form, might actually taste better... I made another. Yes, theirs it is a better drink. So, the original as it appears on Saveur...

Carthusian Sazerac

2 1⁄2 oz. Rye Whiskey
1⁄4 oz. Green Chartreuse
1⁄2 tsp. Simple Syrup
Absinthe rinse
2 dashes Lemon Bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish

Stir rye, Chartreuse, and syrup over ice in a cocktail mixing glass. Add a splash of absinthe into a coupe glass, and swirl to coat the inside of the glass before discarding the absinthe. Strain rye mixture into glass; top with bitters and garnish with a lemon twist.

Something to be said for professionals who know ingredients better than us schlubs. Chartreuse is really a dynamic addition to a Sazerac and just using Citrus Bitters compliments it much better. At this point I realise that I've never had Chartreuse on its own so I may need to make pour some at some point.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Week 4: La Clandestine [52 Whispers From The Muse]

 La Clandestine

Overall Rating: 4.5
Appearance: 5.0
Louche: 4.0
Aroma: 4.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 4.5
Finish: 4.5
Overall: 4.5

Style: Blanche/Bleue   
ABV: 53%
Country: Switzerland      
Distillery: Distillerie Artemisia

Appearance: Diamond bright and flawlessly clear. You just can't ask more from a Bleue.
Louche: Beautiful trails of white with wisps of blue ending with a nice translucence. Great consistency.
Aroma: I do love it when an Absinthe just takes over the room, you can almost visualize the aroma spread out from the glass. Fennel and Wormwood in the forefront with a healthy Anise underneath.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Delightfully well balanced with a nice herbal and spice follow through. It just sings of fresh Swiss breezes.
Finish: Spice and Wormwood hang on the back of the tongue, and you can almost breath the flavors that linger between sips.
Overall: This is a beautiful drink that I'd highly recommend to anyone regardless of their experience with Absinthe. I plan on drinking La Clandestine for a very long time.

La Clandestine has become one of my favorites for many reasons. Not only is it a very good Absinthe but it's also available at the liquor store just down the road so it's always within reach. It's a little more on the expensive side but when compared to the only other Blanche usually available locally in stores it's well worth the extra money.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Kingsport Fog

"And they do not wish quaint Kingsport with its climbing lanes and archaic gables to drag listless down the years while voice by voice the laughing chorus grows stronger and wilder in that unknown and terrible eyrie where mists and the dreams of mists stop to rest on their way from the sea to the skies."
H.P. Lovecraft
The Strange High House in the Mist

Kingsport Fog

2 oz Death's Door Gin
1/4 oz Vilya Spirits Absinthe Blanche
1/2 oz Orgeat Syrup 
Stirred with ice and strained into a chilled coup. I imagine that if you used a Verte, it could have a disturbingly green tint to it.

A recent addition to the Mythos Absinthe Cocktail list. Last fall I tried to match a drink with the mood that was prevalent on one particularly dreary day. I'm sure this combination may already have a name but couldn't find one. It's basically a London Fog with Orgeat Syrup served in a Coup Glass instead of on ice. Unless someone tells me otherwise or I find out the name of this if it already exists, I'll call it The Kingsport Fog.

I originally called it "The Arkham Fog" but decided to change it to from Arkham to Kingsport after rereading The Strange High House in the Mist. It just seemed to belong more to a misty, foggy Kingsport. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Week 3: Jade V.S. 1898 [52 Whispers From The Muse]

  Jade V.S. 1898

Overall Rating: 4.2
Appearance: 4.0
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 4.5
Finish: 4.0
Overall: 4.5

