The Guide needs YOU!

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Nov 2000:The Guide needs YOU!
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Archive through November 17, 2000  44   11/17 06:38am

By Don_walsh on Friday, December 08, 2000 - 07:58 pm: Edit

When James was here (in Bangkok) a few months ago, he said that he was still distributing Deva in addition to Mari Mayans. That was maybe August. Certainly post-SC.

By Admin on Friday, December 08, 2000 - 04:01 pm: Edit

at one point James was selling deva as well (I think), even though it was unadvertised. these were the days before spiritscorner. dunno if this is still the case.

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 08, 2000 - 03:40 pm: Edit

You made a boo boo.

In your description for Deva, you list absenta.com as a distributor. They only distribute MM.

By Admin on Friday, December 08, 2000 - 03:08 pm: Edit

Alrighty, Kermann & Trenet have been restored with pomp & glory to their former places in the guide. I also added small notes to both Deva & Mari Mayans:

DEVA
NOW AVAILABLE IN A 70% VERSION. It appears
to be the same formula but in a higher
percent alcohol. Different labeling in
clear bottle though. Nice Mucha-esque
label. Available thru both Spiritscorner.com
& Betina (see below). - kallisti

MARI MAYANS
NOTE: THEY'VE REFORMULATED THE 45% TO
BE MUCH THE SAME AS THE 70%. Same bottle
& labeling as the 45%. Available thru
Spiritscorner.com (see below). - kallisti

My limited tasting abilities didn't detect that Deva is reformulated, if anyone can back this up, please let me know!!!

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 08:50 am: Edit

Bravo Phil and Pere Kermann. And yes, Kallisti, I agree, you have a good point there. If we hadn't rattled the cage, the ambiguous lebelling would have continued to be all that anyone -- anyone -- had to go by, and bad assumptions would have continued to abound.

Who suffers from the truth? Only knaves and scoundrels. Note that Pere Kermann's spokeman singled out the Absente product for disdain. Quite properly.

So: it seems that of all the commercial absinthes in the guide, only the unobtainable Hermes Suntory product eschews A.absinthium At least as far as we can tell...

So it's fair to say that in modern (commercial) absinthes A. absinthium is always present -- with the one exception to prove the rule.

With this sort of uniformity of thought from the makers, who needs a hypothesis? The litmus test didn't really need to be proposed and imposed; it was always there inherent in all modern products outside of Japan...as the litmus test was never to be applied to antique products, as there are none in the BG, no one needed to get on his high horse about this. Wow. Ain't we all ahistorical?

By Admin on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 08:30 am: Edit

I have been contacted by the producers of Pere Kermann's and, like Trenet, they have assured me that their product contains a. absinthium. While there is a slight language barrier, I believe the message is clear. The message is as follows:

-----------------------------------------

Phil told me that we are keen to know about PERE KERMANN's formula.
I noticed that it was unfairly treated as a Pastis and substitute ... I guess you have not tasted the product. We are one of major producer of Pastis in France. PERE KERMANN's ABSINTHE has nothing close to Pastis not like "Absente " for instance.

It is not eather a substitute as GRande Absinthe " absinth Absithium" is also in the receipe ...

-----------------------------------------

I don't wish to unfairly categorize their products, but perhaps it was instrumental in getting them to step up and declare. In a second email they made it clear that the reason for staying low key is definately the strictness of french laws. So I will quietly re-instate both these brands back into the section for "france" in the guide within the next week.

Hurrah for french absinthe! They rally!

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 03:23 am: Edit

Main Entry: un·couth
Pronunciation: -'küth
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English uncuth, from un- + cuth familiar
known; akin to Old High German kund known, Old English can know -- more at CAN
Date: before 12th century
1 a archaic : not known or not familiar to one : seldom experienced : UNCOMMON, RARE
b obsolete : MYSTERIOUS, UNCANNY
2 a : strange or clumsy in shape or appearance : OUTLANDISH
b : lacking in polish and grace : RUGGED
c : awkward and uncultivated in appearance, manner, or behavior

- un·couth·ly adverb
- un·couth·ness noun

By Artemis on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 02:15 am: Edit

Our titled goblin friend wrote:

"Artemis,

Not wanting to get involved in any rows. But as to whether Dale, (Dale Sklar I believe) is an expert at selling liquors or not,"

What rubbed me the wrong way was what I perceived to be a condescending tone toward this forum, when he was not a member and didn't even take the time to go through the simple process of joining in. My point was, even if he was the world's top "expert" in *selling* liquor, that still left him quite a bit short of being expert on the *contents* thereof and he should have been a lot less presumptuous of the knowledge and dedication to truth of Don, Ted, et. al. But since I was essentially defending Don and he really needed no defense (even gently chastised me in private), I'm out of it. It's good to know the forum will be better informed through the efforts of the Frenchman. He's obviously one of the good guys.

By Bob_chong on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 09:18 am: Edit

Kallisti:

How about adding links to the MM website in the BG? As one of the few producers to have a website, and as possibly the only producer to sell directly via the web (albeit within the EU right now), they deserve a link.

Also, how about adding the Segarra link? I remember someone posting it here a while back.

How about whenever a distiller's site comes to light, it gets added to the BG? I am not knocking your updating skills, and I know that distiller's sites are listed in several places. I just wanted to see Segarra and MM added to this.

BC

By Admin on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 08:36 am: Edit

Wonderful, this is the information that Phil assured me would be forthcoming. The BG will be updated accordingly within the week.

Hurrah!

