Absinthe Cousin Jeune Sans Thuyone

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Dec 2000:Absinthe Cousin Jeune Sans Thuyone
By Don_walsh on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 09:03 pm: Edit

**deleted** always likes to call anyone a bully that he can't talk to death or argue into submission.

and using a first name isn't 'outing' someone. False accusations of 'outing' are a cheap form of defamation.

Theatrical departures, as Ted said already, are another low rent dramatic device used by losers to garner sympathy.

Will never having heard of Mr.M.Iavarone make our absinthes taste one bit different?

I doubt it.

By Tabreaux on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 11:08 am: Edit

For the record, there is no sales campaign anywhere, official or unofficial, orchestrated or not. In fact, until or unless we become equipped to handle a high-volume of orders, there will be no orchestrated sales campaign of any kind. We don't want to run into that dilemma. If we find it hard to keep our excitment contained from time to time, that's just because we have a lot of effort invested and we take incredible pride in what we are doing.


I'm sorry that you found Don's comments offensive, but be advised that you have pretty much accused both of us (wrongfully) of anything imaginable, some of it being simply ludicrous. Accusing me of having a self-serving agenda, and implying that I might fudge a scientific study is offensive to me, but I have been very forgiving. You've also accused us of forming some type of two-headed alliance here, and that is just not the case. Don speaks his mind (moreso than many), I speak my own, and whomever else speaks theirs. Don and I certainly don't agree on everything. The fact that we've become engaged in an intriguing venture does not automatically mean that we've become a collective consciousness of sorts. It is inappropriate to think that we have. We are just two intelligent, independent individuals who agree that we disagree with you, that's all.


"If you'd go to his board, the list-archive, or dejanews, you'll see a very specific tendency on the part of your partners to engage in specifically the sort of ahistorical and self-promotional rhetoric that you do here."

My (limited) presence on Dejanews and wherever else has one agenda: Debunk myth. Unlike some other distributors out there, you haven't seen one 'advertisement' for Jade Liqueurs on Dejanews.


I expect the attitude of 'I'm picking up my marbles and going home' to come from those who I esteem much less than you. You'll just have to come to grips with the fact that trying to promote the notion that absinthe has never been banned is contrary to everything written on the subject as well as existing laws. If you really have convinced yourself of this, you should have simultaneously prepared yourself for the sheer opposition you'd receive. How you could expect otherwise I have no idea.

By Absintheur on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 10:29 am: Edit

Given the circmstances of this post, I'm closing my account under this name. Goodbye all.

"-- he no longer deserves a handle --"

Don, I've managed to go for four years, in this account, engaging in a wide variety of debates, without anyone ever attempting to out me. Congratulations you're the first to sink to this level.

"You went off to the UK, returned and immediately launched a campaign against La Fee. What are we to make of that? Green Bohemia didn't want to pay you off? Do you really think your game is opaque to anyone? Anyone at all? No. You are opaque as glass. La Fee, our competitor, is not Deva, our competitor. If you can't taste the difference, well, you have no tongue."

And, this is, officially, the first time that I've been openly slandered.

Not the first time that my integrity has been impugned, that was done by you the first time that I disagreed.

Not the first time that I've been called names, once again, that was done by you.

I have never taken money from an absinthe manufacturer or seller. Period. I've sold absinthe related collectibles on a one off basis with local antique dealers, and that is the only time I've profited from absinthe or it's related paraphernalia.

You're a bully of the highest order, you chase people out of the forum left and right, and cry foul when the slightest hint of a disagreement with you arrises.

And, as to my ability to discern the flavor of the products in question, my samples of these two products are on their way to Ted as well as two other members of th forum, and I'm convinced they'll agree with me on this one.

"I have never posted anywhere on the usenet, or Absinthe-L; and I have never heard of Mike Iavarone or 'his' board, and I am unaware that Ted Breaux has posted on any of these (Ted? Speak up if you have done so pls.) This I declare that I Don Walsh have never done under any name, handle, etc."

