Swiss La Bleue

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived thru April 2001:Swiss La Bleue
By Wolfgang on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 08:14 am: Edit

How to bring back a thread from the dead!

I just took a look at my ''junk mail inbox'' and found an advertisement from thge isuisse guy.

He now have 3 Lableu availlable and one of those is green. Have you try it ? Is it good ? Is the price fair ? And what about the other two ?


By Artemis on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 07:42 am: Edit

And something else - just because you see a radiator in a photograph of a moonshiner's setup, that doesn't mean the potable product ever touched it.

The radiator can serve as a heat exchanger in a secondary loop, i.e., it chills a coolant (water or whatever) that then flows on the secondary side of the condenser, i.e., not in contact with the product being distilled.

By Artemis on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 07:38 am: Edit

"Actually most of the la bleue distillers have very large setups inside of covered trucks or inside 18-wheelers."

Thank you, Chrysippus, that's probably what I was thinking of - not railroad cars, but large and mobile anyway.

"You'd know better than I would, that's for sure. All I know is what I've read and seen. That's why I'm asking."

No, Malhomme, I probably don't know a lot more than you do, but I can put two and two together. I've met moonshiners, and they are intelligent people who look at their work intelligently. They aren't out to kill people. They care about the quality of their product. And making a condenser just isn't so difficult that somebody has to fall back upon using a radiator. It's my personal opinion that this radiator story is to a large extent urban legend (or backwoods legend), at least these days, at least in the U.S. and Switzerland.

By Aion on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 12:17 am: Edit

Looking at this TV-docu I had the impression that
in every third if not second house in the Val-de-Travers Absinthe is distilled (using very artisanal and improvised methods). So if nearly everyone makes his own absinthe himself, where is the semi-professional stuff going to. If there are several 100 liters / day devices we are speaking of 100000 liter per year. Plus about the same amount of homebrew. Is that realistic??

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 10:11 pm: Edit

Yes, I have seen the same photos of mobile large scale (100 liter/day) stills in Switzerland. LArge scale by absinthe standards anyway.

By Chrysippvs on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 12:44 pm: Edit

Actually most of the la bleue distillers have very large setups inside of covered trucks or inside 18-wheelers. I have seen several photographs of these setups, they are very mobile and also very well put together. I would imagine lots and lots of money goes into keeping a large la bleue distiller going.

There are movements in Switzerland to have absinthe legalized is the country. In 1997 I think it was German speaking Swiss legislators proposed the bill but it lost by like 6 votes. I think they are going to attempt it again in the comming years. It would be interesting to see legal la bleue floating about.

- J

By Melinelly on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 12:42 pm: Edit

as for profits over quality, what moonshiners i've known have produced solely for personal (and friendly and familial) consumption, so no profits involved... in which case, they used fairly jury-rigged stills... functional, but probably not completely safe =)... of course the stills are also located safely outside of harm's way (except to the moonshiner if anything were to happen).

By Malhomme on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 12:29 pm: Edit

I have seen pictures of these Southern stills, and they were for "large-scale" outfits (whatever one wants to make of that!). These pictures were from the early seventies, and the pictures taken by government officers. I dunno, but it seemed credible to me at the time. My understanding was that repeat-business-or-not, a considerable portion of the moonshine made in this country is of just that kind of quality. As with all other things American, it's profits over quality. I'm sure there are artisans, but are the big boys???

You'd know better than I would, that's for sure. All I know is what I've read and seen. That's why I'm asking.


By Artemis on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 11:53 am: Edit

Yes, it's dangerous to make generalizations, but I doubt that people making moonshine in radiators get a lot of repeat business, know what I mean?

By _Blackjack on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 11:34 am: Edit


Moonshiners are not morons; they are craftsmen.

Well, let's say not ALL moonshiners are morons. I had a great uncle, however, who was both...

By Artemis on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 11:30 am: Edit

"So is this stuff put together using radiators as a condenser and garbage cans as a pot"


"or are they somewhat sanitary?"


"I know that in the South East, moonshine is often made using appalling methods"

Do you *know* that? Or have you *heard* that somewhere? I've lived in Kentucky and spoken at great length to people there who are or used to be moonshiners, they know other moonshiners, etc. and they say that radiator crap is a myth, perpetuated to some extent by the prohibitionists. I've seen moonshine stills in Louisiana - all stainless steel, not a radiator in sight. Moonshiners are not morons; they are craftsmen.

As for Switzerland, I seem to remember reading that there are large scale, extremely professional stills, moved on railroad cars. If forced to look it up, I guess I could cite the reference, but maybe someone has it right at hand? Conrad?

