Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 43: Snow Fairy [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Snow Fairy batch #1
Overall Rating: 3.5
Appearance: 3.5
Louche: 4.0
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5
Finish: 3.0
Overall: 3.5
Style: Blanche
ABV: 53%
Country: Israel Distillery: Golan Heights Distillery
Appearance: Quite acceptably clear and clean. It has a very slight tint to it but not detrimentally so. Louche: Nice white and blue trails that build a nice layer from the bottom up. Quite pretty. Aroma: Bold and unique unlouched. The trinity is there but there is a whole lot more going on that I wish I could break down. Not floral or perfumy but more fruity without being sweet. Louching mellows it out and reveals the Holy 3 more prominently. Flavor/Mouthfeel: There is a rich undertone that mirrors the aroma but it balances well with the Wormwood and Fennel. Anise is there but I think it's been taken in by that fruity or sweet vegetable undertone. Quite unique. Finish: Like the Verte it doesn't stay with you long but you do keep a hint of it in the back of your palate for a bit.
Overall: Pleasant and different. Although it's a bit more complex than it's Vetre sister, they both show promise.

I didn't want to put too much comparison between the 2 sister Absinthes in the breakdown above so I figured I'd put a couple of notes here. The Snow Fairy has much more forgiving Louche than The Holy Spirit, starting much stronger right from the start and easily gaining it's opacity much quicker. It has a bolder aroma and flavor and seems to have a bit more experimenting going on.

According to a posts on their Facebook, the Verte is made with 6 herbs, 3 at maceration and 3 more for flavor, while this Blanche is made with 17 and it shows. While Snow Fairy's complexity doesn't present in a way that many do with various flavors trailing into others over the course of time, it does cast a unique, homogeneous flavor.

So far these have quite a bit of potential. I hope to be able to revisit Golan Heights' future batches.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Week 42: Holy Spirit Superior [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Holy Spirit Superior
Overall Rating: 3.4
Appearance: 3.5
Louche: 3.5
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.0
Finish: 3.0
Overall: 3.5
Style: Verte
ABV: 68%
Country: Israel Distillery: Golan Heights Distillery
Appearance: Very pleasant medium peridot with no sediment. Louche: Slow to build ending with a very slightly translucent finish that retains much of its color. Aroma: Light and Wormwood forward. Anise takes a bit of a backseat behind the Fennel and maybe Hyssop? Flavor/Mouthfeel: Surprisingly mellow for the high ABV. Even though there was no burn on the nose I still expected a heavier bite or some burn at 68%. Much like the aroma the Holy Spirit Superior is Wormwood forward but with no unpleasant bitterness. A bit more complex with less dilution which brings out the reclusive Anise. Finish: A quick fade to a mild bitterness after all of the other flavors fade. I would have liked it to linger longer.
Overall: Not a bad Absinthe at all from the Holy Land that shows a lot of promise. I have no doubt that it will refine even more as the distillery grows. This is the first Absinthe I think I've ever tried that started with a Rum base.

It took a bit to get the dilution right as I expected this to have a heavier hand due to the relatively high ABV of 68%. I also must confess that the initial dilution I did was in the bubble glass pictured above which has such a small orifice between the reservoir and the rest of the glass that my initial louche was very weak. The slow louching nature of this particular Absinthe paired with the restricted orifice prevented a decent opacity. Luckily the sample that Golan Heights sent was more than enough for another go in a different glass.

This Verte definitely thrives with very cold water and a nice slow drip. Even the flavor was more pronounced the second time around at just around 1:2 parts Absinthe to water as opposed to the 1:3 or so the first time.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Week 41: Grön Opal [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Grön Opal

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

Style: Verte  
ABV: 72%
Country: Sweden          
Distillery: Svensk Absint

Appearance: Vibrantly green and crystal clear. Richly colored while still looking quite natural.
Louche: Thick trails that build to opaque clouds ending in a heavy looking milky jade.
Aroma: Strong wormwood and perfumy herbs with an immediate follow of the rest of the trinity. Very bold and room filling.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: There is a bit of sweetness that comes in below the very well balanced Wormwood, Anise and Fennel. Floral and as strong as the aroma. The texture matches the louche in its milky mouthfeel.
Finish: A bit of mintiness remains behind with a significant tongue numbing similar to its Blanche sister if I remember correctly. The after flavors hang for a very long time and bend increasingly toward the bitter.
Overall: Stunningly complex while still remaining very well balanced. This does well with a  slightly heavier dilution than I'm used to just for the very bold flavors and the high ABV. This is one that will stay in the collection.