By Tabreaux on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 07:45 am: Edit

Dale has already copied me on the email he has sent to the individual producers. He is a 100% genuine individual, and wants to be certain for himself that he is being told the truth as well. He will copy me on the replies. I will post some clarification as soon as I receive this information. Nothing should happen until then.

By Don_walsh on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 07:21 am: Edit

Ted can make his own reply to this; meanwhile here is mine.

Phil, I accept this (already accepted it before your post) wholeheartedly.

I would like to see similar clarification from Pere Kermann's makers, or if more appropriate their UK distributor, esp if the prodict was made to order for a distributor as Trenet was.

This is NOT because I doubt the claims in the slightest; I think it is very very likely that Kermann, like Trenet, is a legitimate absinthe containing A.absinthium.

I would just like to have the information and have it loud and clear because what it means is that, de facto, every commercial absinthe maker we know of, except for Hermes in Japan, recognizes the significance of A.absinthium and includes some in their recipe.

We thought Trenet and Kermann disagreed with us about this; it seemed the case based on the label info, and our (imperfect!) understanding of the complex French legal environment. WE WERE WRONG. But not as our critics wanted us to be wrong. We were just wrong, because Trenet and Kermann agreed with us on the absinthium issue all along.

This is a remarkable uniformity of thought, even if some critics want to call us and it 'ahistorical' and 'revisionist'. To which I say: merde.

Thanks Phil for the positive input!

Don

By Frenchman on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 04:36 am: Edit

Dear Ted,

You said in the forum in a previous message that :
------------
""The makers of La Fee assured me personally in official correspondence that La Fee
does contain A. absinthium.
.... As unusual as it seems, I don't think they can be called liars unless proven to be that via
very credible sources.""
-------------


Dale of Wine & Spirit International Ltd said in the forum by my way that :
------------
""Trenet DOES contain Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood /L'armoise) as well as Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort) as well as a number of other
included ingredients. We do insist on the content containing less than 10 ppm of
Thujone so we stay within EU laws. ""
------------

----->>> I know personally Dale et i can guarantee that who is EXTREMELY SERIOUS in business. I have a total trust in him.
Dale is as credible as the makers of La Fee Absinthe who assured you personally in official correspondence that La Fee Absinthe does contain A. absinthium.

I think we must close this discussion about french absinthe.

Kallisti and Ted will receive samples and documentation from Dale.
Dale is ready to answer to all questions of Ted.
WHAT ASK MORE ?
Dale is the first importer i see so clear !

So can i ask to Kallisti if she agree to revise the Absinthe TRENET classification like FIRST MODERN FRENCH ABSINTHE ??

Dale, thank you very much for your help.

Cordialement. PhiL

By Tabreaux on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 04:06 pm: Edit

Dale has sent me a courteous, extended email reply, and he will place direct inquiries to four different producers (whom he represents) to verify that they do indeed employ A. absinthium.

By Don_walsh on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 08:25 am: Edit

The interesting thing is that the upshot of the de facto 'absinthium rule' is that it turns out that there is more uniformity of opinion among the makers and distributors than we though -- not less.

Trenet's off the hook, since we can see no reason to take Dale's word at less value than Green Millenium's. As Pere Kermann's label language is identical or nearly so, can they be far behind?

This leaves us scratching our heads over:

Oxygenee (no thujone, no absinthium, but does it even call itself an absinthe?)

Krud's Karport. Any clues? Does anyone care?

Hermes - the A.unobtanium.

If the rest of the modern absinthe commercial labels agree on A.absinthium being in there, then I'd say that this clearing of cobwebs in the attic has been very productive. I again encourage the makers of Pere Kermann or their UK distributor to come forward and lay down the facts as to A.absinthium in their liqueur, so we can all rest soundly in our beds. No one wants any injustice done, least of all me.

It sure looks like near unanimity of opinion among the commercial makers on this issue. If so that renders any nay-sayers totally academic.

Oh, I guess I forgot Absente. But I think they will admit under mild duress to being a pastis. They never reeally claimed to be an Absinthe because that would have led them afoul of both French and US laws. They just did their best -- which wasn't good enough! -- to mislead the US consumers. Southernwood indeed!

By Tabreaux on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 07:40 am: Edit

I am already acquainted with Dale, and I have submitted the following to his email address:

Dale,

Allow me to offer some clarification. With regard to the your statement,

"I'm sorry if Don Walsh or Tabreaux don't like our product - that's their privilege, (or misfortune), but I can assure them that our instructions to our Suppliers and our information from them is that Trenet DOES contain Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood / L'armoise) as well as Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort) as well as a number of other included ingredients."


Permit me to clarify a few things:

(1) I am an absinthe historian as well as an analytical chemist. There are other chemists, absinthe historians, and many consumers who frequent our discussion forum.

(2) Neither Don Walsh nor I (nor just about anyone on our BB) has had an opportunity to sample your products, simply because no one on the board, including residents of the U.S., U.K., or elsewhere can seem to find them or get them. To say that we don't like your products is therefore untrue, and we have never said anything of the sort.


Regarding our comments on your products with respect to our buyer's guide:

(1) If you go have a look at your competitors' websites, you'll find them to be full of misleading claims, romanticism, and erroneous wishful thinking.

(2) As a result of (1), we view what the manufacturer prints on the label as the default source of disclosure.

(3) Using the information on the label (which makes absolutely *no* claim to containing A. absinthium), we've categorized these products as absinthe-substitutes. Since A. vulgaris is mentioned specifically, but curiously enough, not A. absinthium, we've categorized them as we (and other contributing consumers) interpret the label. As to why the maker went through the trouble to list A. vulgaris, but not A. absinthium is not mentioned, we are at a loss to explain. Maybe you can offer clarification?


