We all know Hemingway made visits to Cuba and we also know that Hemingway liked to drink absinthe. What we don't know is whether or not he ever drank this absinthe from E. Aldabó, Habana. If he ever did, I'm sure he quickly moved on to another drink - of another brand.
The most interesting thing with this absinthe is the fact that it comes from Cuba and that this is the only Cuban vintage absinthe to be found yet. It dates to around 1930 - the time when Spanish made Edouard Pernod (Pernod S.A) still tasted pretty damn good and a lot of other Spanish distilleries where still making excellent Absentas. Sadly it seems only the Spanish language is there - not the quality of the absinthe.
The color is a bit too yellow for my liking and I'd say that the color of this drink was quite yellow already when it was new. It does show a bit of the old vintage brown of course, but it looks like an old version of the 1970 Ancora from Portugal I've previously tasted.
The aroma is very flat and presents some coriander, only the faintest little hints of anise - barely none, and wormwood. Along with that there's a strong alcoholic smell. There's really nothing fruity or floral about this. Upon the addition of iced water the aroma flattens out even more and the most noticeable is the citrusy coriander and a little minty background.
The ice cold water reacts with the alcohol and creates some swirls but there's no louche.
Having a sip of it takes the character, or lack thereof, of the Aldabó and puts it in the mouth-feel which is dull, boring and uninteresting. To top that off there's a distinct dry coating in the mouth from it which is also clearly detectable in the aftertaste. A very dry bitter finish. Other than that, the taste is mainly that of citrus and a little bit of wormwood but mostly it's that distinct bitter finish that remains.
In other words, it's a nice novelty for being a Cuban absinthe and the taste fits my image of life on Cuba (unless you're a wealthy tourist). Not a very good absinthe, but I'm happy to have tried it - the absinthe, not life on Cuba.
(Picture of bottle courtesy of David Nathan-Maister)