Interesting Legal Development

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Interesting Legal Development
By Tabreaux on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 08:25 am: Edit

It would take on the flavor of the wood, which IMO, is not especially desirable.

By Chrysippvs on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 07:50 am: Edit

I do wonder what absinthe would taste like if aged for a few years in some nice casks....

By Thegreenimp on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 11:16 pm: Edit

The line to sign up might get pretty crowded.

By Artemis on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:45 pm: Edit

Delahaye's book says that barrels (presumably wood) and stoneware vessels were deemed more suitable for storage than copper or glass, but that seems to me based upon the economics of the time more than anything else. It's hard to understand how you could top glass (clean, odorless, nonpermeable), unless as Don points out, you *want* something to go from the vessel into the liquor, such as color and flavor does from charred barrels into whiskey.

I find that fresh absinthe has a grassy taste that only goes away with time. It's probably not months, but it's definitely more than mere hours. I believe Ted mentioned this too some time back in a discussion of some of his stuff that was tasted in Texas.

I look forward to the results of your experiments, Don. Too bad I can't be the guinea pig.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 04:17 pm: Edit

The 'marriage of the flavors' takes place in a few days or a week and does so just as well in glass as in wood. And in my opinion that is all that those references are talking about, a short laying down. Charring the interior of barrels is not involved. It isn't like aging liquors that are pot-distilled with congeners present (whiskey, brandy). Absinthe is made from clean neutral spirits and herbs, and all the flavor comes from the herbs. That's why I object to the use of the word 'aging' which begs comparison to irrelevant liquors.

With absinthe the difference between right out of the still, and a week later, is very subtle.

Try that with whiskey some time. Whiskies are aged because they must be to taste right and that's why it is a matter of law, to protect the quality. Same with brandy, of course. Both liquors also develop their color ONLY from aging, whereas absinthe is properly colored ONLY by the coloration step, not by wood.

Yes, Artemis, I know you never said this aging was same as aging whiskey or brandy, and I agree that there isn't a handy word to substitute, but I wish there was, for sake of clarity.

All JL products will be adequately matured before they are shipped. Just how we go about that is one of our little secrets.

I intend to conduct some tests and experiments.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 01:14 pm: Edit


This is no more sensitive for us than for La Fee or Spirits Corner or

True, but I'm better acquainted with you and Ted than I am with the SC folks (as nice as they are) and I don't know the Hill's pushers from Adam, so I'd be more concerned should something I said about you guys stirred up any trouble. I certanly didn't mean to imply that you are doing anything nefarious.

By Bob_Chong on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:41 am: Edit

of beer

By Bob_Chong on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:40 am: Edit


As a homebrewer, too, we (you, me, Grim, anyone else who homebrews) use aging in that same vein. Or I do, anyway...


By Artemis on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:23 am: Edit


One ... places it into barrels to age. It is time which finishes the quality.

Complete Treatise on The Fabrication of Liqueurs and the Similar Syrupy Wines
by A. Bedel


... it is well to appreciate the fact that it is only with aging that absinthes acquire the smoothness which consumers appreciate ...

Treatise on the Manufacture of Liqueurs and on the Distillation of Alcohols
by P. Duplais


Even with the most careful manufacture, freshly made extracts had not yet acquired all their qualities. It was necessary to give them time to age so that the acrid flavors created in distillation disappeared, the aroma developed, and the scent became smoother. The extract was filtered and then placed into barrels, where it clarified before delivery for consumption.

Histoire de la Fee Verte by Marie Claude Delahaye


I Would Call That Part of the Process

by Artemis

Don, with all respect, I used the word aging because that's the word my sources used and I can't think of a better word to replace it. But I never compared it to what happens to whisky or any other liquor. Someone else brought that up and I agreed, it's not the same. But to say it's not part of the process? It was most certainly part of the historical process.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:21 pm: Edit

Blackjack, we are no more and no less black/gray/off-white-market than any other absinthe.

This is no more sensitive for us than for La Fee or Spirits Corner or

By Don_Walsh on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:17 pm: Edit

There is no compartison between aging of whiskey or brandy, and aging of a liqueur, and therefore I would not even use the same terminology.

All that is necessary is for the marriage of the flavors to take place, a matter of hours or days, at most weeks.

