Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 21: Corvus [52 Whispers From The Muse]


Overall Rating: 2.1
Appearance: 3.0
Louche: 2.0
Aroma: 2.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 1.5
Finish: 1.5
Overall: 2.0

Style: Verte        
ABV: 65%
Country: Germany      
Distillery: Feller

Appearance: Actually a rather nice, rich green. Clear but may be considered a little too dark by some.
Louche: Very, very light, it looked like it started to get a little turbulence in a bubble glass but never really bloomed. Ended with a very translucent finish.
Aroma: Not very strong but what's there is very root earthy. Though there is not much aroma to go around there is a distinct hint of Anise tucked away behind a prominent ethanol
Flavor/Mouthfeel: As the aroma, understated and earthy. If I wasn't expecting to taste Absinthe I'd probably be a little more forgiving.
Finish: It doesn't stay with you very long and what stays is just earth and root.
Overall: It doesn't taste much like Absinthe. I have a feeling that they were trying to be a little different but, as an Absinthe, it didn't really work.

I bought this one to fill up an order to get free shipping. It often costs less to get another bottle than to pay for the shipping of a smaller order so sometimes I use that opportunity to order something I've never tried or heard of. This was one of those somethings.

Tragically, unlike some other non-absinthe Absinthes, such as Absente, you couldn't even really use this in a cocktail as a wash or a dash since it really doesn't have much Absinthe character and wouldn't translate well. Perhaps, if you'd like to add an earthiness to a cocktail it could be used as a unique ingredient in something novel. It's not that it's particularly unpleasant and undrinkable like the Libertine Amer 68, it may just need some development to build its character.

I imagine that they'll seek to improve, there are many brands that have changed dramatically from their earlier versions (some for the better, some for the worse). I'll be curious to see where they go with it down the road but I'll have to wait for some other adventurous soul to buy a future bottle.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Rubicon

In a rocks glass:
½ oz Green Chartreuse
1 rosemary sprig

In a mixing glass:
2 oz St. George Dry Rye Gin
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Lemon Juice

Ignite Chartreuse and Rosemary, then shake the stuff in the shaker, strain into the rocks glass extinguishing the flame, top with crushed ice and garnish with another sprig of Rosemary.

This love and science in a glass. I could reiterate all of the things that went into developing the drink but it's best read from the source of the hero that developed it. Read his post here. The only thing I really missed was a little clarification he had in the comment section...

"Place the rosemary in the glass. Pour the Chartreuse over it. Make the rest of the drink and shake it. Light the Chartreuse and swirl around the glass so that the flame encompasses all of the rosemary. After about 5 seconds (before the rosemary is burning) put out the fire with the drink (a beautiful white smoke should appear). Top with crushed ice and consume."

I saw this drink a little while back and was saving it for when I felt ambitious. My. Gods. It's. Lovely. I am a fascist when it comes to burning Absinthe but every once in a while there comes along a well developed reason for burning booze. Again, his article goes into why the fire helps express the flavors which are really quite pronounced in this drink. There is a beautiful blend of herbal wonder here between the Gin, Chartreuse and Rosemary. I would love to try one that the author made but I really feel like I actually made this well tho the flame went out a little early.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Third Angel AGAIN!

1 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillery Greylock Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Snap Gingersnap Liqueur 
1/4 oz St. George Absinthe 
1 dash Cocktail Kingdom Wormwood Bitters 

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

OK, I freely admit to becoming easily obsessed with random things… I have a bunch of ideas to make a new series of Cocktails as a companion series to the Mythos Absinthe Cocktails. The Third Angel is the first of the series and I can’t seem to develop any others until I get this where I want it. This new series will be The Revelation Cocktails based on the Book of Revelation and other frightening text from the monotheist’s Holy Books.

I always add this text whenever I post an iteration of this cocktail…

"The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the 
waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter." (Rev 8:10–11)

So, as I mentioned in Instagram posts of this drink in development, the first time I made this it was a lush and beautiful drink I haven’t been able to quite duplicate. I made it after drinking several other drinks and didn’t write it down. Now, I’ve had to reinvent the drink on the basis of it’s name, the quote from Revelation and what I intend with this series of drinks. I may go back to a Snap, Absinthe and Ginger Beer drink in the near future like the original iteration of The Third Angel and name it something different.

