Review: Pernod Absinthe (2008)

Review: Pernod Absinthe (2008)

If you’re looking for major names in absinthe, they don’t get much bigger than Pernod. The company started making absinthe in 1792 (which earns it the title of the “original” absinthe producer) and was the biggest brand of absinthe up until the 1915 ban. After that, the company moved to Spain and continued to make the stuff. Now, with absinthe back on the market, so is Pernod, selling an authentic absinthe worldwide once again.

Of course you might be confused. “Pernod” the brand has never gone away, and in fact has been probably the most popular pastis for decades. Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur, but it isn’t absinthe. At 86 proof, it’s powerful stuff, but Pernod’s pastis still ain’t absinthe.

Hitting 136 proof, the re-released Pernod absinthe ties with La Fée for the most alcoholic of absinthes that I’ve sampled to date. Served with sugar and just a little water (maybe 2:1), it louches beautifully and reveals itself as a very fine product. The flavor is very mild for absinthe; anise is predominant but hardly overpowering, and the sugar really balances the bitterness perfectly. Like Obsello, this is a very easy-drinking absinthe, but it packs a real wallop. Pernod is deceptively milder than its 68% alcohol would indicate and can easily get you into trouble.

Side by side with Pernod pastis, the similarities are uncanny, perhaps unsurprisingly. The absinthe is stronger, obviously, but the flavor profile is about the same; maybe a little less sweet. Many have surmised that the new Pernod is drawn more from the pastis than from the pre-1915 recipe; but I’ve got no 100-year-old absinthe here to compare against, alas. Anyway, it stands as a word of warning for those ordering Pernod in a bar: Make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

At $70 a bottle, the new Pernod isn’t cheap, but the premium is probably worth it — if not for the flavor alone, then at least for the history inside.

136 proof.

Update: Recipe reformulated in 2014, see full review.


Pernod Absinthe (2008)




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Davey Jones on September 26, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I just had a glass and I must say its not bad at all. I am in no way an expert on quality Absinthe but it was pleasing to my taste buds. I must say I prefered the Lucid I bought last weekend but really that was only due to the smell. I found they both tasted similar although I didn’t have a chance for a side by side comparison.

  2. Dane Smith on November 19, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I had a glass of this at Oilcan Harry’s in Austin, Texas. Never heard of it before. I can tell you that it doesn’t feel like you’re on alchohol at all; very different buzz. Lasted a long time and the taste was not too bad. The smell was a little off, but over all it was a very interesting drink.

  3. Son_of_Vazkor on January 16, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    This is not, in any way, a bad spirit. But I was expecting more from the Grandfather of absinthe. The taste and aroma are hardly distinguishible from pastis (including Pernod’s own commonly available variety). I enjoy pastis as well but in an absinthe I want a better balance between bitter and sweet; Pernod’s new absinthe is all sweet licorice. For 60-odd dollars I could have bought a damn fine bottle of scotch or – dare I say – a bottle of Lucid, which is garnering better reviews and which I will try next. Over the last several years I’ve sampled many varieties of absinthe via certain company’s websites (I won’t specify because I’m not endorsing any particular company) and there is much better stuff out there if you look at English and European distributors.
    To it’s credit, Pernod’s new absinthe is very drinkable, and that may be what the company had in mind when they released this post-American ban version. But for this kind of money I want a little more complexity.

  4. The Absinthe Review Network on February 9, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Pernod is the worst absinthe in the US market. The fact that it scored higher than both Jade NO and La Clandestine speaks volumes about this reviewer’s experience with absinthe…

  5. The Absinthe Review Network on February 24, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I’ve tasted Pernod-Fils absinthe from 1910, and it is completely different, I might add. In my own Pernod review I told the story of my local liquor store clerk giving me a sly wink and proclaiming in a low voice “it’s the original, you know.” Couldn’t be further from the truth, my absinthe drinking friends! ;)

  6. Todd Jackson on April 7, 2009 at 3:51 am

    “I’ve tasted Pernod-Fils absinthe from 1910, and it is completely different”

    That might be because it is nearly 100 years old, Einstein. As for your other self promoting remarks, boasting…. no comment necessary. Your review contains a reference to dog excrement and other potty mouth prose so I think we can all make our minds up about you.