The fact that you don't know Mike Iavarone is telling in it's own right.

If you'd go to his board, the list-archive, or dejanews, you'll see a very specific tendency on the part of your partners to engage in specifically the sort of ahistorical and self-promotional rhetoric that you do here.

"You think we are bluffing, I will call your bluff. Come to Bangkok. Or go to New Orleans. Take your pick. See me or see Ted. Sit, talk and taste."

No, I don't think that you're bluffing.

I've said nothing about the quality of your product. I think that you're intellectually bullying people into taking a stance on a product that they've never tasted.

This says nothing about the product, which could easily be the most wonderful absinthe in the world, what it says is that your sales tactics, in advance of the roll out are patently offensive.

"Or else I say back up this latest bullshit about an 'orchestrated promotional campaign' that I, the managing director of Jade Liqueurs Co.Ltd., know nothing about. I say here and now BULLSHIT! to such an idea."

There is a record of the posts in question, it's there for everyone to see, all of these sources maintain an archive.

"That has ZERO coordination with our product rollout which will happen in January and is controlled by me and me alone and not by Ted. Therefore you impugn his integrity as an absinth scholar and a scientist. I say you are a liar and a petty would-be arbiter without credentials or portfolio, and you insult your betters."

I've said this once before in another thread, I will happily go source for source with you or Ted regarding the history of absinthe. Period.

I don't think you've got sufficient material to make a case for any of your historical claims.

"You have no scientific background, you are a poor historian, and even a bona fide historian would not suffice to challenge scientists on this matter. You are a would be absinthe demigod that failed, and you are pitiful in your rage and frustration."

You are neither a historian, nor an independant scientist, you are a distiller. End of subject.

Absinthe is my hobby, and has been so for nearly a decade. Never in that time have I come a cross a character as unsavory as yourself.

To the rest of the forum, it's been fun.

By Tabreaux on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 10:18 am: Edit

"Rather, there has been an orchestrated promotional campaign, here, on Mike Iavarone's board, on Absinthe-L and on the usenet."

That's pure baloney. Paranoia is getting the best of you. I rarely post anything absinthe related anywhere outside of this BB.


"Nobody has tasted your products."

What makes you think so? Just another round of ridiculous speculation on your part. Believe me, you have no idea who has tasted our products.


"The perception that your product is in any way more historically accurate and unique is based solely upon your ahistorically and exclusery definition of classic absinthe"

No, it's based upon loads of literature as well as my personal evaluation of old products, and the best ones at that. Our products far surpass our basic definition of absinthe, and thus the definition has no role in how we chose to construct our products. If all we had to do was satisfy the definition, we'd just make something akin to Hill's. Obviously, we're not satisfied with that prospect.


"And, it goes beyond the simple act of definition, to include Ted's testing, results that he is holding for a "unique" roll out, which sounds very likely to concide with the roll out of your product. The act of holding which has drawn great suspicion in the forum."

For your information, my testing is not complete, and the data won't be released until it is complete. Since I'm the one who has made it possible, financed it, and performed it, I will release the data as I wish, when I wish, and how I wish. The release of the test results and the timing thereof has nothing to do with the realease of any product whatsoever, be it ours or anyone else's. It is an entirely an independent, unbiased study, and it not linked to any commercialism. When it's finished, it will be made available, and it is as simple as that.

The *only* goal of the testing is product content disclosure for the benefit of the consumer and aficionado. Nothing more, nothing less.


"This introduces bad science into the issue.....as the results will have far less merit than Mr. Wormwood's, which were produced outside of a commercial context."

Since you obviously know exceptionally little about analytical chemistry, maybe I can clear this up for you. The test methods, data, and results will all be absolutely, positively conform to official methodlogy, will be unadulterated, and will be scrutinized by several Ph.D. Chemists in addition to myself. We have no interests in discrediting ourselves by trying to bullshit anyone. I wouldn't even know how to pull off such maliciousness, and I regard that as criminal. If you can figure out how to make an otherwise legitimate chromatogram come up with a false negative for selected compounds, let me know, I want to see it to believe it.