Meanwhile, given the information above, we've simply categorized Trenet and Kermann as absinthe-substitutes in the online Buyer's Guide, and doing so was clearly logical. After all, calling a product "absinthe" is no guarantee as to the legitimacy of the contents. Currently there are products which do so, and we intend to test them all to reveal any would-be imposters. Since you claim that these products do in fact contain A. absinthium, we are inclined to take this at face value, and our own testing program will simply bolster the image and reputation of these products. Additionally we would appreciate a quote or blurb of anything provided by the manufacturer to include on the website along with the product review (when we find a way to obtain and review them).

As a final note, I am of the opinion that the official thujone analytical method may not be followed properly by many different testing labs. I say so only because I seem to have isolated some potential sources of error which can cause severe irregularities in the testing, which yield falsely high numbers. This is common if the protocol and equipment clearly specified in the method are not followed *exactly* to the letter, with no equipment substitutions or shortcuts. It is therefore possible that the 'illegal' shipment may indeed not be illegal. I suggest you have a different lab test it.

Sincerely,

Ted A. Breaux

By Don_walsh on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 04:57 am: Edit

Thanks Artemis for the spirited defense, but, honestly, I think Dale sounds plenty genuine enough. I wouldn't begrudge him a smallish or medium-sized chip on his shoulder, as he had no way of knowing what our disposition was relative to Trenet -- just as we didn't know that Trenet was the creation of a UK importer and the Le Havre pastis maker is just an 'OEM' if I can use a term from hardware. Hell, I might have used stronger language myself, had our situations been reversed. You all know what a non-diplomat I am.

As to the Mexican hooch, I am interested to hear more. Particularly if this is made from absinthium and is an indiginous Mexican bootleg. (Didn't friend Bardouin opine that absinthe is illegal in Mexico?)

Dale apparently imports not only Trenet but the Bulgarian 'Hapsburg' Absinthe, and Dedo Absinthe which I haven't heard mentioned before. Hapsburg is in the BG, Dedo I don't think is yet. Kallisti, pls take note.

I'm here to extend my hand to Dale on camraderie and will ignore any little suspicion he might have first come with. I hope he sticks around.

This was all just a misunderstanding over a vague lebel. Since -- obviously -- Dale appreciates the role of A.absinthium in absinthe, it's hale-fellow-well-met as far as I am concerned.

Also thanks to Frenchman Phil for introducing Dale and hetting this sorted out. I would hope that the Pere Kermann people follow suit so the product can revert to where they apparently belong.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 04:37 am: Edit

Artemis,

Not wanting to get involved in any rows. But as to whether Dale, (Dale Sklar I believe) is an expert at selling liquors or not, then have a look at Wine & Spirit International's website and decide for yourself.

http://www.wineandspirit.com/wine.htm

Personally I would suspect he's not an amateur fly-by-night lacking in expertise.

Hobgoblin

By Artemis on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 03:55 am: Edit

"I don't have a password"

Pretty easy to get.

"Actually we still have about 10 cases in UK bond of this illegal distillate awaiting UK Customs duty reclaim before either destroying it, or returning it to France. We have had MANY applicants for this item, but of course can't comply!"

Then why even mention it?

"I am told the local youth in Veracruz go around in a green daze"

Are we supposed to be impressed or disgusted? (Hint - "youth" such as that are regularly shown the door in this forum)

"permission to join in and add to the the general musings of the 'experts'"

You have my permission to fuck off, Mr. Snot. I'm not here to kiss Don's, Ted's or anybody else's ass, but I don't like your attitude. At what are you "expert", besides selling liquor (and maybe not even that)?

By Don_walsh on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 12:33 am: Edit

Dear Dale

The Mexican liquor you are describing, it's unclear to me just what species the 'local wormwood' is. The high degree of bitterness you describe would be typical of a steeped (macerated) and undistilled absinthe which would contain the horribly bitter absinthins. However lots of things are bitter.

So is this stuff made from A.absinthium? Or something else?

By Don_walsh on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 12:20 am: Edit

Dear Bob

It has to do with the physics of distillation.

However, Ted will be the one to explain the complete implications, which are quite startling, and he wishes to do so at a time of his own choosing in the near future. So I have to beg off till then.

By Bob_chong on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 12:08 am: Edit

Don:

Could you explain: "If your early batches assayed at 87 ppm (mg/Kg) then the makers were apparently mixing from essential oils and alcohol, not distilling over the herbs."

I don't doubt your assertion; I just want to know how the number tells you that. I'm no chemist nor distiller, so maybe it's elementary to you (but not to me).

Thanks,
BC

By Don_walsh on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 11:34 pm: Edit

An aside to Dale:

Thujone in the liqueur doesn't necessarily mean A.absinthium was used at all. (I accept your statement that in this case it WAS used.) Thujone occurs in the essential oils of several herbs and trees, including sage, tarragon, white cedar, western red cedar, mugwort, etc. So we don't use thujone as the criteria as the liqueur we are concerned with isn't named for thujone. It's named for A.absinthium, grand wormwood, and nothing else. Assaying for thujone alone doesn't tell us if absinthium was used. However the overall gc results would reveal an absinthium signature as opposed to, say, a mugwort one.

At Jade Liqueurs we are not especially concerned with thujone levels as we know that different processes produce different possible levels of thujone in absinthe from A.absinthium. If your early batches assayed at 87 ppm (mg/Kg) then the makers were apparently mixing from essential oils and alcohol, not distilling over the herbs. That's fine, as many modern absinthes and probably many old absinthes were made this way. We prefer to distill from the herbs, in the manner of the premium absinthes, despite the greater complexity of production and the much greater costs.

