It seems that there is a new absinthe on the market every month. Mata Hari absinthe is somewhat of a misnomer, since it really falls into the herbal liqueur category. Marketed for people who don’t like the strong anise character of traditional absinthe, Mata Hari has only a hint of anise. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of herbal flavors going on here; but this is not your great grandfather’s absinthe.
The color is a light crystal green which louches into a milky white when cold water is added (as in an absinthe drip). The nose is very unlike a traditional absinthe. I picked up a strong herbal fennel like character, and hints of old world forest floor. The first taste surprised me. Absinthe is characteristically a high proof spirit, but this did not knock me off my feet. It could be sipped without water. Flavors include fennel, mint, cinnamon, roots, dried herbs, and only a hint of anise. The bitterness of wormwood seems to be missing altogether. This really reminded me of a distant cousin to Jagermeister.
My recommendation is that Mata Hari is a good introduction to herbal liqueurs, but for those using it for cocktail purposes should look elsewhere.
Good Spirits Rating: ** (VS)