  7. willis o'brien on April 7, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Todd, if you had a clue what real absinthe is we wouldn’t have to wonder what you are doing at 3:51 AM trolling absinthe reviews on the net. Shouldnt your name be Tom Boyd or Dr Arnold or whatever?

  8. Warden Fils on April 7, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Heed the Review Network, my friends. Pernod Fils (“the original”) moved to Spain after the French ban, where they kept producing for a while. Then a booze conglomerate bought the name sometime in the mid-/late-20th century.

    Lucid and Kubler are easily a step up from this modern-day Pernod, and are both good intro-absinthes.

    Willis, you’re my hero! <3

  9. Christopher Null on April 7, 2009 at 10:08 am

    A little decorum from everyone, please, or I’ll close the comments on this. Y’all go have a drink and chill out.

  10. Todd Jackson on April 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Sorry, but I think that some guy who comes here promoting his own review site that uses words like “dog poo” and then criticises the hosts ” experience with absinthe” is amazing. Pernod is a fine absinthe but each to his own opinion is what I say.

    I like Pernod that’s all and I am not likely to have my opinion swayed by someone that uses words like “dog poo” and “turd of a drink” Did you actually read what he wrote? It also seems he has stopped an online vendor in New York from selling Grand Absente and uses similar terms to desribe the product:

    “Speaking of DUNY, let’s give them a big round of applause for dropping the liquid poo known as Grande Absente (though, *ahem*, I’ll take some credit for that)”

    Amazing! I am going to write to Grand Absente and DUNY and find out if this is true. I somehow doubt it.

  11. The Absinthe Review Network on April 7, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Promoting? Because I linked my site and made a review reference? HARDLY.

    Anyone that knows TARN is well aware that I have a very sarcastic style, but the occasional crude one-liner has nothing to do with my credibility. Those in the absinthe community are well-aware of who I am and would vouch for me any day of the week. If you can’t take the word “dog poo” you must be a very sensitive man. I’ll be sure to use the phrase “canine bowel movement” next time just for you.

    I was criticizing the “host” because his review is absurd. Now, when it comes to non-absinthe, I think he’s quite alright. In fact, in other reviews I’ve actually complimented him. I have nothing against him, if that’s what you’re insinuating.

    If you want to write to Kamal from DUNY be my guest, though the producer of Grande Absente has no say in what DUNY stocks, so I don’t know what you were going on about with that…

    I could be wrong, but something tells me you’re the sore loser in my last Youtube comment battle, Mr. Jackson. Otherwise, this is just way too much of a coincidence…

  12. Todd Jackson on April 8, 2009 at 1:11 am

    “though the producer of Grande Absente has no say in what DUNY stocks”

    Out of interest was DUNY offering Grande Absente to American consumers before you convinced them otherwise? I understand that you have written to another retailer in Europe and offered services in exchange for their removing products of your choice. Correct? You seem to be using your own website in a rather unusual way, don’t you?

    I do not have a Youtube account.

    “I have a very sarcastic style” I see, it is sarcasm is it? There was me thinking it was just puerile profanity. Thank you for clearing that up. Can you explain why you think the Pernod product is “dog poo”? and why Grand Absente is “liquid poo”? Any other brands that fit your scatalogical frame of mind?

  13. The Absinthe Review Network on April 8, 2009 at 4:21 am

    I think my reviews explained their poor quality sufficiently. I don’t know what else to tell you, really. If you want a second opinion on either of them, they’re both reviewed at FV/WS. I think you’ll find their sentiments to be very close to mine.

    Correct. I did offer Rue Verte free translation services in exchange for them removing certain brands (for the record, they have turned me down). Why? Same reason I made a huge push for retailers to stop carrying Grande Absente: to improve their selection. There’s no funny business here if you’re suggesting such a thing; anyone curious will see that I was was the one who publicly announced this, so it’s not like it’s some secret I’m trying to hide. The recent absinthe survey conducted has the same goal, and is being distributed to anyone selling absinthe.

    Why yes, there are a few other brands of this sub-par calibre,-so glad you asked!^_^ Le Tourment Verte here in the states is especially undrinkable and should be avoided at all costs. Across the pond, you’ll want to stay away from anything “absinth”, Tabu brand, or Alandia’s thujone-hyping brands Gold 68/Strong 68.

