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Distiller portrait: René Wanner

August 18, 2011 , , ,

René Wanner, Absintissimo

René Wanner grew up in Val-de-Travers but now lives in Geneva. He is a retired police officer and son of a clandestine distiller (the latter being something that he shares with so many citizens from Val-de-Travers). At 60 he is very youthful, so I believe him when he says that absinthe is good for your health if you drink it regularly but in moderation.

When he was a law student in the late 60s one of his professors was the judge who sentenced the legendary clandestine lady called La Malote. Today, Wanner uses an original recipe for a green absinthe given to him by La Malote in his absinthe La Fée Verte.

Three of his other absinthes follow the recipes of his father as well as two other famous bootlegs from Val-de-Travers. Wanner’s newest creation is “Bleue Bacchus” which is made of wine spirit and can be enjoyed both as an aperitif or as a digestif. He currently sells 8 absinthes under the brand Absintissimo which he distills in Geneva and Val-de-Travers.

Degustating the different absinthes made by Wanner

His absinthes generally have a strong wormwood note and are clearly distinguishable from the absinthes from Val-de-Travers. Wanner takes great pride in improving himself in the art of distilling and he also experiments with different distillates to create new absinthes.

One of his experiments which my geekier half and I have tasted was a single wormwood absinthe, meaning grande wormwood was the only flavor-giving ingredient. It was an extraordinary experience: Just a small sip and the wormwood flavor exploded in the mouth, tingling all nerves. It was a sensory overload and I do have to admit that I wouldn’t mind to experience it each day.

Wanner’s homepage is: www.absintissimo.ch

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