This drink now I wanted to evolve from the text of Wormwood and bitterness. I based this new version on The Quill which is a variation of The Negroni, the king of bitter cocktails. The Quill adds Absinthe to the Negroni and here I swap out the Vermouth with Snap Liqueur. I’m very happy with how it came out. Even though there is a good chance I’ll tweak it in the future, especially if others have ideas they can share with me, but I can now move on to think up some others.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Eldritch Storm (Updated)

1 oz Old Ipswich Rum
1 oz Butterfly Boston Absinthe 
1/2 freshly squeezed Lemon (or a splash Orange Juice)
2-3 oz Crabbie's Ginger Beer 
1 oz Kraken Spiced Rum
1-2 dashes Aromatic Bitters

Build drink in an ice filled Collins Glass in order. Stir the ice a little before adding the Ginger Beer. Float the Kraken on top.

I was looking to have a nice refreshingly cool drink tonight since the temperature has skyrocketed this week. At 90 F outside, it was almost 105 F inside the apartment when I came home yesterday. I was hoping to get home from work before the sun hit the west facing wall but I had a training that went later than I wanted and the poor rats were all flattened pancakes in their cage as they spread their fat little bodies out to disperse some heat. After turning on the AC, I took them out to see the sunset as it was starting to cool down a bit outside and was cooler than it was indoors regardless.

This seemed like a good drink to try today since it is still ridiculously warm for May. On reading my original page for this drink I found it lacking. It was kind of a Dark and Stormy variant but it was a lazy one. All of the ingredients were mixed and then poured into the collins glass with no pretty layer of dark rum on the top like many a good Dark and Stormy drinks I've had and thoroughly enjoyed. So, I changed it up a bit having the drink built in the glass and I find it quite a lovely drink now. A fine member of my Mythos Absinthe Cocktails.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 20: Sevil [52 Whispers From The Muse]


Overall Rating: 4.4

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

Style: La Bleue
ABV: 65%
Country: Switzerland
Distillery: DuVallon

Appearance: Crystalline clear. Bright and sparkles in the light.
Louche: Animated swirls form quickly into thick trails. Hues of blue swirl in the milky white ending in a very dense pearly opaque. May be too thick for some but it's ho I like it.
Aroma: A floral bouquet, sweet an herbal, light and fresh. Anise a little more towards the front than Wormwood, Fennel and Mint.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: A surprisingly bold while remaining very fresh. A lot of flavor up front that quickly spreads from a delightful tingling sweetness on the tip of the tongue to a mild bitterness on the back of the tongue. Very strong at 2.5 parts water with the florals expanding more at a higher dilution.
Finish: Complex with mild tongue numbing. While the Anise seemed forward the Fennel and Wormwood linger. There is a candiness that lingers in the back of the throat while the tongue stays numb.
Overall: Sevil is gorgeous. This is a great example of how dilution affects flavor as it has very noticeably different characteristics with higher dilutions. I personally like it at about 3 parts water as it keeps its boldness but many of the florals start spreading out. I do generally like Absinthes at a lower dilution anyway, the idea of watering something down with 5 parts water kills me.

Sevil was an Absinthe it took me a long time to get. I found out about it when I friended one Sevil Demir who provided links to The Absinthe House. Here was a site I hadn't come across yet and there were many bottles I'd seen but couldn't find and even other's I'd never seen before. I placed an order for several DuVallon bottles but many were sold out, including the Sevil. While the store owner was very good to me and sent me several great bottles instead (which we'll be taking a look at before this year is done) the fact that I couldn't have the bottle of Sevil just made me want it more. That's how obsession works...

Luckily for everyone started carrying it. I was then able to get my hands on it tho it did take me a while to open. At the time I just ordered a boatload of bottles I'd never tried before and have been slowly going through them all the while trying to keep up with these reviews every week. It's hard to believe I still have several bottles I haven't opened yet.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: The Improved Whiskey Cocktail

2 oz Old Weller Antique 107 Bourbon Whiskey
2 bsp Simple syrup
1 bsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Scrappy's Aromatic Bitters
1 dash Butterfly Boston Absinthe

Stir everything on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Finish by expressing the oils of an lrmon peel over the glass.

