There are now a couple of very nice absinthes, and one not so nice, coming from Sweden. However - they are all vertes. The small batch distillery Svensk Absint AB who's responsible for the excellent Grön Opal is now the first Swedish distillery to also produce a blanche. The name follow the same theme and it's simply called Vit Opal (White Opal).
The bottle of the Vit Opal absinthe is the same clean design as for Grön Opal only for this one the bottle is from clear glass. The label design also follows the same design but with a blue color theme instead. The silver and blue label on the clear bottle reminds a lot of certain Swiss La Bleue brands and with an alcohol level of 56% it fits right in that category.
So, we have a blanche absinthe in a clear bottle with a blue label reminding of Swiss absinthe. Is it as good as the better La Bleues or is it just another one among the masses? Well, opening the bottle immediately reveals a strong floral perfume. Pouring a shot of the perfectly clear liquid in my glass its scent literally fills the room like a fresh spring morning. Floral and herbal and very inviting.
The first thing that strikes me is that it reminds of a Swiss Bleue in the aroma as well but with a lot more finesse. The fennel and green anise is very clear as well as the very good wormwood - as expected after having had the Grön Opal... Easily detected is the nice pontica carrying the scent of further ingredients to the front and just as in their verte the fine scent of calamus is again present. Once you've found it in there it's easy to detect. But there are other interesting things going on as well. At my first encounter with the Vit Opal, at a Scandinavian absinthe gathering in Copenhagen in May 2014, we were all discussing the many various ingredients of this drink. One that came up to discussion was lemongrass and indeed it is there.
With this glass of liquid blossom right in front of me there is but one thing to do - bring forth a carafe of iced water.
With a slow drip the water produces an almost instant and very powerful louche. Once completely louched it is a perfect thick milky white and it's finally time to have a taste. The first thing that strikes me is the creaminess and body it presents. It has the same slithgly numbing minty feel as a quality La Bleues but without killing the tastebuds. The taste is very well balanced and all the components found in the aroma can, with a bit of patience, be found in the taste as well. Among the usual suspects there is also camomille to be found in there and the lemongrass actually shows through just slightly. It is all very tasty and I must say I'd prefer this over most of the La Bleues any day. Only very few of the Swiss ones are this well composed.
All in all I am very glad that the first Swedish blanche absinthe is as good as this one. It is really a top quality absinthe and if you normally enjoy the Swiss blanches you'll definitely like this. One thing is for sure - I'll be keeping a bottle of this handy always.