Would I recommend this to someone just getting into Absinthe? Sure, with the understanding that this one is a powderkeg of an Absinthe in both proof and flavor. As mentioned above, this is one of the few Absinthes I'd actually take a bit more diluted than usual and I like mine heavy and strong.

This is another example of a time I should have done this review back to back with its aforementioned Blanche sister Vit Opal to do a better comparison. Grön Opal is much bolder and a much more aggressive Absinthe than the 56% Vit Opal. Both, however, are richly dynamic and pure Swedish gold.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Week 40: Akveld's Artisanale Verte [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Akveld's Artisanale Verte 

Overall Rating: 4.3

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

Style: Verte
ABV: 68%
Country: Netherlands
Distillery: Akveld's Artisanale Absinthe

Appearance: A nicely rich green with slight golden tint. The last picture I took for the previous review showed a little more yellow in the Absinthe photographed, here it seems to have turned out a little too green. I really have to learn how to take a decent picture.
Louche: Slow to build with a lot of variations in colors from yellow to blue. Ends in a perfect, thick opalescence.
Aroma: Very distinct Wormwood paired with an equal Anise that rolls through the room when the bottle is opened. There is quite a bit more going on underneath that blooms some with louche.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Light and refreshing but still quite exciting. There is a crisp Wormwood followed by the Anise that doesn't sweeten it too much at all. I expected more of an alcohol presence due to the high ABV but I was pleasantly surprised at mellow it was with no burn at all at about 1:2-2.5 parts Absinthe/Water.
Finish: The Wormwood lingers with the Anise holding just at the back of the tongue for quite some time.
Overall: An absolutely solid Absinthe from the Netherlands which will always have a place in my collection.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I completely forgot that I bought this bottle. I got it back in March to fill out an order to specifically get a bottle of Zufanek's OMFG Gin and some other non-Absinthe things. I do now remember thinking to myself "Oooh, a Dutch Absinthe, I must try that" and that thought has been in the back of my mind for some time. When it arrived I must have promptly stored it with the wall of bottles that I have and I continued to be overwhelmed by the new job I started just a month before. Oddly enough, I just found the bottle I already had just as I started to add another to a new order specifically for another Zufanek product. Now that I've tried it, I will be getting more... and the Blanche.

Photo courtesy of Akveld's Artisanale Absinthe

 "The Akveld's Artisanale Verte absinthe is the little sister of the Helfrich Verte absinthe, the first Dutch absinthe.

When Mr. S. Helfrich announced he was stopping distilling his Blanche and Verte at the end of 2009, the news came as a big hammer stroke for most of the absinthe lovers. That's why Ton Akveld decided to take up the torch and bring back those absinthes to life, using the same recipe. Now Ton has passed the recipe and his distillery on to his follower Sjaak, who will continue to distill the Akveld's absinthes according to Serge Helfrich's original recipe."

I wasn't lucky enough to have ever tried the Helfrich Absinthe. From all accounts it was a beautiful thing and it's been said that Akveld's Artisanale Absinthe does it justice.

I've said this before but I'm so happy to see that there are so many countries that are producing absolutely top notch Absinthes. Czech Republic has the aforementioned Zufanek, Germany's  Eichelberger, Sweden's Valkyria AND Svensk Absint distilleries, and all of the other distilleries in France, Switzerland, the US and Spain (note to self- must get a bottle of Serpis).

There is so much more to try out there. It is a good time to be a budding Absintheur.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Ebon Obituary

2 1/2 oz. Vilya Spirits Silvertip Gin
1/4 oz Averna
1/4 oz Butterfly Boston Absinthe

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Cocktail glass.

Another easy “Blackened” cocktail to add to the list that works quite well on this bleak day. I went a little heavier on the Gin than a typical Obituary because, well, I wanted more Gin at the moment.

