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Absinthe Snobbery

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » Strictly Absinthe & Collectibles » Absinthe Snobbery « Previous Next »

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Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 4:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

True. But my babbling was just something that I wanted to spout about. Just waiting for an opportunity ;-}
Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 3:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lord H,
It's not snobbery. Some of these brands that we are seeing now are indeed a better product. They are distilled and some are even colored naturally. You can argue that your pallet enjoys the Spanish brands until the cows come home, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that they are mixed from oils and doused with coloring agents, not produced in the same manner as they were originally.

That out of the way, I do relate to your sarcasm for the attitude that thujone has been subject too, lately. I think the most significant change this forum has seen is how our attitude has changed in terms of thujone discussion. When I first started posting here, it was not taboo to talk about at all, unless of course someone would ask something like "how much thujone do I need to get visuals?" or someone inquiring about picking up a bottle of shitty Czeck absinthe, simply because of their high thujone ďclaimsĒ. The majority of people on the forum had many discussions on the topic. A few of the more respected members even discussed the possibility of obtaining the instrumentation to test for the substance. I can't even recall what it is called anymore, but if you had asked me a year ago, I would know because of the frequency of which it came up. At one point, a forumite was talking about doing these tests and publishing the results of various brands on the forum, an idea that was endorsed by everyone at the time.

Obviously, anyone who has tried absinthe once knows that thujone does not produce anything more than a different stimulation than alcohol on it's own, if anything at all. So why has it become so off limits to talk about? It is a major factor in the drink. If is a byproduct of the manufacture process, and it is a source of mystery, one of which not to say the least, is how, if it all, it contributes to the affect. Why do we want to eliminate a perfectly legitimate topic? It should not be off limits.
Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 2:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

He was being sarcastic.
Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 2:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lord H,

Speaking of (or not) thujone. Have you ever taken a look at the German absinthe boards? That is ALL they talk about!! It's FRIGHTENING! Forget about anything else to do with absinthe. If it aint thujone related, fageddaboudit! Almost makes me want to renounce my ancestry. I've posted invites to this forum on several boards in hopes of bringing some of them over here and MAYBE they'll learn something. Or am I setting my sights too high?
Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 10:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


I agree entirely with you. I have been posting here for a fair few years now and my tastes have not significantly changed. I like Deva. I like Sebor. I like Serpis. I like NS. I haven't tasted Emile or Pernod so I can't comment on them.

I agree that that a degree of snobbery has developed here. Perhaps some people just like to appear to have 'educated taste-buds'?

I say drink what you like and don't listen to anyone who says that what they like represents 'good absinthe' and what you like just reflects your lack of experience.

Mind you saying you think Deva is good won't warrant the same hostile response as talking about thujone (because only a really uneducated dumb-ass would waste their time talking about thujone)
Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 3:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What Wolfie said:


Now where is Jade ?

(Just in case Don or Ted happen to be lurking...*grin*)
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 8:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

~ Delayed Response ~

Raschied ~

I like to think that it's not so much an element of snobbery (I save that for beer!), but a refinement of people's tastes and palates. Three or four years ago, I was happy with Deva or Mari Mayans. Why? Because they were available, cheaper than LaBleue, and they were commercially produced absinthe. Now, after having sampled many bootlegs, an early test run of a Jade, and two vintage absinthes, I like to think that my palate has matured quite a bit. Add into that equation that, on the whole, commercial absinthes have vastly improved over the last year or so, and I think you'll agree -- we're not really snobs, we're just continually learning.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 11:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey, I like Ricard. It's cheap. It's the easiest acceptable pastis to find. It's great on a hot day with ice water. It's cheap. It's no H. Bardouin, but it's a much better buy than Mari Mayans or Deva. And I find I'm rather fond of star anise and licorice, in the appropriate context. Also, it's cheap...
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 11:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

OK, you've said it: you want the authentic stuff, the better stuff. That narrows it down: Emile 68, F. Guy, Segarra. If you can afford it, try all three.