Barrel aging is at least partially to remove some undesirable congeners; we do that in the purification of alcohol prior to the absinthe making, so aging for this purpose is not required.

This is not whiskey, brandy, rum, or tequila.

Does one 'age' gin? Or vodka? No, because it isn't part of the process.

By _Blackjack on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 06:22 pm: Edit

I think the main issue here is that, from what I have gathered, Jade has a very specific market, and they is us. Not just the forumites, mind you, but peple interested and knowlegeable enough to do the research and actually seek out proper absinthe. I don't suspect they are really looking for a huge market, for shelf-space at the local off-license/ABC, if for no other reason than that they would then be bound by the various regulations of the countries in which they were marketing. If the point is to re-create hundred-year-old recipes, you don't want the EU and the FDA and whoever regulates booze in Bangladesh telling you what to put in it.

I suppose I may have touched on a sensitive subject here, but the JL products are, if not grey-market, certainly off-white. I am sure that Don's actual production and export enterprises are going to be in keeping with Thai law (I mean, it's taking long enough...) but the legalities of actually IMPORTING the stuff into the various nations are, as this thread shows, pretty damn abstruse. I suspect (and will duly exhorted if I'm wrong) that they have little desire to go much beyond the "personal use" levels of distribution.

And if either of the men involved would rather I not discuss this, lemme know and I'll have Kallisti kill this post.

By Petermarc on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 03:12 pm: Edit


'fils de pute' (son of a whore)

seems to work best...
i believe it was also a cheap pernod 'copy-cat' brand...

By Tabreaux on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 11:29 am: Edit

> Are the JL products meant to taste aged out of the bottle or is the intention to produce something like wine that can/should be laid down?

The JL products are aged sufficiently enough to drink (as absinthes are supposed to be), but are packaged such that long-term storage is practical. Fine absinthes will age slowly in the bottle.

> If so, are there are any environmental conditions that should be observed?

As you would for wine.

> My understanding of high proof liquors is that aging is only effective at the distillerie in aging barrels.

If the aging process involves seeking to obtain a character from the wood of the barrels, this is true. Fine absinthe ages more like a fine wine, albeit it much more slowly.

By Luvlite68 on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 11:21 am: Edit


Are the JL products meant to taste aged out of the bottle or is the intention to produce something like wine that can/should be laid down? If so, are there are any environmental conditions that should be observed?

My understanding of high proof liquors is that aging is only effective at the distillerie in aging barrels. However, absinthe appears to be quite a different thing as it is fundementally an herbal extract and the same rules may not apply.

By Artemis on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 11:05 am: Edit

" ... I don't think we can compare short term aging (less than 2-3 years) with the aging of an 18 years old scotch..."

Agreed, and I'm confident that's what Don meant. As I'm sure he's aware, the old French references on absinthe production all stress that absinthe only develops its best flavor with age. Experiments with DIY efforts have proved the truth of that to me beyond any doubt.

The best products (Pernod for sure) were most certainly aged, but I doubt it was anywhere near two years, much less 18. The idea is just to let any acridity mellow somewhat and let the flavors blend.

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 10:42 am: Edit

'the sopranos' is dubbed in french, OK Peter I have to ask, how is 'mother fucker' translated?

By Petermarc on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 10:30 am: Edit

jeez...i really just wanted to find a loop-hole for JL to market in france...the idea is that the first one noticed becomes the reference...hills still outsells la fée, and la fée is 1000% better and cheaper...go figure...unfortunately, hills will always remain the 'first' (even though several spanish brands had been there all along) because of their publicity in england...this post was not an attempt to instill fear of competion, but to present the real possibility of being the one to teach the french their own game...after all, a laid-back north-eastern country-boy american is dictating the future prices, popularity, and even production methods of wines in france, 25 years ago this would have been unthinkable...the largest restaurant chain/buyer of beef in france is mcdonalds, 'the sopranos' is dubbed in french, and all the best television here is american...absinthe is still considered a poison to many french people but i have never had a problem getting people to taste it lately...the market could remain niche here, as far as the locals go, but millions of people visit...can you imagine comparing french 'absinthes' with JL products here? well, yeah, i already have...;-)
but this will have the same effect as comparing wines...sure it's great to drink french wines in france, but if i had the choice, i'd be drinking american/australian/south african(at least one, for sure), etc...and SO would many of the more open french! however, this window may not last long, which i why i am excited about this law...eric is going to ask for a review from his friend, that is more binding than my poor translation...meanwhile, be happy don! we're doing this because we care! (ok, we're selfish, too...but it has to look good on the outside)

By Tavarua on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:45 am: Edit

"and wave my privates at your aunties."

