The final beer out of my French haul from last summer, Dauphine Dorée à l'Absinthe, was chosen solely for the novelty value, made as it is with wormwood. So I confess I was a little disappointed when it didn't come out green. Instead it's a blonde, 6.5% ABV and brewed by Brasserie Artisanale du Val d'Ainan, "sur une idée de hors-norm" adds the label, in case you think such things are normal down their neck of les bois.
So what's in the package then? I was a bit worried by the fizz as it poured but it settles quickly and is smooth and rather heavy, heavier than the ABV might suggest. Dominating the aroma, and the flavour as well, is an unfortunate malt-sack mustiness. It took me a while to get past this, and thankfully the effect lessened as the beer warmed. Deeper in the profile there's a herbal element but I need the power of suggestion to get any aniseed from it; it could just as easily be eucalyptus, turmeric or peppermint.
Not the fun novelty I was expecting, then, but not the artificially flavoured mess I feared either. It's a mildly interesting warming ale, the sort you wouldn't send a postcard home from Belgium about, but warrants a pat on the back for France.