bespoke-botanicalsThe plants traditionally used in pre-ban absinthe grew in the lush valleys and on rocky slopes of the Alps and the under warm Mediterranean skies of southern France. 

Fortunately, the Pacific Coast offers strikingly similar geography, soil types, and climate.

Many of the botanicals used to make Marteau absinthe are grown and harvested in Washington and Oregon especially for Marteau and according to exacting standards, including specified harvest and drying times and methods.

This is part of the reason Marteau is such a rich and faithful representation of pre-ban absinthe.

absinthium 

 

"Grande absinthe" is the French common name for Artemisia absinthium, the shrubby, sagebrush-like herb which is its definitive ingredient and which gives absinthe its name.  Although there are hundreds of species of wormwood in the Artemisia genus, only the absinthium species qualifies a spirit to be called "absinthe".

The wormwood used in Marteau absinthes is a selection of imported varieties, wildcrafted plants, and a special proprietary variety propagated especially for Marteau, and grown in the warmer Mediterranean climate of southern Oregon. It is this selection of absinthium that is the source of Marteau's fresh, clean alpine fragrance and flavor.

Pimpinella anisum

 

If wormwood is the definitive ingredient of absinthe, aniseed is the definitive flavor of absinthe. 

A historic absinthe such as Marteau is made with the best Spanish aniseed from Andalusia, as opposed to star anise or star anise oil, and has a more balanced herbal flavor.

This gives it a richer, more complex and exotic taste, avoiding the black licorice, candy-like flavor common to inferior absinthe.

fennel

 

Somewhat similar to anise, but more earthy and spicy, sweet fennel—fenouil doux—completes what is often referred to as the "holy trinity" of absinthe: grand wormwood, aniseed and fennel. Marteau absinthe contains a blend of the finest, most flavorful fennel cultivars available.

Angelica archangelica

 

Angelica root is responsible for the earthy top note which gives Marteau its mature and refined characteristic. The seed is peppery and warm. Used judiciously, these botanicals lend to the mystery and subtlety for which Marteau is known.

Iridis florentina

 

The Iris is believed to be the flower represented by the Fleur de Lys, a heraldic emblem and symbol of France, as well as the city of New Orleans. The iris root has been used in spirits and fragrances for centuries.  It imparts a delicate, soft floral flavor and fragrance very similar to violets.

ponticaMelissa officinalis

 

The color of Marteau is the result of an infusion of natural herbs added directly to the distillate.  The principal purpose of this secondary infusion of herbs, or finishing, is to create additional nuances of flavor and aroma, but it also results in the beautiful green color for which absinthe is famous.

Petite  wormwood and melissa (lemon balm) are the perfect traditional choices.  Petite wormwood is mild but flavorful, and unlike its grande wormwood cousin, lacks all but a faint bitterness.  Lemon balm adds a citrus note, along with additional sweetness.

 

grape spirits

 

Only fine esprit du vin—un-aged grape brandy—is used for making Marteau Master's Reserve Absinthe. The prestigious quality of Master's Reserve starts with dark, ripe Columbia Valley grapes. These are first made into wine, which in turn is distilled into high proof grape spirits. This clean, pure spirit is the finest medium with which to produce a truly historically authentic absinthe—just as it was done 200 years ago with the very best absinthes.

While the grape spirits are distilled to near-neutrality (above 85% ABV) and contribute only modestly to the taste of Marteau Master's Reserve, their aroma, mouth-feel, and finish provide the perfect palette upon which to blend the many brilliant and seductive layers of flavor.