Actually, if you can afford it, try everything available, but if you're like most of us you'll need to be a little more selective.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 11:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ok, get Emile, François Guy and Segarra and add a bottle of Deva to your order just to compare.

It won`t be a waste if you think of it as educational material. Deva is by far not the worst absinthe on the market by the way but it`s not a very good one and it`s an oil mix.

Bob : for the same reason people drink Ricard...(don`t ask me!)
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 11:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Now I'm totally confused.

Should I get Emile or not? Should I try the Deva or not?

I'm looking for an "authentic" Absinthe, as I find that it's wort it to spend te money for the better stuff, if it's available.

That being said, my Absinthe fund is starting to grow again... *sigh*
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 8:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"I don't know that Segarra and the various Spanish oil blends can really be considered part of the same tradition."

Yes, Segarra is a real one. The other ones are not. Deva is a joke. Rejoice in this fact.

Imagine if beer were "mixed" from barley essence and hop oils and water with some pure alcohol mixed in to make it alcoholic. No one would drink it. Why drink Deva et al.?
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

YEAH! YEAH! What Trainer said!
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wolfgang makes an interesting point about slowly watering Un Emile 68. I've also noticed that it GREATLY improves when water is very slowly dripped into it. So, for those of you ordering it for the first time, keep that in mind. It makes quite a difference with this one.

I suppose it's worth mentioning that it remains my favorite commercial brand.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Albert -

What meanie said. There was a faint "Eau de Fish Market" to it when straight, which disappeared upon dilution and had no impact upon the flavor.

'Twas just a quirk, I suppose.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 4:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Mine was NOT that bad!! It was VEEERRRYYYY faint strait up. Add water, GONE!
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 4:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just ordered my first bottle of Emile. I hope it doesnt smell like a fucking fish. I like some of the spanish absinthe's, deva was the first I tried and I liked it. Segarra is still my favorite spanish abs.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 8:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

It`s been months since my last glass of Un Emile so after writing this last post I poured myself a small glass. Just a bit of sugar and *ultra slow watering* (very important with that particular absinthe).

I now think I shall point out that when I say ''I don't very like it'', there`s still no comparaison to what I say when I say I don't like Deva. Un Emile (and François Guy and Segarra in it`s own style) are the high end on the market today.

And I also think my half empty bottle of Emile have improved with time. The ''fishy smell'' is almost gone. It`s more spicy now. If I order another bottle, I`ll pour half of it in the old bottle (for aeration) and wait two months before drinking.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 8:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

''Spanish Absentas, ... a sub-niche''

Interesting observation. It`s like wine. Some people like Spanish wine a lot, some people think they all taste the same and are too heavy.

The thing is when you`r a fine palate who taste not only lot`s of absinthes but also lot`s of different kind of alcohols and delicacies, you reach a point where you can easily point out what`s a quality product or not, regardless of personal taste. Oil mix can't be called ''quality product'' IMO. Sure it can be tasty and can compete with cheap pastis (Ricard/Pernod/Berger...) but it doesn't stand a chance even in front of some distilled products that are already availlable now for nearly the same price (or even twice the price). If I could grab a bottle of Deva for 20 can$ (the price of Ricard), maybe I would buy some (hell I do have a bottle of Ricard gathering dust in my cabinet after all, this could keep it companie). But now, for the price of a bottle of Deva including shipping, I can get a fine bottle of 12 years old scotch or a very nice bottle of wine so we can say that because of poor quality, it doesn't stand a chance.

Given the fact that there`s not a big price gap between the best and the worst absenta, I predict some brand will disapear (or be improved) to the benefit of the best ones.

Now where is Jade ? ..And what about Liqueurs de France and ''We have commissioned the distillery of Les fils de Emile Pernot in Pontarlier to recreate a *SERIES* of authentic absinthes'' ?

