Review – Jade Absinthe
Every spirit category has its own ambassadors that dedicate their working lives to promoting their chosen liquor to all and sundry. In the world of Absinthe, there are few who have contributed as much to the promotion of this much-maligned spirit than Ted Breaux. A chemist by trade, it was only a passing comment on the supposed hallucinogenic properties of Absinthe that piqued his interest and sparked a career that has subsequently been dedicated to this fine spirit. The Jade Liqueurs range founded by Ted are testament to his dedication to producing truly authentic Absinthe, with each bottling being a recreation of an artisanal Absinthe from yesteryear. Each has been reverse engineered from original bottles, then distilled in France using antique alembic pot stills.
Such is the unique balance of flavours in these products, I have forgone the usual multiple-cocktail reviews where many of the subtle differences between them are lost, and instead focused on neat tasting notes instead. This is not to say they do not make a very fine Sazerac, Wink, In-Seine, Remember the Maine or Corpse Reviver No. 2, but full appreciation of the intricacies of these spirits is best achieved by simply dripping iced water into a glass containing a healthy measure until the liquid turns cloudy (louches) as the essential oils come out of suspension. Sugar is optional but not preferable.
Nose: Bold but refined aromas of anise and fennel backed up by woody and earthy wormwood with an appealing musty undertone and a touch of mint rising with water. A subtle butteriness complements and smooths the traditional Absinthe aroma to result in a combination fit for a cologne bottle.
Neat: Spiced citrus is first up, quickly followed by sweet anise with a most fantastically rounded flavour. As with the nose, the flavour is so well balanced and complex that individual notes become one. A cacophony of herbs with just the right amount of floral, spice, woody, anise and citrus notes; an absolute joy. Perhaps most delightful element of this Absinthe becomes evident with the addition of water when a silky, creamy mouthfeel reveals itself to carry the flavours around the mouth like some sort of victory procession. It is hard to imagine a more enjoyable absinthe.
Jade V.S. 1898
Nose: Like a freshly snapped spring twig, this is very ‘green’ on the nose. The other aromas, and particularly the anise/fennel are initially a background offering before building to deliver a delightfully heady top note. A distinct confectionary edge evokes childhood sweetshop memories whilst a touch of pomegranate and hyssop create an interesting twist on the classic Absinthe profile.
Neat: A bold, punchy, earthy flavour with warmth from the anise elements is very enjoyable indeed. The green wood from the nose has somehow matured and is all the better for it. As with the 1901, the mouthfeel is fantastically rounded with some citrus high notes to liven things up against a perfect-for-a-cold-night savoury warmth. This is a big, bold Absinthe with a classic flavour profile and a pleasing dry, slightly bitter finish.
Jade Absinthe’s are an exceptional range from one of the world’s best producers. The subtle differences between each product make them a must-have collection for enthusiasts, but for those with the space for just one Absinthe on the home bar, you couldn’t make a bad choice between them.
Jade Absinthe’s are available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.