Review: Distillerie Vinet-Ege Le Tourment Vert Absinthe

From French brandy distillery Vinet-Ege comes a new entry into the “with wormwood/thujone” absinthe market, Le Tourment Vert. “The Torment,” when it arrives on our shores (any day now) will be the fourth such absinthe to hit the market here. It joins Lucid, Kubler, and St. George, all of which are slowly, tentatively finding their ways on to U.S. liquor store shelves. (Fair warning with this review: I am not an Absinthe expert.)

tourmentvert2.thumbnail Review: Distillerie Vinet Ege Le Tourment Vert AbsintheAbsinthe containing wormwood has been illegal here since 1912, after a notorious legal case led to it being banned in several European countries. Absinthe, it was said, was powerful enough to cause a man to see demons, murder his family, and the like. This was blamed on thujone, a hallucinogenic compound in the wormwood.

Absinthe laws have been being overturned in Europe in recent years thanks to strenuous lobbying and a little technology: Thujone is illegal, but wormwood is not. These new absinthes contain wormwood extracts but reportedly no thujone. That’s the case with Lucid and Kubler, at least. I’m not so sure about Le Tourment Vert. Regardless, I’m not here to analyze the chemical makeup of the product, just to tell you how it tastes.

tourmentvert1.thumbnail Review: Distillerie Vinet Ege Le Tourment Vert AbsintheUnlike most absinthes, Le Tourment Vert is a bright green liquid (some say it is artificially colored), bottled at 100 proof (less than Lucid and Kubler), and characteristic in flavor of many of the new absinthes. But side by side, I preferred Le Tourment. Many modern absinthes have a pronounced bitterness, which is why you really must drink them in the traditional fashion: With water and sugar. But honestly, Le Tourment can actually be drunk neat if you like, though I find it improved by drinking in the traditional fashion, with water and sugar.

Unlike many absinthes, Le Tourment is quite sweet, so much so that it cuts the licorice aroma when you first take a sip. The licorice returns on the finish, dissolving into herbal notes (which must be the Saveurs d’Herbes mentioned on the label). Hallucinations? Well, no, but I have had to cap myself at one glass per day…

The color is unreal, and to be sure it’s artificial. That’s a strike, sure, but dig around and you’ll find that a lot of absinthes out today resort to the same trick, though perhaps not as boldly as Le Tourment.

If you’re into absinthe, at least a little, track down and snatch up a bottle of the stuff. It’s significantly different than anything else on the market; and while it’s very controversial, it’s an interesting counterpoint to the more traditional absinthe bottlings out there.

Speaking of the bottle, it’s a real work of art: etched glass with the face of a demon, women’s faces in profile, and that inimitable green fairy hidden amongst the swirls. When full of the green stuff, the effect is quite striking (though my photograph doesn’t do it justice).

This review has been updated with new information made available since the original was written in 2007.

Re-tasting update: Wow, was I ever wrong on this one…

A- / about $60 /

tourment3 Review: Distillerie Vinet Ege Le Tourment Vert Absinthe

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54 Responses to Review: Distillerie Vinet-Ege Le Tourment Vert Absinthe

  1. OK I have read through the commetns again and again, and now ponder this. Read, (Eliipez Sou verme Francais) and learn what you are all commenting about. There is no correct color, Wormwood leave a sickly yellow stain so has always been the practice to CHANGE the color, Blue, Green, Yellow, doesnt matter its all esthetics.. I have patiently read the oservations of the ” Nouvo Absinth specialists , SO
    Drinkwjhat you like and if you dont like it leave it, but dont pretend you know what your talking about. Le Torment is as good as any of them and its down to personal preference. So Bon Vivant’e , cheers, and as Edgar Allen Poe said, It is not how you drink it it is how you enterpret it.

  2. Alot of duplicate/spammed “high praise” posts for Le Tourment can be found all over the net for our pre-ponderance. It’s like Swisher Sweet having their people respond to forum posts about “good cigars” and saying what an amazing cigar the Swisher Sweet is.

    Le Tourment is like the Swisher Sweet of absinthes. That’s not bad or good or anything it’s just going to have a certain target market. If you go on a cigar forum and talk up the Swisher Sweet, the guys smoking real cigars(ingredients: pure filler, binder, wrapper tobaccos) will call a b.s. on you because they feel that a real cigar does not contain sugar or chemicals or notebook paper. Le Tourment is an absinthe flavored drink with artificial colors. With todays color matching and food dyes the color could have been an identical color match to the finest French or Swiss absinthe made. Who cares? The issue comes back to what am I drinking that makes it look like this and taste like this? Is it artificial? I had some rum the other day. They took a bunch of rum flavored hard candy and dissolved it in a little everclear and alot of water. So sweet, no burn, just a little alcohol content and the bottle said “Rum” on the front of it.

  3. this blog was definitely the most entertaining comment string I’ve read in a long time. 4th one that I’ve read on the subject… and though I’ve only tried absinthe twice, I feel like I could set a few people straight already.

    Here are the highlights:

    1. Absinthe has been made and marketed lots of different ways throughout history.

    2. Le Tourment Vert is not consistent with some of those ways, and consistent with others.

    & 3. Marketing companies go to great lengths to service their clients.

    Now for my review. I’m a TX local bar manager, I’ve worked in the service industry for almost 8 years, have earned recognition both locally and nationally for cocktail recipes/crafting, and am a level 1 Sommelier.

    Overall it’s a great product, well marketed, well crafted for it’s purpose and audience, well presented and well priced.

    I definitely recognized what I would Identify as a louge” when preparing the drink in a traditional manner.

    I certainly recognized the distinct characteristics of anise, wormwood, and fennel, as well as many other notes some might call favorable and others not so much.

    I’m all about approachable… Particularly with things like Absinthe. “purrists” cry fowl, calling LTV a perverse imitation. It is not, it is not the same thing, it is a modern and different conception of something else, that is all.

    It’s like making a movie out of a book, and then remaking the movie. The book was first a story, and the story first a thought, everything changes in stages of time.

    What makes these new manifestations, “AWESOME” is their ability to reach new audiences. To create an experience for someone that may not have chosen or had the option to experience it otherwise. That is beauty..

    You may look down on those that praise the film.. or the remake of the film, because you feel like you were a part of something closer to the truth, to it’s inception. That somehow your experience is more valid because of it. I cannot say that you are wrong, only that as human beings, we must learn to accept each others experiences as valid. While the debate itself offers insight, the kind of abhorrent dissension that is often displayed by one party or another serves no purpose at all.

    Furthermore it weakens your point..

    Seek clarity, repugnance is a sign of strong passion, you clearly have something worth saying… but do so in such a way that your words make it beyond the ears of those in the quire with you and into the community.

  4. In unrelated news, it appears that Le Tourment Vert is no longer on the market.

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