By Malhomme on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 11:19 am: Edit

So is this stuff put together using radiators as a condenser and garbage cans as a pot, or are they somewhat sanitary? I know that in the South East, moonshine is often made using appalling methods... is this the same for La Bleue?


By Bob_Chong on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 10:13 am: Edit

They don't deliver to your door up there in Canada?

BTW--when is it no longer cold in Montreal? I've been wanting to take a trip there someday, but am not sure what time of year. I would like for it to be at least 15° C in the daytime, although 20° or 25° would be a lot better!


By Wolfgang on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 10:06 am: Edit

Ya, I'm sure the damn old hag working at my local post office is about to ask me what kind of recipe I'm doing with all those ''**deleted for your protection**'' packages ;-)... Especially after I received that stinking broken bottle from Sebor, she had her indiscrete eyes full of interrogation sign ...


By Don_Walsh on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 09:12 am: Edit

Jim: hypocrisy.

Andy: generally to mix with fruit juice a la Purple Passion, or some other application, not to make absinthe at home. There are a handful of large illicit producers, and they account for almost all La Bleue production for resale. Or so I am told.

This does not include people producing small quantities for themselves (own consumption), an important distinction.

By Germanandy on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 07:32 am: Edit

@don- maybe the "big ones" do it this way but there are a lot of people which buy 96% alk. in the supermarket.

By Malhomme on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 07:10 am: Edit

And why doesn't the government care???


By Don_Walsh on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 07:07 am: Edit

The La Bleue makers are not doing this on a buy-at-the-supermarket scale. They go through about 100 liters of 95% neutral spirits a day, each, the big operators do. And they buy direct from the Swiss Alcohol Commission.

By Aion on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 06:46 am: Edit

You can buy the alcohol in the supermarket there. (Reference: TV-documentation "Absinthe - eine Schweizer Schnappsidee"). And the herbs at the pharmacy. And nobody seems to care about that.

By Pataphysician on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 06:42 am: Edit


You just stumbled onto Unwritten Rule #2:

Don't mention Castro.

By Artemis on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 06:34 am: Edit

I think Conrad's book and Delahaye's book both go into some detail about the Swiss distillers. Essentially, they're supposed to be good little distillers and not make the nasty poison absinthe with that alcohol. I seem to remember reading that the accepted charade is, they are making gentian liqueur.

By Terminus on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 06:24 am: Edit

Sorry for being as stupid as customs.

Thanks for editing my post, admin.

Anyway, customs' main concern is those "evil" cigars from El Presidente's island nation.

By Heiko on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 12:44 am: Edit

"...and why doesn't the government catch on???"

Maybe because they don't care too much for what the alcohol is used - they get a lot of tax money from it, don't they?

By Aion on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:58 pm: Edit


The price is about the range Don mentioned.
Inside Europe 3 bottles are minimum, outside I
think 6 or 8.
I got very quick response from them, the guy was very friendly.


By Perruche_Verte on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:51 pm: Edit

It stands to reason that people who make absinthe probably can make legal distilled beverages too. The government sells the alcohol, but they can't keep track of every drop, can they? Maybe they don't even care that much.

By Malhomme on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:43 pm: Edit

...and why doesn't the government catch on???


By Artemis on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 03:23 pm: Edit

"Where are the distillers getting the alcohol to make La Bleue?"

They buy it from the government.

By Bob_Chong on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Kudos, Kallisti!


By Admin on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 02:30 pm: Edit

no worries bob!

I am on duty today.

Term, unspoken forum rule ... don't give the game away!

By Bob_Chong on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 02:21 pm: Edit

Thanks, Terminus, for telling customs what to look for. We all appreciate your candor. Nothing like making an already difficult item even harder to get.


By Terminus on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 01:49 pm: Edit

What is all this crap about the trouble with US customs?

I've never had trouble with customs and I receive six bottle shipments on a fairly regular basis.

The shippers describe the absinthe as **deleted for your protection**

By Malhomme on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 01:31 pm: Edit

Where are the distillers getting the alcohol to make La Bleue?

It would seem conspicuous to me to be buying such large quantities of alcohol. One wouldn't want to draw attention to their clandestine venture, after all.


By Zack on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 10:47 am: Edit


You can Email me and I'll tell you what the isuisse people told me.

By Absinthesque on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 09:50 am: Edit

i meant no offense, nor did i say anything to suggest that the delays were unnecessary. i simply expressed disappointment that the roll-out hasn't happened yet. i will be among the first in line when it does.


By Wolfgang on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 09:45 am: Edit

Aion :

What was the (us or can) price/bottle from isuisse ? I got an email from this guy but never received a quote.


