Absinthe bottles

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Absinthe bottles
By Absinthedrinker on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 08:23 am: Edit

I too sampled this blanche (Berger 68 copy) in London and found it very palatable indeed (I think there is a mini-review somewhere). I understood that it might only be made in limited quantities.

By Artemis on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 07:52 am: Edit


Quote:

Artemis, Ted isn't making anything bleau style is he? I know he's recreated Pernod and done some beautiful variations... I just think it would be nice to have some clean, simple bleau once in awhile to step back from the herbal explosion.




I can't speak to what Ted is going to offer to the public, but he is capable of making absinthe blanche (clear).

When I met him in New Orleans (privately, not at the party), he pulled out a fifth of it. It was clean, maybe not simple. As I remember (fuzzily at best) it was the most gin-like absinthe I've tasted, not in a Juniper sense, but in a dry herbal sense. He said it was an attempt to recreate a Berger absinthe of old.

But making absinthe blanche isn't a big deal. Just skip the coloring step and you're there. Still too many herbs? Leave some out of the maceration. Voila: simple. To achive good flavor balance, maybe not so simple.

By Mr_Rabbit on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 09:10 pm: Edit

Damn. Trying to read a week's worth of posts in an hour is too much!

Artemis, Ted isn't making anything bleau style is he? I know he's recreated Pernod and done some beautiful variations... I just think it would be nice to have some clean, simple bleau once in awhile to step back from the herbal explosion.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 08:45 am: Edit

There are lots of bars here where the girls where school uniforms, middy blouses, pleasted skirts, knee socks and penny loafers...they may look like school girls but most of them have shcool age daughters...even so...not my particular cuppa but, it's part of the local bar scene. Playschool, one of the bars, is owned by the decadent scion of the Walls (UK) ice cream family. I sort of hope the family name is not a variant of my own.

By Artemis on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 08:25 am: Edit


Quote:

pom poms and short skirts are probably not your style




The only thing better is the short skirts and knee socks the Catholic school girls wear, but my legs are too hairy for that these days.

By Heiko on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 08:00 am: Edit

The Spanish are not expensive, IMO - most of the brands cost between 12 and 15 Euro per liter and have 50% to 55% vol. alcohol.

I pay around 12 to 15 Euro for a 0.7l bottle of Pernod (40% vol.) or Ricard (45% vol.) in the supermarket. And that's just a normal price (unless you buy no-name ouzo).

Ok, if you compare Spanish prices with German prices, the Spanish are usually much lower (and so might be the tax on alcohol, I guess). But probably SC already has higher prices than they would have to sell their stuff in Spain.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 07:57 am: Edit

Artemis, I think you look great in the pics from the NOLA gathering but pom poms and short skirts are probably not your style.

By Artemis on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 07:52 am: Edit

Right, no one is claiming the Spanish charge too much, eh?

As to covering the cost of herbs and equipment, if the Spanish do it the way it's been claimed they do it (adding essential oils to ethanol), there is no additional cost of equipment. The equipment would be exactly the same as they're using for their other liquor. Of course they would have to buy the oils - whether that's a more expensive proposition than buying herbs I don't know, but it shortens the manufacturing process considerably, and the absinthe is not as good. For those two reasons alone, IMO, someone distilling over herbs, not to mention coloring with them, is justified in setting a (relatively) higher price.

I also think nobody has argued that the Spanish are not entitled to make and drink what they like. But I'm entitled to say it's not everything absinthe should be as well.


Quote:

I think it would be reeeeeally cool if someone in Spain got a taste for swiss style and started producing it commercially.




At the risk of being pegged as Ted's cheerleader again, I think it's even cooler that someone in New Orleans did the same, but then I'm from Louisiana and not Barcelona.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 04:48 am: Edit

Is anyone arguing that the Spanish are expensive?

By Mr_Rabbit on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 12:39 am: Edit

Two quick points to fire off-

The spanish might charge what they do for volume reasons. If you know that you are only going to sell a comparitively small amount of absinthe as opposed to gin or whatnot, to justify having equipment, herbs et al devoted to it might mean you need to charge more (to cover the cost of not using those stills for gin or vodka...)

Spanish absinthe is anise-with-wormwood and not the other way around because them spaniards prefer it, IMHO. Just like a czech would probably prefer a vegetabley absinthe to an anisey absinthe. Its just what they are used to, what they think it should taste like.

I think it would be reeeeeally cool if someone in Spain got a taste for swiss style and started producing it commercially.

By Bob_Chong on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 08:45 pm: Edit

And DL stands for Desert Leech.

Bill, beware of absinthe resellers who send you emails full of (a) glowing testimonials and (b) customs scare tactics. You can save your money and buy directly from spiritscorner.com, without the 400% mark-ups. Buy two, four, or five bottles at a time to save on shipping. Try a variety and see what you like. Segarra is good.

BC

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 05:04 pm: Edit

Hi, Bill.

Just see http://www.bestabsinthe.com, and sign yourself up for the mailing list. We will let you know when the products are available (very soon).

Cheers

Don

PS: JL stands for 'Jurassic Laudanum'

By Verawench on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 04:29 pm: Edit

A post smelling of some
suspicion and vice
the absinthe virgin
posted it twice.

It's JL not DL.

And it stands for Justifiable Louche.

By Guillermo on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 03:18 pm: Edit

Dear Ted and Don,

I read on this thread that you all are in the process of producing / trying to produce a bottle of absinthe that resembles vintage Pernod. Wow! How's it going?

Also: could you tell me what the brand DL stands for?

Tks -- Bill.

By Guillermo on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 03:14 pm: Edit

Dear Ted and Don,

I read on this thread that you all are in the process of producing / trying to produce a bottle of absinthe that resembles vintage Pernod. Wow! How's it going?

Also: could you tell me what the brand DL stands for?

Tks -- Bill.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 04:17 am: Edit

Just use it sparingly.

Yeah a Kg will go a long way for a home distiller, but we buy it in huge quantities, everything comes in 15-30 Kg sacks. Vera has the wrong image of my 'warehouse', it looks nothing like Acme Chemical, or Blade Runner; it looks like a feed store and smells like an herb shop. It is a mixture of high and low tech (traditional techniques side by side with state of the art quality control for alcohol and purification technology.) This is a multidisciplinary process. Botany, biology, chemistry, engineering...and artistry. And let's not forget politics.

By Aion on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 03:18 am: Edit

Found a very interestig site concernig herbs and spices:
http://www-ang.kfunigraz.ac.at/~katzer/
Take a look,
A,

By Germanandy on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 01:51 am: Edit

in germany we use wormwood to spice very fat meat (like eisbein).
it helps your stomach to digest the fat.
That is why wormwood is used in a lot of degestivs (like underberg).

andy

By Luger on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 01:40 am: Edit

>"The rest of the kilo? Dump it! It´s cheap!"
>
>Don't dump it all! At least use some of it to >cook with. What about a nice Basque-style chicken >dish?