"To be fair, you never speak as individuals and consumers and absinthe afficianados -- you are distillers."

No. I am a consumer and a aficionado before and above all else. It is only because I am an exceptionally knowledgable consumer and aficionado that I can likewise be a knowledgable creator, and an exceptionally honest one at that.

For the record, let me make it clear that given the bull that abounds from makers and distributors alike, I am and have always been 100% honest and forthcoming in my endeavors. If I felt that I had to be dishonest to accomplish something, I wouldn't do it. Likewise, if I had even the slightest doubt about the integrity of anyone who I was associated with, I'd quit.

By Don_walsh on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 08:49 am: Edit

**deleted** -- he no longer deserves a handle -- says "Rather, there has been an orchestrated promotional campaign, here, on Mike Iavarone's board, on Absinthe-L and on the usenet."

I have never posted anywhere on the usenet, or Absinthe-L; and I have never heard of Mike Iavarone or 'his' board, and I am unaware that Ted Breaux has posted on any of these (Ted? Speak up if you have done so pls.) This I declare that I Don Walsh have never done under any name, handle, etc.

I am also unaware if any third party with even a tangential relationship to Jade Liqueurs has posted on any of these places (Justin?)

You think we are bluffing, I will call your bluff. Come to Bangkok. Or go to New Orleans. Take your pick. See me or see Ted. Sit, talk and taste.

Or else I say back up this latest bullshit about an 'orchestrated promotional campaign' that I, the managing director of Jade Liqueurs Co.Ltd., know nothing about. I say here and now BULLSHIT! to such an idea.

You impugn Ted's testing -- something he is doing pro-bono at greta personal -- not corporate -- cost. You do so before he can complete it and publish. He can't publish and won't publish before it is finished, checked, recjecked and verified. That has ZERO coordination with our product rollout which will happen in January and is controlled by me and me alone and not by Ted. Therefore you impugn his integrity as an absinth scholar and a scientist. I say you are a liar and a petty would-be arbiter without credentials or portfolio, and you insult your betters. You have no scientific background, you are a poor historian, and even a bona fide historian would not suffice to challenge scientists on this matter. You are a would be absinthe demigod that failed, and you are pitiful in your rage and frustration.

You went off to the UK, returned and immediately launched a campaign against La Fee. What are we to make of that? Green Bohemia didn't want to pay you off? Do you really think your game is opaque to anyone? Anyone at all? No. You are opaque as glass. La Fee, our competitor, is not Deva, our competitor. If you can't taste the difference, well, you have no tongue.

By Absintheur on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 07:59 am: Edit

"You can hardly accuse Ted and I of being self serving when we are also serving the interests, for the sake of argument, of all the Spanish and Czech makers, the Ibizans and the Andorrans and of La Fee and the Bulgarian. Do you really think that our perceptioon of our business needs requires that we eliminate Trenet and Kermann? No, because they jusy don't matter. We aren't interested in eliminating any competitor, we trust to the market place to judge our products."

In fact, you don't. And, I didn't accuse you of trying to limit the number of your competitors.

Rather, there has been an orchestrated promotional campaign, here, on Mike Iavarone's board, on Absinthe-L and on the usenet. Nobody has tasted your products. The perception that your product is in any way more historically accurate and unique is based solely upon your ahistorically and exclusery definition of classic absinthe, and your own boasts about how closely you conform to said definition.

And, it goes beyond the simple act of definition, to include Ted's testing, results that he is holding for a "unique" roll out, which sounds very likely to concide with the roll out of your product. The act of holding which has drawn great suspicion in the forum.

This introduces bad science into the issue, I hope there is no relationship between the two -- because if there is, all of his money will have been ill spent as the results will have far less merit than Mr. Wormwood's, which were produced outside of a commercial context.

