Marteau Verte Classique
God Bless America! Not only has the U.S. decided to slowly lift its ban on absinthe, but some of the best new absinthes on the market have American ties.
As I’ve already posted, one new absinthe, Lucid, is already available in the U.S. This creation is the brain child of New Orleans native Ted Breaux, who might be better known for his other absinthe creations like Jade Edouard and Nouvelle-Orleans. Well, we now have another absinthe that has almost finished passing the rigors of the FDA and about to be released: Marteau Verte Classique.
Billing itself as a Swiss-style absinthe, this is the brain-child of a Washington resident who, for now, shall remain nameless. A work of love, it is my understanding that experimentation was done under a full moon, with a single hidden still, until the desired effect was achieved (much poetic license used). And what an effect, indeed!
As I’ve stated before, my exposure to absinthe is fairly limited. I’ve only tasted maybe 20 or so absinthes, and with few exceptions haven’t had the opportunity to have more than one serving of each brand. Having said that, let me state that Marteau Verte Classique is easily one of my favorites. I was lucky enough to taste this once before, so when I received a sample bottle of the finished product I was very excited to say the least!
Stating that it will be distilled in Switzerland at 136 proof, the label also informs me that it will be hand made with copper alembics in very small batches of several hundred liters.
After pictures were taken, the more enjoyable task of tasting ensued. Pouring the absinthe into my newly acquired absinthe glass and adding sugar and water, I was rewarded with a beautiful louche.
Louching, for those who don’t know, is what happens when the clear spirit clouds, or becomes milky, when water is added to absinthe or pastis. Marteau’s louche made me truly realize, for the first time, the connoisseur’s obsession with the pearlescent glow of a well-made absinthe.
Sipping the green nectar, my taste buds were enveloped with a strong minty wormwood flavor, with anise playing a back-up roll followed by a nice long fennel finish. Every sip seemed to coax out a different nuance out of this herbaceous beauty. If the Czechs would have produced an absinthe 1/50th as good as this one, the absinthe revolution would be at a full-steam roar right now, instead of in its infancy.
Marteau Verte Classique is set to be released in the very near future, so when you see it online, snap it up, as it is only made in small quantities, and it is too tasty to hang around for very long.
On another absinthe note, Okanagan Spirits, out of Vernon, BC has also just released an absinthe. Their first of two varieties, Taboo is a white absinthe which is minty and delectable. This spirit louches very quickly, is 60% ABV, and is sweet enough for me to say that you don’t need to add sugar to it. An interesting thing about this absinthe is that even though its thujone count is at an insanely high 35mg/L, it is not bitter at all. It is very apparent that stillmaster Frank Deiter used fresh wormwood, and the prevalent minty-ness suggests that hyssop was used in greater quantities than the fennel or anise.
The remarkable thing about this product, is that it is officially the first and only, truly Canadian absinthe. Not only that, but Frank gets all of his ingredients (including the grape-based spirit) from local growers in the Okanagan valley. This first bottle (which I was lucky enough to get hold of, even though the labels and bottles are still in production) will be sold for only $50 CAN. If you are aware of how insanely overpriced alcohol is in British Columbia (the taxes pay for our Medicare) you will realize what a fantastic deal that is. I am personally hoping that he will one day be able to export to the U.S., as it would probably go for only $35 down here, a price that would make it the best deal in absinthe to date.
To wrap up, let me say this is one of the times that I am extremely grateful to be in the Pacific Northwest. While, as a bartender, I sometimes see advantages to being in New York or San Francisco, this week has shown me that in addition to be surrounded by some of the best vistas the world has to offer, I now also get the scoop on the Green Muse that wouldn’t have happened if I lived in either of those places.
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