Sounds as a good idea, but what should I do with the remaining Wormwood? :-) One helluva dish!
Even the Indian restaurants can´t beat that dish!
Cajun? Bah! No meal is spiced as a piece of meat buried in a bag of wormwood!

Please remember to tell the Forum how the results tasted! :-) :-)

Cheers: Luger

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 12:23 am: Edit

"The rest of the kilo? Dump it! It´s cheap!"

Don't dump it all! At least use some of it to cook with. What about a nice Basque-style chicken dish?

By Loucheliver on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:11 pm: Edit

Jeez, I get bored w/the Forum and don't check in for a few days, and look what I come back to: a thread about absinthe, w/no pissing contests, the return of the esteemed Artemis and Luger, and Timk addressing Don in a civil manner about JW Blue!
Who'd of thought it possible??

As for myself, I'm tired of all the Spanish, but love drinking absinthe, and am therefore loath to give them up. The tantalizing taste of JL products ruined (as Artemis pointed out) the illusion that they were the real deal. But, as Heiko pointed out, they'll do day to day until the that good stuff is available.
In the words of Smoky Robinson:
A taste of honey is worse than none at all.

By Luger on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 10:12 am: Edit

>Luger, you are right, we have nothing to argue >about. Did you get your moose, last year?

Seems like we all agree! First time ever for the Forum!!!
No I did not get to bag any moose myself last year, but I hope to this year. Since we hunt moose as a team effort, we split the meat equally whoever gets to shoot, so it doesn´t really matter much :-) These bastards frequently trots on the roads, so you have to be attentive when you drive :-)

As to Andy: you may not need a kilo of say Hyssop, but if you buy a kilo, and use what you need, it still is much cheaper than buying a little bag with some unknown brown powder on the bottom, that may or may not be of last decades harvest :-)
The rest of the kilo? Dump it! It´s cheap!

Cheers: Luger

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 09:54 am: Edit

Vera, I'm hurrying as fast as I can.

By Tavarua on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 09:46 am: Edit

“One other thing, I have seen a few references here about 18 wheel trailer shells being used to hide illicit stills in the region. Once you get off of the main arterial road in Val de Travers there are few places for an 18 wheeler to go and none where it wouldn't get quite a lot of notice.”

Except private land, rural / country. Just because they are using freight trucks doesn’t mean they are constantly driving around in circles or parked on the side of the road. Quite possible, they move from the property of one “friend” to another, every few days, weeks, etc. Maybe for a cut of the profits, or maybe just for the cause.

Also in some areas of the Carolinas, marijuana is grown almost openly on smaller plots and law enforcement does not interact. As a matter of local politics and the fact that corn crops no longer pay bills for local farmer, it is pretty much accepted. I have to imagine that, as mentioned earlier, law enforcement pays little attention to absinthe producers, unless they are blatant. Also as mentioned earlier, Absinthe is often produced by distillers that deal in legitimate booze. It may be only the last step that requires the mobile method. Possibly use the facilities on the weekend for the basics, and pile the remainder into the trucks for the rest.

By the way, the marijuana growth in the Carolinas seems far fetched, but it is the absolute truth. I saw one those investigative reports, i.e. 20/20 or 60 minutes, not “Hardcopy” or one of those shammers, and it was amazing. The investigative team hopped in a helicopter and toured the farms of several communities and it was mind blowing how much nugget was being grown.

One more thing, there is at least one person, on this forum, who has seen this type of operation. Maybe they can jump in and clarify.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 08:07 am: Edit

Aion said "do you really think one who wants to make bootlegs is interested to buy from wholesale sources with the name of the buyer on the sales receipt?? And a mix of herbs that almost cries out loud what the final product will be. Or better stay anonymous and pay a little more on cash basis in a drugstore?"

Over in Boveresse I was told on good authority that many local pharmacies premixed the appropriate herbs for absinthe and sold them with a nod and a wink so to speak. One other thing, I have seen a few references here about 18 wheel trailer shells being used to hide illicit stills in the region. Once you get off of the main arterial road in Val de Travers there are few places for an 18 wheeler to go and none where it wouldn't get quite a lot of notice.

By Germanandy on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:54 am: Edit

@don - cheers
@all - cheers

;-)

andy

By Heiko on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:48 am: Edit

"With regard to commercial products currently on the market, I'm confident Absinthedrinker is closer to the heart of the matter with one word: taxes."

Probably. I don't know any liquors with more than 45% vol. alcohol sold in Germany. The cheap stuff is reduced to 37%.
That's definitely because of taxes and nothing else.
Only liquor which is made artisnal (like some 60% "blutwurz" from bavaria) does sometimes exceed 45% vol. alcohol - and this liquor is definitely more expensive...

By Verawench on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:35 am: Edit

I'm no expert on these matters, just a fiend for the product but I want to comment on what a fabulous thread this one has turned out to be. A true match of wits and knowledge :)

By Artemis on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:25 am: Edit

"Artemis stated that the manufacturing procedure made it expensive, and since the raw materials and the energy cannot be the case, it has to be something else."

I didn't say that, or didn't intend to. I only meant to say that making absinthe the Swiss way (distillation) would seem to be *relatively* more expensive than the way the Spanish apparently do it (mixing extracts), and that making it Don's way would seem to be *relatively* more expensive than the Swiss way because:

1) Don has to import almost all of the materials into Thailand and
2) Don has to adhere to Ted's strict standards so that the products don't vary too far from those of the 19th century, when it would have been easier and cheaper to meet those standards, because people ready to supply exactly the required materials in the required amounts were knocking on the door of the Pernod factory (and others) from virtually next door.

I think I've used enough weasel words now to give myself an escape hatch, because I could be wrong about all of it.

With regard to commercial products currently on the market, I'm confident Absinthedrinker is closer to the heart of the matter with one word: taxes.

By Verawench on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:25 am: Edit

Hey girls, think if we give Don a proper whoopin, he'll hurry up and make us some absinthe?

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:15 am: Edit

They can wear the leather outfits under their white lab smocks. The combination is very fetching.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 07:12 am: Edit

Andy, fuggit, I don't know what the big Swiss bootleggers pay, nor do you know, beyond a guess, what the little guys pay, do you? So why ought we to dispute over guesswork? Have an absinthe! I wish I could but I quit drinking for a while, because the distillations are awaiting my attention. There are old distillers and bold distillers but no old, bold distillers...

By Verawench on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 06:54 am: Edit

Then where in the world do they make Hill's?

By Aion on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 06:30 am: Edit

Vera,
this might be the exact description of the
facitity were Deva is produced.
A.

