Review: Lucid Absinthe

People of the Internet, you have been heard!

I had intended this to be a weekend full of absinthe reviews, based on crushing, popular demand for more absinthe coverage, but the overwhelming heat in San Francisco (both yesterday and today were all-time-high record breakers here) kept me off of spirits and into lighter stuff. Finally, the temperature is breaking, and at long last I’m breaking out the first of three major absinthe reviews you’ll be seeing over the next few days.

First up is the French-made Lucid, which was the first major absinthe to hit U.S. store shelves after the FDA rules on wormwood in liquor began to loosen up last year.

With its striking cats-eye bottle design, you can’t miss Lucid on the shelf. Pour a glass and you can’t miss the smell, either. The intoxicating aroma of anise and spice fills the room, overpowering anything else.

Based on how it smelled, I had high hopes for the taste, too. I poured a traditionally-prepared glass (with sugar and water — at a whopping 124 proof, drinking Lucid straight is absolute insanity) and immediately was in for a surprise. The taste comprises much less anise than the aroma would indicate. Rather, herbs pick up where the anise leaves off. It’s difficult to pick out exactly what other herbs are used in the creation of Lucid, but they add some complexity here in a category that is otherwise often dominated by overpowering licorice flavor. Still, I recommend going easy on the water when drinking Lucid, despite the alcohol content (which is the highest of all mainstream U.S.-available absinthes); otherwise you’ll miss out on some of its more intriguing character.

Lucid surprised me by being a moderately pale yellow in the glass, but fans of the clouding “louche” effect will appreciate how milky it gets when mixed with water and sugar.

Lucid has a reputation, due to its muted anise flavor, for being a “beginner” absinthe, and I can understand that sentiment. It’s enjoyable and even refreshing, and you don’t have to feel like you’re sucking down liquid licorice while you’re drinking it. Still, I don’t advise knocking back three or four of these in a night just so you can feel like Toulouse-Lautrec… You’ll end up under the table.

More recent comments here…

B- / $67 / drinklucid.com


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59 Responses to Review: Lucid Absinthe

  1. Pingback: Drinkhacker.com » Review: St. George Absinthe

  2. Honestly, I couldn’t do it. I had a taste over ice and gave my friends the stink eye (for those of you who’ve seen Juno, you know the face). I tried making my summer absinthe spritzer with it, but to no avail. I’m sorry folks, but there is no way you’ll catch me sipping on Lucid, lounging around my apartment waiting for the green fairy to come visit, no way, no how! I’d like to think I’ve developed a taste for absinthe, but this one just doesn’t cut it. So far I haven’t found a absinthe on the market that makes a better cocktail than Le Tourment Vert. I guess I’ll continue enjoying my Tourment Spritzers until I find one that wows my taste buds even more.

  3. This is a “gateway” absinthe — once you’ve tried a good French or Swiss one, this stuff is pointless. The problem is that none of the quality absinthes are available for US retail.

  4. I’m sorry. I like most absinthe I’ve tried but, Lucid (excuse my French) is fucking nasty. Nothing and I’ll repeat NOTHING should ever be made out of beets. And if you read the bottle it is distilled from beets. The bottle might look cool and even though I might have an iron stomach, it made my friend gag and puke after two drinks.

  5. Newyork Newyork

    it Has no wormwood so whats the point?

  6. Newyork Newyork: Yes it does. All the absinthes I have reviewed here have wormwood.

  7. i think i scored on a great distilled wormwood concentrate off ebay : apparently, ( duh ) i thought you could just steep the wormwood herb in alcohol & wait days, etc, months…for a level of thujone to pick up, but it’s pointless.

    The distillation retains higher levels of thujone, and from what i’ve heard – and thank god i didn’t buy it ( the pretty bottle & it’s accessories probably make up ) on why it appears to be a lax drink.

    Apparently, prepared U.S versions are made with “southern wormwood” – and it’s levels are like below 35ppl. I think i’m going to have to settle pouring GREAT quality stuff from a naked bottle.

  8. i was speaking of lucid oops / but yea….distilled from Beets ?? R u serious ? that’s just WRONG.

