La Fee tasting notes

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Old Topics Archived Thru Sep 2000:La Fee tasting notes
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Archive through July 31, 2000  16   07/31 02:46am

By Marc on Tuesday, August 08, 2000 - 10:28 pm: Edit

Don, I have purchased from the Swiss source and he is legitimate. The price of $80 is correct.

By Don Walsh on Tuesday, August 08, 2000 - 08:21 pm: Edit

Dear Marc

I think that's a little disingenuous. The 'Swiss source' who 'posted here in the past' I recall was roundly dismissed as a fraud, out to steal people's money c.$1000 (12 x $80) at a time. You don't say you actually BOUGHT anything from him, now do you? Or actually know anyone who did? Hmmm?

So, to compare ANYONE's pricing to a bogus 'Swiss source' is ridiculous. Someone who isn't going to actually deliver any product can quote whatever BS price they want.

Everyone KNOWS the La Bleue 'street price' to the cogniscenti in Switzerland is $30 US/50 SFr. That price was posted on the Buyers Guide (by Absintheur I think) long before I ever bought any for myself in Neuchatel, through friends. Same price.

But no one is selling La Bleue abroad for $30, or $80.

By Marc on Tuesday, August 08, 2000 - 10:37 am: Edit

I was offered La Bleue at $80 a bottle by a Swiss source that has posted here in the past. In order to get that price you have to order a minimum of 12 bottles. If you only want one bottle then Bettina's the person to go to.

By oceanbird on Tuesday, August 08, 2000 - 06:23 am: Edit

yea marc, where can we get bleue for (almost) one
quarter of the obvious purveyor?

By eric on Saturday, August 05, 2000 - 06:36 am: Edit

marc,
$80 a bottle for la blue on the internet? where?

By Marc on Saturday, August 05, 2000 - 12:30 am: Edit

Don,

The price of $80 a bottle for La Bleue is
the cheapest I've seen it offered on the internet.
I envy your being able to buy it for $30 a bottle.
But, I bet I can get a better price on bagels than you can.

By Luger on Saturday, August 05, 2000 - 12:10 am: Edit

Don!

I meant the both of you, but you seem to be aware of the problems regarding importing liquor inside Europeiski socialitski republiunionski. However Absinthe is not explictly forbidden in Sweden AFAIK, but costoms are happy to confiscate it nevertheless.

Unfortunately I am not planning any trip to Bangkok. (My wallet tells me so), but thanks anyway!

Luger

By Don Walsh on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 11:15 pm: Edit

Dear bluedog:

That would save you the shipping costs. However a local sale would have to be excise-taxed (while exports are tax free) and also subject to 7% VAT as you doubtless know.

You would still come out a bit cheaper than the shipping.

We haven't given much thought to a miniature at this point.

By Don Walsh on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 11:11 pm: Edit

Dear Marc

Perhaps...I pay 50 SFr through a friend in Neuchatel, that's $30 a liter for La Bleue, and another friend hand carries them to Bangkok. So I have never paid more than $30 a liter for La Bleue, and never paid anything for shipping.

We are working on multi-bottle pricing and alternative shipping costs for the Jade Liqueurs products from here. Pls note that the lower range of the delivered price I gave was $135. The price you mention was the upper end.

By bluedog1 on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 07:31 pm: Edit

Don;

I have family and friends in Bangkok. Any cheaper if they pick it up and get it to me? Thai discount?

Gonna have a miniature :-)

By malhomme on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 01:39 pm: Edit

Don & Ted,

I work in the lab of a packaging manufacturer. (if you've bought a computer from an Austin manufacturer, we probably made and designed the packaging).

Though we can't personally supply you from Austin, if you need any help with cushion packaging and corrugated, or just have questions about materials and design....

By Marc on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 10:38 am: Edit

Don,

I'll gladly pay $165 for an authentic, classic absinthe.

Depending on the source, the price on La Bleue
is as cheap as $80 a bottle including shipping.

By Don Walsh on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 09:41 am: Edit

Dear Luger

Are you asking me or asking about La Fee? I dunno about La Fee.

As to our product, my understanding is that EU has same limit as UK, 10 mg/Kg. We do not comply with that. And if we did, you would still have to be in a EU member state that does not absolutely prohibit absinthe. Such are few and far between. And those usually have their own liquor industries to protect (Spain, Portugal). Importing anything commercially into the EU is a nightmare. Part of the price you must pay for living in a trade bloc I suppose.

You are welcome to visit Thailand and pick it up of course.

Come have a free sample anytime.

By Don Walsh on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 09:35 am: Edit

Dear Marc

Last time I looked Bettina was still $200 a liter for La Bleue, and I assume she gets something for postage.

Dear malhomme

I'm sure there will be breaks on shipping for multiple bottles but I dunno yet just what they will be. A liter of 68 degree absinthe weighs X, the bottle weighs Y and the packaging weighs Z. The postage goes by weight and it is pretty linear.

So we will have to make some calculations and figure this out. That will be prior to the launching of the website and the products.