By Verawench on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 06:24 am: Edit

"I was just trying to picture what Don's warehouse looked like"

Hehe.. I was picturing some massive post-industrial factory a la Blade Runner slash the Acme Cosmetics Company from the Burton's first Batman movie slash the laboratory of a mad scientist... giant bubbling vats of suspicious greenish liquid and leather-clad vixens in hard hats working secretly by night, pushing bleeping button displays, examining samples in test tubes, etc..

Don, do you look anything like Vincent Price? :P

By Aion on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 05:41 am: Edit

Don,
do you really think one who wants to make
bootlegs is interested to buy from wholesale sources with the name of the buyer on the sales receipt?? And a mix of herbs that almost cries out loud what the final product will be. Or better stay anonymous and pay a little more on cash basis in a drugstore?
A.

By Wormwood on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 05:30 am: Edit

I just had the most wonderful picture pop into my head:

I was just trying to picture what Don's warehouse looked like. Tons of aniseseeds, and wormwood plants stacked high, all baking in the hot southeast asian sun. Stills and colorators cooking away, to make emerald green nectar which sloshes into bottles as they move down the line and get silvery grey lables slapped onto them.

I bet if you close your eyes its smells just like a sauna where some drunk accidently poured his absinthe instead of just water onto the hot rocks.

By Germanandy on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 04:30 am: Edit

don, i guess you are right, but who needs tons of herbs instaed of someone who makes a huge ammount of liqour.
for me, and i guess for most of the small homebrewers the price is around 2$/100g +/-

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 04:16 am: Edit

Luger, you are right, we have nothing to argue about. Did you get your moose, last year?

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 04:13 am: Edit

Andy, $2/100 g of anise? Maybe in a retail health food setting, those are notoriously overpriced, but I can assure you that when buying herbs in bulk from the wholesale sources in Europe, as we do, and I mean TONS, an entirely different paradigm applies, an order of magnitude cheaper.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 03:30 am: Edit

I am not sure that modern absinthe is overpriced within the market. If you compare prices at spirits corner (I have adjusted them so that they are all per liter) you will see that Deva (bog standard/no marketing) at Euro 12.35 is cheaper than both Tanquery gin (high quality/low marketing) at E 15.41 and Bombay Sapphire (reasonable quality/high marketing) at E 21.80. Segarra (high quality/no marketing) at E 33.00 compares well with an artisnal product such as armagnac, all priced around E 30.00.

My point is that in Spain, which has relatively low duty and taxation and which manufactures absinthe, the absinthes are low priced. It is only in the UK and elsewhere where duty and tax are high and absinthe is not produced, that prices are artificially high.

By Germanandy on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 02:15 am: Edit

only 100 gramms of anise costs about 2$ in germany and i guess the price is about the same in switzerland.
and anise is only one of the ingredients.

andy

By Luger on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 01:37 am: Edit

So there you go again: I ask about *any* absinthe, and you immediately think I am asking about Jade! NO!
There is a world outside your window also!!!

Since the picture in "Histoire" shows a difference of just 60% between the "scum of the day", that many of you must have tasted a lot since you know so much about it, and on the other end, Pernod, the difference today should not be as big as it is between say "Kaliningrad Vodka" and say La Fee, or Oxygenee. *That* is my question! You have not shown that the materials or energy can account for it, so it must be something else!

Well to go into specifics:


>By the way the premium Cognacs, which retail in the $75 to $300 US range, are sold almost exclusively in Asia --
>Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, the money centers -- and are advertising driven. They are popular as STATUS
>SYMBOLS because of the advertising. Most of them are pretty good cognacs, but by no means is there any but a
>casual relationship between their quality relative to other Cognacs, and their pricing. They sell because of shrewd
>marketing in places where people love to flaunt their money. I suspect that real Cognac afficionados regard many if
>not all of these high priced brandies in flashy decanters sold in duty free shops all over the Pacific Rim with
>amusement, the way canny Scots knowledgeable about real premium malts look at overpriced blends (Royal Salute,
>the aforementioned Blue Label, etc.)

We seem to agree about the main point! If you agree that this is true with Absinthe also, then we have nothing to argue about! :-)


>But it isn't fair to compare a mass market gin like Bombay Sapphire (an advertising driven mass produced
>industrialized product) -- and I am not knocking Bombay Sapphire which my wife adores. But look out your window
>at the Absolute plant (as I recall you can do so.) A big commercial distillery looks a lot like a modest petroleum
>refinery because it is technically very little different. Nothing artisnal about it.

Almost. I´ve been at the Absolut plant, but it is another chemical plant I can see when looking out my window.
As you say, it´s not anything special. ( Well maybe specially ugly ).

>Well, maybe nothing artisnal about a lot of modern absinthes (as they aren't distilled by and large, and 'artisnal' in
>the EU liquor meaning has solely to do with the maximum size of the still (5000 liters). However, arguably Segarra is
>artisnal, our products are certainly artisnal, La Bleue is absolutely artisnal as I don't think you can get a 5000 L Still
>into a 18 wheel trailer!

The Eu-rules are not simple, even for the lawyers, and each country read them as they want. Whisky stills are even larger than that.
I wish it was easy :-)

>So the scale argument is apropos. BTW most of the prices people pay are 90% middlemen commissions. What do
>you think the ex factory of a bottle of Blue Label (from UDV) or Bombay Sapphire probably is? Damned little. It's the
>jobbers and wholesalers and retailers not to mention the excise departments that make all the $$ not the distillery.

True, true and true. But these should be the same regardless of the brand? Artemis stated that the manufacturing procedure made it expensive, and since the raw materials and the energy cannot be the case, it has to be something else. It is not as delicate as making a good Malt, so it has to be something else.

>(I don't wish to offend any of our Swiss colleagues but obviously, there are complex social, economic, ethnic,
>regional, and inter-canton games going on about absinthe. I do have a lot of Swiss friends and acquaintances and
>the difference in the attitudes between the francophone and german-speaking Swiss about absinthe is remarkable,
>indeed.)

Nice info! Do the german speaking Swiss not like the french speaking Swiss at all, or do they mostly argue about Absinthe?

And now Ted had this to say:

>Because 100 years ago:

>(1) The herbs were grown virtually on the grounds of the distillery, in many cases were had for virtually nothing.

Since the herbs required for a litre costs about a dollar today for an ordinary citizen, it shouldn´t affect the price that much. Large scale growing actually makes it cheaper. Actually some EU rules about harvesting/drying makes herbs for export both more expensive and lessens the quality, but it is still just a fraction of the manufacturing price. If you add 400% or whatever to my single dollar, it is still very cheap!

>(2) The producer was virtually guaranteed access to at least a regional market in his own 'backyard'.

True

>(3) Energy was cheaper than it is today.

I don´t agree! Yesterday you needed coal or something similar. Today you have very cheap electricity. Electricity needs not much to use, but coal is labor intensive. You may not like water dams or nuke plants, but it is cheap!

>(4) Alcohol was cheaper than it is today.

