Additional notes 09/09/2022 (bottle pictured)
I have no idea on the age of this bottle, but it’s well carbonated with no oxidation. There’s a really sweet, herbal nature to it, absolutely unique as ever. This has no tart, apple or cider character that was evident in the 2009 bottle reviewed below. In fact, this bottle is unrecognizable in terms of what’s written below. I *think* this is an older bottle, so maybe it has evolved over time (I think it came form the 2:1 offer at Knightly Spirits in Orlando in July of 2022) into a sweet, herbal experience. With Cinzano Bianco notes (!!), but its evolution is extraordinary IF these is indeed a bottle from days past. Either way a mesmerizing beer.
There have been a few murmurings that after years of complaints about Fantôme bottles, Dan Shelton helped Dany clean things up, update his equipment and protocols which explains the change in the consistency/quality of bottles after 2016-2017, perhaps suggesting that the earlier bottle from ’09 was infected/bad/compromised in some way and that there should never be any apple-like character to this beer, and this is not a question of beer evolution. Either way, the idea of “consistency” with Dany and Fantôme seems a bit of a waste of time to me, isn’t the lack of it really the whole point?
Original notes 08/30/2009
750 mL corked and capped bottle.
Pour gives a mid-orange body with some white head and a little lace.
Nose reveals a fairly potent, acidic and lemon based smell. The aroma seems “tart” (if that’s possible)!
The tastes are all acid with slightly, under-ripe, green apples coming to mind. ANOTHER funky, Fantome Saison that is basically almost exactly like a dry, Devonshire/Somerset scrumpy. The similarity is unmistakable and unavoidable.
Light carbonation that invigorates the tongue, and together with the acidity the beer really livens up the palate. As the bottle is consumed, the beer becomes less tart and the funk evens out a little. The finish is sharp and abrupt and does not linger. Some hay, classic barnyard funk & manure and grassy acidity. No alcohol present in the taste.
If you are not into the acidity of a typical, traditional English cider then you need to leave this beer alone. IF on the other hand you are a fan of rustic, organic-like beverages that have an edgy, unrefined touch then this is going to work well for you; either way it’s tasty.