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Buying Absinthe in Paris or Brugge

ComerDemonio Apr 27, 2013 03:01 PM

We'll be visiting Paris and Brugge next week and I'd like to buy a bottle of "real" absinthe. Is this possible again?

I know the definition of "real" absinthe is open to debate but I have enjoyed the fee verte on occasion but we can't seem to get it here (Canada).

  1. Delucacheesemonger Apr 28, 2013 12:58 AM

    There are two places l use both just off Rue Rivoli. One is Caves Bosetti near BHV and the other is Vert d'Absinthe near St Paul metro. Both have many, many absinthes. Remember for legality sake, only those approved by USA ATF may be brought into the country and the approved ones have no wormwood root extract in them. OTOH l have been told it is not an issue to bring in. Nothing over 70 percent is legal either and many of the better ones are in the 72-75 degree range, again it seems not to be an issue.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger
      ComerDemonio Apr 28, 2013 05:31 AM

      Thanks for recommending the two shops. Do you have preferred brand? I am not concerned about importing it into Canada so don't worry about the contents. I am more concerned with flavour ... and the effect :)

      1. re: ComerDemonio
        Delucacheesemonger Apr 28, 2013 08:07 AM

        Have been buying Fougerolle for a few bottles, 74 degrees and root used. At both stores.
        If you are possessed of money Vert sells old pre ban bottles and the old bottles of Pernod Absinthe are as good as it can get.

        1. re: ComerDemonio
          Rio Yeti Apr 28, 2013 10:28 AM

          If by "effect" you mean drunkenness I understand... if you are looking for something else you may not find it (or it will be psychosomatic).

          As for the best Absinthes, it depends on what you like. Do you like anise/liquorice ? Do you like herbal or "grassy drinks" ? Do you like strong harsh drinks or mellow and sweet ones ? Are you ok with bitter or would you rather smooth ?

          Let me know, and I'll tell you which one to get.

          1. re: Rio Yeti
            ComerDemonio Apr 28, 2013 03:04 PM

            I have to admit that I whenever I have had absinthe it has been at the end of a evening where I have already had some cocktails and/or wine. The extra drink always sent me home with a different sort of feeling ... definitely more tipsy than I would normally get. As you point out I might be mistaking the green fairy effect for slightly too much alcohol :)

            I generally opt to drink absinthe at the end of an evening because the anise flavour dominates other tastes. I also have found that my mouth and tongue become slightly numb which is less than desirable before eating.

            I definitely would not choose bitter or sweet for a drink. I like bitter greens in salads and in certain dishes but I think as a drink I would be looking for something more smooth and mellow. I am happy to have a small bit of ice wine at the end of a meal but I find sweet drinks slightly cloying.

            I have always liked wines with strong terror which leads me to think I would opt for a herbal/grassy flavour over a strong anise taste. That being said, I am open to both options on this point.

            I am definitely a novice when it comes to this drink so I appreciate your questions.

            1. re: ComerDemonio
              Rio Yeti Apr 29, 2013 12:51 AM

              Ok, first of all I really urge you to go to the shop Vert d'Absinthe on rue d'Ormesson. The shop owners are very nice people who are willing to talk to you about their produce, explain to you how to better enjoy your absinthe, and even give you a taste once in a while.

              Based on your description I would suggest you to buy 3 bottles.
              Verte de Fougerolles - as DCM recommended. Even though it contains a little bit of liquorice (which isn't traditional in absinthe), I find this absinthe to better represent what the drink is about. It's well balanced, right in the middle of anisy-herbal-bitter-smooth. It's a good starting point. At the shop they may recommend you the absinthe "Soixante cinq", it's a great deal for the price and a good beginner's absinthe, but it tends to be more bitter.
              Belle Amie - this is an amazing rich and herbal absinthe. It is slightly "lighter" than other ones, so I usually put a little less water when mixing the drink. It will be your "terroir" sort of absinthe.
              And finally for something mellow, and to taste a different absinthe profile, I encourage you to try a Swiss absinthe (white, not green). They tend to have more fennel, and therefore are more smooth and mellow, with a floral note as well. I'm less knowledgeable in Swiss absinthes, as I prefer green absinthes usually, but either "La Clandestine" or "Maison Fontaine" are excellent bottles.

              If you only have place for one bottle in your suitcase, I would go for the Verte de Fougerolles. Although I personally prefer Belle Amie, it's really herbal and some people might not like it.
              On the other hand if you have room for a fourth bottle, add a "L'esprit Edouard" in the mix... it's a really complex, rich, spicy absinthe. It's one of my favorites (although Belle Amie is close).

              Hope this helps, but of course if you get a chance to taste any of them before you buy them, it's always better (it depends on the mood of the shopkeepers that day).

              1. re: Rio Yeti
                ComerDemonio Apr 29, 2013 10:36 AM

                Hi Rio, thanks for the information. I will likely pick up a bottle Verte de Fougerolles and a bottle of Belle Amie based on your descriptions. I'm looking forward to testing both out ... I may even pick up a small bottle to sample while I'm in France.

                1. re: ComerDemonio
                  Rio Yeti Apr 30, 2013 04:05 AM

                  I don't know how much time you will have. But the ideal thing to do would be to grab a small bottle of Verte de Fougerolles (they have tiny ones), give it a try during your trip, and at the end, based on your impression of the drink, ask the guys at the shop to guide you (or connect to Chowhound and let us know).

                  And don't forget, 1 part absinthe, 3 to 5 parts water (depending on taste) dripped slowly over a slotted spoon with half a sugar cube (amount can be changed if you prefer it more or less sweet).
                  Don't flame the sugar ! Don't drink it neat !

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