And we aren't concerned with EU/UK limits on thujone because we have no plans to commercially export to the EU. If our focus changes then we will have to deal with all sorts of EU issues as we aren't producing in an EU country.

Best wishes with your continued success.

Don

By Don_walsh on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 11:17 pm: Edit

Dear Dale

Speaking for myself, I thank you for clarifying this matter. No offense was ever intended to your product. I do not 'dislike' your product, and didn't know that it was your product. All my arguments, and Ted's I suspect, were based solely on the label information. Now you are terlling us that the label information was inaccurate or incomplete, or perhaps a little artfully vague, on the matter of Artemisia absinthium.

As you now warrant that the products contain A.absinthium along with the (labelled) A.vulgaris/mugwort, I have absolutely no quarrel with calling them Absinthe.

I am not a partisan of La Fee. Green Bohemia etc are our competitors as well as yours. I have tried it and like it, and I now will try yours -- I hadn't done, simply because on the basius of the label I presumed them to be pastis in disguise. I will email to Kallisti and recommend to her that Trenet and Pere Kermann be restored to France section as Absinthe.

Once again thanks for the clarification.

Cheers

Don Walsh

By Frenchman on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 10:06 pm: Edit

Phil,
Can I post this on the forum you showed me ?
I don't have a password ... Perhaps you can post it for me.
regards

Dale
Wine & Spirit International Ltd.
..............................................


Hi,All ... permission to join in and add to the the general musings of the 'experts' ?

I'm the culprit who persuaded the Le Havre Spirit producers to make TRENET Absinthe for us (at Wine & Spirit International Ltd of London), for import into UK ... Since then, Pere Kerman was produced shortly afterwards and La Fee has joined the club quite recently under the patronage of Mme Delahaye whose lovely book must surely grant her sufficient reputation to bless Fee, although even she can't make time run backwards to genuinely make them ' the original ' French Absinthe ... what with Fee arriving on the scene over a year after Trenet and Pere Kerman....

Initially our French Producers baulked at the idea of producing real Absinthe and then they finally agreed when their lawyers bravely decided that European Law superseded French Law. so far this has not been tested in the French courts ! And so far, no French Distributor has yet had the guts to sell it in France, although we are happy to offer it for sale if they want, Ex Distillery.

I'm sorry if Don Walsh or Tabreaux don't like our product - that's their privilege, (or misfortune), but I can assure them that our instructions to our Suppliers and our information from them is that Trenet DOES contain Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood / L'armoise) as well as Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort) as well as a number of other included ingredients. We do insist on the content containing less than 10 ppm of Thujone so we stay within EU laws.
Actually our first importation was at approx 87 ppm of Thujone as we didn't know of any rules governing this chemical - indeed not even the UK oenological analysts had heard of it 18 months ago. As soon as we heard of the 10 ppm law concerning Thujone maxima, we withdrew the consignment and returned it to France.
(Actually we still have about 10 cases in UK bond of this illegal distillate awaiting UK Customs duty reclaim before either destroying it, or returning it to France. We have had MANY applicants for this item, but of course can't comply !
We hear of lots of stupid claims from other brands that theirs' is the highest in Thujone ... what crap ! At 10 ppm, it's nearly 'homeopathy' anyway ! If they exceed 10ppm, they are in danger of being confiscated and prosecuted as well as risking financial ruin , as they would have to reimburse their Trade clients the value of the goods + the duty and VAT = sudden death !


If any 'so-called experts' wish to challenge us on whether Trenet , Hapsburg or Dedo Absinthes contain Artemisia absinthium, I am happy to take on a small friendly wager with them and produce an independent analysts' report showing the thujone level (which comes from A. absinthium) ... so either put up or ...

If they feel that Fee tastes much better, or Fruko Schulz, or Maya Mayans or Hills or Sebor or whatever, well that's OK, and some prefer a more 'vegetable' flavour / more herbal/ more anis / more clouding with anetole, but to procrastinate without really KNOWING is a little ridiculous , n'est-ce que pas ?


As a complete aside, we have some green concoction which I brought back from my last trip to Mexico, from Veracruz known locally as 'hierba del burro' or 'hierba del maestra' made mainly from the local wormwood which sells in the markets and is very green and VERY VERY bitter and probably in the many hundreds of ppm of Thujone. I am told the local youth in Veracruz go around in a green daze ... I very much doubt that we could ever export this one however, and it remains a curiosity on our shelves at Hyde House, beside the fontaine and absinthe spoons and posters ...

bonsoir absinthe lovers wherever you are ...
Dale

By Yvonne on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 10:19 am: Edit

It apparently cleansed everyone who drank it of evil belly spirits.

By Anatomist1 on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 08:51 pm: Edit

Hey. I have access to the ethanol water that fills the bottom of cadaver tanks. I could pour it into some bottles, replentish the tanks with fresh ETOH water and turn a tidy profit. I will offer it in regular or chunky style. As it will be only liqeur on the market stewed in geniune Wisconsin farmers' remains, I'll have to charge a premium price...

Wormwood,

Do you think that gecko/snake scrotum sauce was meant to be that noxious, or was it expired? I was thinking that it might be one of those bizarre chinese medical treatments. Perhaps it was intended to cleanse the GI tract, or expel the evil belly-spirits, or something...

K.

By Midas on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 06:08 pm: Edit

It must be synchronicity that two threads here now mention testicles.
I can't believe anyone actually tried that stuff at all! Mind you, I'm a snake owner, so I guess I find the idea more repugnant than most.
A friend of mine once mixed a shot of Chartreuse, and a shot of Baileys. She called it a "Curdle Yack", the first part for what the drink did, the second for what she did.
-Robert.

