Butterfly is the first pre-ban absinthe of American origin to return to the USA. It was originally made in Boston circa 1902 at the Dempsey Distillery on Merrimac Street. The brand was resurrected by Boston-based absinthe historian, Brian Fernald. An empty bottle and the 1905 trademark registration helped give Fernald a label design and, after years of research in local archives, he unearthed Dempsey’s handwritten recipe book.
Butterfly is produced by Claude-Alain Bugnon, Europe’s most famous absinthe distiller. More than 60 production steps are required to make Butterfly over a three day period from plant selection through maceration and distillation, to application of signed, dated and numbered labels. Plants include locally grown grande wormwood, petite wormwood, hyssop, melissa and peppermint and the finest imported anise, star anise, fennel and citrus. Butterfly combines the best of both worlds: American heritage and recipe with Swiss “know how” and ingredients.
|Boston recipe, circa 1902||Created in Couvet, Switzerland|
|Val-de-Travers Grande Wormwood||Citrus and mint notes|
|“Verte” or green style||Made with more than 60 steps|
|Produced by Claude-Alain Bugnon||Small batch, dated and signed|
|Difford’s Guide Five Stars||Drinkhacker A Rating|
The best absinthes should rarely, if ever, be consumed straight and have always been distilled at high strengths in order to be mixed with water. For the perfect serve, slowly add four to five parts iced water from a carafe, absinthe fountain or balancier. With Butterfly, some absinthe lovers will prefer not to pour the water over a sugar cube and, of course, there is absolutely no need to burn it.
The “Louche”: When iced water is added, it turns milky white with a hint of pastel green. Appropriately for a Butterfly, this could be likened to a metamorphosis, as the neat absinthe is transformed into something completely different: a wonderful drink that can take flight!
Created more than 100 years ago for American consumers who may have been looking for a slightly more accessible taste profile, Butterfly adds citrus and mint notes to the flavors of anise and fennel and the slight bitterness of wormwood, and this flavor marriage makes it a perfect absinthe for the classic drip serve, while it is also especially suitable in “digestif” cocktails and in those with a fruit base. Butterfly was originally born within a year or two of the song “Absinthe Frappé” (said by some to have inspired a big American craze for absinthe), and it works very well within this classic cocktail.
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Awards & Reviews
Butterfly is made by Claude-Alain Bugnon, the only distiller to win five consecutive Golden Spoons at the Pontarlier Absinthiades. It is one of only two absinthes to achieve an A Star rating in Drinkhacker and one of only four US available absinthes to achieve a 5 Star rating in Diffords Guide. Limited production, 130 proof, 750ml