The long awaited first release from Archive Spirits is finally here - Absinthe Roquette 1797.
The Roquette 1797 is a complex, unusual and spicy absinthe, based directly on a late 18th century manuscript recipe. It represents the first serious attempt in the modern era to recreate an absinthe from the very birth of La Fee Verte, when the drink straddled the line between liquor and potion, when it was as much magical and mysterious elixir as fashionable aperitif.
The 1797 contains the classic trinity of anise, fennel and grande wormwood, together with several other herbs, some of which will be found in no other commercially available absinthe. The absinthe is batch distilled in Pontarlier in an antique alambic, and is available in only very limited quantities.
The "1797" indicates the date of the manuscript recipe we've used, and "Roquette" pays tribute to the name of the faithful horse on which Dr Ordinaire - the legendary father of absinthe - rode around the Val deTravers, dispensing his herbal potions. We could hardly call the absinthe after the good doctor himself - "Absinthe Ordinaire" just wouldn't have been appropriate for such an extra-ordinaire absinthe...
The word "Roquette" doesn't, as you might first expect, refer to the speed of the horse, it refers to rocket, the salad green, which grows in the region, and on which the horse presumably liked to graze. The medicinal use of rocket at the time was for the treatment of impotence, so the modern equivalent might be to say Dr Ordinaire rode around on his horse "Viagra"...
Further releases in the Roquette range are in the pipeline, including a "1731" and an "1804", both based on old manuscripts.
The oldest distillations in the final Roquette bottling are nearly 18 months old, the youngest around 6 months, and this degree of maturation will be preserved in ongoing producion.
Absinthe Roquette 1797 should be prepared with ice-cold water, which must be added to the absinthe dose as slowly as possible, ideally drop by drop. Careful preparation like this will allow its subtly translucent louche and powerful, room-filling aroma to develop to best effect.
The coloration of Roquette 1797 is achieved in the most traditional manner possible, using only three classic colouring herbs. Like all natural chlorophyllic colorations it will gradually fade to a so-called feuille morte hue over time. The bottle should be stored upright and, like a fine wine, be kept in cool, dark conditions. Under no circumstances should it be exposed to prolonged sunlight, or to extreme temperature fluctuations.
Each Roquette 1797 bottle is sealed with a high quality re-usable wood and cork "T-cork", and then finished by hand with red sealing wax.