After a very long time of substituting various Cherry Liqueurs/Heerings/Kirschs in cocktail recipies that called for Maraschino Liqueur, I finally bought a bottle of Luxardo. What was a delightfully sweet drink has now shown its true face as an amazing, complex cocktail. As much as I liked the sweet Improved Cocktails I was making, this is a step beyond, herbal, dry but still spicy and even a little fruity.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 19: Butterfly Boston [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Butterfly Boston
Overall Rating: 4.5
Appearance: 4.5
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 4.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 4.5
Finish: 4.5
Overall: 4.5
Style: Verte
ABV: 65%
Country: Switzerland Distillery: Distillerie Artemisia
Appearance: A very pretty, bright olive green. Vibrantly clear and richly dark. May be a bit dark for some, but I find it gorgeous. Louche: Much like the intensity of the color, the louche is quite thick with full, heavy trails. Very swirly in a bubble glass or Slipstream. The final result is a pale mint green with little to no opacity. Aroma: Very pretty Anise forward with a lot going on while it's neat, evens out to a well balanced trinity with a hint of mint and sweetness. Flavor/Mouthfeel: That sweet and Anise dominance from the aroma are first and foremost but everything else parades across the tastebuds very well. Hints of a peppery spice and a bit or earthiness roll below that sweetness. Lots of fun. Finish: After the sweetness fades a bit the Wormwood takes a breath across the palate like the ending of a complete sentence. Butterfly lingers for a good long time. Overall: Another hit from Distillerie Artemisia's little stills in Val de Travers, Butterfly is a sister to La Clandestine. This was the first Swiss Verte I ever tried and freely admit, as a Massachusetts resident that I was drawn to the bottle from the label and the name "Butterfly Boston". From their site...

"Butterfly absinthe is a modern rendition of a classic pre-prohibition absinthe produced in Boston in the early 1900s. America was ripe with domestically produced absinthe prior to prohibition. The absinthe Americans created was unique in style and different from what was imported from Europe. Pre-Prohibition American absinthe made liberal use of the herbs growing in the Midwest and New England. Fields of wormwood were scattered across the country and yielded so much of the famed herb that it was exported to Europe. The style stands out from other classic absinthes by its use of mint, citrus zest and other herbs creating a complex but refreshing flavor profile."

From the Absinthe Minded Mixologist presentation at the 2016 Steampunk Worlds Fair

Butterfly Boston has been a favorite of mine for a while now. It's very drinkable nature and rich history combined with it's skilled and passionate creation has wooed me since the very first time I opened a bottle. I'm very happy to see that it's aggressively marketed here with La Clandestine (on the east Coast at least) and the brands are very active in dispelling many of the old myths and misconceptions about Absinthe.

Brendan Edwards and I, the Gentleman of Innsmouth
Just this weekend I took The Pretty One to The 2016 Steampunk Worlds Fair in New Jersey to attend a presentation sponsored on by Butterfly, La Clandestine, and the Slipstream Absinthe glass. Brendan Edwards (pictured to the side here... the charismatic guy in the white suit, not the handsome green guy. That's me) put on a great session while we mixed some cocktails and drank these wonderful Absinthes from the awesome Slipstream glasses.

Me, The Pretty One and a new Slipstream
Throughout the presentation the Pretty One kept saying to me "All this stuff sounds strangely familiar, like I've heard it before... every time someone around you talks about Absinthe." It was fun, entertaining, educational and I took home another 2 Slipstream Absinthe Glasses, one for The Pretty One and a second for myself. If you're interested in one check out their site,, they're great people. They're working on a new design which I'm looking forward to ordering.

The last thing I'd like to say is that although Butterfly Boston isn't the least expensive Absinthe available in stores, it's very well worth the extra couple of dollars to get some real happiness in a bottle, I'd easily recommend as an introductory Absinthe to anyone as well as an Absinthe to enjoy even if you're an old hat in the game.

Cheers, fhtagn

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Joy Division

2 oz Vilya Spirits* Silvercoat Gin
1 oz Dry vermouth
1⁄2 oz Cointreau
3 dashes Vilya Spirits* Absinthe Verte
1 twist Lemon zest

Stir over and strain into a chilled cocktail (Nick and Nora) glass. Express a lemon twist and dwell on morose thoughts. 
*my bottles are still labeled as the pre-Vilya “Ridge Distillery”
Beautiful day of reflection that this drink just seemed to compliment. This year started some extremely significant changes for the better. I'm a long way from climbing out of a very deep valley but I ain't getting any younger. 

They say that only the good die young so I must not be very good.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7th's Memorable Things.

Moment of zen
Other people born on May 7th besides me.. People who died on this great day... Some significant events on the day of my birth...
Some May 7th Holidays...

