Cecil doesn’t tell us what absinthe tastes like, aside from being bitter. Did it have an aniseed flavor? The French still drink an aniseed flavored aperitif; like absinthe, it’s also diluted with water, which changes the color in the same way (but it’s already sweetened; tastes like licorice. Ugh.). The most popular brand is made by Pernod, which claims to have made the most famous brand of absinthe. Pernod suggests that absinthe had an aniseed flavor, too.
It is hard to compare the taste of absinthe to other substances, in part because the oil of wormwood is only one of (apparently) a number of flavor components.
But it is possible that oil of wormwood has an anise-like flavor. The wormwood plant is from the same genus as French tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus.
I drank some last night. It’s legal here where I am. Yeah it tastes like pernod, sort of. But there’s different types with different flavours. Much like rum, I suppose.
The buzz? Nothing different than any other hard liquor–that is to say if you drink too much you will be very drunk and very sick. I can imagine absinthe would give a nasty hangover as well. But really, so would any real schnapps or aperatifs. The stuff isn’t magical…it’s just strong booze.
Thanks for answering my question. Your first post, too!
It depends on the quality of the product invovled. Some of the Czech products taste like Windex, but better absinthes are complex and herbal, with anis and wormwood being the primary constituents. It is in the same basic ballpark as pastis (Pernod, Herbsaint, Ricard, etc.) or Chartreuse, tho not as sweet as pastis nor as minty as Chrtreuse. In a well-made absinthe, the herbs also tend to mask the taste of the alcohol, making it much smoother than most ~140-proof liquors…
Oh, yeah, and well-made absinthe is made from clear wine-spirits, so it doesn’t tend to induce hangovers the way darker liquors will.