I stumbled upon Parnasse Absinth Superiore on a recent trip to my local liquor store.
It caught my eye.
With the most artificial (and obnoxious) color of green that I have ever seen, how could I have not noticed it?
I looked down to the price tag.
It was $16.99 on a shelf with numerous other absinthes starting at a price of $49 with most bottles being in the $60-$80 range.
Now, I pretty strongly maintain that the price of a bottle is not always indicative of the quality of the contents. Surprises come in all forms, after all!
As I held the bottle of violently green liquid in my hands, I put it into the basket.
I’m not familiar with Cristiani Luca Distilleria, but I hope they don’t let me down.
A Quick Disclaimer: Is This a Bad Decision?
This is one of those moments that I call a “gas station sushi” situation.
If you see sushi being sold at the gas station, you might be enticed by the low price.
Everything in you is telling you that this is a very bad idea and that you will regret it. However, you decide that it must be safe and don’t want to miss out on such a great deal.
“How bad could it be?” you might reason to yourself.
The thing about gas station sushi is that the best case scenario is that you instantly regret it. The taste is awful and you haven’t fully committed yet.
I think you can imagine what the worst case scenario is.
So now I have poured a glass of Parnasse Absinth Superiore and am preparing myself for a “gas station sushi” moment.
I’m trying to remain open-minded, but I don’t see this going well. After all, research often demands sacrifice.
With all of that said, let’s get into why you’re here: my review of Parnasse Absinth Superiore.
Review – Parnasse Absinth Superiore
I prepared this in the traditional method doing 3 parts water to 1 part absinth.
It is mildly (and I mean mildly) better than I had anticipated. Then again, first impressions count and the bar for expectation was about 9 feet below the surface.
Absinthe may have originated for medicinal purposes, but I’ve never smelled something so medicinal outside of a doctor’s office or hospital.
I had to put my nose into the glass (nearly in the drink itself) to get the full aroma. There’s a tinge of anise to the aroma, but the rest smells like some kind of vaguely herbal syrup.
The sweetness definitely overpowers any other notes that might be in this.
There is a louche, which honestly surprised me.
The heavy use of food colorings to achieve the emerald color of this spirit admittedly create an interesting effect when watching the louche.
There is a slight clouding, but those same colorings stop it from forming the milky white louche and create a less obnoxious green color in the glass.
I feel like I don’t need to wear sunglasses to look directly at it now, so that’s good.
As far as louches go, it’s underwhelming. By the time I reached the 3:1 ratio, the louche was basically entirely gone and only the thinnest of layers of oil rested on the liquid’s surface.
Just when I had psyched myself up enough to take a sip of Parnasse Absinth Superiore, I was immediately made to regret it.
That painfully sweet syrup scent wasn’t just an idle threat by this drink. I may very well have developed five cavities in my teeth from just a single sip.
Through the onslaught of sweetness, I tasted some very faint hints of anise. If there are any herbs in whatever syrup this is made from (because such a thing could never be achieved with proper distillation), I cannot pick out even a single one.
Maybe a hint of hyssop, but that may just be wishful thinking.
Unfortunately, much like a rollercoaster that you didn’t want to get on in the first place, this flavor seems to go on forever.
The finish is somewhat akin to what I imagine chewing on a condom to taste like. I had hoped that this awful evolution of the flavor was a sign that I was being put out of my misery.
But this warped, demented, and immeasurably cruel version of the Green Fairy had other plans.
No amount of water, lemonade, or mouthwash could fully get this aftertaste out of my mouth. It took the better part of 2 hours for the rubbery aftertaste to go away.
Throughout this experience, the mouthfeel was incredibly hollow. There was no unique texture to the drink. The only sensation was an overwhelming sweetness and crushing feeling of regret.
Edit: Distilleria Cristiani Luca began as a manufacturer of syrups. That explains a lot.
Conclusion – Parnasse Absinth Superiore Review
I tried Mad Dog 20/20 one time many years ago. That event still haunts me and Parnasse Absinth Superiore brought those terrifying memories back to the forefront of my mind.
You can dress it up any way you want, but it will never be associated with quality.
I didn’t go in expecting anything grand. Between the heavy use of food colorings and low price tag, I fully expected “gas station sushi.”
Parnasse Absinth Superiore is a funhouse version of absinthe.
It’s like someone very loosely described absinthe to the distiller who then proceeded to create something that one might find as a prop in the cheesiest of B-movies. When the distiller tasted this creation, they decided to just add sugar until it masked the gag-inducing flavor that they had created.
As I’m writing this, the overwhelming sweetness is making my stomach churn. I’ve messaged my friends and informed them who and what is to blame if I die tonight.
If we are going to call this atrocity an absinthe, it is only in the loosest of terms.
Parnasse Absinth Superiore is the Mad Dog 20/20 of the absinthe world and, much like MD2020 and sushi of questionable origin, should be avoided at all costs.
If you see this being served at a bar, you should immediately find the owner and give them a proper shaming.