  9. Actually, Lucid tis not that great. There’s a taste and aftertaste akin to … well… pukish? It’s not good. It also has an unsettling effect to it unlike any other absinthe I’ve had. Hell, Absente is MUCH better then this.

    Also, Absente uses Southern Wood which, yes, makes your contrast level peak just like regular absinthe and tastes much better.

  10. This one was rather horrible, not worth the $. But you never know untill you try and what a waste of $!

  11. Lucid flat out SUCKS!!! wicked bad aftertaste….no perceivable good feeling after drinking it, there is nothing good about it…I’d rather drink Anisette…or Sambuca….absolute bullshit, and $60 a bottle just to find out how bad it was…..never again…Eduoard 72 is good…Lucid is the worst damn thing I’ve ever had….and they’re both made by the same guy “Breaux”….what the hell dude? He’s just trying to get teenagers to buy it, because they’ll pay the money and won’t know the difference…but I feel like I got cheated big time..because I know the difference…as I sit here writing, my stomach is rebelling against the one glass I had of it….that’s how bad it is…god-awful…

  12. i enjoyed lucid absinthe. it wasnt too potent and it gave me an entirely new high. granted it tastes like pure licoroce but i like it, it has real ass wormwood in it, and the after taste is like cream. say what you want because we all like different things but i like lucid very much. it gave me a whole different “head change” from any liquor i’ve tried. i feel like a blank slate when i drink it and even though it is 70 USD a bottle where i live i think it worth it. two drinks fill me up and frees my mind and i have plenty left for later. i agree that it is cheesy marketing with the cat eyes and all but i definitely think it is a great beginner absinthe with a mellowing yet enlightening effect. i have tried it as a shot and as the tradtion calls with sugar and ice water and i much prefer a good shot and a half with just ice cold water, no sugar. i did try a half a shot with no additives and that was complete insanity but if u drink it right and get yourself in an objective mindset it can inspire more than just an internet review for sure. thanks.

  13. Jean- Michelle

    Lucid est Bon. But understandably its geared milder than the regular absinthes I have had in the past. Sugar can quickly turn the drink into syrup if not moderated and the louche turns immediatly if your not carefull making the drink worthless water. My suggestion “take your time with the ritual” as it were. Milder absinthes like Lucid benefit from the traditional water fountain method or a very SLLLLOOWWWW pour.

    Diluting the drink to much just so you can drink it is in my opinion not a carefull study or a controlled review. Most americans not accustomed to drinking absinthe may do this simply to get it past their lips. That being said if you dont like it or can’t drink it as it is supposed to be, save your money and buy a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    I do however like the “le chat noir” motif on the bottle Its very parisian.

    All in all Tres Bien, a good show for the first legal absinthe in the states in almost 100 yrs.
    I have taken my time to enjoy it, its not a shot drink and certainly not one I would make a mixer from. Lucid is better geared for the french salon, and not the sports bar.

  14. Lucid is totally VILE. This being said from a drinker of high-end Scotchs that often taste like dirt (I love it). So I know what a wallop of strong tasting liquor can taste like.

    This drink is so strong and so disgusting that everyone in the room left when I poured a glass. Great looking “louche” but not one other redeeming quality. It has such a small amount of the real wormwood, you might as well go suck on a stick and shoot Everclear. You’ll get the same effect: Getting drunk and gagging it down as you drink. If the fake absinthe’s are bogus, I’ll stick to bogus for now – at least it’s drinkable. STEAR CLEAR OF LUCID! THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN DRINK THIS SWILL IS IF YOUR NOT!!

  15. La Fee Verte

    Lucid is a wonderful beginners absinthe. Since we can’t get the real stuff here in the US this is as close as you will come. It is not as bitter as traditional absinthes and won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. To those of you posters who said you drank it and puked… for shame. What a waste of a good drink! If you can’t stand licorice, this in not the drink for you. Preparing it makes all the difference.. the slower the drip the better the taste. If you are a serious absinthe drinker you have to have an absinthe fountain. I didn’t think it was a “must have” but after finding a great deal on one, I am hooked, I won’t drink it any other way. Drink Lucid.

  16. I just bought a Lucid giftset today after reading the reviews on this site. What’s wrong with Lucid? In comparison to higher quality and more authentic drinks, sure, it might not be good. But it’s definitely drinkable… and enjoyable. This is my first Absinthe and I have to say that I definitely like it.

