The Spirit of Liberty
|La Fée Absinthe Blanche|
The Taste of True French Absinthe
Following the repeal of the France’s absinthe ban in May 2011, La Fée presents La Fée Absinthe Blanche – the latest addition to the La Fée range and the second absinthe to be distilled with Marie-Claude Delahaye, founder and curator of the French Absinthe Museum (Auvers-sur-Oise).
Following extensive research and development during 2011 between Marie-Claude Delahaye, The French Absinthe Museum, our Master Distiller and George Rowley with the La Fée team, we are proud to announce the launch of La Fée Absinthe Blanche 53%ABV.
George Rowley & Marie-Claude working on the recipe for La Fée Absinthe Blanche
A classic spirit based on an authentic 19th century recipe, distilled with Grand Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and other traditional herbs and spices at Cherry Rocher distillery. Our classic Blanche (clear) absinthe, displays a more pronounced fennel character, with less anise. Blanche is a style historically associated with bootleg Absinthe, following the bans; as a clear spirit was harder to identify. Swiss Blanche absinthe gained the nick-name La Bleue – owing to its aesthetically pleasing blue tint – which is reminiscent of the blue tint that Artemisia plants display.
IngredientsLa Fee Absinthe Blanche is distilled with 11 herbs and spices, all of which have their roots in traditional absinthe production.
Click the below image for a list of the herbs and spices we distil to make La Fée Absinthe Blanche
The Fine Arts of Distilling & Blending:
The 11 botanicals of La Fée Absinthe Blanche are individually distilled (as opposed to a single distillation of all the ingredients together), these distillates are then carefully blended by the master distiller according to the exacting standards and measurements in the French Absinthe Museum approved recipe. This method is much more labour intensive and time consuming than a single distillation, but the extra effort allows our Absinthe (based on an original 19th century recipe) to be replicated time and time again, ensuring a consistency is maintained that could not be achieved by single distillation.
One of the stills used for La Fée Blanche and Parisienne
There is one last stage before we are ready to bottle: A sample is couriered to Marie-Claude Delahaye in Paris, who will test each batch, using her experience of tasting pre-ban Absinthe, against the original master proof. This starts with colour, aroma of the neat spirit, followed by adding water to establish the depth of louche and the taste and aroma of the botanicals that are released by the drop in ABV through dilution to drinking strength (12% to 16%ABV). In the event any aspect is not to our exacting standards, she will advise the distillery of any fine-tuning required, a rare event as our experience has grown since returning the distilling of traditional absinthe to France over a decade ago (May 2000).
Only following this approval is the distilled Absinthe sent for bottling at our Paris bond, being our central bond and hub supplying over 30 countries across every continent and 15 states in America – a quality control procedure that applies to both Parisienne and Blanche. We look forward to La Fée Blanche becoming available in the USA by early next year.
Distilling in more detail
Both techniques (blending separate distillations and single distillation) were employed pre 1915 in France. The single distillation process (all ingredients distilled together in alcohol) will naturally vary from batch to batch - caused by subtle differences in the condition of the ingredients (herbs being dried at different temperatures, humidity levels, terroir, seasonal changes during growing etc). Our experience shows the process of multiple distillations of separate herbs and spices gives us more control over the finished Absinthe: meaning better consistency and resultant quality, which is crucial when your spirits are so delicately balanced. A mere fraction of a change in one ingredient, caused by a natural variation, can upset the final balance of the spirit.
In our boutique La Fée X•S range the herbs and spices are distilled together in grape alcohol (La Fée X•S Suisse is one single distillation of all ingredients: La Fée X•S Francaise is made by distilling a blend of two separate distillations before the natural colouring process and a number of weeks in oak) and as such you will find slight variations from batch-to-batch. This should be expected from these ultra premium small batch (in our case as little as 200 bottles a time) boutique distillations. This technique is simply not scalable to mainstream production levels, as any natural inconsistency in taste or colour is multiplied in the resultant distillate, and also impossible to correct post-distillation.
Using a blend of distillates our Master distiller is able to adjust the recipe according to any seasonal variations in the ingredients which may have affected slight changes in their distillates. At La Fée we believe this method of distilling each botanical separately (In the case of La Fée Absinthe Blanche and Parisienne) ensures our premium traditional French range maintains its authenticity and quality in a most consistent way. When you find the perfect Absinthe, it’s our job to ensure we keep it for you – ensuring the consistent serving of both classic and modern cocktails.
One of thousands of bottles of ‘Blanche being labelled at Ducastaing’s Paris facility
As the absinthe market has matured over the last decade or so - and continues to do so: drinkers of the green fairy are becoming increasingly aware of the different styles of traditional absinthe: La Fée Absinthe Blanche compliments La Fée Absinthe Parisienne by offering a premium Blanche absinthe under the La Fée brand - completing our premium range of traditional styles.
Bottles of ‘Blanche roll through the production line, about to be boxed ready for shipment globally
From Classic serve to Cocktails:
Absinthe is no stranger to cocktails - being an essential ingredient for all bars during the Belle Epoque. Absinthe features in many pre-absinthe ban cocktail books, including Jerry Thomas’ ‘Bar-Tender’s Guide’ (1862) & Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender's Manual’ (1882)
1. Pour measure 2. Add 2-4 parts iced water 3. Stir and enjoy
One part Blanche to 2-4 parts iced water, which will turn a milky, opalescent white as the water dilutes the alcohol and releases the heavier content of the distillation - in particular the anise: diluting the alcohol bringing all the flavours of the varied herbs and spices together. No sugar is required for the traditional serve, as Blanche has a naturally softer, sweeter character.
A beet neutral spirit distilled with Grand & Petit wormwood,
green and star anise, fennel, hyssop, mint, lemon balm and coriander
seed - plus two secret botanicals which contribute to its elegance and
George & Marie-Claude with the original and latest addition to the La Fée family