Week 18: Sauvage [52 Whispers From The Muse]

(Original Batch #1, 2010)
Overall Rating: 4.9
Appearance: 4.5
Louche: 5.0
Aroma: 5.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 5.0
Finish: 5.0
Overall: 5.0
Style: Verte
ABV: 68%
Country: France
Distillery: Emile Pernot
Appearance: A rich, vibrant and crystal clear moss green. Louche: Very slow to build. There was a lot of little dancing as the drips of water mixed in the glass. Just a slight translucency at the end. Not too thick, not too thin, absolutely perfect. Aroma: This is one of those wonderful room filling blossoms of aroma. You can nearly visualize the bouquet of scents spread out and fill the room. Richly alpine with minty Wormwood and a nicely nestled Anise. If it wasn’t screaming “DRINK ME!” I’d want to just bask in the smell all day. I need a Sauvage Potpourri. Flavor/Mouthfeel: Very balanced but wonderfully complex as each flavor cascades over the tastebuds. Wildly Earthy and a little dry with a richness of florals and herbs. Well balanced with a bit of bitter Wormwood standing slightly in front but with a hint of fruitiness that rounds out the fullness. Finish: The Wormwood lingers but the cascade of flavor continues on. The Fennel shines under the whole presentation that leaves a very slight tongue numbing that is like an exclamation point at the end of a very profound sentence. Overall: This has the boldness of the old Roquette with the skillful balance of Authentique, all with a uniqueness undoubtedly due to the wild grown ingredients. Every Time I have a taste of this I come to it from a different place and appreciate different things about it. 

As stated at the top, this is a review of the very first batch of Sauvage from 2010. I was lucky enough to have the stars align perfectly to be able to get a few bottles at the time of its release. I originally ordered just one but the twitchy collector in me didn’t want to open the very limited bottle without having another as a backup. So, I ordered 2 more. I did not get a chance to get a bottle of the second run which, if I remember correctly, was a bit of the first run mixed with something else. I also didn’t get any of the 3rd batch that was just released as the reputation of the distiller has been in question. It does seem by all of the reviews from those who did get a bottle of batch 3, the fear is disapointingly justified. There’s no need to go further into that as it was already mentioned in my review of Roquette. I will fully admit that this spirit has become somewhat legendary so my joy in drinking it is completely biased by the idea of its legend.
This is my birthday drink that I save for this very day every year as a ritual. This is the day I contemplate and reflect the most and imbibing on such a beautifully rare thing that dwindles every year helps drive the mood. I have plenty to last me until I die and whatever is left over should be shared by those few people dear to me who would appreciate it after I’m gone. Or, if I have enough warning, I’ll just louche a pitcher of it and go out happy.

Happy Birthday to me.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Week 17: Libertine Amer 68 [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Libertine Amer 68

Overall Rating: 1.1

Appearance: 2.5

Louche: 3.0

Aroma: 0.0

Flavor/Mouthfeel: 0.5

Finish: 0.5

Overall: 0.5

Style: Verte
ABV: 68%
Country: France
Distillery: Paul Devoille

Appearance: A medium dead leaf yellow, clear enough.
Louche: Quick and thick, but interestingly dynamic.
Aroma: Strong. Not in a good way. Underneath what should be a nice herbal Anise is a certain…. Human-like element I’d have to consider more of an odor than an aroma. Brings back some bad memories. Can I rate a Zero? Because I rated this a Zero. 
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Unfortunately that aroma/odor carried over to the flavor as well as an alcohol burn and a significant astringency. I’m really having a hard time sorting out any other flavors… and I really don’t want to. 
Finish: I have no idea. The only thing that lingered for the few seconds I endured was the significantly increasing bitterness and that body odor, now a pronounced flavor. I popped open my last bottle of Crabbies so the ginger goodness could wash the flavor away.
Overall: I’ve never had a “true” Absinthe that I couldn’t finish before this one. Everything about it was offputting aside from the label itself. I only graded the last three as 0.5s because I'm pretty sure you have to rate them something. I do believe I bought this a while back, stored it with my reserve of crapsinthes and promptly forgot about it until I gathered up all of my bottles to take pics of the whole collection. I really wish I read other’s reviews beforehand because other reviewers definitely experienced the “Body Odor” that this has. That odor triggers memories. 

Many years ago I worked in Human Services, a job I highly recommend for everyone at some point in their lives. It’s rewarding, enlightening, and blah, blah, but you do gain a new perspective on the human condition (both good and bad) and you do learn a lot about yourself (both good and bad). In the group of developmentally disabled adults I managed there was a 400 lb. man confined to a wheelchair who couldn’t take care of his personal needs. To change his clothes, we had to lift him onto a bed and do it for him. Being so large and unable to care for himself he often had an odor that we complained to his homecare givers about, requesting more hygienic care. It was a struggle to ensure a weekly shower. This instantly brought back all of those olfactory memories. 

I’m hoping that I was just unlucky enough to get a bad run as I’ve heard good things about Devoille Absinthes. Unfortunately this is the first I bought and it doesn’t give me much confidence to buy others. Maybe this is the Limburger of Absinthes that requires a refined, acquired taste that only a few elite understand. Perhaps those in the know can shed some light.