    I’m a scotch drinker through and through, but I can make an exception for this.

  17. I have been drinking Absinthe for a very long time and I must say for an American Absinthe Lucid is not half bad. The taste is comparable to most mid quality French and Swiss Absinthe and it louche’s nicely. The after taste lingers a bit but so does most mid grade Absinthe’s, Any good Absinthe should be a little bitter. All and all I feel Lucid is a good Absinthe and perfect for beginer drinkers.

  18. Tony – FWIW Lucid is made in France

  19. Lucid isn’t too bad, it’s just rather bland and some may find the aroma slightly off-putting.

    I see comment #2 is a Le Tourment Vert rep…

  20. I loved “Lucid”… I’m not a fan of Black Licorice, but I enjoyed my night drinking it… Of course there were no “trippy” effects, but over all a way better “buzz” than anything else on the market… The price range is ridiculous, but oh well.

    P.S. The hangover of about eight shots is that of a couple small bottles of wine.

  21. Absinthe is just stupid in general. If you want an herb infused alcohol, you can get a bottle of Jagermeister at any local liquor store. It’s probably higher quality than this trash.

    This drink has been proven to not be a hallucinogenic so it’s pretty much a novelty that is not worth the money.

  22. Sitting here with my glass of Lucid.

    I have been reviewing wines for about 6 years now. A trip to New Orleans initiated my first encounter with Absinthe. It just so happened that while I was in the Pirates Cafe which is located in the French Quarter next to St. Louis Cathedral Ted Breaux was there and I drank Absinthe with him. He had Lucid, Clandestine, and another one that I can’t remember the name of, but of the three I enjoyed Lucid the most.

    When I returned home I shopped around for Absinthe and picked up La Muse Verte, Kubler, and Mythe Absinthe Traditional, as well as a bottle of Lucid, for comparisons. The Mythe Absinthe Traditional is the worst of this group. It’s heavy on the alcohol, which is noticeable as soon as you uncork it. The Kubler is very good. The flavors are well balanced and the percentage of alcohol is low compared to the other Absinthes I’ve tried. I like it. My favorite is La Muse Verte. It’s very good. The flavors are balanced even much more than the Kubler. La Muse Verte is very enjoyable. I must admit that I really like Lucid despite what many of the other reviewers have stated. I really enjoy the “lucid” effect of Lucid, which is much more intense than Kubler, La Muse Verte, and Mythe. I’ll admit that as far as taste goes, Lucid may be a little thin and stronger on the anise (licorice flavor), than the others, but as I stated, it’s the lucid effect that Lucid provides and that I enjoy. Thank you Ted Breaux, and keep up the tradition!

  23. Pingback: Drinkhacker.com » New York Times Rates Absinthe

  24. Honestly, I enjoyed Lucid… It did the job, a wonderful head change… Though, not as alluring as the absinthe that I’ve tried before… Still, I can settle on spending 70 USD on this bottle, because of the taste and the availability.

  25. Pingback: Drinkhacker.com » Revisiting Absinthe: Seven Bottlings Re-Sampled

  26. Absent Minded Professor

    Lucid ia actually really good. I tried Absente brand and noticed that it was so sweet that it covered a lot of the undertone flavor. Howerver, the thought that Lucid is made from beets is a little bothersome. The aroma is nice, but watch that the louche does not develop too quickly. The person who mentioned that you should take your time with this was on the mark.

  27. Absent Minded Professor

    By the way, you can get this stuff for about $55. I understand that there is others out there, but for the price it is a rather good deal. Now on to Pernod!!!!

  28. If you’re all so fucking hard on this brand of Absinthe, then why is it only one of four on the shelf at Bubbles Liquor store? I just paid 67 bucks on a bottle, and it doesn’t even say how much Thujone content it contains. What’s my point? Let’s getting the fucking real deal here in the United States of ASS, what’s the big hold-up? I can’t even get straight answer from anyone on what the best, most “authentic” absinthe is these days. I’d be better off finding some antique unopened bottle on ebay. So Lucid or not, you’re all missing the point. NOTHING SOLD IN THE U.S. IS GONNA PLEASE YOU CRITICS. Prove to me that Lucid is crap! Show me the real thing so what you say doesn’t get cast off as just uppity bullshit.

