La Fée Absinthe Parisienne will be my third review of this glorious green liquid. I’ve grown fairly confident in my abilities to pick out flavors in most spirits and Absinthe isn’t much different, there are a subset of great flavors and properties to absinthe that can be subtle, direct or completely missing. Where does La Fée stand?
First, the straight absinthe color reminds me much of green creme de menthe, slightly exaggerated and bright like a beacon. The color, much like a poisonous snake or frog, should keep you cautious as this 68% ABV or 136-Proof spirit will knock you on your rump really quick if not respected.
Louche the liquid (drip ice water over an absinthe spoon with a sugar cube on it) and you’ll get a ting of white but an overall lime green Fanta and Squirt soda-style coloring. The coloring is opaque with absolutely no chance of seeing anything but a faint light through the liquids.
The smell reminds me of Sambuca with the same sweetness and black licorice. If you’ve ever stuffed a black jellybean in your nose than you’re definitely following my train of thought. While some folks report high alcohol scents, I’m not getting much heat from this absinthe straight or in its cloudy louche. I can struggle and look for some of the alcohol nose but I’m getting obscured by the sweet anise attacks.
Upon first taste I’m reminded again of the black jellybean. This anise is let loose upon my tongue with a numbing effect, leaving a sweet mid-palate transition and a very subtle bite of wormwood… ever so subtle. The aftertaste is exactly what I get if I eat a hand-full of black jellybeans sans numbness. I get a very slight hint of alcohol on the back-end of my tongue after the sip has completed but nothing out of the ordinary for a spirit.
La Fée Absinthe Parisienne can be highly dangerous as the anise hides the alcohol extremely well, leaving you thinking about a second glass but your brain is screaming “no!” This is not the most complex absinthe I’ve tasted, as it drives hard at the anise flavors and really brings them with aggression. This mutes the alcohols as well as any other herbal complexities hiding in the spirit. At USD $60, you may find a more complex absinthe for sipping but you may not find one that brings the anise as intensely which may work out great in a cocktail.
Many cocktails that call for a sambuca can be overpowered by its huge sweet attack, La Fée could meet these challenges head on and work well. The coloring would definitely impact a cocktail in a bright and cheery way while boosting up the alcohol levels to a high degree (something some folks love).
Overall, I cannot recommend La Fée for a sipping absinthe to those that are experienced with a handful or more of absinthe brands. I think, as a cocktail addition or to those that are looking to get into absinthe because of the great anise flavor profile, La Fée is a must try if you’ve got USD $60.00 to invest in the experience. As a bonus, each bottle comes with its own Absinthe spoon to help you louche your absinthe with proper equipment.