    No Youtube account? Very well, I’ll take you at your word.

  14. Todd Jackson on April 8, 2009 at 6:56 am

    “so it’s not like it’s some secret I’m trying to hide”

    Ben, sure I understand that. So why have you been involved in a “big push” for retailers to cease trading with Grande Absente / Crillion, simply because you do not like it? I admire your honesty in being willing to admit to this. Have you received any support from anywhere else in this excercise, or is this your activity alone? Please forgive me, I am just curious as I have never heard of such a thing before. Is it organised by The Wormwood Society for example?

    When you approach these retailers and ask them to stop trading with a particular producer, who do you recommend? It seems like there is some kind of “grass roots” activity going on in the absinthe world and it is rather interesting.

    I think we will agree to differ on your unusual choice of vocabulary :-)

  15. The Absinthe Review Network on April 8, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Todd, sorry maybe I worded things poorly, but I should clarify about the scope of my efforts. During the period after I put up the Grande Absente review I went to DUNY and submitted an equally scathing user review, and for all recommendations made for weeks I discouraged purchasing GA, as it was the worst brand in the US, at least at that time. I did also encourage others to spread the word and submit user reviews, but it wasn’t a major organized petition or anything like that.

    I guess I decided to focus on that particular absinthe just because it was the worst back then. Also DUNY was focused on particularly because not only is it the best known US retailer for absinthe, but Kamal has very personalized relationships with his customers (many of his regulars are on a friendly first name basis), and I knew he was very open to advice.

    Not all brands are so easy to get rid of, of course; Pernod and Le Tourment Vert for instance aren’t going anywhere no matter how many poor reviews and complaints there are. Pernod like I said claims itself as the original absinthe and has widespread name recognition, and LTV is well known now with from the events it sponsors, cocktail encouragement, etc. I’m hoping the survey results can sway SOME stores, but realistically speaking I’m not at all hopeful; it is just not an advantageous business move on their part, they would need to have personal concern for absinthe’s reputation or have the negative responses hammered into their mind to do anything.

    I have less time to work on absinthe evangelism these days now that I have some permanent clients, but there are many others that spend HOURS of their time every single day dispelling myths and misconceptions like Jason from Absinthe Drinkers on Myspace, and Aryekungfu on Youtube, among others. These guys do a huge service to the community and deserve a pat on the back.

    I try to suggest individual brands more than producers, as there are very few whose entire absinthe portfolio is spotless.

    I know we got off to a rocky start, but you’re a good guy Todd. :)

  16. Skinnydog on April 25, 2009 at 1:53 am

    WOW ,
    I have read all the absinthe reviews and all the replies posted here . I now have a greater understanding of what Absinthe is, so thank you all.

    However I have to say most of the people leaving replies need to do more relaxing with a drink and less freaked out ranting and raving about the pros and cons of this beverage .
    You guys make the worst wine snob seem like a normal person .

    Have a drink and relax

  17. Gregg on May 4, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Skinnydog –

    LOL. I’m enjoying the Pernod!

  18. Samuel on July 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    To “Absinthe Review Network” (or anyone who is qualified)
    Do me a great service, and just answer this question:
    What is the most authentic, well-rounded, pleasurable Absinthe around? I don’t mind purchasing online from anywhere overseas, just tell me a brand!
    All my research is inconclusive due to an overwhelming aspect of BIAS in every corner of this market. I want the real deal if it still exists, and I want someone who’s tried a million different kinds and spent a lifetime exploring the world for the BEST to tell me WHAT TO BUY! I’ve tried sebor, lucid, and I just (for better or worse) picked up a bottle of pernod mainly due to instant availability in the U.S. as well as my taste for anise. But I want what vanGogh had!
    Articles I’ve read claim to disprove the legendary thujone content in origional Absinthes during its prime, but how accurate are these tests on product that has had 100 years to chemically shift or weaken? Are the myths about hallucinations derived from the fact that following the initial ban, bootleggars made it with way too much wormwood, causing blindness and epileptic seizures?
    My questions could continue to the point of antagonizm, but please just shoot me an email with your top three. I’ll check them out as my funds allow and hopefully then, I can have something beautiful to compare all these newcomers to. [email protected]

  19. Idealist on July 17, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    still waiting for an answer kids…

  20. Christopher Null on July 17, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Idealist: Obsello.

  21. shoegazer on July 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    got my first bottle of the pernod but have not picked the suger cubes yet,its got to be better then the crap i made a couple of years ago with pernod and wormwood extract,we will see..