  29. Oh, and by the way; I just took a good straight shot of this shit, and you all are PUSSIES! Can’t handle straight whiskey either, can you?

  30. idealist good one.. no pussies here in vegas..

  31. I was at a bar last night and no one would take a triple shot of this “green drink”. So of course, the shot being free, I did it. Somebody bought me 2 more rounds of it. I woke up this morning on a chair in the backyard. I don’t remember anything..
    Those aren’t cat eyes on the bottle. They are the devils eyes.
    Guess it isn’t too good from all you guys. I won’t drink this again unless it’s free.

  32. ViralMarketing

    Congrats on the amazing number of people that have bought into Lucid’s marketing campaign. It is not the first “legal absinthe” in 100 years. No laws have changed. It is not absinthe period. Lucid is high proof alcohol made from a type of wormwood, nothing more. Even the creator of Lucid has made very clear comments regarding the absense of Thujone and their version of absinthe.

    “Using every bit of information I’ve processed over the past seven years, my calculations indicate that quality original Pontarlier labels contained anywhere from 50-100mg/kg total thujone. I do agree that I feel that thujone is not the only player in the secondary effects, although I’m convinced it plays an important role. I also have some evidence that indicates that the presence of other essences and even manufacturing methods is influential.”
    ~T.A. Breaux
    (via: http://www.feeverte.net/archive/messages/16/138.html and http://www.feeverte.net/archive/messages/16/138.html )

    You are paying a premium price for a high proof alcohol that tastes like licorice…save the money and buy a bottle of Jagermeister then urinate in it…I am sure you would not be able to tell the difference.

    Until then, growing and consuming wormwood or any other member of the Artemisia family is still illegal in the United States, mainly due to concerns about the effects on the local ecosystem and products for direct consumption are not to be sold in the United States. Hence Lucid and all the other absinthe or absinte knock-offs to be classed as Thujone-free by the FDA.

  33. Devon Aidendale

    Just tried Lucid the other day. As a “beginner” when it comes to absinthe I can tell you that the anise flavor is still quite strong! I think I mixed it more towards a ratio of 6:1 as well so it was fairly watered down. I also drank about 3.5 glasses of it and, while it made me feel nice, was hardly what I expected from absinthe. Maybe that’s just my expectations talking though.

    As an asid

  34. Devon Aidendale

    Just tried Lucid the other day. As a “beginner” when it comes to absinthe I can tell you that the anise flavor is still quite strong! I think I mixed it more towards a ratio of 6:1 as well so it was fairly watered down. I also drank about 3.5 glasses of it and, while it made me feel nice, was hardly what I expected from absinthe. Maybe that’s just my expectations talking though.

    As an aside, I noticed that the first comment on this article seems to be auto-generated as an excerpt from a comment in another review mentioning Lucid. Is this a WordPress plugin, and, if so, could you possibly tell me the name?

  35. Actually, ViralMarketing, laws have changed. The FDA now allows a higher thujone content, as of some time in 2008. Which is why you see so many wormwood-containing absinthes now on the market in the US.

  36. Actually Lucid Absinthe contains: Artemisia absinthium (thujone)…which is a by-product of wormwood. The biggest difference is that any Absinthe distilled locally or imported in the U.S. can only contain 10% thujone. The UK allows 15%. The original Absinthe contained 35%. You’re never gonna get that in the U.S. By the way, there is no medical evidence that thujone leads to dimentia, psychotic behavior, deepression…etc…but it will make you hallucinate.
    Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucid_(Absinthe)

  37. By the way, after drinking vodkas, reserved wines, liquors, Irish Scotch, King what’s his ass 100 year old brandy for 40 years, Don Perignon…Absinthe are at the top. Currently at least 3 times a year I order Original Absinthe from the UK through http://www.origianlabsinthe.com…it contains 15% thujone. What a beautiful mellow buzz. It’s illegal, but it’s sent in a brown wrapped box with no description. Not likely with millions of packages being scanned by the custom people they are gonna stop to open your package.
    It takes ten days.