If I actually sell any of those Sunset Cocktails Calendars I’ll start getting ideas for next year. I may do another Sunsets Calendar, maybe  a “Blackened” Cocktails Calendar or a non-sunset Mythos Cocktails thing. I don’t know yet but we’ll see if this year’s gets some love.

I was trying to find a better name than The Black Obituary for this drink. I didn’t want to name it something too terribly harsh or dismal as the drink is quite nice and could lose the sinister charm of the original name. The Eulogy was already a cocktail name so I kept it simple.

I also didn’t want to get all political with a name like Obituary for the Nation, The Republic’s Death Note or anything after this election. You don’t have to like the fact that a molotov cocktail has been thrown into the broken system but we all have to deal with it, change is fucking painful. It’s a good thing that people are giving a shit. Remember, Anger is a Gift.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sunset Contest Cocktail

2 oz James E Pepper Rye
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Lucid Absinthe
1/4 oz Gomme Syrup
2 dashes Scrappy’s Orleans Bitters
1 dash Hella Bitters Aromatic

Stir everything with ice and strain into an Old Fashioned Glass with or without a large rock of ice. Garnish with a flaming Lemon twist.

I figured it would be fun to have another cocktail naming contest for a copy of the 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar to the winner. There will be only a total of 50 made so if you want one head over to THIS POST or, well, win this contest.

This drink is a pretty simple recipe that is inspired by both The Improved Whiskey Cocktail and The Carthusian Sazerac. There is a decent chance this cocktail already has a name, and I guess it’s pretty similar to my own Green Jenkins Cocktail (featured in the 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar!) but I couldn’t find its twin online so I’m going with it.

Inspiration for the name of this drink is pretty open, the drink itself is wonderfully spicy from the Rye, herbaceous from the Chartreuse, elegant from the Absinthe, sweet from the syrup and complex from the bitters. Despite how red the drink looks from the sunset shining through it, it’s a pale brown with a very slight clouding from the absinthe. Either that or I used a dirty glass.

I know it’s not much to go on, hense why I can’t think of a name for it myself. It’s built on a pure classic and a filched classic, both very spirit forward drinks, just how I like them. Leave a comment at whatever form of social media that you see this on which you prefer or shoot me a PM on said social media if you don’t want to give away your awesome idea. The deadline will be Thanksgiving Day here in the US, on November 24th 2016.

Week 39: Nocif [52 Whispers From The Muse]


Overall Rating: 4.3

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

Style: Verte
ABV: 65%
Country: Switzerland
Distillery: DuVallon

Appearance: Crystal clear light green (less yellow than my pic portrays).
Louche: Excellent full bodied loche finishing with a striking opalescence.
Aroma: Perfumey and floral with a bright, permeating aroma. Anise and Wormwood are distinctly present but blend heavily with the perfume.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: The floral perfume carries over to the taste but there is a perfectly balanced dryness from the Wormwood. I expected a sweetness but was pleasantly surprised.
Finish: After the botanicals and florals subside there is a long lingering semi-bitter Wormwood. Your mouth waters and you need another sip. There is a lot of subtle transitional flavors after each sip.
Overall: Another class Absinthe from DuVallon. Unique in the world of Absinthes but distinctly DuVallon. It teases at having a sweet tone to it but quickly guides you away from the Anise to the deeper rooted Wormwood.

One thing I figured out, albeit too late, is that instead of spacing out reviews from the same distillery throughout the year, I should have done more back to back like I did with several of the Jades and a couple of the Artemisia Absinthes. This would have worked well now that I find myself having to a bunch of them back to back in order to catch up with my time table (I should be at week 45 and here I am at 39).

I found myself wanting to remember how this compared to the La Veuve Verte that I last reviewed back in March. I think I've only had one other glass of it since then and then used it once in a special cocktail so my memory of it, and many other things, has blurred into everything else I've been drinking.