"No, we are speaking as individuals and consumers and absinthe afficianados, solely."

To be fair, you never speak as individuals and consumers and absinthe afficianados -- you are distillers.

"I suppose this means we can't ever expect an unbiased review from you, so I won't bother sending you a sample bottle."

Honestly, I've never reviewed a free bottle of absinthe in my life (I've only received one or two).

Every bottle I've reviewed for the guide has been purchased, at full price, as not to give a hint of impropiriety. If you'd sent a sample, it would have gone into my collection of unopened bottles, and I would have ordered another to review.

By Don_walsh on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 12:54 am: Edit

Absintheur, you are the one misrepresenting the situation. The simple proposition that absinthe is only absinthe truly if is contains A.absinthium isn't a Jade Liqueurs anything. I am making this and so is Ted, and we are doing so as individual participants in this forum, not in any corporate sense. When have I signed a post "Jade Liqueurs? I'm here as Don Walsh just as I have been for a year before there was a Jade Liqueurs and six months before there was even an idea for a Jade Liqueurs. The proposed 'definition' serves the interests of every absinthe maker whose product contains A.absinthium, and that is every absinthe maker I know if in business today with the sole exceptions of Trenet, Kermann, and (maybe) Oxygenee -- I say maybe because I can't tell if Oxygenee is claimed to be an absinthe at all. You can hardly accuse Ted and I of being self serving when we are also serving the interests, for the sake of argument, of all the Spanish and Czech makers, the Ibizans and the Andorrans and of La Fee and the Bulgarian. Do you really think that our perceptioon of our business needs requires that we eliminate Trenet and Kermann? No, because they jusy don't matter. We aren't interested in eliminating any competitor, we trust to the market place to judge our products.

No, we are speaking as individuals and consumers and absinthe afficianados, solely.

If I ridicule you just a little it's because you have grown ridiculous. If I compare you to Al Gore's campaign manager it's not to say you look cute in a frock, it's to say you are playing out a lost hand way too long and ought to have had the common sense to fold a LONG time ago.

I won't bother to return your 'fuck you'. You aren't worth insulting. Your historicism is empty and sterile. It's puerile navel-studying posturing. You are producing nothing for your fellow absinthe devotees but a lot of hot air. We have chosen to be a lot more proactive than that, and all you can do is offer impotent allegations that all our efforts are wrong headed. I suggest it is you who are wrong headed. And simply wrong.

I suppose this means we can't ever expect an unbiased review from you, so I won't bother sending you a sample bottle.

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 08:30 pm: Edit

"My response, then, would be that absinthe is an extremely unfortunate interest for anyone with this attitude; as any interest in absinthe is, by necessity, an interest in what was passed off at the turn of the century -- and not caring about such a thing is to deny the complex history of the drink."

No, it's unfortunate that you expect us to look to the blunders of the past to legitimize those of the present. The past is the past, and we appreciate it for what it was, good and bad. The past can't be helped, but the present and the future can.


"At what point have I ever pointed to a singular, monolithic, definition of absinthe and argued that all right minded individuals should agree?"

You have not, cannot, and are unwilling to do so. We simply differ.


"My argument was not that the makers of La Fee were in anyway untruthful, but rather that the argument that the makers of Oxygenee, Trenet, and Kermann had gone through no such aproval process was an argument made in the absence of any evidence."

The evidence is plainly stated on the label. Go read it.


"Given the somewhat arcane labeling laws in place in France, even today...why assume that any information listed is accurate?"

Because the information on the label is offical, and there is no hard information to refute it.


"I see that you feel that you understand the French legal code in regards to absinthe..."

I understand well enough to know that it has made absinthe illegal for 85 years, and has not been changed. Similar laws exist elsewhere as well.


"And, given the answers to those questions, can we really even say that absinthe is illegal in France?"

