Top 10 Best Absinthe & Where To Buy It In The USACharles-Philippe2021-07-13T12:39:28-04:00
Absinthe is a remarkable alcoholic spirit with a colourful history that’s typically produced in France and Switzerland. However, it can be very difficult to buy real absinthe in the USA and elsewhere given certain regulations.
In this guide, you will therefore discover the top 10 best absinthe brands:
Claude-Alain Bugnon was the first clandestine distiller to receive legal status from the Swiss government in 2005. Interestingly, though, this particular absinthe was inspired by an American absinthe that was produced by P. Dempsey & Company in the early 20th century before the ban in 1912.
In keeping with the style, it has a distinctively yellow “feuille morte” hue. The flavours are full-bodied and offer a citrus sweet herbaceousness that is extended by creamy honey suckle. If you’re looking for a rich and unique yet authentic experience, it’s one that’s certainly worth your attention.
"A true craft absinthe that has been carefully preserved by an independent distiller who's both devoated and loyal to the spirit's heritage."
A creation from the famous Emile Pernot distillery, this particular absinthe is named after Auguste Junod, a famous distiller and pioneer aviator of the Belle Epoque. Today, Junod continues to travel and his absinthe has toured a number of film festivals including Cannes and the Academy Awards.
Eight botanicals are macerated to produce its distillate so it’s surprisingly herbaceous for clear absinthe. Furthermore, it features a beautiful label by the Colombian artist, Randy Mora.
Although we highly rate his Butterfly absinthe, it’s not actually his flagship label. In fact, it’s a refreshing yet mellow flagship concoction that is truly aptly named since he has been producing absinthe since 2000!
Indeed, during the ban, most absinthe was clear so that it wasn’t as easy for authorities to recognise. This clear absinthe is delivered in a distinctive blue bottle in reference to the Bleue he used to produce. Additionally, the name Charlotte on the bottle pays homage to the woman who created the recipe in 1935.
Esprit Edouard is a carefully reproduced replica of the historical absinthe by Edouard Pernod based on perfectly-preserved bottles that were discovered a century later. Edouard Pernod was one of the most popular absinthes during the Belle Epoque so it’s a significant production!
From what we hear, it isn’t an exact copy of the original. However, it delivers a rich character with an aromatic complexity of spices and green anise.
Kübler is a family-owned absinthe distiller from the Val-de-Travers region that was revived immediately following the ban. It was first launched in 1863 by J. Fritz Kübler and is operated today by his great-grandson, Yves, under the Altamar Brands portfolio.
Yves Kübler played a pivotal role in campaigning for the repeal of the absinthe ban. Once it was lifted domestically, he went on to collaborate with the U.S. authorities to have absinthe products reintroduced into the American market.
The original Kübler absinthe is a clear spirit and is produced only from locally sourced wormwood. It turns a milky white colour when louched and offers a clean and fresh palate with anise-forward notes in its profile.
Two James is a craft distiller located in Corktown, Detroit. It recently released its own absinthe call “Nain Rouge”, which means “Red Dwarf”. With a name like that, perhaps we’re expected to see holograms, anthropomorphic cats, and service mechanoids instead of a green fairy?
It is produced using a genuine 19th-century French recipe from 100 pounds of botanicals. Two James seeks to offer unparalleled depth and complexity with its creation, which is one of our preferred US-made absinthes.
Based in the heart of California’s Sonoma County, Healdsburg distiller Young & Yonder produces a wide variety of unique spirits. Its absinthe has a distinctive “feuille morte” brown colour and is made in limited 50-gallon batches with over 75 pounds of botanicals.
Its use of tangy lemongrass, ginger, and eucalyptus results in a bracing and refreshing absinthe with distinctive notes of spices. As it’s macerated again after distillation, the botanicals have a robust and complex presence.
Unlike most of its Kentucky-based peers, Copper & Kings is a craft distiller that specialises in brandy and other more niche spirits. Its absinthe is produced using a traditional method with Vendôme copper stills and a double-distillation process.
Non-chilled filtered, it features a rich and authentic flavour profile with generous use of wormwood, sweet fennel, and liquorice. Also worth sampling is the Copper & Kings barrel-aged absinthe. Although it’s far from traditional, the ageing process offers an entirely new absinthe experience.
Creatively named Mansinthe, Marilyn Manson’s absinthe is also distributed at 66.6% ABV. Does that make this the tipple of the beast? Whatever your thoughts of the musician, the absinthe that bears his name is an excellent specimen.
Indeed, Marilyn Manson had been very fond of absinthe ever since sixth album, “Eat Me, Drink Me”. In fact, Johnny Deep introduced him to the drink in 2000.
Therefore, he teamed up with Matter Luginbühl to produce his own product, which is strikingly labelled with his artwork “When I Get Old I Would Like a Drink”. It was released in 2007 and delivers a surprisingly earthy flavour, which evokes liquorice over aniseed.
10. Tempus Fugit Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe [France]
Imported to the USA by Tempus Fugit, this absinthe is likely produced by Emile Pernot, which is the brand best associated with the “Vieux Pontarlier” name. If so, this historical concoction has received dozens of awards since it was revived in 2008.
In fact, a great number of absinthes available in the USA have been imported by Tempus Fugit. Indeed, it was created shortly after the reintroduction of absinthe in the US market and one of its founders was even a pioneer in redeveloping the Vieux Pontarlier style.
Pontarlier is the French capital of absinthe Môtiers is in Switzerland. It is also arguably its own style of absinthe. Vieux Pontarlier features a slightly yellowed jade hue that louches with thick clouds and a clean surface. Meanwhile, its aromas are generous with anise with a light presence of spices and a creamy herbal edge.
Some modern brands of absinthe are cheaply manufactured through a cold mix process, which simply consists of blending artificial colouring and flavouring in alcohol. As absinthe has no legal definition outside of Switzerland, this inferior product is frequently marketed alongside authentic absinthe.
Therefore, great care must be taken in ensuring that the absinthe you buy is genuine. Additionally, real absinthe with levels of thujone above 10mg/l cannot be sold in stores in the USA.
However, it can legally be imported for personal use. Therefore, you can use reliable online retailers that operate out of Europe to purchase this type of absinthe. One website that we would recommend is absinthes.com.
If you prefer to purchase your absinthe domestically, there are a few other retailers that we would recommend. Firstly, Reserve Bar has a limited but decent selection of absinthes from France, Switzerland, and the USA.
Meanwhile, Wine.com has a wider range of absinthe, which is sold at an arguably more reasonable price. Otherwise, Drizly is a fantastic resource, but since it partners with local liquor stores, it greatly depends on what’s available near you.
Although Drizly might be more convenient, we have a preference for Reserve Bar and Wine.com, which both curate their selection and will generally offer superior quality products.
Now that you have read about the best absinthe, why don’t you learn more about it with our other resources?