Lucid Absinthe is something of a rockstar in the absinthe world.
Nearly every liquor store, whether it’s a chain or a small “mom and pop” store, that carries absinthe will almost certainly have this stuff.
If someone mentions that they’ve tried absinthe before, they usually give me a surprised look when I ask if it was Lucid that they tried.
So while Lucid may benefit from good distribution, how does it stack up in terms of quality?
Today we’re finding out with this Absinthe Fiend review of Lucid Absinthe Supérieure!
Lucid Absinthe Supérieure: A Love Story
I think it’s important to start out with a little storytime before diving into the review. After all, this is quite possibly the one absinthe that I have had the most difficult time removing any bias before reviewing it.
The year was 2008 and I was just a little fiendling. Absinthe had just become legal in the United States again. I had heard the legends/myths and was itching to try it for myself.
At the time, a friend of mine would host weekly parties at his apartment (that I’m sure the neighbors LOVED.) One week before the larger crowd of our friends showed up, he handed me a curious dark bottle with two brilliant cat eyes on it.
“It’s real absinthe!” he said as he took the bottle back and began pouring us each a glass.
With one sip, I was hooked. The rich anise flavor, the hypnotic louche, and the complexity of all of the herbs… The only thing that was missing was a booming “Hallelujah Chorus” as my eyes grew wide at the first sip.
It was the beginning of what I expect to be a lifelong love affair with the Green Fairy.
While time has gone on and I have found other absinthes that I truly love, you know what they say: you never forget your first kiss!
Lucid Absinthe Supérieure Review
Lucid is very much a traditional absinthe verte. What separated Lucid from the rest of the absinthes on the shelves when it began appearing in the US was that it was (and still is!) real and authentic absinthe.
It is made with grande wormwood as well as the other members of the “Holy Trinity”: fennel and green anise. Because it is made with grande wormwood (artemisia absinthium) Lucid does contain thujone.
Even today with so many fake and/or low-quality absinthes on store shelves, Lucid does stand out as a cut above many of the rest. You won’t find any food colorings or gimmicks here!
For those who are new to absinthe, Lucid is generally a great choice.
It takes what I would consider a very balanced approach to absinthe distilling. There’s a clear harmony in each glass without too much of any one flavor. It’s a great way to develop your palate as you explore everything that the absinthe world has to offer.
Of course, I’d say that if you’re reading Absinthe Fiend you’ve got a leg up on most who are discovering the Green Fairy, but I might be a little biased on that…
Lucid Absinthe Supérieure’s louche is somewhat on the thin side, but it fills and holds out nicely. What results is a charming opalescent color with a hint of the yellow-green color of the absinthe before preparing it.
If you’re preparing Lucid at more than a 2.5:1 water to absinthe ratio, you’ll likely be disappointed with how it louches. However, I wouldn’t recommend preparing it at less than a 2:1 ratio! Staying in that 2-2.5:1 ratio will give you the ideal full-bodied louche!
If there’s a word I’ll be using a lot throughout this review, it’s “balance.” With that in mind, you want to maintain that balance when you’re preparing your glass!
As with any proper louche, there’s a mesmerizing effect when you’re preparing Lucid. You’ll no doubt find yourself hypnotized by the enchanting swirls in your glass as the absinthe reacts with the water!
Flavor & Aroma
Lucid’s aroma is largely dominated by anise and alcohol before the louche. Once you’ve added water, the wormwood becomes much more present though the smell of the anise is still the star of the show.
All in all, it’s a very pleasant aroma.
As for the flavor, there is a pronounced harmony and the entirety of the “Holy Trinity” is clearly present. The bitterness from the wormwood is there but it’s not at all excessive. The anise flavor leads and carries throughout each sip while the chorus of other herbs follows in a pleasant and smooth procession.
There’s no doubt that you’re drinking a very potent alcoholic beverage with Lucid. The finish paves the way to the prickly sting of alcohol, but that doesn’t cheapen the experience. It’s just something that a new absintheur should be aware of and expect when drinking Lucid.
After all, you’re drinking a 62% ABV (124 proof) spirit!
The mouthfeel of the absinthe also fits into this harmony nicely. The oils of the herbs mesh nicely and create a nice presence throughout the palate. The taste lingers just long enough for you to truly experience the absinthe before it slowly vanishes.
I typically look for what kind of “story” an absinthe is trying to tell with its flavors. In the case of Lucid, its flavors tell a story of balance and authenticity that is true to both its craftsmanship and place in the absinthe market.
This balance of flavors (and its wide availability!) is what makes Lucid a great, accessible choice for anyone who is looking to try real absinthe.
Why Is Lucid So Popular?
I would wager that it’s safe to say that Lucid Absinthe Supérieure is the most popular real absinthe in the US market. Even over a decade later as more and more genuine absinthes have found their way onto store shelves, Lucid has largely maintained its position.
Lucid really stood out in the early days with its bottle design that featured two brilliant cat eyes on the dark bottle.
While the bottles have since been redesigned, I think that’s a good thing. The cat eyes were a great gimmick to get attention when absinthe was in its early relegalization days in the US, but the new design shows that it is, in fact, a serious product.
Lucid Absinthe Supérieure was the result of the work of modern absinthe-legend and scientist T.A. “Ted” Breaux. Its recipe was the result of reverse engineering vintage bottles of absinthe to create something that was as rich and genuine as the absinthes from a century earlier.
Lucid’s price has also gone down as the absinthe market has shifted over the last decade.
Where it was once $70-80/bottle, it now sits comfortably in the $55-60 range at most stores that I’ve seen it at. In its price range, Lucid Absinthe Supérieure provides a great option for absintheurs new and old alike who want real, quality absinthe at an affordable price.
I think it’s common for people to bash Lucid because it’s so common. However, the simple fact is that Lucid and T.A. Breaux are in many ways directly responsible for the absinthe renaissance that we are enjoying today!
Simply put: Lucid Absinthe Supérieure has maintained its popularity due to its quality, wide availability, and early status as a real mover and shaker in the absinthe renaissance.
Lucid Absinthe Supérieure will always have a place on my shelf and in my heart.
Does it offer anything truly remarkable when compared to other absinthes? Well, not really… But that’s largely because it really forms a type of baseline for what a real absinthe should be.
Especially at its price point, Lucid makes the world of absinthe readily accessible for anyone who wants to experience the Green Fairy for themselves.
Even for veteran absintheurs who might have developed tastes for finer, more expensive absinthes, I would recommend keeping a bottle of Lucid on hand. It’s a good low-cost genuine absinthe that’s a perfect option for sharing with friends or using in cocktails (like Death in the Afternoon) that might otherwise be a waste with more premium absinthe options!
Lucid Absinthe Supérieure provides a balanced absinthe experience at a reasonable price and is available virtually everywhere.
Because my reviews are done on an “apples to apples” basis, I can’t justifiably rate this the same as I would a more “premium” absinthe.
But even beyond the star rating that I’m giving Lucid Absinthe Supérieure, it’s still one that I would readily recommend to those who haven’t tried it and/or are new to absinthe.