We can, and so can just about every reference on the subject imaginable. You can't because you can't make up your mind on what absinthe is. We don't have that problem.


"Given that we're talking about a drink that existed for over 100 years and had literally thousands of formulations, I'd think that clear definitions and orderliness would be a sign that we were moving in precisely the wrong direction."

Well, I don't know which direction you are moving in, but we're moving forward. We prefer clear definitions and orderliness to chaos.


"Considering that there is so little bull, and the consumers in question are so universally educated, what's the point of such heated protectionism?"

Wake up. Bull abounds, and educated consumers aren't necessarily educated about what to consider when going out of their way and spending quite a lot on purchasing absinthe. The only 'protectionism' here is your protectionism of past adultery.


"This is not a standard that will ever be applied by the tens of thousands of British who happily consume Hill's in local pubs. They don't care."

Night Train drinkers don't care about real fermented wine, but what do real wine drinkers care about Night Train drinkers? Whether or not they become enlightened and/or appreciative to real wine is up to them, and doesn't affect anyone else. Since Hill's qualifies as to our simple standard, it's irrelevent, but you get the point.


"Versinthe is clearly a pastis."

You say it is only because they chose to call it such. They could have just as easily chosen to call it, however improperly, "absinthe". If this had been done, you'd quickly have regarded it as such. We do not. This is a perfect example of the type of confusion that we've effectively eliminated.

By Absintheur on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 07:26 pm: Edit

"We (consumers) don't care what was passed off at the turn of the century. We don't want it passed off on us."

My response, then, would be that absinthe is an extremely unfortunate interest for anyone with this attitude; as any interest in absinthe is, by necessity, an interest in what was passed off at the turn of the century -- and not caring about such a thing is to deny the complex history of the drink.

"That is done solely by you, not us. You attempt to justify aberrations of the past as what should be acceptable to consumers today. That is both inexcusable and inapplicable to the interests of modern consumers."

At what point have I ever pointed to a singular, monolithic, definition of absinthe and argued that all right minded individuals should agree?

For anyone to do so would be profoundly absurd.

"You have no evidence to indicate that the makers of La Fee are liars, so making a play on a lack of evidence makes many of your speculative arguments outrightly hypocritical."

Here, you've misread what I said.

My argument was not that the makers of La Fee were in anyway untruthful, but rather that the argument that the makers of Oxygenee, Trenet, and Kermann had gone through no such aproval process was an argument made in the absence of any evidence.

"Do you really expect anyone to swallow this? The label looks pretty damn clear to me and to any fool who can read it. It is you who are confused, and you have nothing to refute the label. Quite honestly, I think the label of Cousin Jeune was bull, and that it contained A. absinthium AND thujone. Ok? Refute that."

My point exactly.

Given the somewhat arcane labeling laws in place in France, even today (especially when a product is specifically for export only), and our questions about the legal nuances that go into the productions of these products, why assume that any information listed is accurate? Why assume that something as basic as the translation is remotely accurate?

"The manufacturer of this product made it clear as to the content (or the lack thereof) not only by the label, but by the (legal) distrubution of said product in a country where liqueurs which contain A. absinthium are clearly, unequivocally illegal. Even you can add 1 + 1 and get 2."

I see that you feel that you understand the French legal code in regards to absinthe...

So tell me, does this Federal law supersede the regional laws passed throughout the last century legalizing the production of absinthe? What is the Federal government's position on consumption? Is it more prosecutable to produce absinthe, or to move it from region to region? While your at it, how many people in France have ever been prosecuted in relation to the production, consumption, or trafficing of absinthe?

And, given the answers to those questions, can we really even say that absinthe is illegal in France?

"There is nothing non-representative about what we've taken as a 'representative sample', if for no other reason, because there is no single 'representative sample', but a great majority of them."

This, once again relates back to my central point. To claim a representative sample is an act of gross oversimplifacation. To then extrapolate a definition from whatever sample you select is intellectual laziness.