By Tabreaux on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:44 am: Edit

Pernod may as well be 'Budweiser', and we are Paulaner.
Pernod may as well be 'Christian Brothers' and we are 'Hine'.
Pernod may as well be 'Gallo', and we are 'Latour'.

In any case, regardless of the size of the company, the disparity in the quality of the products is painfully apparent to anyone who has an appreciation for the difference. We choose to cater specifically to those who know the difference.

It does not matter to us if Pernod introduces another cheap, modern rendition of absinthe. If it is as bad as their liqueur d'anis, it'll just be another souvenir for the shelf.

We see ourselves as catering to the upper echelon of absintheurs. We offer what Pernod cannot because we aren't bound by their economic encumbrances. Our production volume is limited, so we cannot possibly cater to every person who aspires to drink something called "absinthe"...nor do we want to.

If Pernod decides to make a real effort (which I feel is unlikely), the Czechs and Spanish have something to be concerned about. Meanwhile, there will always be a market (albeit a smaller one) for something truly exceptional, and that is where we fit in.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:40 am: Edit

Oxy, and friends, you want me to box with shadows.

I haven't rhe time, not the inclination.

I have yet to see anything coem out of France or Switzerland to make me at all concerned.

You are whistling in the dark, all of you.

Sorry, I am not going to play your game.

Absinthe is as absinthe does.

The French and the Swiss have forgotten how. To their shame!

By the way the supposed 'Franco-Suisse' identioty of absinthe, ignores that is has been the SPANISH who have kept absinthe alive while the French and Swiss trampled it into the dust, and the CZECHS who revived it in the UK. French and Swiss absinthe exports are frankly trivial.

So, for those of you whgo wish us well I say thanks, for those of you who do not, I fart in your general direction.

By Wolfgang on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:40 am: Edit

..Sometimes people just like to drink/smoke/eat poison... Look at all the Czech brands marketing about thujone... Or look at cigarette...

""Absinthe is not aged". Well if it's not, it ought to be. It certainly improves (mellows) with age."

I found out that this is true even for my home-mix (10% Herring 40% Segarra 50% Deva)... It's better when I mix it in a bottle and wait about 2-3 weeks (and maybe more but I never tried longer aging).

This beeing said, I don't think we can compare short term aging (less than 2-3 years) with the aging of an 18 years old scotch...


By Wolfgang on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:24 am: Edit

It's the sugar, I tell you! Only FRENCH sugar cube will do! ;-)

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:15 am: Edit

I would think that one of the Pontarlier-based distilleries might be interested in making absinthe rather than P-R (Peter has already hinted as much in a previous post). After all they have the equipment and are already making 'artisnal pastis'. As to whether there would be a market for absinthe in France, that is a moot point. The French love aniseed flavoured drinks more than any other nation that I can think of, and took to pastis with relish. Those with more discerning palates would probably prefer the taste of absinthe but the prohibitionists did such a good job that the name 'absinthe' still has associations with poison and drug. The fear of absinthe amongst the general population is probably as real and as unfounded as the fear of cannabis - which has also suffered from knee jerk response taking the place of rational debate

By Artemis on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:44 am: Edit

Good discussion. I think Oxygenee presents a solid argument (apart from the reference to thujone).

Poison or not, everybody knows absinthe is "supposed to be" from France.

I personally wouldn't hesitate to seek out and pay a higher price for a vodka from Zaire if I knew it was better, but most people are more conditioned to rote behavior. I don't think the absintheurs on this forum are like "most people", but to reach a broader market, the cachet of a French label is undeniable. I do agree the French have no rightful claim on absinthe as cultural property, having done worse than abandon it - they marked it as poison!

Don wrote "Absinthe is not aged". Well if it's not, it ought to be. It certainly improves (mellows) with age. If he meant not aged in the way that whisky is (taking flavor from the barrels), that's true.