By Yvonne on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 02:30 pm: Edit

A geko and snake testicles... Without ever having seen a snakes testicles, I would have just assumed they were raisins and probably spewed regardless. "CHEERS!" to cocktails on the Island of Dr. Moreau!!!

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 09:31 am: Edit

The makers of La Fee have not made public the name of the French company that makes it.

By Frenchman on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 09:26 am: Edit

But where is made "LA FEE ABSINTHE" ?
Just by curiosity....

PhiL

By Frenchman on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 09:25 am: Edit

Perhaps DON WALSH are right...

I am tired to try to help makers wich refuse my help !
I think they don't understand at this present time the importance of the KALLISTI's "ABSINTHE GUIDE" and of the Web.

If a day KERMANN'S, TRENET or OXYGENEE would like to be referenced in the "ABSINTHE GUIDE" like "Absinthe"....They are free to come in the forum themself !!.

I already said that i am antique dealer and that i don't like to chat about absinthe drinks...Now, i am sure !! :)

Cordialement. PhiL

By Wormwood on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 05:41 am: Edit

I was at a party and a bottle from China was being
passed around, it contained a high proof yellowish
vodka like spirit, a geko and about 24 snake
testicles. I am not making this up. They looked
like little red rasins. It smelled exactly like
you would expect a dead animal preserved in
ethanol to smell like. I couldn't do a shot of
it, so I can't tell you what it tasted like.
Everyone who did drink it got to taste it twice.
Anyone that drank even the slightest amount of it
threw up. I am glad I skipped it.

By Don_walsh on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 12:36 am: Edit

I'm sure it took some guts for Trenet/Kermann to just call their products Absinthe, in la Belle France, that is quite a leap. So they can be forgiven for not taking the other leap and actually using absinthium, grand wormwood. But even without that, just calling the products Absinthe is enough to make them export only as I understand it...

La Fee apparently slogged through more layers of red tape in order to proceed with the second step. I think Phil would just like to see credit given where it is due. In bucking the French bureaucracy, La Fee's maker was undoubtedly building on trail-blazing by the maker(s) of Trenet and Kermann, whether they knew it or not.

The silliness about the staff of the licensed maker not being able to taste their own product is just indicative of the residual power of the bans and associated propaganda. This is positively Orwellian, even Lovecraftian in its dimensions...

Oxygenee sidestepped the absinthium issue and I admit I am confused as to whether it calls itself absinthe or not, or if it does, what loophole allows it to be sold in France.

La Fee is the only one of these four that I admit to actually be absinthe. The others may well be fine liqueurs, but they just ain't the Green Fairy (or her colorless cousin from Helvetica, or the redhead from Spain.) Phil feels I am slighting the Le Havre makers, I'm sorry, that isn't my intention. This post is an attempt to make up for that. I would say more but I haven't tried their products -- they are a little hard to come by in Thailand, where the only pastis are Pernod, Ricard and godawful Prado.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 11:43 pm: Edit

Phil,

The makers of La Fee assured me personally in official correspondence that La Fee does contain A. absinthium.

As for the distiller, a representative for Green Bohemia explained that La Fee is distilled for export only, and that the agreement provides that the workers for the distiller may not even taste it. I am just repeating what Green Bohemia has said. As unusual as it seems, I don't think they can be called liars unless proven to be that via very credible sources.

By Frenchman on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 11:21 pm: Edit

"the creators of La Fee specifically, officially state that this product does in fact contain A.
absinthium."
-----> Where and when ??? on the bottle, i read only wormwood !


And where is make "LA FEE ABSINTHE" in France ???
Paris ? Where to Paris ?

French laws are same for all distilleries in France : it is illogical to think that one distillery would have a different laws for itself. Isn't it ?


PhiL

By Don_walsh on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 01:36 pm: Edit

Cher Phil, we take your point. Believe me, if testing shows the only brand of French absinthe that claims to contain A.absinthium, is truly absinthium free, or if testing shows Trenet and/or Kermann to contain absinthium, despite their assertions that they do not -- we will shout it from the rooftops and show how to precisely replicate the testing regime.

Until then we simply go on the word of the makers as expressed on the labels and/or in private communications.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 12:25 pm: Edit

"So, i am all right to classify all french absinthe like "PASTIS" untill we have a real proof. And it is same for "LA FEE VERTE"....No one has real proofs."


I agree with you, with the only exception being that contrary to the other products, the creators of La Fee specifically, officially state that this product does in fact contain A. absinthium. I wouldn't trust this coming from an ordinary distributor, and I have to believe (initially at least) that they would not tell an outright lie. Likewise, it is the only product of the four which does not make any reference to "aux plantes d'absinthe", A. vulgaris, or otherwise.

When the testing is complete, you'll be able to see if it indeed does contain A. absinthium and just how much is in it.

By Frenchman on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 12:07 pm: Edit

IMPOSSIBLE to obtain composition of french absinthes by makers !!!!

I will begin to believed that there are no french absinthes !?

So, i am all right to classify all french absinthe like "PASTIS" untill we have a real proof.
(And it is same for "LA FEE VERTE"....No one has real proofs)

I think it would be better to classify"ABSINTHE" when the label is clear.

My question at this present time is :
ARE THERE LEGAL ABSINTHES IN FRANCE ???
Perhaps It is still prohibited and that we are deceived by french makers !???

PhiL

By Petermarc on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 05:30 am: Edit

already been done...absentipede...made with
wormwood...

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 05:14 am: Edit

Don

Maybe you should save them for a special limited edition of Breaux absinthe ;-)

By Don_walsh on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 05:11 am: Edit

Just for that, Artemis, would you care for a giant Asian centipede in your bottle?

