Thujone Thujone

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Thujone Thujone
By Webfly on Thursday, May 24, 2001 - 10:31 am: Edit


Thanks for the objective post. You're right, it's not that important.

As I alluded to earlier, the overall sensations/drinkability are really the factors to consider.

You guys have made me curious about Herbsaint/Oxygenee(hope I spelled these right). Any info on how to obtain/prices?


By Tabreaux on Thursday, May 24, 2001 - 08:14 am: Edit

Actually, those test results were important. What they did was illustrate how even a competent chemist can end up with erroneous data when testing for thujone. This happens all the time for reasons which I have been researching avidly. It is my observation that no thujone numbers reported by *anyone* up to this point should be accepted at face value. This applies to numbers published in some studies as well.

By Wormwood on Thursday, May 24, 2001 - 07:53 am: Edit

I am responsible for the Herbsaint a-thujone result and I will tell you how it could be inaccurate if it is. Ted called it into question, and so did I when I posted it. This is not my job, no one paid me to do it. I'm a chemist, absinthe is a hobby. I saw thujone numbers for so long on this forum I wanted to do the test myself, so I did.

I obtained the method they use to test for thujones in alcoholic beverages in the UK. I had the wrong column in my GC but I used the same temperatures and calibration standards as they did.

Then I rounded up as many berverages in my liquor cabinet and friends on this forum, as I could find that I thought might contain thujone.

The numbers could be off by a few percent. Most importantly if I found no thujone, there is almost no thujone. If I found thujone, like in the Herbsaint. I could be wrong. Another compound with the exact same retention time on the column as a-thujone could exist in that pastis and I would have quantitated it as if it was a-thujone. I did not confirm this data with another GC column or conditions, or using a GC MS because.....


By Don_Walsh on Thursday, May 24, 2001 - 07:01 am: Edit


mg/L is not interchangeable with mg/Kg.

mg/Kg is by definition, ppm.

mg/L is not same as ppm unless the density of the liquid is 1.0 g/ml

By Artemis on Wednesday, May 23, 2001 - 09:14 am: Edit


You're right, "Trout Fishing in America" is about fishing in a metaphorical sense, but it contains a lot of stories about actual trout fishing (Brautigan was apparently an enthusiast). The hero of the book is "Trout Fishing in America Shorty", a legless wino from San Francisco.

It also dates to my college days - it was assigned reading in a beginners' art class. Somewhere in the book, a lure designed by Leonardo Da Vinci is envisioned. I decided to build one - it was about three feet long. If memory serves me correctly, it was the only "A" I ever got in that class.

By Webfly on Wednesday, May 23, 2001 - 08:47 am: Edit

I posted this message last night. I don't see it so I'll do it again.

I figured I'd hear about the potatoes! OK, good Vodka is made from grain. But my point is that quality alcohol is distilled from a great variety of sources; those used are often determined by regional availability. That's why I'm looking for this hard-to-find information, as my friend cannot tolerate wheat, rye, oats, and a few others.

I figured I'd hear about Brautigan, too. I remember reading "Watermelon Sugar" in my college days, but I only faintly remember it. It seems his reference to a trout stream was metaphorical, but I don't remember.

Apparently there are trace amounts of protein after distillation, sufficient to make one with celiac sick; I'll inquire further. There is probably a more complex biochemical issue here.

Actually, a caddis larva is closer to the color of absinthe! The Coachman is a classic, beautiful pattern, complex to tie, a real test for the tier. Being an "attractor" pattern, there are relatively few situations nowadays where you would have a chance at a hook-up using a Coachman, but I don't know of any flyfisher who doesn't carry a few at all times.

The Belle Epoch period was also the time span of
the last great brook trout fishing in my state of Pennsylvania as well as other places in the east. In those days, you could catch dozens of good sized to trophy sized brookies on an average day on many if not most streams in PA with a Coachmen . That's why this era is doubly fascinating to me.

Thanks for your responses,

By Zack on Tuesday, May 22, 2001 - 12:29 pm: Edit

" the base alcohol of real Vodka is distilled from potatoes,"

Webfly, quit perpetuating this false assumption! Grain, I say. Vodka was (and the good ones always will be) made from grains. Potatoes started being used when the demand rose for cheap vodka (and likewise quality declined). Read the Activated Carbon thread.

By Artemis on Tuesday, May 22, 2001 - 08:59 am: Edit

I have no faith in the accuracy any of those test results due to information that has been provided in this space by Ted, and provided in somewhat more detail privately. I have to concede that Serpis has a powerful "secondary" effect, though.

I'm confident that some absinthes are based upon grape alcohol, not grain, although I don't pretend to know which in all cases, but as Absinthedrinker pointed out, that's moot with regard to gluten in a distilled product.

Everything I know about fly fishing I learned from "Trout Fishing in America" by Richard Brautigan, one of the great books of all time. It's not as good as "A Confederate General from Big Sur", though. Also, see "Watermelon Sugar", "The Hawkline Monster", "Willard and His Bowling Trophies", "Lay the Marble Tea", "The Revenge of the Lawn", and "The Octopus Frontier".

Richard Brautigan may not have been in a class by himself, but it sure don't take long to call the roll. Sadly, he killed himself some years ago.

By Petermarc on Tuesday, May 22, 2001 - 08:04 am: Edit

favorite fly to look at 'royal coachman' (the green, man!)
could never catch anything with it...i'm more of a water-beater...if you do it enough times, you can stun a few unlucky fish into brother and sister are the pros, going after tarpon and such...

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, May 22, 2001 - 07:51 am: Edit

Gluten is a protein, it would not be present after distillation, regardless of the original source of the alcohol.