"Nonsense. You've positioned yourself as a representative of an ideal which is as poorly defined and chaotic as are your arguments."

Given that we're talking about a drink that existed for over 100 years and had literally thousands of formulations, I'd think that clear definitions and orderliness would be a sign that we were moving in precisely the wrong direction.

"That's pretty hypocritical coming from someone who can list M. Crillon as someone who would obviously concur with his opinion. Before all else, we are consumers, and we now have basic standards to cut through the bull."

Considering that there is so little bull, and the consumers in question are so universally educated, what's the point of such heated protectionism?

This is not a standard that will ever be applied by the tens of thousands of British who happily consume Hill's in local pubs. They don't care.

"By the way, you still have not provided an explanation of why "there is no doubt in your mind that Versinthe as pastis" and not absinthe. I can ask the same for absente and a slew of other products. Not that it even matters, but I'm looking toward your explanation with interest, and possibly amusement."

Really?

Well, personally I'd look at Absente as an incredibly poorly rendered attempt at making legal absinthe. Most of it's characteristics were shared by the bulk of absinthes at the turn of the century, it's color, flavor, and ingredients all ensure that it can't be mistaken for pastis.

And, Versinthe is a high quality pastis amer, a term which is a registered trademark, and has a specific associated list of ingredients, including ginger, cardamon, and cinnimon. Versinthe is clearly a pastis.

Pastis is much more specific, and more easily defined, than absinthe. Nearly all pastis can be placed within the broader spectrum of "absinthe," whereas very few absinthe can be called pastis. To distinguish between the two is not difficult at all.

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 06:34 pm: Edit

Absintheur, what we've collectively agreed upon as a modern basic consumer standard is pursuant to truthful disclosure and advertising where modern products are concerned. Meanwhile, you vehemently argue that our standard does not accomadate everything that happened in history, good or bad, honest or dishonest, truthful or misleading, and therefore is invalid. Likewise, you are trying to use this as a basis to homologate absinthe-substitutes as well as just about anything else that someone labels as "absinthe" to be legitimate 'absinthe'. This tragic position indirectly argues that absinthe is not, and has virtually never been banned. Such a notion is outright nonsense, and is in conflict with every respectable work which has ever been written and published on the subject. We don't even have to mention the fact that the definition of absinthe in modern laws in countries where absinthe is illegal strongly concur with our definition.

The fact is that not a soul on this planet is aware of every good and bad deed done in the past where matters absinthe are concerned. As far as we know, someone could have macerated chicken shit and called it "absinthe". As a result, if we were to bog ourselves down with history, there could be *NO* definition. We choose not to accept that futility. We don't live in the past, and we aren't buying products of the past. What couldn't be done for consumers in the past, we are doing today.

You call it "insulting", we call it consumer rights and standards.

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 05:35 pm: Edit

"Jade Liquors wants to define what absinthe had to contain to be 'real' at the turn of the century as well?"

No, you just want to make it look that way. Don't even go there. If Jade Liqueurs wanted to promolugate a self-serving definition for absinthe, it would be very stringent. Even a fool could determine that much. This is absolutely not the case. This is a definition by consumers, for consumers. It is plain, simple, absurdly accomadating, and it works.



"No, it is intellectual cowardice to disallow the equal consideration of products that would have been accepted, if not embraced, as absinthe at the turn of the century."

You weren't at the turn of the century, and neither were we. We (consumers) don't care what was passed off at the turn of the century. We don't want it passed off on us.



"Just as Artemesia absinthium is not a definitive standard for determining what is, was, or should be called absinthe."

That's your opinion, and it is doesn't meet our standards (which are very basic). Absinthe was named for 'absinthium', and we judge it by such.



"If we look only to Cousin Jeune, accounting for 5% of all of the absinthe consumed in France at the turn of the century, as our sole example"

Last I checked, 5% is very small, and what makes you so sure it was all sold in France? Pure speculation on your part....again. Cousin Jeune is long gone, and has no bearing on our simple expectations of modern absinthes. What makes you so sure you could take Cousin Jeune's word at face value anyway?