I have no figures to prove it, but why should it be? Non-taxed alcohol is very very cheap today, even with very good purity, it is the taxes that makes the price, and those are (?) the same for La Fee and "Hermes Sake"?

>5) Labor was probably cheaper because the standard of living in these rural areas was undoubtedly scant.

True, but farmers today have machines to do much of the work, so you don´t need that much labor.
Even harvesting of many herbs is done that way. The machines can actualy separate the different parts very well.

>(6) There was much less government controls, taxes, licensing, fees, regulatory compliance, yada, yada, and it

I wish it was! :-) Welcome to EUSSR Europeski unionski sotzialitzki sojutzki repupliks! :-)

>(7) Transportation was cheaper.

IMHO, transportion has never been as cheap as today!
The road net goes virtually everywhere ( If you are not exporting to Siberia :- ) ). I can order products from the other half of the globe and it will be in my lap in a week, for the slightest of costs. Large scale cuts prices though,,,


>go to a modern automobile assembly line and try to make a 1932
>Dusenberg the way it was made back than....can't be done without considerable re-engineering of manufacturing
>methods and materials. Ditto for absinthe...historically authentic absinthe anyway.

And since the price difference in the old days was just 60% between adding of some nasty chemicals to some chemical waste, and the fantastic Pernod that required the help of Merlin and his spells, I find it hard to believe that it is that hard to do even today!


Best regards: Luger

By Webfly on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 04:45 pm: Edit

Wolfgang and Heiko,

Wolfgang, my discovery is not as complex as yours. I had this bottle of Herring I didn't particularly like, with its Czech-like undertones. Its overall thin, lemony flavor does make it a good one for mixing. I personally find its effects to be most pleasant. I had a little MM 70 to which I added the Herring-not much, about 1 MM to at least 7-8 Herring. Try it! I actually think this mixture "energizes" the effects;it certainly energizes the flavor.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 04:44 pm: Edit

By the way the premium Cognacs, which retail in the $75 to $300 US range, are sold almost exclusively in Asia -- Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, the money centers -- and are advertising driven. They are popular as STATUS SYMBOLS because of the advertising. Most of them are pretty good cognacs, but by no means is there any but a casual relationship between their quality relative to other Cognacs, and their pricing. They sell because of shrewd marketing in places where people love to flaunt their money. I suspect that real Cognac afficionados regard many if not all of these high priced brandies in flashy decanters sold in duty free shops all over the Pacific Rim with amusement, the way canny Scots knowledgeable about real premium malts look at overpriced blends (Royal Salute, the aforementioned Blue Label, etc.)

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 04:30 pm: Edit

I'd say yes, Luger, absinthe and gin have a lot in common in terms of their herbal nature, as an oversimplification. Same about their means of manufacture. Good absinthe and good gin, that is. Are schlock gins mixed from essential oils? I'd have to go back and look at the EU regs again but I don't think so, I think gins have to be distilled over or through the botanicals.

But it isn't fair to compare a mass market gin like Bombay Sapphire (an advertising driven mass produced industrialized product) -- and I am not knocking Bombay Sapphire which my wife adores. But look out your window at the Absolute plant (as I recall you can do so.) A big commercial distillery looks a lot like a modest petroleum refinery because it is technically very little different. Nothing artisnal about it.

Well, maybe nothing artisnal about a lot of modern absinthes (as they aren't distilled by and large, and 'artisnal' in the EU liquor meaning has solely to do with the maximum size of the still (5000 liters). However, arguably Segarra is artisnal, our products are certainly artisnal, La Bleue is absolutely artisnal as I don't think you can get a 5000 L Still into a 18 wheel trailer!

So the scale argument is apropos. BTW most of the prices people pay are 90% middlemen commissions. What do you think the ex factory of a bottle of Blue Label (from UDV) or Bombay Sapphire probably is? Damned little. It's the jobbers and wholesalers and retailers not to mention the excise departments that make all the $$ not the distillery.

Incidentally the $20 a bottle Swiss Alcohol Commission price for 96% neutral spirits is probably accurate, as the Swiss absinthe bootleggers DO buy their alcohol not make it, and they DO pay the tax on the front end, because they pretend they are going to make one thing (gentian) when they are really making something they can't claim the tax back on when they sell (absinthe). So they build the tax into the selling price. It's all a game in Switzerland. I bet that if they were actually moonshining in the Jura, the federal government would sit up and take notice. As it is, the Swiss federal government is a silent partner in the 'illegal' Swiss absinthe trade as 67% of the sales goes to them for the 96% neutral spirits. On 50,000 liters a year that's a cool million dollars. The bootleggers by comparison, are probably netting $5-7 a liter and that assumes that labor is free and capital costs already went away, and allows nothing for risk of incarceration and/or fines.

(I don't wish to offend any of our Swiss colleagues but obviously, there are complex social, economic, ethnic, regional, and inter-canton games going on about absinthe. I do have a lot of Swiss friends and acquaintances and the difference in the attitudes between the francophone and german-speaking Swiss about absinthe is remarkable, indeed.)

In summary absinthe is a niche product, and the economics of absinthe cannot be compared to the economics of Big Liquor. Bombay Sapphire is Big Liquor. Blue Label comes from the Biggest Liquor of them all, UDV, which is the world's largest liquor conglomerate. They're a monster. They buy up, and mostly shut down, small craft whiskey distilleries all over the world. Yeah go look at their own website. They proudly list the scores of distilleries they own -- but they closed all but a dozen or so. ECONOMY OF SCALE.

Something we don't believe in at JL I hasten to add.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 04:07 pm: Edit

> A hundred years ago it was renowned for being very cheap, why must it be expensive today?


Because 100 years ago:

(1) The herbs were grown virtually on the grounds of the distillery, in many cases were had for virtually nothing.

(2) The producer was virtually guaranteed access to at least a regional market in his own 'backyard'.

(3) Energy was cheaper than it is today.

(4) Alcohol was cheaper than it is today.

(5) Labor was probably cheaper because the standard of living in these rural areas was undoubtedly scant.

(6) There was much less government controls, taxes, licensing, fees, regulatory compliance, yada, yada, and it was almost certainly much easier to start up such a business back then. Obviously, the substantial expense of legality and regulatory compliance does not apply to a clandestine distiller in Switzerland...and believe me when I tell you that they take some shortcuts in making their products on top of that.

(7) Transportation was cheaper.

(8) The market was much larger.


Etc., etc., so on, and so forth. I could probably make some 20 bulleted items.


The facts are that until we set out to start up such a venture, despite its relatively small scale, we had no idea of what was required financially. It is very expensive.....if you want to do it exactly like it was done, and the details surrounding this go far beyond what is visible on the surface. Believe me when I tell you that what it takes to mobilize such an operation, financially speaking, is hefty...and it takes some speciality engineering to do it *right*. Much has changed in the past century...go to a modern automobile assembly line and try to make a 1932 Dusenberg the way it was made back than....can't be done without considerable re-engineering of manufacturing methods and materials. Ditto for absinthe...historically authentic absinthe anyway.