By Webfly on Tuesday, May 22, 2001 - 07:38 am: Edit

I also was curious about thujone levels, so I asked Mr. Federico Lafuente of Fine Spirits Corner about this back in March. He gave me a list of relative thujone levels of 7 Spanish brands according to official certificates; as he is an export agent for several countries and these analyses were conducted in the same laboratory, I believe this information is accurate. The ranking is thus:

1. Serpis
2. Herring
3. LaSala
4. N.S.
5. Montana
6. Deva
7. Mari Mayans

Federico was not certain about Segarra, "But he is probably ahead of the rest."

If the European thujone limit is 10mg/L,then Segarra, Serpis, and maybe Herring/LaSala hover around this level. Claims of Deva at +30 mg./L etc. is obviously part of the misinformation surrounding an area of burgeoning interest. I appreciate this Forum as a way of obtaining interesting information.

(Another obsession of mine is flyfishing, and I have sorted out hogwash about this interest area for years. Anyone out there with this interest as well?).

I think the foregoing underscores an important issue about absinthe: up to a certain point, the balance of the herbals in the drink is more important than thujone level, relative to the total effects (and certainly the drinkability) of a particular absinthe. Perhaps the thujone is more of a catalyst at this point, accentuating the effects of the other constituents.

I would like to publicly thank Mr. Lafuente for his kind responses and give him credit for information leading to the above.

Now, I would like to ask the other members of this Forum a question which I have asked before, but not on the Forum. Does anyone know what the base alcohol is derived from of any absinthe(s)we've discussed, particularly La Bleue? It cannot be assumed that it's all derived from grain, i.e., the base alcohol of real Vodka is distilled from potatoes, the alcohol of Serpis comes from beet root, etc. The reason I need to know is a friend of mine has celiac disease-an intolerance to gluten.

Thanks for the Forum, and thank you vendors, all of you for keeping the tradition going and for all your kind responses.


By Zack on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 03:20 pm: Edit

Ah, thats right next Josephine St. Cafe, you might have seen it. (They are both located on Josephine Street) I don't think I have ever been to Liberty though.

By Marc on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 02:35 pm: Edit


it was the Liberty Bar. Great fresh-baked bread and pies.

By Heiko on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 02:31 pm: Edit

Zack, you're not alone with the MM 55. I like it as well. I can't tell anymore if I like the 70 or not - I only had one small sample. I thought it was not that good.

btw. I had Ricard (Pastis) for the first time yesterday and I really liked it! I think it's much better than Pernod Pastis. The caramel taste (from the coloring?) somehow reminded me of Segarra a little bit.
I was really smashed after three glasses also.

I have to say that in the last two weeks I found out I am so used to any effect of the commercial Absinthes that I suddenly felt more "secondary effect" from pastis. I guess I just felt more drunk from it and was surprised by this feeling...
After having had some pastis I had an MM 55 and suddenly felt the difference: the drunkenness gave way to a somewhat clear and awake, yet still intoxicated feeling. It was still drunkenness I felt, but it was kind of "sophisticated" drunkenness. I don't feel that anymore when I just have one or two absinthes tho...

By Zack on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 01:53 pm: Edit

Was it a small place? Josephine St. Cafe maybe?

By Marc on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 12:57 pm: Edit


I was In San Antonio not long ago. I went to a great restaurant. I can't remember its name but its in an old building that leans to one side.

By Marc on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 02:01 am: Edit


I have no regrets about my Herbsaint purchase.
I just over-ordered. I thought that after publsihing those bogus thujone results, it would be banned. I was a tad naive back then.

By Zack on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 01:52 am: Edit

hey, a shitload of Herbsaint is a good thing either way, thujone or no thujone. BTW - I like Mari Mayans also, the 55 not the 70. I think the 70% is pretty bad.

By Marc on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 01:41 am: Edit

I like Mari Mayans very much. That puts me in the minority here in the forum.

Based on that thujone report, I went out and bought a shitload of Herbsaint, a domestic pastis.
If that report is accurate, how could Herbsaint be sold legally in this country? It has the highest thujone content of all the absinthes tested. Something is not right.

By Scoobydoo on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 01:30 am: Edit

So has it been confirmed that Mari Mayans does not contain any Thujone or produces no "floating" effects? I was just wondering b/c I noticed that is why some stopped selling that brand...

By Marc on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 01:11 am: Edit


the method of testing in those results was called into question by Ted. Go back and you will find Ted's comments regarding the unreliability of the testing methods involved.

By Scoobydoo on Sunday, May 20, 2001 - 01:04 am: Edit

I ran across this thread from almost a year ago and I have not seen any mention of it lately:

> ====================== ========== ==========
> Deva Absenta 26.51 mg/L nd
> Hills Absinth nd nd
> Lasala Absenta 33.29 mg/L nd
> Mari Mayans (70%) nd nd
> Montana Absenta 30.02 mg/L nd
> Sebor (#1) Absinth 13.35 mg/L nd
> Sebor (#2) Absinth 12.35 mg/L nd
> Serpis, Absenta nd nd
> Herbsaint pasits 38.48 mg/L nd
> La Muse Verte pastis nd nd
> Ouzo nd nd
> Angustra bitters 8.88 mg/L nd
> Red Cinzano Vermouth nd 14.38 mg/L
> Herb Pharm extract 10.72 mg/L 136.15 mg/L

So did this turn out to be correct?
If it is, I must say I am surprised b/c after 4 glasses of Serpis (over 2 hours)I was freaking gone! and I can normally take like 12 shots of normal liquor (in about 1 hour) and still be relatively ok. Well, if this was proven to be correct by you guys, I can't wait for Jade's stuff to come out!!


Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only
Administer Page |Delete Conversation |Close Conversation |Move Conversation