First of all, the packaging of the Valkyria is plain and simple. Nordic if you wish.
Opening the cork instantly reveals a minty fresh aroma rising from the bottle.
Pouring the Absinthe Valkyria into the glass shows a drink with a nice clear green color.
Once in the glass the aroma opens up a bit and you can tell there is more than just the mintiness from before. There are some nice floral scents lingering in there, behind this minty lemony touch that takes up most of the space. Giving it a good swirl reveals so many layers of herbal and floral notes wanting to come out.
Slowly adding iced water to the Absinthe Valkyria quickly produces a creamy thick louche. A bit too instant to be perfect and this is clearly thanks to the use of Star Anise. There's nothing wrong with adding a little Star Anise to an absinthe but too much quickly becomes overpowering. The Star Anise is also what sadly hides many of the so very promising flavours and scents in there, ranging from flowery wormwood to discreet Pontica and hyssop a hint of melissa. The mouth-feel is very rich and of course creamy but a bit toungue-numbing.
After louching the Valkyria completely, it has turned into a nice opaque light green milky drink. The aroma opens up a bit further and again shows some very interesting underlying notes that need to be let out. The one thing holding it back from going into full bloom is, again, that mintiness.
Tasting it is also a pleasant experience and it's obvious that the recipe is based on classic absinthe tradition - with a twist. Again, the Star Anise does take away some of that goodness because it is so powerful but it is easy to find very interesting things hiding beneath it. The one problem in taste is just that, the Star Anise, for that one reason... It takes away those fine tones and last edge that would make this a very well accomplished absinthe competing with the very finest.
In all honesty this might sound worse than it actually is. The Valkyria is by no means all about Star Anise, on the contrary it has a whole spectrum of excellent tastes and scents but this is disturbed by the recurring presence of that very powerful ingredient.
All in all I think the Valkyria is a nice absinthe. I have no problem drinking it and I certainly will buy more of it and in my book that alone says a whole lot. It reminds a lot of a better Spanish absenta and as the first Swedish absinthe in modern times it's a very good product.
If the Star Anise was toned down just slightly the whole drink would be a very good Nordic, yet traditional, perfectly refreshing absinthe. The Valkyria is a well made product, no doubt about it and it is as authentic as they come and I have high hopes and future expectations for it.
This is defintely not my last bottle of Absinthe Valkyria.