By Luger on Friday, August 04, 2000 - 01:31 am: Edit

Since not the whole world is US citizens, I wonder if you have planned to make it available inside the EU? It´s great to read the reviews of Ted´s and this new Fee absinthe, but of course it would be even greater to taste it myself!

Best regards: Luger

By Marc on Thursday, August 03, 2000 - 11:32 pm: Edit

Don,

Are you saying that your absinthe will cost approx. $165 a bottle delivered to my doorstep in New York City? That's more than La Bleue. Will your product be far superior to La Bleue? Knowing your and Ted's high standards, I'm assuming it will be.

By malhomme on Thursday, August 03, 2000 - 10:11 pm: Edit

Will there be breaks on shipping with multiple bottle orders (ex. SpiritsCorner)?

By Don Walsh on Thursday, August 03, 2000 - 09:19 pm: Edit

Dear Anatomist

Availability still is projected as late 2000 and pricing for a liter bottle, somewhere in the $100-$125 range, plus postage insured, amounting to a further $35-40.

Thanks for asking

There will be three different distinct absinthes by the way.

By Anatomist1 on Thursday, August 03, 2000 - 01:18 pm: Edit

Don

By the way, what is the current market ETA on y'all's stuff, and just how expensive are we talking?

K.

By Don Walsh on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 - 08:58 am: Edit

Okay. We started out speculating that La Fee looked like it was artificially
colored, and now it has been demonstrated and established that it IS
artificially colored with two E-numbered dyes plus caramel.

So we were correct in our suspicions.

Somehow I doubt that those modern chemical colorants were in the
historically accurate recipes Mme D. researched.

Be that as it may.

OUR project is to FAITHFULLY recreate E.Pernod and other absinthes using
scientific methods, not trusting to old recipes, as we have found the old
recipes to be incomplete and deceptive. We know because we have tried them.

Our product will be naturally colored in the old manner of E.Pernod and
Pernod Fils. That means more work and more expense. But we don't care.

Don't let anybody kid you. The makers who stoop to dyes aren't looking for
more consistency. We know how to achieve consistent color with herbs all
year round. We QA our product colorimentrically. Instrumentally accurate
color. And all from herbs.

Binky ought to ask the Carthusian monks whether Chartreuse uses artificial
color or not. "Standard in the spirits industry" is a joke. Not in the
premium spirits industry my friend.

No. The liquor makers who resort to dyes are looking for one thing and one
thing only: cheap and easy. And let me assure you, cheap and easy is NOT the
way to make the finest possible absinthe.

But it is the way the Czechs make absinthe.

By Absintheur on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 - 06:27 am: Edit

The "natural colorings" claim came from the typed cover letter that I received (prior to the release of the product).

The claim is repeated nowhere else -- and I suspect it's safe to say it was made by someone who didn't know any better.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 - 03:02 am: Edit

Whilst important for all the right reasons, we have become a little hung up on one aspect of this absinthe - its colour. Smell and taste are at least as important and I think we would agree that taste is paramount. If it looks good but tastes awful why buy it? I happen to think it tastes good. I await Ted's response with bated breath...

Absinthedrinker

By Binky on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 - 01:30 am: Edit

"However, the makers and promoters of La Fee are specifically claiming that they are using 'natural coloring'."

Where? Seeing as all Green Bohemia products/imports seem to have the ingredients on the back, clearly stating the E numbers (at a time where to do so is not a legal requirement - it's something there doing of their own back) it seems very unlikely they would claim something like that!

La Fée is artificially coloured (E131, E102 & Caramel), but that's standard procedeure in the spirits (hell, food industry).

In spirits this is mainly due to the fact that herbs change their properties throughout the year, and thus the colour of the product would change with the seasons. Joe Bloggs consumer demands that his product is the same colour month in month out, hence stabilisation with artificial colours.

What promo materials have to received? All I have is the booklet that comes with the bottle, & I snagged a copy of their press pack in London... I'm assuming somewhere you've found a reference to natural colouring?

By Artemis on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 03:19 pm: Edit

Marc ventured:

"Pernod and Ricard are available in most good
liquor and wine stores. It shouldn't be too hard to find them, even in your neck of the woods."

You underestimate the depth and darkness of my woods, sirrah. Dante himself would have considered anything on the way to his inferno a stroll through the heather by comparison. I know I once bragged about the amazingly cosmopolitan nature of Peoria, but my present condition finds me far removed from that particular metropolis. Believe me when I say the closest thing to Ricard within a hundred miles of me is the four commercial absinthes in my liquor cabinet and the two boot.. er, I mean, 4H projects in my refrigerator, and all of them blow Ricard right out of the water. If Ricard ever finds me the way Pernod found Ted, I'll bend my elbow with humble appreciation. Till then, I'm not studied about it.

By tabreaux on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 10:12 am: Edit

Artificial coloring agents were used in 19th century absinthe, but not quality brands such as the Pontarlier labels. Like I said, Pernod Fils (and other quality manufacturers) employed specialized pieces of equipment which were used specifically for this purpose. They grew their own herbs, including the coloring herbs. This practice never changed, right up to (and even after) the bitter end. Inferior brands, such as some of those which were brewed in Paris warehouses used a variety of adulterants. They did so in efforts to mimic the more expensive absinthes. Of the three original brands that I have seen first-hand (so far), none are artificially colored.