We just had one turn up last week in our yard, my dog and my son dispatched the beastie. The dog also is hell on snakes.

By Petermarc on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 02:47 am: Edit

doctor, it all started with a worm in my bottle of mescal...

By Artemis on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 01:42 am: Edit

In Chinatown in San Francisco years ago, I remember seeing jars of alcohol with various animals in it - they don't limit it to serpents. I remember a small deer, or deer fetus, in particular.

It is my considered opinion (didn't have to think about it long) that anybody willing to drink anything with a dead animal in it ought to be mighty careful never to use the words "bad absinthe" ever again, because no absinthe ever got that bad. I mean, what's for dessert, road kill?

By Artemis on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 01:40 am: Edit

x

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 10:23 pm: Edit

I live in Thailand (as probably you all know). The 'cobra brandy' is expensive here (about $100 US+) but in great demand among those who can afford it because of supposed medicinal and salutary (like, aphrodisiacal) qualities. I have only tasted it once, I was a guest of a colonel of Thai Army Ordnance at his house on the grounds of the Ordnance Department near Saphan Daeng (Red Bridge) and he brought out a bottle. That was about 5 years ago.

Thais of lesser means have been known to drown giant Asian centipedes -- highly poisonous and about 6-8 inches long, thick as a thumb -- in Maekhong whiskey to produce another 'potency' drink, I've seen it but never tried it.

My old pal Richard Marsencko, when he was USN attache in Cambodia (pre-75), was tretaed to the cobra brandy at a dinner party by a bunch of Cambodian admirals...as guest of honor he had to swallow the venom sac. This is best done without chewing! Dick later became commander of SEAL Team 6, and is the original of the charater played by Steve Segal in UNDER SIEGE etc; his autobiography, ROGUE WARRIOR, was a best seller.

By Michele on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 07:05 pm: Edit

i've had the chinese snake liquor. it was quite a while ago (ten years), this is what i remember most: high proof, unpleasantly medicinal with an intact rattlesnake (though it did shed scales and snake floaters, i.e. shreds of flesh, which made it in to my glass. yum!) suspended in the bottle.

....it tastes like chicken.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 04:04 pm: Edit

I saw a similar bottle of Chinese liquor in Thailand which had an intact viper (poisonous) in the bottle. The label claimed that it would provide all kinds of beneficial qualities. I didn't have enough room to take it back on this trip, but I will get it next time around. I might even be brave enough to post a review.

By _blackjack_ on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 03:37 pm: Edit

>> it is made of marc (distilled grape-skins, usually quite good, akin to grappa)and a snake, most likely a poisonous variety, which is left whole in the bottle... >>

WANT! MUST HAVE!

By Petermarc on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 03:33 pm: Edit

trenet and kermann are NOT available in france under any alternative product name, unless they
are being hidden or hoarded for some reason, they just don't exist here for sale in france, nor is oxygénée on pernod's product list for at least one re-seller who showed me his list...the response is always the same "c'est interdit en france." curiously enough, he told me it was legal in belgium, which i am under the impression is not true, having banned absinthe well before france did. i was able, however, to see the cavist's other prized banned alcohol; "viporine" (not sure of spelling)which is also made in the jura, and not legal in france, possibly because it is made of marc (distilled grape-skins, usually quite good, akin to grappa)and a snake, most likely a poisonous variety, which is left whole in the bottle...easier to find this freak-aide than renamed "absinthe"...after tasting trenet, i would concur that it is not absinthe, or more fairly, at this fragile moment of product testing, not very good...

By _blackjack_ on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 08:26 am: Edit

Indeed. There are also plenty of shops overseas, including the UK, who ship, for instance, Cuban cigars to the US. Tho it's a grey market, the shops themselves are in little danger from prosecution.

Hey, I wonder if my cigar man in London would grab me a bottle of La Fee...

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 07:36 am: Edit

Absinthedrinker, d'ya mean that GB is afraid that the CIA is going to tweep them for shipping a few bottles of La Fee to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

This seems not to bother La Boheme, Spirits Corner, or a passle of Czechs (plus the odd Bulgar) even a little bit.

Wasn't it you yourself who told me it was precisely because they (GB) couldn't reconcile how to get the duty back from HM Excise? I.e., following the 'normal' procedures of the other sellers would be inconsistent with claiming such back?

Surely not 'awe of the angry (yank) law'?

Anyway never mind, I'm sure their solicitors know what's best for them.

Sorry to hear their share of the UK bar market is going to hell. Must be all that bad karma from Swills.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 02:59 am: Edit

Don

Actually the reason that they don't export it is that there is no legal market to export it to :-)

I recently had a chat with an influential barman, who is a great fan of absinthe served the traditional way, about why it is not more widely available in the UK, either in bars or off-licenses. It seems that it has a very bad reputation in bar and club circles (in London) because of its high alcoholic strength and because a number of people like to drink it as a shooter to get out of their heads and then become troublesome. You get the picture, nine out of ten people causing trouble in a bar had been drinking absinthe so lets ban absinthe. I've been in bars and witnessed a crowd of suits come in and start downing flaming absinthe to impress their girlfriends ("its hallucinogenic you know"). Even bars that stock it tend to hide it away behind other bottles these days. This came as a surprise to me but I guess it only shows my naivete. Just because some of us respect the drink doesn't mean everyone does.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 02:40 am: Edit

BRAVISSIMA Kallisti!

The Buyers Guide is vastly improved.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 02:25 am: Edit

By the way the reason La Fee is sold only in UK is that GB/GM hasn't figured out how to claim back the substantial duties upon re-export.

