A FEW QUESTIONS FROM A NEWCOMER

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived thru April 2001:A FEW QUESTIONS FROM A NEWCOMER
By Frater_Carfax on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 09:56 pm: Edit

Hi Don

re your question regarding species prohibited in the ANZFA Food Code

Artemisia absinthium Common wormwood
Artemisia cina Berg Levant wormseed
Artemisia maritima Levant wormseed
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort


regards

Jonathan

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 10:28 am: Edit

Don,

Well then I suppose if they're anything like cockroaches at least the greenflies will die happy when I spray them.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Lord H, absinthium shrubbery was and is used to border lawns and gardens to keep pets out, dogs and cats won't go near it, or so say the botanical websites.

In my house, where I have about a ton of dry herbs at present, mostly absinthium, cockroaches LOVE the smell, and are so intoxicated by it that they are found the next morning on their backs, legs kicking, clearly blasted. Easily squashed and removed.

(bornoyl acetate is a cockroach sex attractant and a minir component of the oils of many Artemisia species.)

Dunno about greenflies.

By Frater_Carfax on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 04:53 pm: Edit

Hi Don (and all)

you are quite right re Pernod etc...this is a major inconsistency in the legislation, which bring me to the view that the distilled spirits industry in Australia may decided that it is easier to shut up in the short term rather than lobby the proposal, as there is no requirement to label the product with its constituents- ask no questions, tell no lies!

"Dear Mr Pernod, we need you to change your global recipe because the Australian government says so"

"And how much do we sell into Australia?"

-cue the uncontrollable laughter-

As I mentioned, Australia has bugger all capability of enforcing food regulation, so I don't think anyone is really worried- as some antipodians are wont to say "No worries mate, she'll be right!"

I am wondering whether another way around the issue would be to argue with regards to free trade agreements with Europe, especially the UK- and that any regulation that inhibits trade arrangements on products legal overseas, especially within EU countries, should require review, there is a precedent for that.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 11:11 am: Edit

Don,

"It poisons the soil and won't let anything else grow, and is toxic to most insect and animal life"

Thus this mean I never have to bother about spraying my Wormwood plants with insecticide? I get so much greenfly infestation in my garden (including the Wormwood) that I regularly blast everything in sight with insecticide. Wormwood makes a fine looking patio plant.

Hobgoblin

By Abramelin on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 09:50 am: Edit

Well, I've imported multiple bottles of Sebors into Australia via post, and I've had no problems from customs at all, same as Midas. I'm putting an order in for some Deva soon, and when Ted's is ready, I'll be ordering from him too (by the way when is that?)
I don't think you'll have any problems as far as postal goes, however I cannot comment on bringing absinthe into the country in your baggage back from Paris as I've never done this.

By Midas on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 09:06 am: Edit

"It almost certainly does apply to most any pastis, including Pernod, Ricard, etc. Are these not available in ANZ? "

Pernod, Ricard etc. are all widely available here.

"Or is their availability not threatened by these insipid new regs?"

In the ANZFA document Jonathan pointed out is the passage below:

" The relocation of the Artemisia species to the prohibited list means that it and any of its parts, derivatives or substance derived therefrom must not be intentionally added to food or offered for sale as food. While the reclassification of this plant genus to prohibited may have an impact on a small segment of industry, the transitional arrangements pertaining to the draft of the joint Code allow industry time to find an alternative flavouring substance to wormwood oil. Consumers will benefit by the consistent approach to issues relating to public health and safety."

This seems to indicate that most pastis makers would be threatened under this new revision. Ugh.
-Robert

By Don_Walsh on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 07:02 am: Edit

Dear Igrokit

Is it illegal in Australia to (steam) distill essential oils from herbs (with water -- no alcohol?

That would be most unusual.

Governments usually care not about essential oils, or herbs. Or steam distillation (water.)