I personally don't very like the Un Emile but maybe something else in the ''series'' will suit my palate...
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 8:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"they will come to be recognized as a seperate tradition... and the better ones (Serpis, NS, Segarra, IMO) continue to be savored"

I don't know that Segarra and the various Spanish oil blends can really be considered part of the same tradition. They're made in Spain, called 'absenta' and taste of anise. Aside from that, how much do they really have in common?
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

It's actually quite neat to see how much the market has evolved in the few years (eep!) I've been on the board. We've reached the point that there is actually a SELECTION of rather good products and reliable vendors, not to mention accessories. It really speaks for the power of the internet. I've seen the same thing with, for instance, the replica sword market, or classic car parts, or...hard-to-find...cigars, where for years it was a matter of taking what you could get, but now there is real competition driving quality up and prices down. Hell, you should see how giddy my girlfriend gets with the proliferation of corset-making supplies...

I'm not going to go too far in praising the virtues of the free market (because we know where THAT discussion leads), but it's hard to deny that, with the proliferation of information and long-distance communication, the ability of niche markets to flourish.

As for the quality of Spanish Absentas, I think waht is going to happen, as the market continues to grow, is that they will become a sub-niche. Instead of being seen as something-close-to-absinthe, they will come to be recognized as a seperate tradition in the field, and the better ones (Serpis, NS, Segarra, IMO) continue to be savored by those who like that sort of thing.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am still rather partial to Segarra, NS and Versinthe myself, so I have not turned into a total snob yet.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post



As far as I am concerned, I agree with most of your observations.

What I think is happening is that there is better stuff coming out as absinthe becomes more popular. Peoples palates are being expanded by these new tastes. It is just that some folks forget where they came from and if it ain't the latest and greatest then it must be shit.

Granted I did chime in on the Un Emile "fishy" thing. But I was not HAMMERING the piss out of it. A FEW did, but not all. My posting attitude was more of a "Hey! I smell it too!" thing. :)

I know it ain't Dom by a LOOOOONNNGGGG shot but I had some Boones Farm for the first time in 20some years not too long ago. Ya know what? It was fun!

Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Itís just a matter of evolution. I was not here when the forum kicked up back in the late 90ís, but from otherís accounts, they started with Hills and vodka/wormwood steep. Then, when Spanish came onto the market, they were singing itís praise. La Bleue, was still inaccessible to most people, but those that had it, of course, loved it. Spanish was merely a slightly more authentic product than Czech and tasted a hell of a lot better. Hence, everyone drank Spanish. Now that we have access to good French and Swiss absinthe, at a much more reasonable price than a year or 2 ago, naturally it has taken over. It is just a progression. If Jade ever becomes commercial, Iím sure that everyone will bag on everything else out there once again. Until there is a truly authentic product, there is always going to room for improvement and forumites will voice it. Apparently, Emile is the closest to date, if not an exact match, according to the buzz.
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 6:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I agree with you to a point. I think some of the Spanish absinthes are quite drinkable and good value for the money. Serpis would be one of those.

But the point is, some of us have been drinking those absinthes for a while now. We know their strengths and weaknesses. I don't find the depth of flavor in Serpis, for all its ingredients, that I find in Segarra (which is distilled with just green anise and wormwood).
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 5:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm still a newbie to a lot of you here. I started coming here around Christmas time last year. I want to point out a disturbing trend. Maybe it's always been there, and I haven't noticed it before, but it's there nonetheless.

When I came on board, most were singing the praise of the Spanish varieties like Deva and Serpis, saying these were good brands to start with. The reviews in the guide still have positive reviews. A good La Bleue was rated higher, but the Spanish varieties were pretty good for the cost.

Now, there have been a few new varieties to come out: Pernod, Emile, F. Guy, etc, and everyone here now speaks of Deva as if it was Hill's! WTF? Did everyone's Deva just go bad overnight? Even Emile, which I like a lot, got badmouthed as being 'fishy' for a while, often by the same people who sung its praises when it first came out.

I tried drinking some Serpis for the first time in months last night, and you know what? It was damn tasty! Despite the better processes used in Emile, the fact of the matter is it all comes down to taste and enjoyability, and I still prefer Serpis.

If you are a newbie to the forum, read each of the reviews carefully, and make up your own mind which products to try. Don't get caught up in the "best-Absinthe-of-the-moment" hype that goes around here.

My $.02

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