By Oxygenee on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:42 am: Edit

Don, it may well be terribly unfair to regard absinthe as Franco-Suisse property, but thats EXACTLY the way I suspect most potential consumers DO regard it.

All drinks carry emotional and historical associations - for most people absinthe is indeliably associated with the world of France and especially Paris in the Belle Epoque, and the circle of artists and writers who made it famous. Its secondary association in the USA with New Orleans is only because of the local French heritage there of course.

No matter how unfair this is, and no matter that absinthe has been banned there for a century, absinthe is STILL a French (and French-Swiss) drink, and I suspect always will be.

Your Jade absinthes will of course attract the knowledgable and/or obsessive afficianado wanting to recreate and experience the exact taste of 19th century absinthe - I'm sure almost everyone on the Forum, myself certainly included, falls into this category. But presumably you are after a much wider market - those who've heard or read about absinthe, and want to experience it, but who are repelled by the obviously ersatz character and image of the Czech brands.

Its this larger group of potential Jade customers who are at risk if Pernod or some other competent French company has a serious crack at the "vintage replica" market - even if their product is not truly authentic, and only half as good as yours, if its well packaged and promoted, most people won't know or care about the difference - they will be getting the absinthe experience they want. It not going to be easy to compete against this with a Thai made product at 3 or 4 times the price, no matter how carefully made and historically authentic it is.

You've repeatedly stressed the extent of your personal financial commitment to the Jade project on the Forum - evryone here wants you and Ted to make a huge success of the products. You deserve to. We're all rooting for you. Precisely because of this feeling we all have, its a little worrying to see you immediately discount and abruptly write-off a surely well meaning attempt to make you aware of a potentially significant threat to your business. Surely by not anticipating these kinds of problems you leave yourself less time to develop strategies to counteract them?

By Timk on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:41 am: Edit

"Hey, Tim, are you ready for another Blue Label up your ass? Or are you too young to take a drink?"
Any time you feel up to it, Don

And for the record, i had two bottles of, blue label at vastly reduced prices, and only remarked that i didnt mind it, and would not drink it, or anything else regularly at that price, but when its costing you about 1/6 retail, its not bad at all.


By Wolfgang on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:13 am: Edit

Let's throw La Bleue down the sink and drink some La Breaux !

By Don_Walsh on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:55 am: Edit

Thank you, Luger, my point exactly.

The French regard absinthe as a hard drug.

This is stupid and based on old propaganda.

BUT, no FRENCH conglomerate like P-R is going to go out of its way to attack a tiny niche market over a 'poison' drink.

My Swiss government friends are even more adamant:

NO WAY will absinthe be legalized in Switzerland.

And let me add: if La Bleue is the artisnal Swiss absinthe that we are supposed to be inherently inferior to, let me say: BULLSHIT. La Bleue is bootlet peasant shit, and anyone with a brain KNOWS it. Some are better than others but I have never seen a GREAT La Bleau.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:48 am: Edit

Oxy, you are arguing from a number of flawed premises.

Ther main one I wish to engage is that Absinthe is a Franco-Suisse property, I grant you that this was the case from Dr Ordinaire through 1915 but that was a LONG time ago. What is the record since then? BOTH nations turned their backs on the drink, both tried to totally suppress it.

Ted and I BOTH come from New Orleans where Absinthe was popular and three distilleries produced it.

I find the Franco-Suisse possessiveness about absinthe hypocritical and ahistorical.

NO comparisons to whiskeys and brandies apply. NO influences of local water, soil, wild yeast, etc apply. Absinthe is not aged. Attempts by (still-bootleg) Swiss to claim Absinthe at the A.O.C. will and must fail. Should they prevail, we will ignore them. They are BULLSHIT.

Nations which spent a century repressing absinthe CANNOT now try to claim it as proprietary.

You think consumers will not accept a Thai produced absinthe, versus French and Swiss absinthes?


I will make you eat your words.

I have yet to see the French or Swiss produce anything THIS side of 1900 to make me think otherwise. What I have seen, frankly, is mixed from oils SHIT.

Pernod? Today is not yesterday, the present leadership is not even Paul Ricard and Paul Ricard is not Henri Pernod.

Merde! This is not pastis we are talking about.