That detail, along with the fact that 90+% of their market is in the UK, keeps the La Fee in the hands of 'perfidious Albion'.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 02:20 am: Edit

I am hoping that the Brazilian absinthe that Phil was enthusing about is not the reformulated Neto, but something far more interesting than Lisbon sheepdip.

As to Trenet and Kermann, I think that if it is true that they aren't sold in France it's precisely because they call themselves Absinthe. So they can only label themselves as absinthe for export even though their formulation is legal in France were they to label the product as pastis or liqueur d'anis or something legally acceptable.

It seems likely that Kermann and Trenet are as deceptive as Versinthe and L'amesinthe are not.

La Fee not only calls itself absinthe but unless GB/GM is lying -- something HM's Government would not like -- La Fee does contain A.absinthium and is, in fact, absinthe.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 04:28 pm: Edit

I have two bottles en route.

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 04:12 pm: Edit

Any word on the Brazilian reforumlated Neto Costa? Phil mentioned a Brazilian absinthe a while back, and conjecture was that he may have been the export-version of Neto.

Ted--did you ever find a bottle of this stuff?

BC

By Admin on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 03:42 pm: Edit

That's what we're waiting on, word from the manufacturer. Then we shall re-examine the information and make an informed decision.

I think my opinions in categorization line up pretty closely with yours, Ted.

Trust me, I'm frequently the first one to hear when we post new information on the guide. Manufacturers & distributors are paying attention. Most of them, anyways. heh. I get needled regarding unfavorable reviews, and to be fair to the distilleries, I prefer to give them a chance to speak up or at least tell their side. Although some, like Radomil, decided to just turn his back on us ... as we were incovertible.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Here is the pertinent current information:

La Fee - Claimed to be made in France under export only license. Specifically claimed by the exclusive distributor to contain A. absinthium. Distributed in the UK only, purportedly because it isn't legal for distribution in France. Unless proven otherwise, it seems apparent that this product contains A. absinthium. Therefore, it should be assumed as such until or unless proven otherwise.

Trenet - Made in France. Claimed not to be distributed in France - reason unknown. A quote from the description yields, "the back label states that it contains extract of Artemesia vulgaris and words to the effect that it is a tribute to the 'style' of original absinthe." Therefore, it seems apparent that this product is indeed an absinthe substitute.

Kermann - Made in France. Claimed not to be distributed in France - reason unknown. A quote from the product label yields, "Ingrédients: alcohol, water, natural aroma, wormwood infusion(Artemisia Vulgaris L) is a reminiscence of the french notorious banned Drink." Therefore, it seems apparent that this product is indeed an absinthe-substitute.

Oxygenee - Made in France. Distributed in France (where absinthe is illegal). Makes a claim not to contain thujone on the label. Share the same phrase on the label as do Trenet and Kermann, "AUX EXTRAITS DE PLANTES D' ABSINTHE". It seems apparent that this product is an absinthe-substitute.

Absente - Made in France. Distributed in France (where absinthe is illegal) from same distributor of Oxygenee. This product claims to use (petite) wormwood (southernwood), which just as does use of A. vulgaris, makes it an absinthe-substitute.

Versinthe, Lamesinthe - Made in France. Distributed in France (where absinthe is illegal). Also claim to use 'wormwood'. These products are absinthe substitutes.


Like I said, unless there is an official, direct revelation from the manufacturer which contradicts what is printed on the product label itself, every bit of information indicates that these products are all absinthe substitutes. Likewise, I strongly suspect use of the term "plantes de absinthe" to be akin to the use of the term "wormwood". In other words, it can be applied to just about any Artemisia sp., and this seems to be supported by the specifics on the product labels.

Show me the logic which points directly to the contrary please.

By Admin on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 02:31 pm: Edit

Proof and more info on these two products ought to be forthcoming soon.

Will let ya'll know when I do. In the mean time, please consider the status of these two products up in the air.

Thanks Phil!!!

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 02:22 pm: Edit

If there is a differing set of facts 'on the ground', exactly where are they?

In no way am I doubting Phil's integrity, and it is improper to suggest that I am. This however has nothing to do with Phil's integrity, or anyone else's for that matter.

Looking at the available information for these products, there seems to be every indication that these products do not contain A. absinthium. So far, there is not one shred of evidence or manufacturer claim to the contrary.

This is nothing but a simple logical deduction based upon producer-provided verbiage, country of origin, areas of distribution, etc. I am of the opinion that these products belong right where they are (in the absinthe-substitute section) until or unless proven otherwise by something official, directly from the manufacturer.

By Absintheur on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 12:59 pm: Edit

I'm under the impression that there may be a differing set of facts on the ground here. Phil has always been totally forthcoming, and knows of what he speaks. I'd be inclined to give these products the benefit of the doubt.

Whether they're good or not is another matter entirely.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 12:03 pm: Edit

"You have no proof that the La Fee Verte is better than Trenet or Kermann's about wormwood."

Wormwood does not necessarily refer to A. absinthium, and this is the pitfall you are stepping into. Be advised that La Fee plainly claims to use A. absinthium, Trenet, Kermann, and Oxygenee do not. Oxygenee is apparently legal in France, and hs been distributed there. If Trenet and Kermann are not distributed in France, we haven't seen anything official which states why specifically, and it could be due to any of several reasons. Finally, Trenet plainly, openly claims to use A. vulgaris, not A. absinthium. Kermann uses the same language as Trenet.

By Frenchman on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 11:21 am: Edit

Why Trenet and Kermann's have been displaced !??

