From the well known distillery of Les Fils d'Emile Pernot just outside Pontarlier come this quite special drink.
The name, Absinthe Sauvage 1804, comes from the fact that wild-growing (the French word Sauvage translates to "wild") wormwood is used to produce this small batch absinthe. Each batch made is only about 180-200 bottles which makes it rather limited - and this is also reflected in the price. Not surpring though.
I first tasted the Sauvage while in Boveresse for Fête d'Absinthe in June 2011 and I was immediately blown away. Shortly thereafter it was available to order and I placed my order the same minute I got the newsletter.
The bottle used is the same type used for the other Archive Spirits absinthe, the Roquette 1797. Label is beautiful and as always it's all sealed with wax.
The Sauvage is a wonderful green with slight yellow tones and once it has landed in the glass the room is immediately perfumed with a fine herbal scent. Through the very complex aroma the minty freshness of the wormwood rises. Promising indeed.
Placing a brouilleur on top of the glass and filling it with iced water it is a treat to watch the louche take form. Starting with oily traces and building up to a perfectly good louche. One will need really cold water and a steady slow drip to produce a really good louche out of it but it is certainly not too thin.
The drink turns into a light yellow white with hints of that forest green. The aroma is still just as interesting and faint tones of citrus can be detected.
Time to remove the brouilleur and have a sip... The Sauvage has a very rich mouthfeel with a certain dryness to it which is nicely balanced by the anise. The taste is definitely that of top quality wormwood. It's very herbal but so well structured and the nice sweet anise levels out anything that would possibly try to take over. Harmony.
The Absinthe Sauvage 1804 is simply a wormwood dream. The finish is long lingering but it's not bitter. Derfinitely not. The Sauvage is a keeper. The high price is pretty much the only downside of the Sauvage. That, and the fact that a bottle seems to drain quite quickly...
Please note that this review is for the first batch of Sauvage which was absolutely amazing. Following batches have been made under the supervision of other distillers and from lesser quality ingredients. They do not hold up to the standard of the first batch and in other words, do not match this review. In case you consider buying a bottle of Sauvage now, you should now this.