What does absinthe taste like? Is it extremely bitter?
Despite popular opinion, due mostly to erroneous assumptions about wormwood, absinthe, when properly distilled, is not extremely bitter. Wormwood, whose extract used to be a popular ingredient in many perfumes, actually has a strong floral & herbal flavor (and scent) that is heightened when extracted by proper distillation, which leaves behind almost all of the bitter absinthins. So yes, there is some necessary bitterness in good absinthe, but it is a balanced herbal undertone, and not overpowering in the slightest. Nor should the anise overwhelm, as it sometimes does particularly when star anise rather than green anise is used.
A good absinthe should be cool and refreshing, with a complex herbal and floral character reminiscent of an Alpine meadow, and with no one herb predominating on the nose or palate.