By JKK on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 09:40 am: Edit

I seem to recall that a number of colorants of metallic origin, (including copper and antimony), were used in 19th century absinthe, and that the extra step needed to produce the natural green coloring was abandoned relatively early. Wasn't this already discussed in the forum? Now you claim Pernod never used artificial colorings. Please elucidate.

By Don Walsh on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 02:32 am: Edit

Herbsaint uses "certified color and FD&C Yellow #5"

Prado uses E150b which I recall is caramel. Caramel is of course, burned sugar. Nothing more or less.

I seem to recall E150b on the label of Ricard here. Perhaps the labels used on US-imported Ricard have to carry FD&C numbers instead of E-numbers.

Obviously, a blue dye and a yellow substance like caramel can, when mixed in correct proportions, produce a green color.

That however isn't natural coloring, certainly not the famed traditional chlorophyllic coloring, and the fact that delaHaye described the use of caramel (presumably in this fashion) to color absinthe ordinaire verte, underscores the point that we are making. Absinthe ordinaire was not absinthe fine.

For a contemporary absinthe to resort to dyestuffs doesn't 'invalidate' it. Not if it tastes great! However, the makers and promoters of La Fee are specifically claiming that they are using 'natural coloring'. Obviously that isn't so.

They are also claiming that they are using a 'historically accurate' amount of A.absinthium yet ending up with a UK-legal product. Not likely. The latter if true means the former cannot be true.

Anyway let's wait and see what 'she' tastes like.

By Billynorm on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 12:07 am: Edit

To edify a minor point Ted mentioned, van Gogh also drank turpentine. If you've ever seen any of his paintings up close & personal, you'd see he sure didn't use turpentine to thin his paint!

By Marc on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 10:30 pm: Edit

Artemis,

Pernod and Ricard are available in most good
liquor and wine stores. It shouldn't be too hard to find them, even in your neck of the woods.

By tabreaux on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Caramel was an age old coloring agent. With modern Pernod however, I thought I recall seeing some FD&C listed dyes listed as the coloring agents.

By Artemis on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 02:39 pm: Edit

Ted wrote:

"To paraphrase something I once read in French: Absinthe should eventually become the color of a fallen leaf (amber). This was recognized as a symbol of quality."

If Ted is referring to Delahaye, what she wrote was that the "green color of the absinthe yellowed with aging and took on a tint of dead leaves (feuille morte)".

That doesn't sound particularly appealing, but the passage in question (a description of Absinthe Suisse, which Delahaye actually says was a "synonym for quality") goes on to say that this "yellowish" tint was preferred by consumers. An alternative is also described whereby the green tint could be retained through the use of one of those questionable additives. This goes to show that green-ness might have been a thing to be feared even in quality absinthes.

My friend Don invited me to:

"Have a look at modern Pernod and Ricard and other pastis like Prado (yuck!) All are colored with caramel. Caramel isn't green. Those products aren't green...so the old makers may have used caramel to color absinthe, but not to color it green...can't get there from there. "

I'd love to try those products, but I've been unable to find either in my neck of the woods and they don't intrigue me enough to go to any great effort. As to caramel, I never said it was used to color absinthe green. Someone asked why it would even be in the bottle, and I said it was used to color absinthe. My source is Delahaye (who else?) who wrote, quoting a period description of the manufacture of absinthe ordinaire:

"For coloration, blue prepared with wool cloth is added with saffron and caramel according to the nuance desired."

Since the process in question was used to turn absinthe blanche into absinthe verte, I wouldn't have been wrong if I *had* said caramel was used to make absinthe green, although that wouldn't have been the whole truth without mentioning the other components. But I didn't think that was necessary, since the poster only asked why caramel was in the bottle.

By tabreaux on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 12:24 pm: Edit

Vintage Pernod colored artificially? No it isn't. Neither Pernod Fils nor Edouard Pernod was artificially colored. In fact, their use of special, hermetically sealed vessels (colorateurs) to perform this step is plainly documented. Any quality absinthe from the period was naturally colored. No big secret here.

Furthermore, what Rimbaud and Van Gogh drank wasn't necessarily Pernod. Quite honestly, I am inclined to believe they probably resorted to cheaper brands, not by choice, but rather due to their financial status. I don't think Van Gogh ended up the way he did from drinking Pernod if you understand what I mean.

To paraphrase something I once read in French: Absinthe should eventually become the color of a fallen leaf (amber). This was recognized as a symbol of quality.

As you already know, this indicates whether the product was colored artificially or not. Back in those days, artificial colors meant possible toxicity among other things. Today, it means that the manufacturing process is abbreviated. This is common to just about every modern absinthe, which is why pretty much none of them look or taste like the old brands I have sampled.

By JKK on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 10:48 am: Edit

Natural coloring is, of course, preferable to artificial, but vintage Pernod was artificially colored, too. Yes, the stuff Rimbaud and Van Gogh drank. Also, don't forget that Deva and Mari Mayans use colorants as well. Let's keep things in perspective: natural coloring is certainly a plus, but not having it doesn't invalidate the product.

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