Following the success of our full absinthe guide, we decided to review one of the brands that we initially tested. One intriguing acquisition was Versinthe La Verte, a green absinthe by La Liquoristerie de Provence.
Therefore, Versinthe La Verte Absinthe will be the subject of our first review where we explore the following topics:
Overview Of Versinthe La Verte
- Distillery: La Liquoristerie de Provence
- Expression: Verstinthe La Verte Absinthe
- Region: Provence, France
- Colour: Green
- Strength: 65% ABV
- Pricing: $25 / 50 cl [Buy Now]
Founded in 1999 on the eve of absinthe’s legalisation, La Liquoristerie de Provence operates from Venelles in the Bouches-du-Rhône area near Aix-en-Provence. Producing a variety of anise-flavoured alcoholic spirits, the distillery prides itself as being one of the first to market authentic absinthe after the ban was lifted.
Consequently, Versinthe features a range of absinthe, which first started with a clear “blanche” variety. In 2012, they finally launched La Verte, and award-winning traditionally-made green absinthe. The distillery has since been recognised as an “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” (Living Heritage Company) by the French government.
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Versinthe Robe & Louche Quality
Firstly, I’m not entirely sure whether Versinthe features a natural or an artificial colour. Although their blue pastis is artificially coloured, this may be a one-off. Therefore, I’ll give Versinthe the benefit of the doubt on this occasion.
Indeed, Versinthe does appear to boast a natural colour with a lavish albeit nuanced emarald hue. While the colours are deep and striking, the slight glimmers and fluctuation seem to indicate a natural chlorophyll presence.
Additionally, the liquid doesn’t appear weak or watery nor is it too heavy, indicating a proper maceration period. Similarly, the contents are very clear with no signs of suspended particles or starches. That being said, there is a very light sediment at the bottom of the bottle, which further indicates natural colouration.
If at any time you’re not quite sure by what I mean, head to our asbinthe guide where we explain the production process in detail.
Versinthe Louche Quality
As you would discover in our absinthe guide linked above, the louche is the process of adding water to absinthe, which is the traditional way of drinking it. Indeed, the perceived ouzo effect reveals a lot about the absinthe’s quality and its natural properties.
Versinthe’s louche is quite rich yet transluscent enough to produce a reflective surface. Similarly, the bottom of the glass reveals hints of amber nuances, which is an excellent sign.
Furthermore, I’m quite pleased to see that the louche isn’t too flat or milky, which suggests a restrained use of anise. Additionally, it’s not too thin either and captures a fair amount of light that passes through the glass.
Traditionally, absinthe should be smelled after louching given that it opens up the aromas. However, I do like to smell it before and after to compare the evolution. Usually, my nose has just the right amount of time to rest as the absinthe is being diluted so it’s not blind during the second nosing.
Before louching, Versinthe is surprisingly spicy. Its nose consists of caraway seeds, fennel, and a dash of honey. Interestingly, it greatly evolves afterwards and truly opens to reveal a tableau of aromatic notes.
Although the anise is present, it feels quite restrained, bringing wormwood and into the foreground. However, these are surprisingly subtle, which results in a refreshingly clean springtime aroma with a spicy and floral finish.
Versinthe La Verte’s Palate & Mouthfeel
As you’ll have noticed above, I’ve used a small brown sugar cube, which probably isn’t recommended for a tasting review. However, I’m quite familiar with Versinthe now it needs just a touch of added sweetness for my personal tastes!
I’m not sure whether purists believe that white sugar is better but I do prefer using brown sugar as it offers a more natural sweetness.
Indeed, Versinthe features no added sugar, which is a trait of the traditional product. The wormwood offers a mild bitterness, which provides the foundation of the spirit. Meanwhile, meticulous use of fennel and anise contribute to its spicy sweetness. Overall, the flavours are quite balanced.
As for the mouthfeel, it’s slightly astringent and drying but still quite refreshing too. As it’s expected, it’s not particularly prickly on the tongue due to the reduced absinthe use. Similarly, it doesn’t feel too heavy and retains a sharp, refreshing tone.
Best Pairings With Versinthe La Verte Absinthe
Pairing absinthe with food or tobacco can admittedly be quite challenging. As it has a distinctive flavour profile, it often clashes with the majority of snacks and cigars. As an apéritif, you can enjoy absinthe with a few salted snacks like pretzels or peanuts. However, it prefer just to have it alone and enjoy its flavours.
Otherwise, there’s a little more wiggle room in terms of the cigars you can pair with it. Given that it’s slightly bitter and somewhat spicy, a mild to medium-bodied cigar ought to be your best option.
Personally, I’d opt for something reasonably mild. Indeed, a cigar with a Connecticut wrapper would be an excellent option given how it’s creaminess would extend the absinthe’s smooth profile. Alternatively, something a little spicier might work well.
In that light, I would recommend either something like a JC Newman Brick House or even an EP Carrillo Encore.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
Versinthe’s label is an interesting approach whereby it seeks to resemble an absinthe spoon. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan and I feel that it doesn’t look overly attractive.
Nevertheless, it’s clearly marked and the back features all the information that you could probably need. Similarly, the bottle is sealed by a reliable cork top rather than a screw cap, which is always a good sign.
As for the absinthe’s value, it’s remarkably cheap even in the USA, which is a rarity indeed! A 50 cl bottle will probably set you back around $25. Meanwhile, the full-sized 70 cl will cost only $30.
It’ll be challenging to find in liquor stores. However, we’ve noticed that it’s available on both Drizly as well as Absinthes.com. As you can guess by the name, the latter is something of a specialist!
If you’re looking to get started in authentic absinthe, Versinthe would be an excellent place to start. Not only is it very affordable but it offers a balanced and unsweetened flavour. Therefore, you’ll be able to try absinthe for what it really rather than a sweetened anise-bomb.
Indeed, at $30 a bottle, it’s very hard to say “no” to the green fairy!
"An authentic, unsweetened absinthe that reveals a harmonious tableau of herbal and spicy flavour."
Once you’ve finished reading our review, feel free to peruse our wide range of whisky content such as the following resources: