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Archive through April 15, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru June 2002 » Archive Thru April 2002 » Archive Thru April 2002 » TV documentary » Archive through April 15, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Admin
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 9:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

and this is just my personal opinion, absinthe is not absinthe if it doesn't have a) artemisia absinthium b) one or more of the following: anise, fennel, melissa, hyssop (etc).

it is all a matter of quality & taste as to HOW GOOD that absinthe is. is it still absinthe if it has been completely dethujonized yet contains wormwood? yes. is it good absinthe? depends on your definition of "good."
Etienne
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Illustrated Editions, 1931, illustrated by Arthur Zaidenberg?
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

BJ, I would like to elaborate on this, using something that physicist and writer Ernesto Sabato wrote.

A friend asked him to explain relativity to him. So Sabato proceeded to explain vectors, tensors, formulas. The friend said: "I don't get it".

So Sabato simplified the explanation, chopping off most of the mathematics. The friend still didn't get it.

So finally Sabato resorted to using trains, dropped ping-pong balls and watches.

The friend's face finally lit up and he said: "I got it!"

"Yes" - responded Sabato, sadly - "but this is not relativity anymore..."

Making non-bitter absinthe is the easiest thing in the world.

The problem is...it may not be absinthe anymore...
Larsbogart
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Against the Grain. One of my favorites. I have a copy with woodblock prints in it. That book helped make me what I yam today.
Admin
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

not to mention the fact that most of them were HUGE alcoholics. among other things. heh.
Etienne
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There's no real reason to assume that a fiction writer would be totally accurate in his description of much of anything... That's not their job.

This is probably the same thing that happened with the wilder claims of absinthe's secondary effects.
Tabreaux
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Amusingly enough, Hill's boasted their (unwitting) use of one such description (cheap absinthe) as a model for their product.
Admin
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

and then there is everyone's favorite:

"Got tight last night on absinthe. Did knife tricks."

heh, and for a fine quote (by a favorite author) illustrating the effect on the palate of cheap absinthe:

"Even when made less offensive by a trickle of sugar, absinthe still reeks of copper, leaving on the palate a taste like a metal button slowly sucked." -Joris-Karl Huysmans
Thegreenimp
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

By the way,.......which brands are identified as bitter, or "stomach churning", in any of those writings?
Or for that matter, where are specific brands of Absinthe identified as being bitter, or excessively bitter.
Jay
Admin
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

'For Whom the Bell Tolls'

"...one cup of it took the place of the evening papers of all the old evenings in cafes, of all chestnut trees that would be in bloom now in this month.... "

also

"tongue-numbing, brain-warming, stomach-warming, idea-changing liquid alchemy"

and as an aside (to illustrate my 'poetic license' statement):

Who brought you into this world, and ever since,
a tender mother,
Standing you double stead in this bitter life,
Has always drunk the absinthe and left the
honey for you.

Victor Hugo
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"On the contrary, Dr. O, I can't imagine millions and millions of Frenchmen drinking absinthe if it DIDN'T taste good. "

BJ, how many non-smokers you know who toke? Do they do it for the taste?

"In short, just becasue YOU can't make absinthe that isn't bitter, don't assume it's impossible. "

Have you been appointed Don's successor? Turning any argument into a personal attack?
_Blackjack
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

It bears repeating one more time: absinthe was not supposed to be a drink. Absinthe was a medicine.




Quinine tonic wasn't supposed to be a drink either. Likewise for gin, chartreuse, bitters and jaegermeister. Somebody somewhere must have decided that they tasted good enough to drink at some point.

As for the big lumps of French sugar, these are the FRENCH we are talking about. They add sugar to PASTIS. They like things sweet.
Thegreenimp
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I believe that it was said on the old Pernod labels, that sugar was optional......I seriously doubt that the better made brands were excessively bitter.
Perhaps the extreme bitter comments were made by people tasting the cheap adulterated brands.
If absinthe was really that bitter, would so many people have indulged in something that tasted bad.
Jay
_Blackjack
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 8:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

On the contrary, Dr. O, I can't imagine millions and millions of Frenchmen drinking absinthe if it DIDN'T taste good. It is empirical fact that absinthe can be produced using traditional recipes, and without a ton of sugar, which is not exceedingly bitter or unpalatable. You can discount the absentas if you like, but there are plenty of unsweetened La Bleues, not to mention bootleg verts with a complete coloration step, which have been produced for quite some time and manage not to be too bitter.

In short, just becasue YOU can't make absinthe that isn't bitter, don't assume it's impossible.
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 7:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Kallisti, check Hemingway's description of absinthe in "For whom the bells toll". And he LOVED absinthe. He smuggled it into Cuba.

I don't have the book with me, but I think he refers to absinthe as "bitter", "stomach churning" and then proceeded to rave about its effect.
Admin
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 7:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Personally, I think many of the *allusions* to bitterness were poetic license riffing on the fact that wormwood/absinthe was synonymous with bitter. And not necessarily a comment on the *pleasurability* of absinthe. I mean, they WERE french, were they not?

Even so, beer is bitter and yet it is extremely delightful. Perhaps it was more pungent than we might at first think, but that is not to say that it wasn't perfectly enjoyable.
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 7:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"I´m absolutely sure that people hundred years ago were not so stupid as we are today,..."

Aion, I agree with you. People a hundred years ago were not stupid, so I tend to believe them.

I tend to be somewhat skeptical about the reviews I read about absinthe. Remember the Segarra affair? People reviewing it and finding this herb and that herb? Finally we learned that those herbs were never there.

There's a lot of wishful thinking going around...

We should wonder how come millions and millions of Frenchmen (and other nationalities) drank millions and millions of bottles of absinthe and NOBODY mentioned that it tasted good.

It bears repeating one more time: absinthe was not supposed to be a drink. Absinthe was a medicine.
Aion
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 4:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O,

You posted that 5 / 5 / 2,5 recipie,
the result of this recipie is not
extremly bitter, fennel is too pronounced imo,
but it is not bitter.
You should know this.
It does not louche very well either, so
actually there was more green anise used, or
star anise added. Both making the final product sweeter.

The vintage samples I tasted were not bitter,
not unpleasant, and yes, surprisingly sweet.
Time has changed these samples, but it would
be a wonder if 2 samples have changed in
the same positive way.

You can trust me or not, but I´m absolutely sure
that people hundred years ago were not so stupid
as we are today, they drank it because it tasted good.
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 4:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"I want absinthe because it tastes good,..."

Interesting comment, Aion. Does it? Or rather, DID it?

Every literary reference I have about absinthe is disparaging about the taste. Sure, a lot came from absinthe's enemies, but even friends, like Hemingway, described it as very bitter.

Did you guys see the size of the lumps of sugar in absinthe's ads in Conrad's book? HUGE. I'm not talking about the nasty "oils-dissolved-in-industrial-alcohol" stuff. I'm talking about ads for Pernod and Oxygenee.

We have all read glowing descriptions of absinthe's color and effects.

So here's a question to you learned Forumites: Can anybody quote a single instance of absinthe being praised for its TASTE?
Marccampbell
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 3:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Frankly, I want effects. Thats what brought me here. My biggest disappointment with modern absinthe was discovering that it isn't psychedelic.
Aion
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 3:33 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"nobody wants something that is good for them"

WRONG.

Maybe it is not good for my health, but
I want absinthe because it tastes good,
because it smells good, because it
looks good.
And that were the reasons absinthe was popular
hundred years ago.
Not effects.
Marccampbell
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 3:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

but that will make them want it. nobody wants something that is good for them. otherwise we'd be hanging out in the cod liver forum.
Aion
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 2:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Marc,

95% or more of Austrias population
have no idea what absinthe was/is,
but a lot of people are watching
this very popular docu.
So the first (and maybe last)
impression they get will be a very
negative one.

Sad.
Marccampbell
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 2:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

its good for business.
as long as they demonize it, there will be demand.
Aion
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 2:30 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Tonights evening there is a documentary
on Austrian TV (21:05 h / ORF 2 / THEMA)
and one topic is:

- the new fashion DRUG
- that for good reasons was banned, but
- that is unfortunately legal again
- scientists and doctors are expecting
huge social and health-political problems

Really nice!

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