La Clandestine is a "bleau" or "blanche" made in the birthplace of absinthe in the Val de Travers, Couvet, Switzerland. Seven of the the ten botanicals are sourced from local farms which are all married and macerated in neutral grain alcohol and distilled in copper alembics to 76% abv or 152 proof. This is done in small batches of 88 litres at a time.The distillate is cut to 53% abv or 106 proof using Swiss mountain stream water.
Claude-Alain Bugnon works closely with the local farmer Yves Currit who grows around 3000 square meters of Artemisia Absinthium or Grand Wormwood among other herbs. Yves dries the stalks in a large drying room after which he chops them up into small pieces ready for distillation.
The herbs used in the bouquet garni are Grand Wormwood, anise seed, fennel seed, petit wormwood, star anise, hyssop, lemon balm, peppermint, Melissa and licorice root. The herbs are weighed to particular specifications and are then added to the two copper pots called Jules, Auguste. A wheat grain neutral spirit of 95% abv or 190 proof is also added along with water and the herbs are then left to macerate for 24 hours.
Once the maceration is complete the direct heat alembic stills are fired up producing a distillate at 76% abv, this is then cut with Swiss mountain stream water to 53% abv.
The absinthe is then bottles one at a time, hand labeled and individually wrapped.
La Clandestine is hand-crafted in Couvet,
Switzerland, the birthplace of absinthe.
The brand heritage dates back to 1935, and its small-batch production
methods go back to the origins of absinthe in the 18th century.
White (or “blanche”)
absinthe first exists as a clear spirit before a second coloring step
transforms it into green absinthe. Thus,
blanche absinthes are the true originals.
When absinthe was wrongly banned in Switzerland in 1910, farmers and
their wives secretly made absinthe at home for family and friends, returning to
the clear style, perhaps to avoid detection.
La Clandestine, the world’s most loved blanche, comes from this era and
was first distilled by Charlotte Vaucher in 1935. In 2000, Claude-Alain Bugnon received the
recipe from Charlotte’s nephew began distilling in a 12 liter pot, and continued illegal production until absinthe could once again be made openly.
Claude-Alain worked with the Swiss government to bring about the changes in law which saw absinthe eventually decriminalised.
Claude-Alain and his wife Karine make La Clandestine in Couvet, the
small village in the foothills of the Alps where absinthe was first distilled
commercially in the second half of the 18th
century. They use the famed local Grande
wormwood as well as the unique Swiss savoir faire that comes from well over 200
years of continuous manufacture of absinthe.
Claude-Alain is recognized as Europe’s leading absinthe distiller, with
more awards than any other, and his absinthes are hand-sold to some of the top
bars and retailers in 25 countries.