They do tend to be awfully narrow minded about alcohol distillation. Mostly as a tax issue. Oh, they will make pious pronouncements about safety and health (and some of those concerns are real) but it's really just about $$$. So has it been for centuries.

I know from my Ozzie buddy Bill Robinson that A.absinthium is a noxious non-native weed in Australia, having escaped cultivation, and being aggressive like its native relative Eucalyptus. It poisons the soil and won't let anything else grow, and is toxic to most insect and animal life. So you can find lots of A.absinthium wild in Oz. Drying the herb is another matter.

By Igrokit on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 06:58 am: Edit

hi frogwah, i am new to this forum (about a week )and have become interested in obtaining absinth , im in oz too ( 1 hr north of sydney). Did some research into making it and found that wormwood was easily availble and found it harder to find basic aniseed. you can buy the plant but cant take the oil from it, just like stills i guess.You can buy em make em but cant use them.

By Igrokit on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 06:55 am: Edit

hi frogwah, i am new to this forum (about a week )and have become intersted in obtaining absinth , im in oz too ( 1 hr north of sydney). Did some researh into making it and found that wormwood was easily availble and found it harder to find basic aniseed. you can buy the plant but cant take the oil from it, just like stills i guess.You can buy em make em but cant use them.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 06:51 am: Edit

What Ted is hinting is that oil of wormwood, per se, is used along with other isolated essential oils (of anise, fennel, star anise etc.) to mix up cheap absinthes from neutral spirits and water and various dyes to produce 98% of the absinthe made today (the % is a guess.)

This is more or less the way almost all pastis is made, is dirt cheap, is NOT how premium absinthes were made a century ago and is NOT how we make ours.

As we do not mix from oils, including oil of absinthium or oils of any of the other three Artemisia species (probably, pontica, vulgaris and ?) I am not sure this applies to our products.

It almost certainly does apply to most any pastis, including Pernod, Ricard, etc. Are these not available in ANZ?

Or is their availability not threatened by these insipid new regs?

Schmaltzing matilda indeed.

By Igrokit on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 06:50 am: Edit

hi frogwah, i am new to this forum (about a week )and have become intersted in obtaining absinth , im in oz too ( 1 hr north of sydney). Did some researh into making it and found that wormwood was easily availble and found it harder to find basic aniseed. you can buy the plant but cant take the oil from it, just like stills i guess.You can buy em make em but cant use them.

By Tabreaux on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 04:42 am: Edit

"I imagine that the manufacturing process alone would form a foundation of argument that you never get an isolated "oil of wormwood" from which to prepare a product...."


Ah, but 'the manufacturing process' you are referring to is not employed by some, if not many or even most modern products, so there is no way around that for some items. There are ways to tell you know.

By Midas on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 12:27 am: Edit

MY GOD, CARFAX SPEAKS!!! HE IS HERE! AND HE IS VOCAL!!!
And Don, you're right. Sage is like crack cocaine over here. And don't try to pull a fast one over a Vermouth dealer, they're a dodgy bunch...
-Robert

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, April 01, 2001 - 11:17 pm: Edit

So vermouth is unimportable to Australia and New Zealand, hmm? How about sage?

Wonderful creatures, these bureaucrats you've got.

By Frater_Carfax on Sunday, April 01, 2001 - 10:19 pm: Edit

Thanks Ted..(I was hoping this might spark your thoughts or Don's)

I looked up the Australian Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations today and all it states is:

Schedule 8
Goods the importation of which is prohibited if permission is not granted under regulation 5H

Section 12A Oil of wormwood, being an essential oil obtained from plants of the genus Artemisia, and preparations containing oil of wormwood.

I imagine that the manufacturing process alone would form a foundation of argument that you never get an isolated "oil of wormwood" from which to prepare a product, although I imagine you may have a number of other technicalities in mind.

I'll wait patiently though...thanks!