  22. absinthelvr on July 23, 2009 at 8:02 am

    This is what I call the Modern Day Absinthe, it is actually a very nice drink, about a 2.5:1 ratio and it seems to come together. Maybe not the $80 worth price tag but still a very nice drink as long as you don’t get caught up in all the snobbish “I Know Absinthe” dialouge. Yes it does have dye in it, but who gives a s@#&! Helps keep a nice cool greenish color. One cube of sugar helps keep the bitterness at a perfect level and the louche a nice cloudy light greenish drinkable color. Does not leave any sediment/residual on glass. Does have a GOD kick! Feeling it now after 2 drinks with the ratio prevsiously mentioned. Like I said this is a “VERY GOOD DRINK” if you get from the upyourASSS FUCJKININF FREEAKS. i AM NOT SAYING DAMN CAPS LOCK, this is a GOOD DRINK! Not worth the the price tag but still a nice drink u got the $ but hter are dtill better drinkd out therre.

  23. Ozzy on October 26, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Just curious, has anyone ordered absinthe online? I cannot find any in my area at all… Any websites anyone is familiar with? Please send to [email protected]

    Thanks guys

  24. Tom on May 3, 2010 at 6:29 am

    If you want to taste some GOOD absinthe go and have a look for swiss region absinthes,
    becouse the drink originally comes from the “val du travers” erea…
    the pernod absinthe: when Edhouard pernod founded his company the absinthe was very good,
    as the company grew, (this was when the company changed the name to pernod fils) the quality of the absinthe went downwards but still good.
    then suddenly absinthe was banned but not in spain, so pernod continued their production until 1950 they stopped making absinthe.
    the modern absinthe is comparable with the spanish production, but in my opinion this absinthe could have been much better.
    it would be so nice if pernod would make an accurate Edhouard pernod remake in small quantities special for the luxury absinthe market. all connoiseurs would be thrilled, for now they are all dissapointed.

  25. Seamas on August 19, 2010 at 5:08 am

    I have bought absinthe online from maither – I don’t have the address here – and friends have bought it in Switzerland for me and they are all excellent. The nasty stuff from Czechia and the cheaper ones that I have found in duty free should be avoided. Perhaps judging by the price (which I usually do) is naive but it had worked for me. I just bought the new one and will try it tonight.

  26. sonny on January 3, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    what Absinthe would you recommend for my very first bottle

  27. Christopher Null on January 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    sonny: Obsello for your first

  28. Harry on February 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Did any of you get a bright colored like grayish stool after drinking Pernod?

    Only after taking Pernod.

  29. Gerald Herrin on June 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Pernod Absinthe “Oringinal Recipe” is a fine ansinthe, to savor the aroma, to sip, to appreciate the gradations of taste. I hope many more give it a try; you might find your opinions changed and have an enjoyable evening. “Clarifying” intoxication has been the term to describe it; I think it’s worth it. Give it a try. Enjoy and good health to all

  30. Conner on June 21, 2016 at 5:40 am

    I have an unopened bottle of Pernod; it says on the label “Pernod Fils”. On the bottom of the label it says “Imported from France”. It has the “Pernod” seal right below the silver seal. It also says “Spiritueux Anise” below the Pernod name on the label and also has “Paris” right above Pernod Fils. Can anyone tell me what it is worth?


  31. Gerald Herrin on June 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    My favorite, most purchased, is Pernod. After making a stupid mistake of modifying the recipe some years ago ( others may have accurate dates), Pernod absinthe , with its “corrected original recipe” is my daily “green hour” choice. I believe that Pernod cannot be bested by any other absinthe (of course, my infallibility is limited as my wife tells me). I am sipping one now; both for taste and disgestive help (crohns disease).

  32. Christopher Null on June 21, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Gerald – the “original recipe” review is here:

  33. Gerald Herrin on June 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks for the response. I’m dipping and absinthe now, post dinner, and it’s Pernod. One takes what is offered and if it is sufficient, so be it. I love that French lady who created the recipe for absinthe. It has granted me much relief. God bless her.

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