Style: Verte        
ABV: 65%
Country: France       
Distillery: Jade Combier    

Appearance: Crystal clear green with a slight lean to yellow. Not too light, not too dark.
Louche: It was a dynamic louche with hints of blue and green in the swirls and layers. The final sate was a very light creamy green with a wonderfully slight translucence.
Aroma: Spicy anise and fennel, nice but not as permeating as I would have hoped.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Very complex which treats you to tasting many different flavors as you pick out all of the facets that make this one lovely. It starts with a distinct sweetness but dances to herbal and ends with a slight, crisp bitter. There is something else that lurks behind it all that is hard to describe but it seems to build after every sip. It's maybe a leafy deepness which reminds me of either a lake or a swamp... but without any negative connotation that would usually bring to mind. Perhaps Jade is the brand of the Deep Ones.
Finish: The V.S. 1898 stays with you for a long time, almost making you want to hesitate to take another sip but, of course, you do really want to take that next sip.
Overall: A deep, nuanced Absinthe that, like all of the Jade Absinthes, is very complex and really plays with your taste buds.

As with the Authentique from Emile Pernot in the last post, I picked a Jade Absinthe because I have several styles and wanted to spread them out throughout this year of reviews. I specifically picked the V.S. 1898 since there weren't many other reviews for it online (unless you count the Jade Suisse 65 reviews which may actually be the same).

I absolutely love every Jade Absinthe I've ever had. It would be an injustice to call this my least favorite of their line but if I'm going to spend the money on a Jade (which is a lot but well worth it) I'd probably pick up others before this one. Not because this one is bad, but others are even better.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Take This Job And Shove It

I just handed this is as my resignation letter. It's a magical day.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Week 2: Authentique [52 Whispers From The Muse]


Overall Rating: 4.2 
Appearance: 4.0
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 4.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 4.0
Finish: 4.0
Overall: 4.5 

Style: Verte        
ABV: 65%
Country: France           
Distillery: Emile Pernot

Appearance: Authentique has a beautifully bright and clear green that is both light and still somehow quite rich.

Louche: Very distinct swirls form into a nice green louche with hints or turquoise. I tried to capture the swirls and layering in the picture but the I didn't do it justice at all. It would have been worth a try with another glass, or as many glasses it would take to get a good shot since it isn't a work night, but the bottle is nearly empty.

Aroma: Neat in the glass the aroma bloomed and filled the room with Anise and Fennel. Once louched the scent of minty Wormwood stood out a bit more. Varied but not overly complex.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Full flavored with the holy 3, Wormwood, Anise and Fennel, all very well balanced. There is a hint of mintiness with slight Wormwood bitterness and Anise sweetness. Not too bitter, not too sweet. The drink went down silky and smooth without being too thick or thin.

Finish: The flavor hangs for quite some time, especially towards the back of the tongue, starting as Wormwood forward but ending as Anise. There is a slight but pleasant numbing with a distinct impression of freshness.

Overall: A really beautiful Absinthe that has all the good traits that a good Absinthe should have. It is a bit unassuming as there is no one part of it that really stands out other than the fact that it's so well balanced that nothing takes over.

After preparing and trying this one it I had a thought that maybe I should have left this review for later as, like the Mansinthe I reviewed earlier, it's another really good example of a well balanced Absinthe. I did choose it however because I have a lot of different Absinthes from Emile Pernot so I wanted to spread them out and I haven't had a glass of this for quite a while. It's been mostly passed by because the bottle was nearly empty and every time I place an order I end up passing on this one for something I haven't tried yet or, for some reason, something else I feel needed replacing over this. After this, though, it has jumped up to the top of my list as a bottle that will need replacing once I make another order.*

This would be a brilliant everyday Absinthe if it was easier to get here in the States. It's priced about the same as Mansinthe (at the time of writing with the given exchange rate with the Euro) but I feel it's quite a bit better. Unfortunately shipping from Europe can often be prohibitive.