By Luger on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:42 am: Edit


A thing to consider would be the demand for Absinthe in France today.
Since you live there, you might tell us Neanderthals that live in the outside world :-)
I mean: If you ask an ordinary Frenchman on the street, is Absinthe then a poison or is it a delicious drink that he would like to try if the opportunity arrives?

Cheers: Luger

By Head_Prosthesis on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:26 am: Edit

Is any of this getting bottles of booze into my loving, caring hands?

By Oxygenee on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 02:47 am: Edit

Don, the point underlying Peter's post, and his assumption that it would be of interest to you and Ted is surely this:

Its clear to everyone that you and Ted will be producing a remarkable, world class quality product. Naturally we all wish you great success. Part of the success of any business though is determined by the quality and quantity of the competition it faces. Therefore, news that may effect the quantity and quality of these competitors should, on the face of it, be relevant to you.

The particular point here, is that Absinthe is a geographic specific product - its entire history and tradition are intimately bound up with its production in France and Switzerland.

It certainly seems reasonable to me to assume that, given a choice, most consumers would prefer their absinthe to come from France or Switzerland, in the same way they want their whisky to come from Scotland, their rye to come from Tennessee or Kentucky, their vodka to come from Russia, Scandanavia or Poland, their grappa from Italy etc.

Certainly at the ultra premium end of the market this largely holds true - with high priced liquors one is not just selling the physical contents of the bottle, but the romance, history and associations of the drink. There are iconoclastic producers who try and produce these products way out of their original geographic locations - a malt whisky is produced in India, and another in New Zealand. But its fair to say, that whatever the merits of the product, they will always remain very small scale operations, and never command a premium price over the leading "home grown" versions.

To give another example: there's no insurmountable technical reason why one couldnt produce a world class ultra premium vodka in say, Zaire. Its unlikely that such a product would have much success competing against even distinctly inferior Russian or Scandanavian brands - people simply don't associate vodka with central Africa.

The window of opportunity that you and Ted are aiming to exploit is surely that currently their are no truly high quality, properly marketed and widely available absinthes from France and Switzerland. Were this not the case, I doubt whether you would even have considered producing an absinthe in Thailand.

Should the situation change however, and should a leading French company - Pernod in particular - really throw their resources behind a reasonably high quality absinthe (even if the herb mix is not historically accurate or the thujone level is limited), then that would surely be, at the very least, significant competition to yourselves.

I say this particularly because you have indicated that you will sell at at an extraordinarily high price level - $50 to $100/bottle. The comparisons you have made in the past justifying this price by comparing it to the prices achieved by premium Scotch or Cognac are not in my opinion really valid. Off hand, I cannot think of any beverage anywhere that is successfully sold in quantity at this level unless its either been aged for many years like whisky or cognac (for which consumers will pay a premium) or unless its raw materials are fabulously scarce and expensive (as in the case of wines from famous vineyards) or unless the packaging is itself enormously expensive (and this only works in the Asian gift market).

So Peter's point was presumably that the current French legislation he quoted appears to lay open at least the possibility of future competition for Jade from Pernod or a similar French company. I'm suprised that this information is not of interest to you. The fact that this competition hasn't materialised yet is not grounds for assuming that the legislation has been overturned - until someone produces evidence to the contrary, surely its reasonable to assume its still in force.

One last thing Don, if anything in the tone or contents of this post offends, I would, as a single malt connoisseur, prefer a Lagavulin 16 YO rather than a Blue Label up the ass.

By Marc on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 02:25 am: Edit

this interesting legal developement is not very interesting.

By Thegreenimp on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 12:27 am: Edit

Interesting situation this is, perhaps this is one that has just simply been overlooked, and never dealt with until recently.
Also consider that in 1988 Absinthe didn't have the recently renewed interest, and likely the Spanish producers were and maybe still are unaware of the 1988 decree.
Maybe the French government figures that the masses will not be as interested as they once were. And with a much smaller market as compared to the old days, the French government may have thought in 1988 that it simply was too small of a threat to bother with.
I wonder which way the wormwood will turn. (pardon the pun)

By Petermarc on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 11:40 pm: Edit

i was sure there was some spleen on my shirt, glad it wasn't, doesn't come off easily... ;-)

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 09:53 pm: Edit

Petermarc, I didn't vent any spleen in your direction, nor did any splash on you as far as I can tell. I did say thanks for the effort, and I meant it. If this 1988 ruling supplied a legal basis for importing absinthe into France, I'd be ecstatic; but I'll bet it does not simply because it must have been overturned or superceded. Else, the Spanish would be selling in France, and certainly the French would be selling in France!! But that does not seem to be the case does it? With sole exception of Oxygenee which is neither fish not fowl (and by no means foul.)

