Blog post by Gwen

Fou d’Absinthe - green and spicy and woody

 Photo: perfumeniche

The first time I tried absinthe was in Antibes in southern France. Wandering around a market, we came upon an absinthe den. The owner, a genial young man, told us all about absinthe. He said that absinthe is made by redistilling, alcohol with the leaves and flowers of Artemisia absinthium, also known as wormwood, along with anise and fennel. Contrary to popular belief, absinthe doesn’t taste like licorice, but the anise and fennel do give it a subtle licorice flavour. Then, he set about making us each a glass of absinthe.

The day was unbearably hot, and I’m always game to try a new cocktail. We watched as he put a sugar cube on a perforated spoon placed over a glass of absinthe and then poured ice-cold water onto the sugar cube until the absinthe became ‘louche’ or cloudy and milky green. The whole purpose of the Absinthe Ritual is to get that ‘louche’ colour as it symbolizes what happens to you when you drink it. Just as the ice-cold water transforms the absinthe, drinking the absinthe will alter your mind with hallucinations.

I have to say, that glass of absinthe on that hot summer’s day was mind-blowing. It was cold, dry and refreshing, and it took the edge right off the heat. But where were the hallucinations? The visions? The madness? Aren’t these the reasons 19th-century Parisian bohemians went crazy for absinthe? It turns out these properties of the green fairy are pure myth, but it’s this reputation the inimitable perfumer Olivia Giacobetti plays off with Fou d'Absinthe from L'Artisan Parfumeur

It opens with a shot of bracing icy cold alcohol backed with the smell of bitter, intensely herbaceous wormwood. It’s not at all sweet, but it is dry, like the slam, bang, tang of a sip of absinthe - Oh, hello, hot day in Antibes! – and so pungent it’s heady. A nod to hallucinations? Perhaps. As the headiness subsides, the sweet, rooty, woody smell of angelica flower emerges. It amplifies the verdancy as it links to a note of blackcurrant buds; green and woody faceted, it tempers the pungency while giving Fou d'Absinthe a gently fruity dimension. As it moves to the middle notes, things heat up. Star Anise appears, adding its soft spicy warmth and floral, licoricey nuances. The spicy warmth expands when nutmeg, clove, ginger and pepper show up, joined by sweet, dark, earthy patchouli. The juxtaposition of cool, dry, bracing top notes and warm, exotic spices and sweetness in the heart makes  Fou d'Absinthe so addictive and irresistible to anyone who comes near. The base is green and woody from dried pine tree needles and balsam fir beautifully blended with warm, musky labdanum. The languid base is the perfect counterpoint to the excitement at the fragrance's opening.

Fou d'Absinthedries down to an elegant, captivating skin scent that has the luminous quality Giacobetti is known for. It’s a gorgeous fragrance from one of my favourite perfumers.

Check out Fou d'Absinthe in our Shop.