As for the Spanish products, I know what it costs to make those, and rest assured that they have the capacity to make far more than we ever will, and make a greater percentage of profit. The low price comes at the expense of quality. No way around it.

By Timk on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 11:59 am: Edit

Don, i dont mind blue label - its quite smooth - but i agree that its over priced, and i wouldnt touch red label etc. with a 10 ft. pole. I got a couple of bottles of a guy a while back at about £22 a bottle which obviously wasnt bad, although it was probably stolen - for £120 I think i would be able to find better things to spend my money on.

Tim

By Timk on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 11:50 am: Edit

Don, i dont mind blue label - its quite smooth - but i agree that its over priced, and i wouldnt touch red label etc. with a 10 ft. pole. I got a couple of bottles of a guy a while back at about £22 a bottle which obviously wasnt bad, although it was probably stolen - for £120 I think i would be able to find better things to spend my money on.

Tim

By Luger on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 11:36 am: Edit

Hi there!
I was actually thinking about *any* absinthe, wheter it is legal or not.
I thought Artemis talked about the manufacture, and therefore I didn´t mean to comment on the actual smuggling :-)
If you look at "Histoire La Fee verte" p 68, you can see that the differences between the "Deva" and Pernod was only 60%!
15C for the worst, 20C for the good ones, and 25C for Pernod. If we say that the 15C was "Deva" , why need the others be so expensive today?
Can you point me to a single reliable source that says that Absinthe of old was expensive?
All the ones I can find says one of the reasons for the ban was that it was *too cheap*. The simple table wines was not able to compete!
I am too lazy to look it up but didn´t some one in Boveresse this year say it was outrageous with the prices of La Bleue in Geneva, since it was *only Absinthe*?

>I think what Luger is missing (since you asked, old friend) is economy of scale. Whiskies are made in huge
>quantities; absinthe is not. I do not begrudge the La Bleue makers their $30, because not only are they entitled to
>charge what they like for their labors but they are taking some serious risks that few whiskey distillers have to
>these days.

True, true and true, but MM, Deva or whatever don´t have to take any risk, so why are *they* more expensive than say Bombay Saphire Gin?

>Rare and exotic old whiskies cost as much as or more than any La Bleue
>So do many fine champagne Cognacs and grand champagne Cognacs and rare Armagnacs etc.

True, but they are much more expensive to make than Absinthe. What do the ageing cost?
Actually, Wouldn´t it be more realistic to compare Absinthe with Gin, or something similar? The process of making Whisky, is not very similar? Champagne has even less similarities??


>a 1 liter bottle of 96% alc. costs about 20$ in switzerland, add the price for the herbs and the energy and you've
>got 25$.

If we are talking commercial, I find it hard to believe that any company has to pay 20$ a bottle, not where I live anyway. It is when the creation is finished that taxes are added, and that depends of course of where you are and where you are shipping to.
Where I live we have "medical ETOH" that is very very clean. It is also very cheap since the government doesn´t tax it at all ( Because it if for hospital use ). Ok, Not me or any other Mr Jones can buy it, it is of course very controlled, but I´m mentioning it because it can be done, and cheap! The ETOH in Alcohol is taxed by the same amount regardless of the "name", and that should mean that 45% Gin should be taxed the same as 45% Whatever???

Ok, I´ve been told that electricity is cheap where I live, but about two dollar for the energy *and* the herbs is much more like it. I am speaking as a ordinary citizen now, a company would of course pay less. The herbs are very very cheap, and when I compare if to fresh ones, it is very good indeed.
So, if the raw materials are cheap, and the ETOH, and electricity costs the same when making absinthe, as when making Whatever, why the difference?


>why should they sell it for less?

Right, this is the core of the poodle! The buyers are ignorant, and are fooled into believing that it *should* be expensive!
A hundred years ago it was renowned for being very cheap, why must it be expensive today?
It would be interesting to know what a bottle of Gin/Whisky/Wine costed compared to Absinthe, but I have not found that info :-(

BTW good point about the scale!


Gotta run now, take care: Luger

By Petermarc on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 10:52 am: Edit

artemis, have you read the 'revue scientifique'
october 1887 'la question des absinthes'?

By Melinelly on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 10:29 am: Edit

my downstairs neighbor gave me a bottle of that honey brown at a barbecue we had recently. she brings back some whenever she goes to michigan. great stuff. silky smooth and clean with a light but rich flavor.

By Artemis on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 10:04 am: Edit

Heiko, that was a most excellent appraisal.
Very well done.

I agree that finding a good mixture of the Spanish stuff is better than drinking any one of them alone.

As for La Fee, it seems wonderful until you drink it side by side with something more carefully made.

In all honesty, I have been drinking Dundee Honey Brown Lager, an American lager that's somewhere between the mass-produced swill and a craft beer. It's tasty and the price is right.

By Leela on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 09:48 am: Edit

Oh, you must try the Slerpis!

I wish they made "diet" Slurpees, though, I really can't afford the regular cherry Slurpee calores :-(

Leela

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 09:09 am: Edit

>I've even discovered a way to make Herring palatable! <

Ho boy! I also found a way...here's my last revision of home-mix : 1 part Herring 9 part Deva 7 part Segarra.

That way, it just add a small fresh hint of citrus to the mix. (ok I agree, I just dont want to throw my $ in the sink...;-)).

As for Serpis, I have no hope... It's only drinkable with orange juice (but I still have to try the slerpis ;-)).

Anyway, I agree, all those commercial absinthes are not that good (I would never think about mixing fine scotch togeter to "improve" it so if I do it with absinthe, it's because something's wrong).

Finaly, Ted, I promise I will never mix your absinthes ;-)

By Heiko on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 08:41 am: Edit

My personal experience, now that I have tried some superior absinthes like vintage Berger, lavender-nephilim, Andy's bootlegs, La Fée and two or three La Bleue (note the descending order and imagine a big gap after Andy's!):

Of course, the richness and complexity in flavor of the superior brands is great, but if there's no way of drinking these all the time because of price and availability I can also drink some Spanish brews. I don't like beer too much, wine is ok, but I've always been a friend of liquors, especially fresh herbal liquors (everything from ouzo to becherovka). IMO there's worse choices out there than the better spanish absinthes (I just call it absinthe, that's what the label says ;-)).

I must say that Segarra is not that far from lesser La Bleue. The La Bleue I bought is rather weak in flavor, you can't dilute it more than 1:3 or it will be 'drowned' (like Phil said;-)).
The flavor is good (a little better than Segarra IMO), but rather one-dimensional.
As I was told, the distillers in the Val de Travers usually make Kirsch and/or Anise, then they take the risk for a weekend, get some wormwood and make a few hundred litres of La Bleue. What counts is speed, that reduces the risk of being caught. Of course that leads to recipes which use less herbs and are rather easy to make.
I wouldn't pay more than 50SFr for a bottle of La Bleue (and, as I pointed out before, the people in the Val de Travers can't believe anyone would pay 200$ for a bottle...).