So, I poured myself a small measure of La Veuve Verte to refresh my memory. It's actually kinda of spectacular how simultaneously similar and different they are. The La Veuve Verte is sweeter and fruitier while the Nocif is more herb and Wormwood forward but they both have a very similar perfume fragrance and they both fade to a similar, Wormwood finish. I do find that after re-reading the review of La Veuve Verte I think I enjoyed the bitter finish in the Nocif more as it seemed more in place with its starting character. That being said I do remember La Veuve Verte being a tad sweeter so maybe my tastebuds are off after getting over a bug. Regardless, they're both wonderful, top notch drinks.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 38: Magie Verte [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Magie Verte
Overall Rating: 3.7
Appearance: 4.0
Louche: 4.0
Aroma: 4.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5
Finish: 3.0
Overall: 3.5
Style: Verte
ABV: 56%
Country: France Distillery: Distillerie Pierre Guy
Appearance: Very bright and jade-like green, clear and bright. Louche: Fast building with rolling clouds building to a thick opaque that retains much of its green color. Aroma: Florally fragrant as the bottle is opened. Unlouched in the glass it spreads a botanical aroma quite pleasantly. After louche it seems to be suppressed a bit though not losing any of it's pleasance. Flavor/Mouthfeel: Very dry and vegetal, but certainly not in a bad way. There is a significant burn that I wouldn't expect from such a low proof absinthe but I did only dilute to 1:1.5 at first. Finish: The herbaceous flavor ends abruptly with a numbing, wormwood bitterness that may be enhanced by the barrel aging. Overall: Overall quite pleasant and much more satisfying than the only other Guy Absinthe I've tried. Despite the low ABV it did benefit from a regular dilution of at least 1:2 Absinthe to water which surprised me. This could be why the finish seemed so weak.

According to my friends at "As every year, the Guy distillery created a special absinthe to celebrate the Absinthiades. The Magie Verte was developed for the Absinthiades 2016, in cooperation with the friends of the museum in Pontarlier (Les Amis du Musée de Pontarlier). Absinthe Magie Verte is an almost magical green absinthe as the name already suggests. The label of the bottle was designed by the artist Marcel Mille. This absinthe was aged for one year in oak barrels made from French Troncais wood, usually used for ageing Cognac. This gave the absinthe a slightly spicy taste and a subtle aroma of vanilla. The herbs used for the production of Magie Verte were some of the favorite plants from Armand Guy (founder of the Guy distillery). They enhance the taste of the absinthe without masking the minty and peppery aroma. Limited edition – only available while stocks last."

It's a well know fact that I'm a damned sucker for anything "Limited Edition" or "Short Run". Back when I collected comics I was the mark who bout every cover variation and second copies of my favorite books so I had one to read and one to pristinely save. It seems that as I got older my collectionables just got more expensive. I had to get 2 bottles.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Drawloween 2016 Archive and Sunset Calendar

First, thanks to everyone who said they enjoyed the Drawloween 2016 adventures of Nugg and Yebb. It was something I really enjoyed doing and something I really, really needed to do.

What I needed was to start and complete an endeavour. I needed to complete tasks from that endeavour on a set schedule. I needed it to be a challenging creative outlet that was fun, engaging and even difficult at times to do. I needed to tell myself when it was all said and done that what I did was all said and done.

There is link for the Drawloween 2016 page that collects all of the pics in the sidebar now if you ever want to go visit them. Tragically Picasa went away and the new Google Photos stole a page from Apple by replacing their perfectly functional service with one that has less features so a proper imbedded gallery was undoable. If I get time maybe I'll try to find a better page gallery.

I'm currently on vacation getting a few other things done. At this point I'm just about done with the layout to the Sunset Cocktail Calendar. There are still some things to iron out but the biggest challenge for me is how the fuck I'm going to sell it. I'd love to be able to set up a paypal button for the item on this site but from what I can tell I need a business account that may be $30 a month. Even at the height of Mindless Heron it wouldn't have been worth it. I don't really know though, my brain shuts off when money is involved and I become useless. I'll figure something out.

The hardest part about this calendar was figuring out which pics to use and then tracking down the original shot that wasn't molested by the web service it was posted on. I have 3 years of pics to go through and then edit the ones I decided to use with a little better workup than just cell-phone filters. I'm pretty happy with it for what it is and I'm hoping they'll look o.k.

So far it's looking like it'll be $20 each which should include shipping if I can get them ordered soon to take advantage of a discount. I'll have to add $5 for international shipping.