By Malhomme on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:35 am: Edit

Why stop now?!

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:23 am: Edit

Anyone who thinks the JL products are being delayed one HOUR longer than necessary, is wrong.

We spend our days laboring to speed that day.

If that's not good enough for you, sirah, well, there's little I can say to console you.

Unless you wish to email me privately, so I Can tell you how I really feel?

By Absinthesque on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 06:15 am: Edit

dear don,

i really don't have any assumptions about your motivations; if i gave that impression, it was probably due to my eagerness for the release of the jade line and my disappointment over the delays. . .it has been "bientot" for longer than i'd hoped.

regarding bettina, i simply don't see her as being significantly better or worse than the other domestic suppliers -- though i do prefer her la bleue by a hairsbreadth -- and wonder why you have singled her out.

i'm not trying to pick a fight with you; i was just asking for an explanation and some even-handedness.

can't we all just get along?


By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 04:44 am: Edit

That's because the 'animus' predates my business involvement. You are trying to superimpose your assumptions about my motivations on my actions; doesn't work!

Anyone who thinks I am doing this for the money doesn't know me.

The same applies to my other businesses. I ceased to have to do anything for the money a while back.

By Aion on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 03:59 am: Edit

Await it ??

By Petermarc on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 03:48 am: Edit

expect it...

By Aion on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 03:45 am: Edit

I bought 3 bottles of LaBleue about 4 weeks ago from this source:

The product is very nice, fresh and clean tasting,
not very complex, but rounded and smooth with a nice somewhat astringent aftertaste.
Far better than the commercial products as Deva
which I can´t drink anymore because of its
overwhelming artificialness.
Didn´t have an other LaBleue (and surely will buy
none of any of the USA sources) so I can´t say if others might be better.

But I expect the Jade products to be very far better than this Isuisse product, otherwise
be I would be quite disappointed.


By Absinthesque on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 03:15 am: Edit

don, i didn't assume she was a threat to you, quite the contrary. that's why i don't get your animus.


By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 10:42 pm: Edit

Jim, thanks to a recent hdd crash I haven't got the URLs nor do I have time to chase them up again but I suspect that Marc, Bob, Justin, or others will be more than happy to give you that information. Personally I get what LB is still bother to obtain from personal connections in Switzerland, who hand carry the stuff here (Bangkok) for me. $30 a liter and no shipping costs.

By Netsurfer on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 08:46 pm: Edit


Until your product is available (soon I hope) please point me to the online source you reference - I'm always glad to save $$$



By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 07:50 pm: Edit

I's simplistic and kneejerk to assume that my antipathy for Betina has something to do with her being a putative 'threat' to us. Firtly, the hypothesis is untrue. The obverse is true. We are a definite lethal threat to her trade on both quality and price.

Secondly, I disliked her long before I got involved in making and selling absinthe, and I have said so consistently on this forum.

La Bleue is $30 at the source, retail, but somehow Betty cleverly buys it for $70 and passes her cupidity on to her buyers...another fellow on the Net sells it shipping included for $80, not $200.

I detest her phony use of shills and trolls, her bogus campaign to frighten people about Customs, her entire demeanor, more suited to selling snake oil to the accompaniment of a wheezing untuned calliope than to business.

BTW not one particle of this has anything to do with Justin/BEI. I have been encouraging Justin to get shut of the domestic business for a long time. Like, September last year.

By Netsurfer on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 07:27 pm: Edit


I don't understand why you are so quick to attack me as I am just a beginner asking simple questions based on limited knowledge hoping to expand the same with the assistance of those more knowledgeable than myself.

I assure you that I am nobody's troll (although I am rather fond of Karluv Most a.k.a. Charles Bridge, in Praha, but even then I prefer the top surface of the bridge, not the area below it as the water is way too cold for me.)

Besides, isn't this area dedicated to fairies and not trolls?


By Absinthesque on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 05:08 pm: Edit

i have tried the guy with the isuisse account, and i think his product is inferior to either of the two of betty's i've sampled (i think there may be more than two, and the quality probably varies from batch to batch)...the "interdite" isn't bad, but it has a funny aftertaste and lacks the subtelty of betty's, or justin's for that matter.

i've bought from spiritscorner, justin, betty and the other fellow, plus i got a bottle of la fee from somewhere else. i will buy from don and ted when their product hits the market (how long, how long?).

don, i don't understand why you have such animosity for betty. yes, she's expensive, but so are the others offering la bleue in the states. her service is good and reliable, and she provides a quality product. if the jade absinthes are as good as the advance notice suggests, she's certainly not a threat to you.

i'm not a troll for betty, and i'm not interested in getting into a flame war, but i don't think the attacks are justified.