You know what? My latest order from SC contains a bottle of Herring... Why? Because that's the drink I like to take to a party and get drunk on: you can drink so much of it, it keeps you awake and it doesn't matter if you drink it with warm water out of a soda-glass. Cheap brew for cheap amusement, so to speak :-)
I would feel so bad to waste La Bleue or more sophisticated absinthe on such an occasion.

I also think that the effect I get from La Bleue or Segarra (very similar) is better if I only drink two to four glasses at max. in a silent environment. I like to listen to music then, or make some music (you can find very interesting harmonies on a synthesizer, hehehe...).

I think it might be a good idea if Julian Segarra visited the Val de Travers on a kind of "distiller's exchange program". I guess if he just changed his recipe a bit his absinthe would taste like another La Bleue.

The only commercial absinthe I have tried that could somehow compare to better, complex tasting brands, was La Fée, IMO. It's hard to say, I only had two or three sips, but I was surprised it went really well along with Berger, lavsinthe, andysinthe and I think haut-doubs #9.
It was hard for me, though: In one hour, I tried so many good brands in a row, I don't think I can make any objective judgement on these brands. The taste was surprising and very good with each glass that we passed around, so much I can say.

But now, my conclusion: For just having drink or for partying and getting drunk the Spanish are quite drinkable. I'm still a fan of the Segarra/Deva mixture (maybe now with a little less Deva and more Segarra) as a nice and cheap alternative to better products. I don't think I will ever say "I can't drink this shit anymore", just like I still like a good old burger even I had the chance some few times to eat the wonderful products of exclusive cuisine in an expensive restaurant.
I know the difference, it's not that I couldn't taste that some absinthe is just far far away from spanish - but the spanish still tastes like it did before, quite ok!

By Artemis on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 08:03 am: Edit

"And finally, that if at least one Spanish, Czeck, or whatever company would get one of these master distillers to work on their Absinthe ... "

Now that would be interesting, but it's not just a matter of using his skill - how much control would they give him, because obviously some things would have to change for him to distill the way he's used to doing it?

I want to emphasize that when I said expensive to produce, I meant a lot more, compared to the Spanish stuff, and somewhat more (maybe a lot more, depending on where you're located) than the Swiss stuff. And of course, trying to duplicate a 19th Century product is a whole different matter entirely. I'm not trying to justify nor criticize what anybody, anywhere, is charging by any means. I'm content to let a free market work that out.

By Tavarua on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 07:44 am: Edit

When mentioned the price of La Bleue being 30 USD, I was not knocking. Quite the opposite. I was commending the Swiss distillers for offering a superior product at a cost that is comparable to the lesser quality variants. I was also pointing out the fact that it is obviously not that expensive to produce, if the best can be purchased for such a low price. And finally, that if at least one Spanish, Czeck, or whatever company would get one of these master distillers to work on their Absinthe, with very little increase in cost, their profits would soar. I understand that they already have a following, but think of how many people tried some shit label, for their first time and said “never again”.

When I say that La Bleue is the best out there, and it is inexpensive to produce, I am discounting the efforts of Ted and Don, who are trying to actually recreate vintage Pernods. I understand that this is an expensive venture, at the very least attributable to trial and error, research, bottling and content. But at the moment, at the moment, it is not readily available, unless one can get to one of the gatherings. La Bleue is available if you are willing to pay the 500 % – 700 % markup.

By Artemis on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 07:42 am: Edit

As Andy pointed out, if the cost of producing a bottle of absinthe in Switzerland is at least $25, $30 a bottle is not a bad deal at all. When you consider the risks taken by the producers, it's even more reasonable.

I think Don has answered Luger's question correctly - it's a question of scale. If Pernod were to fire up their Pontarlier factory today and start making absinthe, farmers in the area would jump to start raising the herbs as they once did, wine makers would compete to supply the alcohol, and voila: very good absinthe at a fairly low price. When I said it was expensive to make, I meant (relatively) expensive for a small scale producer such as Don to make, because he has to scour the world for quality herbs and alcohol in the amounts needed; they don't come banging on his door as they did for Pernod. No doubt it's a seller's market as well.

Good to see you out in the sunshine, my old friend Luger. Thanks for the welcome, Don.
Here we are having an absinthe discussion on the absinthe forum. Imagine that!

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 06:40 am: Edit

I think what Luger is missing (since you asked, old friend) is economy of scale. Whiskies are made in huge quantities; absinthe is not. I do not begrudge the La Bleue makers their $30, because not only are they entitled to charge what they like for their labors but they are taking some serious risks that few whiskey distillers have to these days.

Rare and exotic old whiskies cost as much as or more than any La Bleue even by US (Betty) prices.

So do many fine champagne Cognacs and grand champagne Cognacs and rare Armagnacs etc.

Then there are overpriced advertising driven mass market creations like Blue Label that no self respecting Scot would go near.

Back to absinthe, I think there is room for improvement in the presentation (compared to clear cheap screw cap bottles) but I can't comment on how our products will be packaged, other than to say we are going to great lengths not to disappoint. The presentation will be consistent with the quality of the absinthes.

And welcome back, Artemis!

By Germanandy on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 06:38 am: Edit

a 1 liter bottle of 96% alc. costs about 20$ in switzerland, add the price for the herbs and the energy and you've got 25$.
if they make 1 1/2 or 2 bottles of this, i think it's a good deal for 30$, imho.
why should they sell it for less?

By Wormwood on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 06:30 am: Edit

You pay $30 a bottle for two reasons: First because you pay for the cost of the materials and second you are paying to reward someone for risking going to prison for making it and distributing it just so you can have some good absinthe.

How much is your freedom worth to you? More than 10 or 20 dollars a bottle I hope. I think that the price they charge is more than fair considering the penalty they risk if they get caught doing it.

How much would you have to pay in Switzerland for a jug of good Kentucky or West Virginia moonshine whiskey? If my friends made it, at the still I'm sure I could buy it for $5 a jug. Way up in the Jura mountians somewhere I think you would have to pay hundreds of dollars to get some, for the same reason we pay high prices for their absinthe. Almost nobody would have heard of the stuff and it would be a very rare comodity.

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 04:24 am: Edit

I was surprised at the variation in batches of La Bleue in Switzerland, until I visited Boveresse I had not sampled that many. Some were very complex, others quite nasty. As I understand it the Swiss bootleggers buy duty-paid potable rectified spirit from their local store. That is expensive as it is duty paid. Then the risks of being caught are not insignificant and I understand that the fines are very high indeed, so I guess they have to mark up to cover that possibility. So that is why it costs $30 a bottle at source.