By Petermarc on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 04:04 pm: Edit

things move pretty slowly in france, mainly because the people (most of them) who live here and make the decisions are french...both eric and i felt that this could be a smoking gun that has just been figured out how to be used (no one has brought it up anywhere that i know of until this newspaper article)...if it does provide the legal justification for selling your product in france, (which, unlike thailand, has to follow french jurisdiction) i would think it would have interest for you...just trying to help things move along, you know...

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Hey, Tim, are you ready for another Blue Label up your ass? Or are you too young to take a drink?

Petermarc, this matter was posted as if it was of particular interest to Ted and myself, i.e., this was of great business import.

It isn't. But thanks for the effort.

This 1988 whatever it is obviously has had NO IMPACT on French production of absinthe in 13-14 years. Hence my conclusion that it was revoked, or otherwise superceded. And if therefore of no consequence even in France.,

We are not in France. French writ does not rule here, thanks be to God. And it wasn't for lack of trying. The Vichy government declared war on Thailand in 1940, invading from Laos. Simply the last in a long line of French treacheries against Siam dating as far back as about 400 years.

By Petermarc on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 11:33 am: Edit

for anyone else who might be interested in marketing/selling/drinking absinthe in the country were it was historically the most popular by far than any other, and which has (IMHO) the highest possibility of successfully reviving it, if not as a new drink experience(without flaming sugar(england/czech) we can only hope or like spain, where it exists in total obscurity to it's history or the usa (are there any repeals on the laws books at all?)-maybe germany), a fine apéritif, or one that almost any tourist visiting france would try just to say he/she did, a la visiting the eiffel tower, the louvre, etc., etc., i will continue to look into this matter along with eric to get a full, legal explanation, based on all new data(though when i asked for a copy of current laws on absinthe, expressing my interest in it in general, from the governmental computer achives, i was given only this one)...

in a related story, a friend of mine gave me a miniture bottle of versinthe last night...i already have a bottle and have bought 3 in the past year or so...however, the wording on the label has changed...the original had no mention of absinthe at all, reading on the back label about ' à base d'armoise',which 'evoked' the 'fée verte' and on the front label calling itself 'anis amer' with the list of ingredients ending with 'macérations et alcoolates de plantes aromatiques.'...the new label has 'aux plantes d'absinthe' in place of 'anis amer' and 'anis' below that...the list of ingredients now finishes with 'alcoolates, macerations de plantes aromatiques et de plantes d'absinthe.'...has anyone seen this wording change in the usa? as we all know, versinthe is not 'absinthe' in the 'extrait' sense, having sugar, etc., etc., however, it is interesting that they have changed their song on the label...

By Timk on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 11:32 am: Edit

Trust Don To Piss on everyones Parade

By Petermarc on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:35 am: Edit

you're right don, how could this possibly be of interest to you?

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 03:19 am: Edit

Further to below I suspect that this 1988 ruling was superceded by some later law within France, else why did Mme delaHaye have so much hassle with her museum and research on La Fee, why is La Fee not sold in France and why do the employees at the distillery (or mixing plant) where it is made work under a government order not to taste it? Same with the two distilleries in Le Havre. Why all the weasel words about extraits de this and that?

Fundamentally, EU member states are supposed to conform to EU laws and regulations. EM member's laws can't prohibit something EU allows (thujone) or allow something the EU prohibits. Of course many national laws are not yet in conformity with the EU, for one thing it is hard to know from week to week just what IS conformity with the EU, and the regulations that I have seen read as if they were written by a committee of demented illiterates formerly employed as Islamic theologians. This is understandable in a weak federal system that used to masquerade as a coal and steel and atomic union only, and is in transition to being a kludgy strong federal system incorporating a massive bureacracy and tring to cater to the vested intersts of all member states often at the expense of...all member states.

But it doesn't make for clarity, not one little bit. In comparison the USC and CFR are a walk in the park.

