Unique among absinthes, Roquette 1797 absinthe gives us a glimpse of what absinthe was like starting its first steps on the road to becoming the most popular drink in France.
Roquette 1797 has been brought back to life from an unpublished, hand-written manuscript dating from the eighteenth century, when absinthe was more mysterious elixir than evening aperitif.
The Roquette 1797 owes its pretty, natural colour to the infusion of three plants ordinarily used during the colouring stage.
The three classic absinthe plants are all there - green anise, fennel and grand wormwood - along with some more uncommon additions, although that bit's a secret...
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- The quantities of spirit and herbs recorded in the manuscript of 1797 were described in quantities such as 'pots of eau-de-vie', 'buckets' and 'handfuls', which made interpreting the recipe an interesting challenge.
- Even if it's obvious what the number 1797 means, you can not say as much for the name Roquette. In fact, it was the name of the horse ridden by the legendary father of absinthe, Doctor Ordinaire.
- The Roquette 1797 absinthe is an Archive Spirits production, a joint venture between two fascinated absintheurs: David Nathan-Maister of Oxygenee; and Peter Schaf, renowned absinthe expert. They are planning on producing further releases of the Roquette 1797 absinthe: a 1731 and an 1804 edition, both also based on unpublished hand-written originals.
Les fils d’Emile Pernot distillery was founded in 1890 in Pontarlier, France, by Emile Pernot. In 1910, the distillery produced approximately 450 hectolitres, which is not surprising: around the time, consumption of absinthe was reaching levels never heard of before.
In 1915, when La Fée Verte (The Green Fairy) was banned, the distillery turned its hand to other spirits: aniseed aperitifs, fruit brandies and gentian liqueurs.
In 2001, the small distillery started to reproduce absinthe again, with Un Emile, from an old family recipe.
In 2005, the distillery was sold to François Thevenin, who has since developed the firm with a touch of modernity alongside traditional methods.
A year later, at the end of 2006, François Thevenin bought the Klainguer distillery, also situated in Pontarlier, and formed the Pernot – Klainguer distillery.
- At first, enjoy a glass of Roquette 1797 with half a piece of sugar. For the next, add more or less according to taste.
- For one measure of absinthe (3cl), add 2 to 5 measures of fresh water.
I bought a bottle of this with my first purchase from their website. I hadn't had a lot of absinthes outside of several American distillers but was hoping to find and learn more about different regions and countries.
The smell is a melange of dry licorice, herbs, and a strange earthy must. Unusual and hard to describe for my senses.
The taste has a distinct earthy and herbal tone with a hint of licorice/anise. It is a tad bitter but interesting. It is a bit abrasive in the sharpness of the alcohol and earthiness. A bit of an unsweetened citrus but enjoyable overall.
I could really appreciate how great this tasted without the addition of sugar. Ice water and this alone were perfect companions and the creamy body of it was nicely offset by the dryness at the end. I can see how this is a pretty enjoyable absinthe, I was not hugely impressed but was glad I tried it out. This was an excellent learning experience, I felt. Diversifying my palate.
By Son_of_Artemis. Posted 08/05/2014
This was my first experience of authentic Absinthe and I was impressed. Nice mix of fennel, anise, and wormwood: these herbs, along with the other "top secret" ingredients, alternately present themselves throughout the taste experience and complement each other nicely. There are interesting other tastes, one that stands out is a familiar one to me -- rat root, aka sweet flag root. It presents clean and woody to the palate.
This complex tincture isn't for everyone, but if you have any knowledge of herbs and spices you may find Roquette 1797 an intriguing drink.
By J. Posted 21/02/2014
This has always been one of my favorites. This newest batch tastes slightly different from the last one. I think I might like this new one even more. Rich, full bodied and very aromatic.