"Once again, why the preasure to impose this personal, somewhat peculiar, standard on those of us who consume absinthe today"

Check yourself. On the contrary, it is accepted and embraced by those of us who consume absinthe today, and there is nothing peculiar about it.



"-- and even moreso, why impose it upon the drink's history?"

That is done solely by you, not us. You attempt to justify aberrations of the past as what should be acceptable to consumers today. That is both inexcusable and inapplicable to the interests of modern consumers.



You say (regarding La Fee's status) "In fact, neither you nor I have any evidence whatsoever that this is the case." , and in the very next sentence, "All of this nonsense about La Fee being unique in this regard is forum mythology,..."

You have no evidence either way, so why make a hypocrit out of yourself in concurrent sentences? You have no evidence to indicate that the makers of La Fee are liars, so making a play on a lack of evidence makes many of your speculative arguments outrightly hypocritical. You haven't introduced the possibility that beloved Cousin Jeune was lying about his product, now have you? That's because you so conveniently choose not to consider the flip side of the coin.



Regarding Trenet and Kermann, you said,
"Once again, this is primarily conjecture, in the absence of anything beyond labelling information, which is specifically confusing, and possibly confused."

Do you really expect anyone to swallow this? The label looks pretty damn clear to me and to any fool who can read it. It is you who are confused, and you have nothing to refute the label. Quite honestly, I think the label of Cousin Jeune was bull, and that it contained A. absinthium AND thujone. Ok? Refute that.



About Oxygenee, you said,
"Why, then, presume that you've can say more about the essential constitution of this product, a product made by two turn of the century absinthe manufacturers, than any representative of these companies can?"

The manufacturer of this product made it clear as to the content (or the lack thereof) not only by the label, but by the (legal) distrubution of said product in a country where liqueurs which contain A. absinthium are clearly, unequivocally illegal. Even you can add 1 + 1 and get 2.



"So, you're taking as your model for turn of the century absinthe a self-admittedly non-representative sample, that you and Ted have settled upon, and have derived a definition from that"

There is nothing non-representative about what we've taken as a 'representative sample', if for no other reason, because there is no single 'representative sample', but a great majority of them. We've all agreed upon the most basic of definitions, and this isn't good enough for you. The vast majority of past products would have qualified, but who cares? This definition is defined by us, defined by the laws of countries where it is banned, and easily fits the original invention of the liqueur. It couldn't be more objective and clear.



"But, the only reason to impose an idealized definition of absinthe, is to position youself as representative of that ideal."

Nonsense. You've positioned yourself as a representative of an ideal which is as poorly defined and chaotic as are your arguments.



"That is not only intellectually dishonest, it's insulting to the consumer."

By us setting an absurdly simple standard, we are insulting ourselves? Do you realize how stupid that sounds? That's pretty hypocritical coming from someone who can list M. Crillon as someone who would obviously concur with his opinion. Before all else, we are consumers, and we now have basic standards to cut through the bull.



By the way, you still have not provided an explanation of why "there is no doubt in your mind that Versinthe as pastis" and not absinthe. I can ask the same for absente and a slew of other products. Not that it even matters, but I'm looking toward your explanation with interest, and possibly amusement.

By Absintheur on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 03:48 pm: Edit

I'm going to take your message out of order, so that I can reply coherently.

"And he's starting to resemble Al Gore's campaign manager."

I assure you, I don't look a thing like Donna Brazile...

"Kallisti has accepted it, and reorganized the BG accordingly, it's the de facto law of the forum. Absintheur is wearing a cyber-signboard and calling us all heretics and ahistorical ones to boot. REPENT he advises THE END IS NEAR."

...De facto law of the forum?

I've never said this to anyone in the forum, but -- fuck you.

