First released in 1805, Pernod was the first absinthe produced in France. It was the most popular brand of absinthe throughout the 19th century, but was banned (along with all other absinthes) in 1915, after the spirit was accused of having psychoactive affects.
The recipe actually dates back to the 1790s, when a Dr. Pierre Ordinaire created a distilled medicine in Switzerland. The recipe came to Henri Louis Pernod after a business deal, and he established his own distillery in France. It would change drinking in France forever, with the town of Pontarlier in the country’s east transformed from a small town for mountain crossings, to a city of 28 different distilleries.
Pernod is produced at the Caves Byrrh distillery, which also makes the famous Byrrh liqueur, and continues to use wormwood from the Pontarlier region. After the ban on absinthe was lifted in the early 2000’s, Pernod released a bottling which was said to be very close to the pastis liqueur they were already making. The formula has been revised in recent years.
The absinthe itself offers a floral liquorice note, with flavours of violet, rose, and honeysuckle accompanied by star anise, black liquorice, coriander, fennel and other grassy herbs. Overall it is a fresh and slightly drying palate.
Pernod has a pale green hue which louches pleasantly when cold water is added. Bottled at 68% ABV, this is an old-school, powerful absinthe.
One of the classics, a must-try for any absinthe fan.