“With Fantôme De Noel, brewer Dany Prignon has created a very dark and entirely unique holiday seasonal beer. A rich, dark-flavored beer with lots of deep-roasted chocolate malt, but still fairly dry, with a hint of sourness at the core. It is very spicy, with some winter spruce flavor in the bargain.”
Served in a Trappist tulip. This attractive little number pours a murky chestnut hue with a relatively well retained two finger head. It eventually peels back to a fine film with a few patches of soapy lace clinging to the glass.
The aroma is unbelievably complex. The main scents we continually end up returning to are quince paste, marmalade and pickled ginger. From there it includes everything from lemon gelato, cracked pepper and dates to canned apricots, plum sauce and ginger bread. A total mixed bag if we’ve ever seen one! Perplexing but amazing at the same time.
The mouth feel is quite dense and chewy with a firm warmth from the 10% ABV. Co2 is moderate with hints of dryness forming on the rear. Certainly a steady quaffer this one.
The flavour is absolutely mind blowing. It opens up with an intricate fusion of mixed spice, alcohol, tart plums and mildly acidic lemon. Each sip uncovers a different flavour too as raisins/dates and a rich toffee malty sweetness works in. Those earthy spices like nutmeg and clove carry forward in to a boozy finish that offers spice, tart lemon, figs and bitter citrus notes in the tail.
While we can say that we’re impressed by the depth and overall intricacy of the beer it’s maybe a little too over the top for our liking. Let’s finish by saying it would take a very adventurous palate to enjoy this. Impressive, but far from a “return to” beer.