Since the TTB "adjusted" their regulations on absinthe, or more specific what is and what is not considered "thujone free" according to their methods of analysis several absinthes have appeared on the U.S market and a whole lot more is to come. The first up was Lucid Absinthe Superieure, second came Kübler who had been dealing with the TTB on this for many years and eventually someone was bound to make a U.S made absinthe.
The St. George Absinthe Verte is the first U.S made absinthe to hit the market there, distilled in San Francisco by St. George Spirits out at the old naval air station in Alameda. Not surprisingly is was with high expectations that U.S absintheurs and curious "ordinary folks" stood in line to buy it the day it was released. So, does it hold up to these expectations? In my opinion, no - not quite.
The initial impression of the St. George Absinthe Verte is that it's actually a quite interesting drink. And in a way it is, it's just that after a short while it's not a very interesting absinthe. Question is - should it be considered absinthe at all? Well, since there are no actual regulations in effect on what is and what is not absinthe, we will need to say that it is, since that's what they're selling it as. However, being that it lacks one of the three most important ingredients in an absinthe - green anise - I am a bit skeptic. But, setting that aside for a while and looking to what's in the glass and tasting that, this is what I think...
Its color is a bit too murky brown for my taste but at least it is clear and natural. It starts of by presenting a rather full aroma which at first shows good promise of an interesting drink, but after a short while there's a strange scent taking over much of what was pleasant. There's not much of wormwood to be detected in the aroma, not much of a good fennel aroma either and obviously not the wonderful scent of green anise. Instead there's an off-putting sweetness from star anise and a combination of herbs that lend a rather peculiar smell. There's a slightly spicy licorice type profile to it but there are too many other scents fighting for the top spot to make it really good.
Adding water to the St. George displays a rather thick white yellowish louche rising from the bottom of the glass making the result quite nicely louched. The very thick and compact louche is not surprising given the amount of star anise one can detect in the St. George. A known "shortcut" for thick louche... Either way, the taste is not quite that of a traditional absinthe. I've had several "special" absinthes before that in one way or another still holds the basics of a traditional absinthe in their flavor profile, sadly that is not the case for the St. George. It has an interesting and not necessarily a bad taste - it's just not the taste of a good absinthe. There are too many "experimental" ingredients and too little of the traditional ingredients in it to make it a really good offering. However, to its merit I'd say that much of what's in the St. George could, if used differently, make a very good and rather unique absinthe. I know there are several other drinks of various types coming from the same distillers and some I'm sure are very good. They would, however, benefit from a bit more knowledge of absinthe in itself to tweak and change the current St. George Absinthe Verte into the really good absinthe it could've been.
So, on a whole it is not a very bad tasting drink, it's just not what I'd personally reach for when I want a glass of absinthe.