  38. I’m a beginning Absinthe drinker, but I’ve tried several different kinds; Lucid, some French stuff (don’t know the name, didn’t see the bottle) and some that was smuggled into the States from the Czech Republic. The French variety tasted like the floor of a frat house and gave no high, the Czech absinthe tasted like essence of evil and got me high as John Glenn; Lucid was a nice midpoint. It actually tastes good (I don’t like licorice by the way) and the mellow, philosophical high was friendly without being overpowering. I’m buying another bottle.

    A note; just doing a shot of Absinthe is pointless (except perhaps as a demonstration of your lack of taste buds). The sugar-and-water ritual is more than spectacle; the cold water allows the herbal essences to be released from the alcohol ( which as I understand it is one of the reasons why Absinthe is so strong out of the bottle). This results in both a much better flavor and the “poetic” high that made it so popular in the first place.

    Also; it isn’t the thujone BY ITSELF that gets you high. It’s the interaction of the distilled herbs (which are mild stimulants) and alcohol (which is a depressant). I believe it’s referred to as a “synergistic effect”. Thujone is a stimulant, but so are some of the other ingredients. I preferred Lucid’s flavor and effects over the “stronger” Czech stuff. Oh, and absinthe does not produce visual hallucinations, that’s a myth. It does give mild aural trips, however; try knocking back three glasses and listening to Jimi Hendrix. :)

    Anyhow, I’d recommend Lucid to anyone interested in trying Absinthe. I’m currently trying to get the bar I work at to carry it.

  39. I didn’t mind Lucid. Well the effects of it that is. The taste isn’t all that great, but the buzz is worth it. It gives you a light high after one glass (with sugar and ice cold water). My friends and I just sat around giggling and talking about everything. Granted you do get very drunk off this, but it’s not a heavy drunk like most liquors or wine. etc give you. I enjoyed the feeling. Though you will NOT experience any hallucinations while drinking Lucid, because the U.S does not legally allow enough thujore in the absinthe to make you trip. If you want to hallucinate off absinthe I recommend you order a bottle from overseas. The cheapest I found was from Czech Republic. Over all I liked Lucid and will Probably buy it again.

  40. I was surprised by the quality of Lucid, had a glass prepared in the traditional manner at a local bar.

    Tasted much better than I expected, not as subtle as Marteau. A good nuts and bolts Absinthe, though the price needs to come down to compete with that execrable imposter, “Le Tourmente Verte”.

    I’ve never had any hallucinogenic effects while drinking Absinthe, whatsoever, and wouldn’t expect to, as the evidence I’ve seen demonstrates that thujone (yes Lucid contains wormwood thus it contains thujone) is a convulsant, not a hallucinogen.

    Seems to be some mis-information being spread by, perhaps competing brands (viral marketing)?

  41. love it loveit

  42. JakeSanders

    The Taste of Lucid is so strong and nasty… I chased a shot chugging ice cold water for ten seconds and the aftertaste was still there , Imagine mixing Jager and Sambuca and the combined taste was ten times as strong. Id rather do 5 shots of Jager Straight than one shot of Lucid Chasing with water. Does give you a interesting buzz though.

  43. Carter Marsh

    I bought a bottle of Lucid and it has sat in my freezer ever since. Ive drinkin it twice now first time I ended up getting sick and second time I realized i hate this stuff yuk!! And im by far and avid drinker with beers, wines, and Liquors, but this stuff NO WAY!!!

  44. Carter – for starters it shouldn’t be in your freezer…

  45. Buying my first bottle tonight. Not based of the majority of comments however, hah!

  46. This was the first absinthe I tried, the first time I tried it I think I used too much water, however after trying it after lighting the sugar apposed to just dripping I like it a lot more, gives you a great high

  47. matt in the sky

    i recently bought a bottle of lucid (my first bottle of absinthe) and i see nothing wrong with it. good effects such as energy, creativity, deep thought, and of course a bit of drunkenness were prominent. it does indeed have wormwood (according to the bottle- “a full serving of grande wormwood”.) as far as im concerned, the drink was very unique and i didnt mind it after a few sips. perhaps one would call it an acquired taste. if not, everyone likes different things. its not lucid’s fault that one doesnt like it. and im quite sick of all of the absinthe snobs who stick their noses up in the air if you dont drink the most expensive bottles on the market, which in general, americans cant get their hands on in the first place without the risk of getting ripped off. when i get the opportunity to try something better in the states, sure i will. but at this point i dont believe (at least in my area) that theres too much to choose from, and based upon countless unbiased reviews which i have read through, its one of the best attainable absinthes in the states. but hey, whenever someone feels like dropping by my house with a $200 bottle of absinthe for me to test, id be happy to do just that. it is almost christmass, you know. but i guess until then im stuck with my lucid !

