Ah, the Green Fairy, the drink of artistic greats such as Hemingway, van Gough, Proust, and perhaps most famously, Oscar Wilde. Anise-flavored, the spirit is typically green, but, as we see here with Louisville’s Copper and King’s Blanche Absinthe, it can also be colorless.
This white absinthe is double distilled from muscat brandy in American copper pot stills. In addition to anise and wormwood—a hallmark botanical of the spirit, which is said in certain dosages to contribute to hallucinogenic effects—fennel, hyssop, and other accent botanicals are also macerated in the muscat low wine before being distilled a second time.
Nose: As you might expect from an anise-flavored spirit, the scent of licorice is strong on the front end of this absinthe. You can also pick up notes of fennel and an herbaceousness that calls to mind sweet grass. On the back end of the nose, you get hints of muscat which, combined with the grassiness, evoke walking through a vineyard full of ripe grapes.
Palate: Candied licorice is the main flavor here. The bitterness from the wormwood and other herbs plays with the sweetness in a great way. At 65% ABV, there is a warmth here, but it is not overpowering like you might get from other spirits of this strength. Once your palate acclimates, there’s a little bit of black pepper as well.
Finish: A medium to long finish, full of licorice and and fruitiness—in the form of apples and raisins—from the muscat brandy.
Final Thoughts: Absinthes have never been easy for me to get into and with such a high ABV, this one might seem a little intimidating. The licorice flavors are there, but not overwhelming, and when consumed in the traditional absinthe way with water poured over sugar through a slotted spoon, this spirit goes down (almost) dangerously easy. If you’re dead set on doing it the right way, I recommend picking up a proper absinthe fountain set, such as this one, to go with your white absinthe.
Copper and King’s Absinthe Blanche retails for $55.