On a wonderful summer day, what can be more relaxing than enjoying a glass of good absinthe in the garden? I was in the mood for something special and decided to have a glass of the Absinthe Suisse Grande Distillerie Lyonnaise from around 1895.
Just opening the bottle and pouring a measure of this absinthe in the glass instantly revealed the character of this beauty - a strikingly floral perfume. The aroma was so intense it's hard to describe. It showed off a perfectly balanced aroma in full bloom right away and most noticeable was a fine green anise along with Wormwood and Angelica. More in the back there's a hint of Artemisia pontica and what I believe was Veronica. I could sit for hours just enjoying the perfume of the Lyonnaise but it was inviting me to start mixing it to get a taste.
Using a brouilleur filled with ice to get perfectly cold ice water I started adding water to this fine "Feuille Morte" colored drink. It had a faint hint of orange to it which I've noticed in some vintage absinthes before. With the water starting to drip into the absinthe a nice and thick clouding began from the bottom of the glass. For every drop the color turned more peachy brown with a nice very slight touch of green in it - much like that I noticed in the 1910 C.F Berger I had a couple of years back. Proof that the green fairy really does live in the absinthe maybe?
The louche was very thick and the aroma was further enhanced and went into absolutely full bloom after the glass was fully louched and I really really wanted to have that first taste - that first sip that you will remember for a long time. The mouth-feel was excellent - very creamy and rich, though it could've been a little bit creamier actually - at least that was expected from the aroma, but that's just nitpicking - it was excellent.
The taste was as expected from the aroma and mouth-feel certainly a nice experience. The Angelica and the hints of Veronica made this a very interesting drink. The very fruity anise and the wormwood was clearly present and all together it made a nice step away from the classic Pontarlier style absinthes like Pernod Fils, Edouard Pernod etc. With everything finely tuned and in perfect harmony this absinthe tasted wonderful.
There's really only one thing wrong with the Lyonnaise and that is the fact it leaves you longing for more. The Absinthe Suisse form the Grande Distillerie Lyonnaise is actually one of the finest pre-ban absinthes I've had this far. Unique in character with a strikingly floral bouquet and equally savory taste... Give me a time machine, please.