It’s here! The distillers at the Sankta Annas Bränneri announced their barrel aged version of their renowned Valkyria Absinthe a couple of months ago, and we’re proud that we were able to grab some for you!
We wrote a piece on barrel aged absinthes in general before, you can read it here. But let’s take a closer look at this barrel aged absinthe, and find out what Antoine’s tasting notes reveal.
The Oak Aged Valkyria
|The first legal Swedish absinthe in a barrel made of Swedish oak, where it has adopted flavour and aroma characteristics that are similar to those of a Cognac, or Whisky. Göran and Hendrik deliberately didn’t want these flavours to become overpowering. It was important to them to maintain the citrusy and floral attributes of the original Valkyria. The subtle hints of vanilla and oak, which the Valkyria has developed during its time in the barrel, invite you to sit back and enjoy a glass on the rocks. Markus Hartsmar from Absinthe.se wrote a lovely review on its taste here, and the distillers from the Sankta Annas Bränneri suggest to try it neat on the rocks.|
Colour: Emerald green, with a light tint of orangey-beige wood.
|Aroma before water: Pleasant and well balanced. Light notes of vanilla are detectable and it’s already clear that this is a decent absinthe distilled from good quality herbs and alcohol.
Louche: The louche develops pretty rapidly, even when the water is added drop by drop. This would suggests the presence of star anise.Aroma after water: Adding water brings notes of wormwood and star anise to the fore. These are in my opinion a touch forthcoming, although I would not say they are overwhelming. The vanilla notes are very much there, although maintaining a subdued presence. It would have been nice if the vanilla were a touch more pronounced and the complexity a bit more extensive.
Taste: The star anise has a tongue-tickling quality. The notes of grand wormwood and star anise are the most present.
Conclusion: For an absinthe aged in oak barrels, you might expect rather more pronounced notes of vanilla. Clearly to boost this a bit, more time on oak would be needed. However, it is very difficult to discover the optimal aging period – and it’s always better to age for a slightly shorter period than for too long! Certainly our friends at the distillery will be making some subtle adjustments the next time. The complexity and the strength of flavours could also be developed a bit, one would imagine via the kind of small tweaks that remain the closely-guarded secrets of master distillers. This is truly the work of artists!
This is however without a doubt an excellent absinthe and highly recommended for anyone wanting to discover a barrel-aged absinthe and the delicious flavours aromas that are a unique result of the process.