By Luger on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 01:23 am: Edit

"absinthe in France at the turn of
the 19th/20th century (that product is *expensive*, if not necessarily complex, to produce today),"

That may be true when compared to the Spanish ones, but that doesn´t explain the high over charge. Compare the procedures to any whisky making procedures, and then tell me why Absinthe needs to cost 30$ or whatever they may charge.
A decent Whisky is aged for years, and still it is quite cheap. So what am I missing?

Best regards: Luger

By Spm on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 10:37 pm: Edit

The distillers already have a following. As long as people continue to purchase the product they are not going to change it to make it taste better. Most people on this form have purchased the Spanish stuff at least once and many continue to buy this absinthe.

Why change something that works!

Shawn

By Tavarua on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 08:29 pm: Edit

In all of this talk, you guys are missing the big picture. In Switzerland, when a batch of La Bleue comes out, it costs about 30 USD to buy the bootleg locally. These are guys that distill absinthe in the cargo hull of eighteen wheelers, basically, mobile stills. The real question is, why can't commercial distillers that have access to wholly more recources, buying mass bulk, on a larger level at a much cheaper rate, produce a better brew. I mean, come on, La Bleue costs the same as SEGARRA, if you know where to find it in Switzerland.

When you consider that Swiss bootleg is the best thing out there, while that may be true, it is like comparing Johny Walker Blue Label to Southern Tennessee moonshine. Blue Label is considerably better, but the price is considerably more. La Bleue is considerably better, but the price is the same. If these distillers would just suck it up, and improve their ingrediants slightly, imagine the following they would gain. It just doesn't make sense.

By Webfly on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 08:19 pm: Edit

A very enlightening discussion.

Just for the record, within my current realm of experience I am satisfied with getting what I pay for.

I've even discovered a way to make Herring palatable!

I'll tell you in a future post.

Take care until then.

By Artemis on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 08:09 pm: Edit

Hi back at you, Head.

Yes, Ted is right. I've been fortunate to read a number of French texts of the 19th century dealing with absinthe production. They all agree that there were some very shoddy products on the market at that time, little short of poison. Whether Verlaine was partial to them, or could afford nothing but them, who can say?

But when I speak highly of French products of the Fin de Siecle, I'm not talking about those. Obviously, any modern Spanish product is better for you, and probably better tasting, than the crap which was made with all sorts of nasty adulterants back then. I refer rather to the products of Pernod and other reputable "houses". It's true I have no experience of the antique products, but I know exactly how they were made, and I have considerable experience of modern products made in exactly the same way.
I'm confident that any absintheur, tasting such a product side by side with the Spanish stuff will, as Justin surmised, choose the more authentic product every time, because the difference is substantial and obvious.

As to ignorance, it's no sin. Certainly a correctable thing. It's too bad in some cases experience comes at a high price, but making good absinthe is expensive, so it's going to cost (relatively) a lot. I see no way around that.

By Head_Prosthesis on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 07:03 pm: Edit

Whether the Spanish brands are good or bad or otherwise (Czech also), I believe it's been said (by Ted?) that in the day there were absinthes who's quality and chemical make up were close to being industrial metal cleaner. Verlaine's name comes up often. When I read about artists going mad, seeing green elephants and causing themselves bodily harm... I'm no expert but I'm thinkin' they're drinkin' shoe polish.

"ignorance wins out over enlightenment as a rule"

You pay your price,
you move your mice,
you drink,enjoy or puke,
to find a bottle that everyone likes
well that's an incredible fluke.

Long hours of effort or not,
You must agree it's true.
You can't please everyone all the time.
on average Idiot's Rule.

Hi Artemis!

By Artemis on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 05:40 pm: Edit

Some people will poormouth La Bleue (bootleg product from Switzerland) as well, but I've enjoyed what I've had of it. It's generally not complex; the Swiss stuff I've had didn't have a wide variety of herbs in it, but it did have solid wormwood character, which I like (I mean, absinthe is wormwood, after all). The La Bleue I've had was wormwood liqueur with some anise flavor, and not vice versa, as is the case with all the Spanish stuff I've tasted.

Also, the Swiss stuff tends to be clean, well-distilled product (no oily additions, no muddy or burnt undertone which all commercial products, even La Fee (the best of the lot) seem to have to a greater or lesser extent).

In addition, until you've had some absinthe which uses it, you don't appreciate the charge that natural herbal coloration (used by NO commercial product of which I'm aware) lends to the scent and flavor of the product. It is significant, in fact, impossible to overestimate.

For these reasons, IMO, La Bleue is generally superior to commercial product. Well-crafted product made in the manner of La Bleue but with more herbs and natural color is better still, but impossible to obtain unless you know someone who can make it, or until Jade goes commercial.

I watched a Chinese movie last weekend, and at one point a character was asked "Are you ready to drink the absinth (meaning wormwood) and calamus?", meaning are you ready to drink the poison (because he wouldn't go along with what the emperor wanted and was therefore expected to kill himself). That must have been a hell of a concoction in 200 BC China. No artificial coloration required, I guess.

By Thegreenimp on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 04:33 pm: Edit

Just look at it as a learning experience, by trying the various brands out there, you will appreciate a well crafted glass of Absinthe all the more.
It does change your perspective, once you try a nice La Bleue or some of the forthcoming J.L.
It may even bring a change to some of the other brands, causing them to upgrade their product as people become more selective about their choice of Absinthe.
Only time will tell,......should be fun.

By Verawench on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 04:09 pm: Edit

I plan to join the ranks of the absinthe-blessed (I have a natural inclination towards snobbishness :P )... someday, someday.

Meanwhile I will cling to my scraps, thank you very much. Maybe I'm addicted to the bright green dye :)

By Leela on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 04:08 pm: Edit

Ok, so the next step in my absinthe education is to try a La Bleue. Which I had been planning on, as soon as I gathered the $$ for it. It may ruin me for all other absinthes, or it may not, but I'm adventursome and am in favor of giving things a try so that I can form my own opinion.

Leela

By Artemis on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 03:49 pm: Edit

"Hey, Artemis is back!"

Only to talk about absinthe. No pissing contests or anything like that.

"Do you really think the spanish stuff is that bad?"

Having tasted Ted's, a La Bleue or two, and some quality bootlegs that are in the ballpark with Ted's, I don't care to drink the Spanish stuff anymore, any of it. To those who think I'm being a snob: I used to think the same about Justin and Ted. I used to argue with them here and I used to defend Deva as just different, not inferior. Then I got introduced to the real thing, and there was no looking back.

I have not bought any Spanish absentas since the gathering in New Orleans, and for much of that time (including right now, as a matter of fact) I have had no absinthe at all to drink. Personally, I prefer to drink beer than lesser quality absinthe. The last bottle of Deva I had, I had to choke it down. Actually, I always had to choke it down - it's just that at first, I thought that was what absinthe was supposed to be, so I bravely went at it.

