Victoria, It tastes like a slightly minty licorice like drink.
That would be because of the the anise and other herbs in it.
Different brands will taste slightly different of coarse, some are more bitter and less licorice like.
Dont pay any attention to claims and rumors of psychoactive affects especially any claims that thujone will get you high.
Its a myth perpetuated by ignorant kids.
Absinthe is just wormwood liquor with herbs. It tastes good and is refreshing. It does have slightly different effects than normal alcohol but its basically the same. The thing that is appealing for backpacking is that it is strong so you only need 2-3 glasses meaning 2-3 shots. remember not to drink it straight!
Please check out this site for brands and everything else you need to know:
Kubler is the most common brand to be found on US shelves. It has a strong anise flavor and thats why I like it.