As to Oxygenee I have not tasted it and cannot comment. The consensus seems to be it tastes good but isn't really absinthe. I see nothing in a probably obsolete 13 years gone ruling in France to chgange that consensus.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, July 07, 2001 - 10:44 am: Edit

My point is, obscure French legal decrees are of no particular interest to me, as a businessman. And probably not to Ted, although he can speak for himself. I mean, thanks for calling this to everyopne's attention, but who cares?

Passed in 1988. Have the French flooded the world with absinthe since then? By all accounts, long AFTER this 'law' the French government made life miserable for the La Fee makers and the Le Have based, two absinth(esque) makers -- on what basis?

How many years AFTER all that bulshit label language and all that waffling about herbal identities takes place? At least 10 years.

So WHO CARES? Watch what they do not what they say.

By Petermarc on Saturday, July 07, 2001 - 04:07 am: Edit

don, that's pretty obvious-look at the date this was passed-1988! it must have been a rider on another décret for promoting the sale of cheese and bagettes...

By Heiko on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 08:00 pm: Edit

Lavender is indeed very good in absinthe.
I think the one I have tried would have been excellent without lavender as well - but it added to the taste in a very good way. Of course this absinthe was very well composed , so the taste wasn't at all overpowering. I guess you could definitely ruin absinthe with too much lavender...

By Don_Walsh on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 06:31 pm: Edit

It's just more legalese. The French are not going to drop their pastis and cry for absinthe, they have been indoctrinated too long that it is poison. This may make it easier for companies to manufacture and export, as 3-4 are already doing.

BTW, the EU does not allow any exception for 35 ppm thujone, so that part of the section quoted is inoperative under the EU regs anyway.

5 mg for anything under 50 proof means vermouth.

By Petermarc on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 03:07 pm: Edit

absinthe substitute, my ass!

By Petermarc on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 03:05 pm: Edit

lavender is such a perfect ingredient, they should have thought of it before...i have had 3 versions with lavender...ahhh, provencial...

By Artemis on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 02:58 pm: Edit


Ah, come on now Artemis, don´t tell me you dropped a soap in the glass and thought it was ice?

No, but I have seen a shadow in the corner and thought it was a ghost.

I once saw a grackle flying on a May morning and thought it was cormorant flying (in the opposite direction), but a healthy dose of Panama Red had something to do with that. Something about suspension of disbelief. Read Carlos Castaneda's books for more on this.

At a gathering in New Orleans in early spring, I could not find my ass with both hands, but I blame Ted Breaux for that.

Tavarua, I think Melinelly made a dripper from a pie plate. Don't know if it'w worth a picture, but it sounded functional to me.

Sorry I'm waxing stupid, but I'm drinking Herbsaint, Serpis and stale Club Soda. One of these has a peculiar effect on the brain, I suspect the Club Soda.

By Ekmass on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:53 pm: Edit

Thanks Artemis. I indeed myself have tasted Absinthe w/ lavender, not bad. Peter, I will give you a buzz and we can figure out what we might be able to post.

By Tavarua on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:50 pm: Edit

What's ladies and gentlemans,

I didn't want to start a new thread over this, but I would like a couple of pictures of drippers if anyone has them. Another forum member e-mailed me and put an idea in my head that is a really good one. I will go into more detail once I have some pictures and have ironed out some details.

By Luger on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:48 pm: Edit

>Hyssop and fennel are found in virtually every >absinthe recipe. Lavender I have not seen in any >traditional recipe,
>but it can be used, as several people here can >attest.

Ah, come on now Artemis, don´t tell me you dropped a soap in the glass and thought it was ice?
Well, then we have the explanation for the "effects"


By Artemis on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:37 pm: Edit

And they would have been, and are today, I would think, in any absinthe made by distillation from those plants. Hyssop and fennel are found in virtually every absinthe recipe. Lavender I have not seen in any traditional recipe, but it can be used, as several people here can attest.

By Artemis on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:34 pm: Edit

Fenchone and pinocamphone are not plants but compounds found in the essential oils derived from certain plants, for example, hyssop (pinocamphone), or lavender and fennel (fenchone or something much like it, I think in both of those).

