Well, after two years of research & development, missed timelines and one distiller almost broken, we believe we finally have it…the perfect absinthe. And here’s the story of how we did it:
The seed was planted for this project even before Dillon’s had opened its front doors. We knew that if we ever got this distillery off the ground that we had to make an absinthe. It’s just such an incredibly complex, mysterious spirit with such a rich history that we knew we had to go for it. But we didn’t want to make just any absinthe, we wanted to make it our way. Fresh botanicals, local base, tradition blended with technology. The Dillon’s way.
So in the spring of 2011 we planted our own artemisia absinthium (wormwood) in our backyard garden. The plant grew like a weed and experimentation began.
Time went on, the distillery became a reality, and soon we were crafting our own vodka, gin, white rye, bitters and a number of other spirits; but absinthe was always there, in the background, on our minds.
Through our experiences with both our spirits and our bitters, we have found that quality and freshness of certain botanicals has a profound effect on the flavours and aromas in the final product. This brought us to the conclusion that the only way to ensure our absinthe was going to be truly great was to grow the core botanicals ourselves.
Work began in the spring of 2013 to build an absinthe garden on the distillery property. By year one, we had more wormwood than we knew what to do with.
Wormwood bitters were created, all the while experimentation on absinthe continued.
We decided to expand our garden to include more of the key ingredients, planting lemon balm and hyssop.
Now that our core botanicals were growing it was time to choose our base spirit.
It was an easy decision that rye would be used as our all-important base. What better ingredient than our 100% Ontario grown rye grain to lend its soft yet spicy notes to the undertones of this green monster? It was the perfect blend of authenticity and Canadiana, without compromise.
With our rye mashed, fermented and distilled, our botanicals freshly grown, and our recipe locked in, absinthe runs could begin.
Over the past two years numerous batches had been made and adjusted. We’ve steeped, macerated, vapour distilled and done just about anything else possible to pull out the perfect flavours from our ingredients. We sent Distiller Dave down to Kentucky to train with people who are pushing the limits of what absinthe is and can be. He returned home after many cancelled flights due to snow, made some tweaks, and after years of work we believe we are finally there.
Made from 100% Ontario rye, fresh botanicals, no artificial colours or flavours. With a total production of 700 bottles, we present our Absinthe…
Incredible depth, crystal clear in the glass. Vibrant peridot in colour.
We owe the depth and clarity to the fresh hyssop and lemon balm.
With the addition of cold water, the louche begins to reveal itself.
Instead of relying on the oils of star anise to cause this transformation, a heavier load of botanicals (aniseed, fennel) were used which allowed us to keep much tighter tails cuts while retaining the natural anethole.
The lighter peridot colour shows off the complex louche, allowing our traditional methods of crafting this absinthe to showcase themselves. As more water is added, the density swirls begin to give way to a blue hue surrounding the billowing cloud in the centre.
Our fresh wormwood, lemon balm, and hyssop balance remarkably well with the other aromatic botanicals. The design of our pot still lends itself beautifully to capturing the oils that give this absinthe such a fresh aroma.
The nose is crisp and clean, characteristic of our unique spirits.
Flavour & Mouthfeel:
Our flavour is the result of two years of experimentation with the best botanicals we could find, and when we weren’t happy with what was available, we’d grow them ourselves.
The balance of our absinthe was the most difficult to obtain, but is also what sets us apart. It starts out gentle and transitions into a more pronounced richness. Although the anise, fennel and wormwood are ever-present, they do not overpower the more subtle flavours of the other herbs and spices. By not relying on heavily on star anise, the mouthfeel is smooth and clean while the spirit remains only slightly bitter.
The finish is sustained, leaving bright notes of anise lingering in your cheeks and a hint of spice from the underlying rye. It’s got a finish that will last until your next sip.
It’s smooth, yet spicy. It’s classic yet new. It’s everything we had hoped for and more.
“A unique, one-of-a-kind absinthe. A fantastic representation of Canadian herbs and Dillon’s attention to detail.
Smooth and herbal, notes of candy cane and peppermint with a sky blue hue and a snap of spice on the finish”
~ Michael Mooney of Geraldine
“This is an incredible expression of a classic wormwood-forward absinthe…I trust it will soon see international acclaim.”
~ Mike Webster from Bar Raval