By Perruche_Verte on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 04:24 pm: Edit

I especially wonder if anyone has tried the guy with the "isuisse" account... I'm sure you know who I'm talking about. Links to him are pretty easy to find.

I do hope to try a La Bleue one of these days, just to honor that tradition of civil disobedience, petit-capitalist though it is.

By Admin on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 03:35 pm: Edit

I think Netsurfer was referring to the fact that Betina is the only one listed on the guide (as BEI is phasing out) ... for the casual guide reader this would make availability seem limited.

If folks want to step forward and list their online sources w/ recommendation and a brief review (as Netsurfer has done)I could update the guide a bit to include more than Betina's Swiss.

I've hesitated doing this because each seller has different suppliers and quality varies ... but I could figure a way to make it a little more broad.

Ok, pipe up & spill the beans!

p.s. of course I'm not asking for secret or direct sources ... donut be silly

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 01:09 pm: Edit

Netsurfer/Jim, Betty is NOT the 'only source of Swiss La Bleue' and the fact that you assert that she is, marks you as a very likely Betina troll.

There are half a dozen or more sources of Swiss La Bleue.

Many if not all are a LOT cheaper.

By Morriganlefey on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 11:03 am: Edit

Agreed, Malhomme. I'm very fond of Betty's La Bleue #2 (though not so fond of her prices). I've had two different La Bleue's - her #2 and another glass from a friend's source (of which he was very secretive). Betty's La Bleue was far more interesting, more "subtley-complex" (if one can imagine that) on the herbal front. The other was good, but too watery for my tastes and a bit gritty tasting.

Netsurfer, if you can stomach her prices, I'd definitely suggest stomaching her La Bleue 2.

- M

By Malhomme on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 09:39 am: Edit

In the topic "Second Annual Austin Absinthe Tasting...Wish you were here?", archived in January 2001 I breifly describe some of the absinthes sampled at the tasting.

Among these was Bettina's Number 2. Though not called-out by name, it was my favorite of the La Bleues sampled (one representitive of each of the 3 major La Bleue sources) I think Morrigan is also fond of the Number 2, and if persuaded could round-out my description.


By Petermarc on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 09:03 am: Edit

ask her...

By Netsurfer on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 05:58 am: Edit

Don, that (the vendor being Czech) was what raised the red flag for me. But at least it does not taste like furniture polish and actually is the "lightest" tasting of the three that I've tried. There is no black jelly bean or overpowering licorice flavor and it isn't particularly sweet. But I guess my next bottle will be ordered through Betina, since she seems to be the only source that has the Swiss La Bleue.

On the subject of Betinas La Bleue, she speaks of La Bleue numbers one and two. What is the difference between the two?


By Petermarc on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 12:31 am: Edit

swiss la bleue is the generic name of clear (or somewhat clear-the coloring step has been omitted) absinthe being artisanally made near the french border...there appears to be several people who make it, and obviously no quality control (except, it is hoped, by the individuals who make it and the people who buy it from them) because-it's not legal...i have had two with a significant difference between them...the bottom line is anyone can make la bleue or something like it, and call it la bleue, put a label on it and attempt to sell france, burgundy is made in burgundy and follows strict controls of origin, if not quailty; but it is also unfortunately called the same thing when it is made in california, by gallo...

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 12:08 am: Edit

In my opinion,I'd be very dubious of any alleged La Bleue being sold by a vendor of Czech absinthe. Anyone can get second hand wine bottles, anyone can print the labels on a PC (same way it's done in Switzerland.)

By Netsurfer on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 09:51 pm: Edit

So there are a number of makers of "Swiss La Bleue", right?


By Malhomme on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 09:32 pm: Edit

Alas, almost every supplier is purchasing from a different source, and manufacture. In my experience some are similar enough to suggest they are from the same source. Just my $0.02

By Netsurfer on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 08:55 pm: Edit

Aloha all,

I just received a bottle of Swiss La Bleue I purchased from They have their own label on it with their URL on the bottom. The taste etc. is as good as I expected, and I like it much better than the Deva or Segarra (although the Segarra so far is my second choice.) I was surprised, however, to see that the vendor is located in the Czech Republic. I then went and checked the vendor list and did not see their website on the list (I found them via a Copernic search.) I really like the taste and don't regret the purchase, but am wondering if this is the same Swiss La Bleue discussed on the forum. I see that the Swiss La Bleue from some vendors come with custom labels, and this label is specific to the vendor. On their website they state that it is made in Switzerland in Val-de-Travers. Is this the same La Bleue spoken of here?



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