By Petermarc on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:21 pm: Edit

i think it would be helpful indeed to get some sort of evaluation and explanation from him (that we could post)

By Ekmass on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 12:55 pm: Edit

"Belle Epoch" I mean. By the way, while my lawyer freind has zero interest in absinthe he would be happy to help if needed. He is fluent in English (went to NYU) and a very close friend of mine.

By Ekmass on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 12:51 pm: Edit

Ted, what are these other plants and or oils they refer too ie. "fenchone, and pinocamphone"? I agree the frogs seem pretty strict on them. Were they in the Belle Epoc brands?

By Tabreaux on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 11:51 am: Edit

I would think so, but I cannot vouch for the codes and regulations that we do not know about at this point.

By Petermarc on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 10:54 am: Edit

so this would put france in line with the other european countries where absinthe (more or less) is legal, no?

By Tabreaux on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 10:41 am: Edit

Unless I see something that indicates otherwise, this seems to more or less equate France with the other members of the EEU with respect to beverage quality guidelines. As far as the actual labeling or language that is allowed, I have no idea what the rules are, but that may be an issue in France. The guidelines for thujone, fenchone, and pinocamphone are rather rigid, and would appear to limit the authenticity of any absinthe product regardless.

By Petermarc on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 10:25 am: Edit

what does this mean, boys and girls?
first of all 'abrogé'(last word , article 2) means 'repealed'...
article 1 was a little complicated, so eric showed this to a french lawyer, i will try to translate it a bit:
everyone important in french government concerning this;

has looked at the general code concerning taxes;
looked at the alcohol tax code and measure against alcoholism;
looked at the code about pubic health;
looked at the law of march 16, 1915 relative to the ban of absinthe and liquors similar to it, and especially the first article;
looked at the recommendation of the conceil supérieur d'hygiène blah, blah, blah... and
article 1
considers that liquors similar to absinthe in the sense of the law of 16 march, 1915 are as following, the alcoholic drinks which have present:
a quantity of thujone;
higher than 5 milligrams per liter in a drink less than 25° (50 proof)
higher than 10 milligrams per liter in a drink
equal or higher than 25°(50 proof)
>higher than 35 milligrams per liter of a drink obtained from plants or several(?)bitter plants
or a quantity of fenchone greater than 5 mg/liter
or a quantity of pino-camphone greater than 20 mg/liter
article 2
the decrete of 24 october 1922 which was modified to carry the law of 16 march 1915 which stated the caracteristics of liquors similar to absinthe is repealed.
article 3
blah, blah, blah...we all say this is law...signed by; everyone who's anyone in french government concerned by this...

my translation may not be exact and i hope i have not misrepresented something, although this seems to be the crux of what eric's french lawyer friend appears that absinthe has been legal in france since 1988 following the same or similar guidelines as the rest of the european union...they just didn't bother to tell anyone...
this puts new light on the 'weasel words' on labels of french-made absinthe i.e. 'aux extraits de plantes d'absinthe'...not (maybe) that they were using it to hide the fact that they were not using artemisia a.,but petite absinthe, but to follow the legal wording of the décret of 1988...
la fée is not sold in france and does not use any wording on the label like oxygénée...(although trenet and i think kermann does, and they are not sold here, either...but anyway)
this does seem to say that as long as the thujone is below 5 mg/liter for 50 proof and 10 mg/liter for +50 proof, that it is legal...
BUT also,35 mg/liter, IF the drinks is made directly from plants (seems obvious for making absinthe, anyway) maybe this excludes adding essential oils directly into the alcohol (and it doesn't say how high the alcohol can be, but elixir végetal is 71°
and is legal in france)
so, where are we with this? i will certainly be carryng a copy of this décret with me at all times just in case i meet someone else i can ask or am harrassed by whomever ...i would like to talk directly with the lawyer, i'm sure eric has and certainly is interesting for those interested in marketing (making and drinking) absinthe in france, as long as you can measure thujone( along with fenchone and pino-caphone) accurately (which seems to be what is happening now, it just took 12 years)...35mg/liter is a pretty authentic dose...not that it makes any difference ;-)...except legally...

By Ekmass on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 07:45 am: Edit

Have a look at this link to a French Legal Decree Petermarc found. I think you all, especially Ted & Don, may find interesting. Petermarc will supply more background info shortly.

PS I had a french laywer take a look at it for verification.

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