  48. does anyone know something about logan fils?

  49. I am going to buy it today, I live in the border and we have a duty free shop that sells it for 48 bucks, for that price I’ll give it a try

  50. Does anyone know where I can get the glasses that came with the set? I accidentally broke one and would like to replace it. I am looking for the short glasses (must actually say Lucid on it). My boyfriend and I picked the set up one our one month anniversary and have been having one glass every month on our anniversary for the last year. I really want to find a replacement glass. Thanks for any help

  51. I just bought a bottle of this spirit before crossing the border to Canada. I’ve heard about absinthe and never tried it. Pouring it over the sugarcube and lighting it up before pouring the ice cold water seems like the way to go (from what I’ve read and heard). Any recommendations before I try the first sip? I’m also aware not to overwater the drink by dripping just enough water to “louche” it completely.. results to follow.

  52. Not sure if anyone else had this problem, but Lucid was the first Absinthe I tried. Had it the first two days after opening the bottle, and it tasted amazing. The taste of it changed as it was in your mouth, so that it flowed from the taste of herbs to a final taste of licorice at the end (might have been the other way, has been a few weeks.)

    Later got another bottle, Grande Absinthe, which did not have as much of a distinct taste, but had a more general taste that was rather good. Drank that the rest of the week or so, not too bad tasting.

    The issue with Lucid came when I went back to it after finishing the other one. The smell of the Lucid absinthe had changed, and then the taste was pretty horrendous. Tried it the next day to see if the flavor just wasn’t mixing with what I had for dinner, but it was still awful. The only things that had changed from the two times trying it, was the week and a half in between and different sugar.

    Not sure which thing caused the issue; time opened, sugar, or maybe refrigeration is required but not mentioned after opening. But this could be the issue people are experiencing where they say it tastes like crap. I might try Lucid one more time, but if the same issue happens with the next bottle I will stick with Grande Absinthe as it had no such issue.

  53. Challenge Accepted.

  54. Hello all, I am writing this review because I had never tried Absinth until about a month ago I bought my first bottle of Lucid, I have to say the flavor is really good not many drinks give you the sensation of just brushing your teeth after drinking it. Although some of my friends thought it was a very strong taste you get use to it. I wasn’t a big fan of black licorice but that’s not all Lucid has to offer for one after the first drink you’ll know why its my new favorite drink its a feeling you get almost like your happy for no reason and its not the drunk feeling I know that feeling and its not that it something else. Don’t over do it this stuff is no joke.

  55. Wondering if we should try lucid?? Never had any kind n with all the mixed reviews wonder if I’m better of buying the stuff from Czech?? If its that bad maybe I should save my money n buy online,they say its way better n hardly no bad reviews, all r saying how wonderful it is to pay for the real deal n screw the states stuff????

  56. Tiffany, please don’t waste your money on the Czech stuff. It’s not real!!! Lucid & other absinthes made by T.A. Breaux were reverse engineered from 100 yr old, unopened bottles of absinthes that were found in France. The formula was almost lost until Mr. Breaux took an interest in preserving the green liquid. The entire history of the recreation of absinthe by Mr. Breaux can be found on many websites, try T.A. Breaux or Jade Liquors.

    Blyss, you should never light the sugar cube. Absinthe can be louched with or without the sugar, but please no fire.

    Ken, don’t know what happened to your bottle of Lucid. I hope your experience won’t turn you off of it because it’s one of the finest absinthes you’ll find in the U.S.

  57. Pingback: Three New Absinthes from Ted Breaux: Jade CF Berger, Jade 1901, and Jade Esprit Edouard | Drinkhacker.com

  58. Maldry is right, listen to her everyone!

  59. Pingback: Absinthe illinoise | Edollartrade

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