For years, people have been crowing enthusiastically about their “authentic” absinthe “experience.” About how they went somewhere and some guy did the whole real deal—lighting the sugar on fire, or whatever—so they finally got to try the genuine article, made with real wormwood. Great. Except for one thing: the brand they’d usually mention would be a certain Czech product of a green practically not found in nature. It had about as much to do with absinthe as Listerine.
It’s hardly these folks’ fault. For eons, there was only that one brand at the LCBO. A couple of others have trickled onto the shelves over the past couple of years, but, other than Taboo, from the Okanagan, they mostly haven’t been terribly good. Until now, when we have an unprecedented double whammy of absinthe: Vieux Pontarlier, a genuine high-quality French traditional verte and, perhaps since we were very good last year, a Swiss La Bleue by the name of Le Clandestine, which is available only through the Vintages Online Exclusives (0314013) for $99. (Order online and they’ll deliver it to the most convenient store.)
In truth, most people aren’t going to fall in love with either at first sip, since most of us don’t really enjoy the taste of anise. But, when served properly (with distilled water), any serious boozehound will surely appreciate what fine specimens these are, and how far removed they are from the stuff that’s passed for absinthe in Ontario for all these many years.
Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe 65—VINTAGES 305821 | $90.
La Clandestine Absinthe—VINTAGES ONLINE EXCLUSIVES 0314013 | $99.