By Tabreaux on Sunday, April 01, 2001 - 09:33 pm: Edit

Well Jonathan, I can think of some well justified ways around this legislation. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to write that essay here and now, and I will be without internet access until next weekend, so it will have to wait.

By Frater_Carfax on Sunday, April 01, 2001 - 07:20 pm: Edit

Hi Frogwah

The situation for importing absinthe into Australia is thus..it is technically illegal on two fronts.

Australia and New Zealand had a new Food Code passed through parliament in December, and all additives and derivates from artemesia species are in the prohibited section of the code.

Originally, the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA)were going to put them in the restricted section of the code, which would have been ideal and would have allowed importation...however, they had to place them in the prohibited section because preparations containing oil of wormwood fall under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. You can find a copy of their rationale at

http://www.anzfa.gov.au/documents/P195.doc

Now, that said, ANZFA have no capacity whatsoever to enforce their regulations because they are only a policy making body. All food code regulations have to be enforced separately in each individual state by the separate State Health authorities, which generally only happens if someone makes a complaint about illegal supply.

If you are feeling edgy about whether you would get away with it, many of Australia's major food companies are supplying illegal food products on the Australian markets in full knowledge that that they will only have issues if someone complains, and if the local health authorities have the resources to pursue it...make of that what you will.

The grey area Robert alluded to which I am trying to find clarity on, the supply of absinthe would be illegal under Australian law, however what is not so clear is the importation of absinthe for personal use..I still need to check out the Customs regs to see if that covers this area as well, and whether absinthe technically falls under a preparation containing oil of wormwood, methinks there is a loophole here somewhere...I'll put the chemists on the list on notice as I am trying to formally put together a way around the law on technicalities and would value their assistance....

regards

Jonathan

By Melinelly on Sunday, April 01, 2001 - 11:15 am: Edit

hiya Frogwash. i can't help with your questions, just wanted to extend a welcome to ya =)

By Midas on Sunday, April 01, 2001 - 11:08 am: Edit

Frogwah, welcome to the fray. As far as importing absinthe into Australia goes, there are regulations in place at the moment, but are vague, and very seldom exercised. I have never had a problem with any of my shipments, but I haven't tried bringing a bottle back myself from OS. Friends have transferred their absinthe into other bottles, or sent it ahead of themselves, just in case. Probably unnecessary, but I have paranoid friends. BTW, where in Australia are you? We may be neighbours...
-Robert

By Petermarc on Saturday, March 31, 2001 - 03:22 pm: Edit

welcome,
the café du rat mort does not exist anymore, it is mentioned in 'rimbaud' by graham robb, but not in great detail...i have seen old menus from there, but they were post absinthe...'l'académie d'absinthe', 'procope'...uh, this could go on for hours because every café was linked with absinthe during that period...
for antiques in lyon,check out frenchmanltd.com, as phil is a dealer living in lyon...
june 16 is the 'absinthe festival' in boveresse, switzerland (www.absinthe.ch)right next to the french border (about 15 miles from pontarlier)...several of us will be attending...you'll learn and see more about absinthe in two days than a year of looking around paris (but it ain't paris)...

By Frogwah on Saturday, March 31, 2001 - 01:31 pm: Edit

I hope someone can help me with the following questions. My purpose is 2-fold. I am a writing student and am researching topics related to absinthe, and also, through my research, I have developed an interest in the stuff myself.

1) I want to buy some antique absinthe glasses when I am in France this June. Can anyone recommend anywhere, particularly in the Lyon area, where I can go look for them. I will also be going to the main antique market in Paris in case this is a better place to find them.

2) Anyone know if there are any regulations regarding bringing absinthe (say La Fee Absinthe) into Australia.I would only have a bottle for personal use?

3) The 'Cafe du Rat Mort' is mentioned in a number of books about absinthe. Does this place still exist? Is there a site in cyberspace, or a book, that anyone recommends for reading up on this place? What other cafes were linked with absinthe use?

Thanks to anyone who can help.

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