Mephisto Absinthe Classique is something of an oddball in the absinthe world. While it is real absinthe, it does away with the typical absinthe flavors in favor of something much spicier.
With a lower price point and an eye-catching label, it’s one that many absintheurs have tried. However, it’s strange enough that opinions on it tend to be varied and are often quite passionate.
So today we’re going to be reviewing one of the most divisive absinthe brands on the market!
Let’s ready our glasses and dive in!
What Is Mephisto Absinthe Classique?
Mephisto Absinthe Classique is an absinthe verte produced by the Friedrich Fischer distillery in Vienna, Austria. The distillery traces its roots back to 1875 and Mephisto itself is based on a recipe that dates all the way back to 1909.
Mephisto is a 130 proof spirit (65% ABV) made with neutral spirits and herbs including grand wormwood, petit wormwood, fennel, sage, anise, mint, and cinnamon.
Curiously, it is sold as Mephisto Absinthe Classique in the US market but is better known as Absinthe Montmartre in Europe.
Now, I do tend to be extra suspicious of absinthes that play too heavily into the gothic or “edgy” type themes.
Perhaps it’s ironic considering the name of this site. However, I think there’s a difference between some tongue-in-cheek humor and a case of “trying too hard.”
Nevertheless, that’s not always the case as we found with my review of Mansinthe. We can’t always judge an absinthe by its bottle or, more specifically, its marketing schtick.
But with the overview out of the way, let’s get into the details behind this devil!
Right from the very first impressions, Mephisto Absinthe Classique hits differently.
The first thing that hits you when you open a bottle of Mephisto is the warm and earthy spice from the cinnamon.
Notes of pine, sage, and fennel carry the aroma with only the faintest aroma of wormwood. The anise is there, but it’s remarkably subtle and buried deep beneath the spice.
There is an abrasive (but not intolerable) burn from the alcohol. Considering how many other strong flavors are in Mephisto Absinthe Classique, that caught me slightly off guard.
Once you begin adding water and the absinthe begins to louche, the aromas are more of the same. The aromas of wormwood and sage seem to get stronger as the louche takes effect, but the cinnamon and pine are still the most prominent.
I can’t help but chuckle at an absinthe with a sinister name like Mephisto smelling much more like Christmas at my grandmother’s house.
It’s not a bad aroma, though. It’s certainly different, but that’s very much the theme of Mephisto Absinthe Classique.
Color & Louche
One of the most immediately surprising things about Mephisto Absinthe Classique is how clean its color is.
There are no bits of sediment from the distillation process and the color is a very pleasing light peridot. Looking closely, subtle blue hues seem to quickly appear and then vanish like little ghosts.
To be honest, I initially expected some kind of artificial neon green dyed hellscape to burst forth from the bottle. So this much more natural color was a pleasant surprise!
The louche is almost immediate. It seemed like the very first drop of water kicked off an incredibly quick chain reaction.
I went into this with my guard up, but the thickness of the oil trails in the louche helped me relax. Of the things I look for in an absinthe, that tends to be towards the top of the list.
Curiously, the louche seems to go just as fast as it appeared. Everything quickly settles into a pale opalescent green with those same ever-so-subtle hints of blue.
I think Mephisto isn’t so much of a showman. Rather than the curious and elaborate louche that is characteristic of most other absinthes, Mephisto Absinthe Classique gets straight to the point.
Related: How To Taste Absinthe Like a Pro
As is common with Viennese absinthes, the anise takes a backseat to the other flavors in Mephisto Absinthe Classique.
For those who enjoy the “black licorice” flavor of anise but prefer it in very small amounts, this might be a positive. Personally, I prefer a very strong anise presence in my absinthe.
Much like the aromas, the cinnamon dominates the flavor profile of Mephisto Absinthe Classique with notes of sage being more apparent in the mid-palate.
The anise and the bitterness from the wormwood appear very briefly on the finish before quickly being overwhelmed again by the cinnamon and mint.
Ultimately, there isn’t as much complexity to this absinthe as I would have expected. While there are nuanced impressions of other flavors, it still feels very “one-note” to me.
I want absinthe that’s telling me a story with its flavors. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that here.
I greatly preferred Mephisto Absinthe Classique with sugar. It helped prevent the flavors from becoming too overwhelming as they all seemed to compete for attention.
Additionally, it helped to smooth out the alcohol burn that carries throughout each sip. It’s a weak bite, but one that’s persistent.
Strangely, the burn is present but not the typical numbing that I’ve grown used to.
I’m not necessarily going to say the flavor was bad. After all, there are certainly plenty of worse options out there!
But I also can’t say this is one that I’m reaching for when I’m ready to wind down with a nice absinthe after a long day. Still, it’s not a terrible choice if you want something that is unapologetically different every now and again.
Conclusion – Mephisto Absinthe Classique Review
Mephisto Absinthe Classique is one of the strangest absinthes I’ve ever had. It’s like absinthe that doesn’t want to be absinthe.
I remember trying it many years ago (I want to say it was around 2012 or so), but I couldn’t remember anything about it. It was interesting to rediscover this one with a much more refined taste for absinthe than I had back in those days.
This might be good for those who are looking for a novel, unique interpretation of what absinthe is. After all, Mephisto Absinthe Classique is real absinthe and probably the cheapest “real” option out there.
If you’re an experienced absintheur with a love for things that are unapologetically different (as well as a hefty love of cinnamon), it might be worth giving this a try for the price.
I mean, there are plenty of other absintheurs who do enjoy this one despite (or possibly because of) how strange it is.
But if you’re a beginner absintheur, I’d recommend staying away from Mephisto Absinthe Classique. At least for now.
Your first few absinthes are sacred experiences and you owe it to yourself to get a proper introduction to the world of the Green Fairy!
If you’re looking for options that are great for beginners and still readily available without breaking the bank, check out options like Vieux Carré or Lucid instead.