*Update Jan 13 2016: After reading reviews of recent Absinthes coming out of this distillery I've pushed this back down on my list of need to have Absinthes. It's been said that there is new management to blame? A while back I bought a bottle o Roquette which, or lack of a better word, was skunked, nothing like the original. It seems that this skunkiness has infected Roquette, Authentique and tragically the new release of Sauvage. I should have enough of each of the old ones to do future reviews.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Boys

If you follow my Instagram you have no doubt seen pics of my new boys, Nugg and Yebb. Here's a little more info in case you were curious.

Nugg is a Black Top Ear Self with hints of silvering. He was the first of the two to explore after coming home with me and he's by far the more gentle and polite of the two. I've always wanted a solid black rat tho I initially wanted to name one after some Great Plague event or something. In time... 
Yebb is a Silvermane Dumbo. I'd never seen Silvermane coloring before finding Pierce's Pogs Rattery but I think I'm hooked. He was a bit shy at first but quickly became the more assertive of the 2. He is the forceful groomer despite Nugg's protests.
Originally they were named Wonka and Wilbur respectively but I did feel the need to change them. Originally I was going to try to get three boys and name them Charles, Dexter and Ward (which may be my plan for the next three unless I find a Brown Self and start my continuous line of Brown Jenkins). Now they are Nugg and Yebb.

Named after Nug and Yeb, the Twin Blasphemies, children of Shub Niggurath mother of 1000 young and Black Goat of the Woods. It turns out though that their sweetness kinda defies their namesake. I really have to say that these may be the best rats I've ever had since my first.
They're nearly fearless and instantly bonded to me. At the end of the first day of having them home they were already comfortable running up my arm to get Cheerios and were already used to being handled. They often seem genuinely happy to interact with people.
I don't really know how I missed finding this breeder who lived only a town or two away but I'm glad I kept on looking. They've been around for a while and are clearly quite capable. I will be going back to them in the future.
I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Week 1: Mansinthe [52 Whispers From The Muse]


Overall Rating: 3.4
Appearance: 3.5
Louche: 3.0
Aroma: 3.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5
Finish: 3.5
Overall: 4.0

Style: Verte        
ABV: 66.6%   
Country: Switzerland      
Distillery: Matter-Luginbühl     

Appearance: A quite nice, natural green, maybe a little light but clear and clean. No sediment or crud.
Louche: Started nice and prominent but clouded up completely pretty quick. Very light, milky green when finished tho a little on the thin side.
Aroma: Anise forward with a pleasant hint of herbs. Nice and well balanced, not overbearing but also not overly remarkable.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Very nice flavor with exceptional balance. All 3 flavors of Anise, Wormwood and Fennel are all recognizable without any one seeming to dominate the other. I would have probably given it a 4 if it didn't seem so light and thin. Very enjoyable and very easy to drink.
Finish: There is a bit of numbing after several sips but no significant burn. A sweetness and an earthiness linger that isn't unpleasant tho you kind of want to linger longer.
Overall: Very enjoyable and portrays a great balance of all of the ingredients. A fantastic, reasonably priced introductory or daily Absinthe.

Mansinthe ia a brand developed for Marilyn Manson by Swiss distiller Olivier Matter. One of the reasons I decided to try a review of Mansinthe is that it's generally available, not overpriced and a solid standard to base future tastings on. As mentioned above, it balances it's flavors very well and you can readily catch each flavor as it speaks to your palate without any of them overtaking another. It's not the best, the flavor is light, but it is one of my personal favorites for all of the reasons mentioned above.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fifty Two Whispers From The Muse

One of the many things I have planned for the year is to start posting more from this blog. I do plan on starting a random series of posts taking old and new Sunset Cocktail pics and fleshing them out here, but I also wanted to force myself to post something regularly. Once a week I'm going to try to post an Absinthe review. I should have access to 52 different bottles and I'll use the perfectly good review guidelines from the Wormwood Society site as the base. If I get my confidence high enough I may even post them there.

I'm really looking forward to starting this. If all goes well it will focus me on sharing something positive that I love, fill a small space of the internet with something lovely and hopefully it will be of interest to some.