"Welcome back, Artemis"

Thank you Vera. I apologize for the "piss" reference; it was unseemly. Some, including you, may feel that cheap(er) absinthe is better than no absinthe, but I don't agree. No offense meant.

By Leela on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 03:10 pm: Edit

Damn it, I make the "step up" from Czech to Spanish, and now you all tell me that Spanish is crap too? I just can't win :-)

Leela

By Verawench on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 02:47 pm: Edit

"I have yet to find a person that says something to the effect of "Ted's stuff was ok but I prefer some of the old Deva." "

Argh! Don't you lucky bastards get it??? Not all of us have had access to the best of the best. Sigh... fine, I'll just keep waiting for the climax of Ted and Don's Excellent Adventure. Maybe they'll pour some over my grave.

By Chrysippvs on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 02:41 pm: Edit

No doubt in my mind...Spanish absinthe is bad bad bad. Pastis is often better. Pontarlier Anis, Oxygenee, etc are simply heads and shoulders superior in quality in taste and quality.

Maybe Segarra can be excluded, but being the top of the Spanish ranks it is only the lower-middle of anise-absinthe type aperitifs.

Perhaps things do come down to taste. But when it comes to tasting "absinthe" by definition of quality, production methods, and ingredients, there is no question of a superior product. Even on those lines, I have yet to find a person that says something to the effect of "Ted's stuff was ok but I prefer some of the old Deva."

As far as my first..I drank Deva and hated it and still do to this day. I simply won't drink it. To me absinthe is not about the romance, it is about a quality aperitif. Honestly most of the romance is just baggage that keeps me from buying absinthe down the street. So much for my first and the romance of it all.

As I think many will agree, the world between absinthe and authentic absinthe is a chasm most don't yet understand.

By Verawench on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 01:32 pm: Edit

I think Hill's would be disqualified from the automobile competition, as it has no engine (wormwood) to speak of.

It's more like a golf cart. Or rollerskates at best.

By Verawench on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 01:28 pm: Edit

"ignorance wins out over enlightenment as a rule"

I have no doubt as to the lesser quality of Spanish brands. Yes, they're made cheaper, and are cheaper. I like them all the same. They are all that I - and quite a few other people - have available at the moment.

I have full faith that once a bag of money falls from the sky and lands at my feet, I will be able to buy JL, swiss brands, or vintage and enjoy the quality and craft which went into these luxurious brands.

But even then I plan to remain sentimental towards the Spanish "piss". You never forget your first.

Welcome back, Artemis ::wink:: :)

By _Blackjack on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 01:14 pm: Edit

Um, if the absentas are equivalent to a Pinto, what the heck would Hill's be, a mo-ped with a flat tire and a broken chain?

I think Segarra is at least a Honda Civic or something...

By Heiko on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 01:00 pm: Edit

Hey, Artemis is back!

Do you really think the spanish stuff is that bad? I mean, it might be cheap and made with oils, but some of the Spanish are quite drinkable, IMO.

By Heiko on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 12:53 pm: Edit

Greetins to Finland!

I think most of the bottles are made as an imitation of the old absinthe bottles, especially Pernod: http://www.sepulchritude.com/chapelperilous/absinthe/images/pernod06.jpg

If you like nice bottles, have some Mari Mayans - I don't think it's atrocious, it's quite ok. The bottles are great, even better than Deva 70.

By Artemis on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 12:48 pm: Edit

Personal preference wins, period. Everybody is perfectly entitled to drink piss as a result.
But then, ignorance wins out over enlightenment as a rule.

Justin expressed no opinion as to liking or not liking the Spanish "absinthes". He said they were not complex to produce, and they are not. They bear little resemblance to what was known as absinthe in France at the turn of the 19th/20th century (that product is *expensive*, if not necessarily complex, to produce today), but unlike people who throw money at the Spanish stuff (I resist using a stronger word than stuff only out of respect for Spirits Corner), Justin has some experience to back up what he's saying.

You might like your Pinto as well as a Lexus, too, but the sun will still set on a Pinto in your driveway, not a Lexus. The Pinto will still be there in the morning. The Lexus may not.

And that's a question of value, not taste.

By Bob_Chong on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 10:50 am: Edit

Webfly:

Regarding price, also consider that absinthe from SC costs as much or more to ship (to the US) than the booze costs alone. It is cheap stuff: c. ten bucks a bottle.

Segarra, OTOH, seems like it was actually crafted by a person and not a machine.

BC

By Verawench on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 09:42 am: Edit

"I guess one gets what one pays for"

While we're all looking forward to JL's product line, I think personal preference always wins over quality or purity. While some brands are unanimously agreed to be atrocious (Czech stuff, Mari Mayans by most) I have no plans to stop buying the Spanish brands from SC. I enjoy quite a few and I won't think of them as "lesser" absinthes.. just different.

Think of that favorite pair of shoes you found for $5 at your local Goodwill.. Nothing Prada makes could ever replace those.

Just my $0.02

By Webfly on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 09:17 am: Edit

Well, you certainly know the process better than I. I guess one gets what one pays for, right?

Hope I haven't offended you.

Tony

By Chrysippvs on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 07:31 am: Edit

"absinthe production is a complex process and it is more costly to make than other liqueurs."

nothing today is made using a complex process...Spanish absinthe is a money saver on all points.

By Verawench on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 07:10 am: Edit

Arch, I agree with webfly, though I still think the NS and Deva bottles are pretty. Nothing special though... I'm sure JL has come up with some gorgeous bottles and labels for us.

Besides, I'd drink good absinthe from an old shoe.

By Webfly on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 06:44 am: Edit

Welcome, Zim,

I think the cheap bottles is simply the producers cutting costs; absinthe production is a complex process and it is more costly to make than other liqueurs.

The cheap bottles are, I think, a good trade for the relatively reasonable prices of absinthe at Fine Spirits Corner, in the case of Spanish absinthe. Check out your savings per bottle on multiple bottle orders from this fine establishment.

I like Segarra, too.

Take care,

Tony

By Archzim on Monday, June 25, 2001 - 12:30 am: Edit

Hiya everyone,

I have quite usual background, as I started with Pere Kermann’s ( which is sold in liquorstores here in Finland), then I had some Sebor from local bars. After that period I found this great forum and the Spanish absinthes. So I drink a toast to all of you, fellow absintheurs – you do a very important mission.

One thing amazes me though, what is it with absinthe bottles. We have these beautiful spoons and glasses – why the bottles look like they conteined some poor, homemade wine. I bought some vintage -85 port wine and when I put it in the same place were I have my absinthes (beside my favorite brand Segarra actually), a question raised in to my mind; why, oh why. I first started with absinthe because of it’s cultural background – and in my opinion this great green liquor deserves something better. I hope and believe in you Ted and Don – make your product something else in this sector as well.

Zim.

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