In France where are 3 absinthe :
Trenet
Kermann's
La Fee Verte
(and perhaps Oxygenee)

Trenet has been the first to have approbation by french autorities. (for exportation only)

You have no proof that the La Fee Verte is better than Trenet or Kermann's about wormwood.
Your decision is very grave !!

I can't accept to see La Fee Verte like absinthe and Trenet & Kermann's like Pastis.
It is not equitable !!!!!
You are breakind the first person who had the courage to make again absinthe in France since 1915.

PhiL

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, November 21, 2000 - 11:47 am: Edit

From every distiller (around 13 or 14) that I have spoken with in the Jura, Doubs, and Val-de-Travers regions it seems to me that everyone make use of different names and different catagories. these differences are apparently regional.

For instance, in the Jura, I have heard that there are two catagories Bleue/Blanc and Verte, two varities of la bleue (plain la bleue (clear) and L'Interdite or L'Elixir (also clear). Of Absinthe Verte I have seen atleast three (La fee Verte, La Couechte, and L'Oubliee).

In the Jura I have heard different totaly different names and catagoires. In the Val-De-Travers region the absinthe is more uniform, la bleue and its variations. Which often doesn't make any sence to me ie. the blue cross priest and the label reading "fee verte" when it is clear, some mockery or an equally creative tradition?

This Haut-Doubs #9 is from that region (doubs/pontarlier) and is named accordingly, and it is not inferior to la bleue, just another varities of bootlegged absinthe from that region. I say Absinthe Verte due to it's location and color. If it came from the VDT region it would be a form of la bleue.

For instance the distiller lives in France and has been making absinthe for around 35 years or so (and was busted once!). He knows lots of recipes and says that often massive variations are found from still to still, I am sure Ted and Don know more about that than most of us could dream.

Anyhow my point is, when we are dealing with bootlegged products, the standards are not only very loose, but we deal with regional absinthes, and then variations from pot to pot, which further complicates things. I perfer absinthe from the French side of the border, it strikes me a being less star anise based and more in line with vintage absinthe in the respects I favor (dryness, and a more bitter taste, less badaine etc...) although I have had very fine absinthe from the Swiss side...Just a matter of opinion.

A side note, I will be getting some absinthe after the first of the year that is from Pontarlier itself...hope it is good!

J

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 21, 2000 - 10:47 am: Edit

Absinthe verte is the inferior Swiss bottleg made from oils (like pastis) rather than distilled.

To confuse matters, La Bleue (which is distilled) is produced in both clear (by most makers) and peridot green (by a minority of makers) versions. ALL of the La Bleue I have obtained has been green, and naturally (herbally, chlorophyllically) colored. At first I braced my source as I was concerned I might be getting the Verte crap. Then I tasted it. My source explained that he likes the green la Bleue (from the maker he deals with) better than the clear.

The Buyers Guide entry for la Bleue was, according to Absintheur, edited to simplify the situation, as the reality is a little confusing. This makes it seem that there is only clear La Bleue and green Absinthe Verte. That isn't so.

I'd quibble with the notion of rarity as applied to a contemporary bootleg. MOST La Bleue is made by a handful of large scale bootleggers, probably less than 10 accounting for 90%+ of production. The rest is Mom & Pop. I seriously doubt that French bootleg amounts to anything like a serious fraction of Swiss. Does that make it better?

By Petermarc on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 03:05 pm: Edit

it is "artisanal" as the french would say, when something is made by an individual to a high standard in small quantities...although it is normally possible to find out who the artist is when it comes to food or drink, do to the questionable legal nature in france,i didn't push it,and was not encouraged to ask for more right away. personally, i love it, and would love to share it with more enthusiasts, but can't really
promise anything...whether it can be duplicated by someone else is questionable, but i will say it has turned into a personal obsession for someone who's distilling skills impress me, and
i, unfortunately, will have to be patient...

By Chrysippvs on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 02:13 pm: Edit

From what it appears, the doubs region (Ponralier) being it's capital never quit making absinthe Verte. This is a regional bootleg in the tradtion of pontarlier absinthe, for whatever reason it is called Haut-doubs 9...yet another strange name for bootlegged absinthe. From what absintheur says it is better than Absinthe Verte from the Jura. I am not sure, but trying to work out something to get some from that area....

Bottom line...A new version of absinthe from the absinthe region other than (and seemingly rarer) than la bleue.

-Justin

By Tabreaux on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 02:10 pm: Edit

Apparently, it's a bootleg.

By Admin on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 02:04 pm: Edit

It is unclear to me what this Haut Doubs #9 stuff is. Is it vintage? Boot leg? Available? Whaaaa?

And its entirely possible I missed some vital information posted here, as I frequently skim threads. heh.

By Petermarc on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 01:51 pm: Edit

if you would like an unopened bottle picture of number 9, which makes it clear why it is called that, here is a picture...9

By Tabreaux on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 11:19 am: Edit

The guide is looking bigger, better, and is well-organized.

I will likewise post a review on Haut Doubs #9 this evening.

By Chrysippvs on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 11:15 am: Edit

Kallisti,

You think you will add Haut-Doubs 9 to the French list of absinthes? I think Peter posted a pic of the bottle on here a while back. Also any word on when you may have the vintage reviews posted...would love to see those up...

- J

By Admin on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 10:16 am: Edit

Ok, I've made most of the updates discussed in this thread.

Notably I've added a bunch of Ted's reviews for:

segarra
oxygenee
tunel
original
karport

Ted, please forward any I am missing, notably la Fee ... lost in the miasma of my inbox.

also moved questionable french brands to pastis, including the new reviews for oxygenee.

please lookie-loo and post errors etc to this thread.

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