L'Entêté means persisten, or stubborn, and is an absinthe verte from Combier. It is the green child of Franck Choisne, proprietor of the Combier distillery. We know Combier as the production place of the Jade line of absinthes, all famed for their quality and their creator Ted Breaux and his massive work for absinthe. They have previously released the Blanchette, a nice absinthe blanche. So, finally it was time for a Combier branded absinthe verte.
According to Mr Choisne the wormwood used for L'Entêté is cultivated in their own private herb garden in the Loire valley and also many of the other herbs included are cultivated on their own land located elsewhere. Growing, nurturing and harvesting your own ingredients naturally means you put even more pride and love into your product than you would otherwise and I'm longing to see if it shows in the product. There is absolutely nothing bad to say about Combier's knowledge and ability to produce high end products so I have high hopes.
The packaging for the L'Entêté is very nice. The bottle usually comes in a purple box with the "worn" label on it. The bottle is a highly stylish, clean - almost nordic if you wish - design and brown UV glass. The label, same as on the box is made to look slightly torn on the edges and the style is a nice kind of retro design. The bottle is sealed with black wax covering the cork and top. I like it.
So, breaking through the wax is no big deal and once the cork is opened we can let that stubborn fairy out. The first lingering scents coming out of the bottle are only very subtle hints of citrus and crisp anise with wormwood tagging along. I let it sit like that for a short while to breathe. It doesn't really matter, I just do it. I let her take her time.
Pouring a dose in my glass and I see a nice green drink with a slight yellow tinge. It could have been greener but there's nothing particularly bad about it. I slowly bring the glass toward my nose and the closer it gets the more those subtle florar scents start to open up. Giving the liquid a good swirl in the glass and taking a light sniff it truly shows some nice promise. That crisp and clean aroma is very present and with what seem to be very good wormwood lending a slightly minty fresh herbal scent mixed with that citrus and the ever classic fennel and anise I immediately see this as a very refreshing drink rather than one of the heavier, thick creamy ones with a lot of heavy body.
As I let the iced water slowly drip into the L'Entêté it very slowly and lightly starts to louche. Even though it's only 62% it does take a while before the louche really shows and even though great care is taken to add the water really slow it never builds up to that completely opaque glass of absinthe. The louche is fine, just not perfect. I could imagine that it would be rather thin if you'd pour the water in too quick though.
After the L'Entêté is louched and ready for the next stage I can tell that it has indeed gone to second base. It is now a little less pointy in a way and with the citrusy profile toned down a bit it blends better with the rest of the herbs. A nice hint of pontica shows through and adds to the body of the aroma. The scents are still very crisp and clean and I like that a lot. I take a slow sip and let it coat my entire mouth. It has a certain sting to it and some peppery notes that are very nice, especially with that minty freshness combined with it. It's not, just as I suspected, the heaviest or creamiest mouth feel but very rich. The wormwood is definitely there and it tastes really nice. The green anise could maybe have gotten just a little more room but that is of course personal preference and I wouldn't really complain about it.
A comparison between the Jade line of absinthes and the L'Entêté is maybe not really fair or even relevant but as the do come from the same distillery, at the end of the day - it's just hard not to. Of all the Jades I'd say the Nouvelle Orléans is the one closest in crispness. But that is also as far as the similarities go. The L'Entêté and the Jades are completely different from each other, I'd say. And I'd also say that is a good thing. It's very easy for a distillery's products to end up tasting very much the same but in this case the L'Entêté is a new product on its own and that makes me happy.
The L'Entêté is not the best absinthe I've ever had but it is a very good product and most certainly something I would proudly serve friends at my house. And I don't treat friends to bad drinks - unless the ask me to. Sure enough there are little kinks here and there that I'm sure could be tweaked but all in all I think the L'Entêté is a nice addition to the Combier product line and it's a nice addition to the ever growing wealth of nice absinthes that exist today.