My Favorite Things: Absinthe

I detest the end of February. Almost done with winter surrounded by gray skies, dead tees, and brown grass; it’s enough to drive a man to drink. One of my favorite drinks at this time of year is absinthe. I do the whole ceremony with the spoon and the sugar cube. Absinthe fits my melancholic mood. Absinthe in perfume contains some of my favorite perfumes in my collection. There are many which are discontinued but here are five with which you can encounter the Green Fairy sans hangover.

My friend and colleague Ida Meister introduced me to the independent perfumer Serena Ava Franco. Ms. Franco’s brand is called Ava Luxe and has one of the more distinct aesthetics in all of indie perfumery. Her Absinthe is a perfect example as she uses wormwood essence as her nucleus around which is wrapped lemon, angelica, star anise, and hyssop incense. It is that last ingredient which elevates Absinthe. The herbal incense is pitched perfectly with the wormwood to form a mystical perfume worthy of the name Absinthe.

Absolument Absinthe has the best pedigree of all as it is owned by a company which makes the liquor. Perfumer Pascal Rolland creates a symphony of illicit mood enhancers. He opens with a bit of cannabis before adding some absinthe among a floral heart. It ends on a very sensual mix of musks. It is a wild night in a bottle.

by kilian a taste of heaven

By Kilian A Taste of Heaven: Absinthe Verte is a completely decadent fragrance composed by Calice Becker. The absinthe ignites the rest of the development as it moves into a fabulous lavender and rose heart. The base made of costus, patchouli, and oakmoss carries a different kind of green bite before softening with some ambered vanilla. This is the absinthe for the refined tastes.

All of the perfumes Alessandro Gualtieri created for his Nasomatto brand had challenging aspects. Absinth didn’t thrill me at first because Sig. Gualtieri was interested in exploring the woody part of the wormwood. To do that he added in artemesia, pine, licorice, and a lot of white musk. This does bring the woodiness out but it also creates a camphor-like accord which feels as if your sinuses are being cleared. This Absinth takes you into the dark woods.

Cartier III L’Heure Verteuse is the one where absinthe is used to artistic effect. Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent is not going for mystery or mysticism. She just wants to create a memorable lavender perfume. The absinthe is used in the top accord and it is matched with verbena. Mme Laurent fashions a green floral accord where the absinthe again tilts towards the woody. Rosemary and thyme bring it back to the herbal side of things just in time for the lavender to insert itself. Some mastic resin finishes it off.

I’m going to go prepare a drink and maybe give myself a spritz of one of these as I close my eyes and dream of spring.

Disclosure: This review is based on bottles of all the perfumes I purchased.

Mark Behnke