You've got an obnoxious tendency to turn your argument out to the silent masses and levy personal insults when you've run out of thigs to say. Cut it out. It's only slightly less offensive than your tendency to allude to unstated evidence and rumors.

I've never insulted you, your product, your business, or the things you've argued for in the forum, don't turn around and insult me.

Now, on to the crux of your post...

"What Absintheur has done is simply to drag out an example of the 'hygenique' thujone-free psuedo-absinthes from the period of the buildup to the bans."

No, that's not at all what I've done. What I did was present a tidbit of evidence that absinthe hygenique predated the ban by more than a decade -- prior to the term 'hygenique' ever existing.

Previous allusions to absinthe hygenique had placed it only within a year or two of the ban.

"We modern absinthe drinkers reject the thujone hypothesis entirely, just how completely we reject it will become apparent in the fullness of (near term) time. There is no legitimate 'tradition' stemming from such perversions of absinthe. I say, Cousin Jeune ought not to have callid itself an absinthe at the time, and Oxygenee ought not to be called an absinthe today. How's continuity like that for you?"

So, what you're saying, is that you don't merely want to impose the Jade Liquors standard for modern absinthe on the Absinthe Guide, but that Jade Liquors wants to define what absinthe had to contain to be 'real' at the turn of the century as well?

"One can puncture any definition with exceptions and oddities and aberrations and blind alleys and mistakes and yes cowardice such as this.

No, it is intellectual cowardice to disallow the equal consideration of products that would have been accepted, if not embraced, as absinthe at the turn of the century.

"But such things aren't definitive, any more than the color red is 'definitive' of absinthe just because one absinthe is made red."

Precisely!

Just as Artemesia absinthium is not a definitive standard for determining what is, was, or should be called absinthe.

"The hygeniques were a minor by-blow of absinthe for a relatively brief period culminating in the bans; they were a retrograde type of product, a commercial holding action, a retreat from absinthe, a last gasp."

If we look only to Cousin Jeune, accounting for 5% of all of the absinthe consumed in France at the turn of the century, as our sole example -- it is significant. It is more significant when we consider that Cousin Jeune marketed their product as thujone-free absinthe for nearly 10% of the entire history of the drink, and most of the history of the company.

And Cousin Jeune is far from being the only example of this phenomenon.

"While one can sympathize with the position of its makers, that does not make it absinthe. Unless it contain A.absinthium's oils somehow stripped of
thujone. I don't care if the thujone is removed. I do care about the A.absinthium signature as a whole."

Once again, why the preasure to impose this personal, somewhat peculiar, standard on those of us who consume absinthe today -- and even moreso, why impose it upon the drink's history?

"Of these only ONE made the effort to win approval from the government of France for its fabrication to include A.absinthium (and presumably thujone), for its labelling as absinthe, and all that was conditional on export-only status. I say this is purportedly and apparently a bona fide absinthe, fair and square. Unavailable in France."

In fact, neither you nor I have any evidence whatsoever that this is the case.

All of this nonsense about La Fee being unique in this regard is forum mythology, most of it (all save the information directly regarding La Fee) originating with you. We don't have the slightest inkling of the governmental standards imposed upon all other French absinthe makers. We don't have a shred of evidence that their products don't require waivers, permits, export-only agreements, or any of the other nuances that made La Fee production possible.

"Trenet and Kermann -- virtually identical products both made in Le Havre, NEITHER containing A.absinthium, instead containing A.vulgaris (mugwort), labelled as absinthe and as such unavailable within France apparently just because they call thenselves absinthe, not because they really ARE absinthe and certainly containing no A.absinthium. I say, unAbsinthes, neither fish nor foul."

Once again, this is primarily conjecture, in the absence of anything beyond labelling information, which is specifically confusing, and possibly confused.

"Oxygenee. Available in France. Reconcile that with the other products, and it is really hard to conclude that it can either be an absinthe in fact or an absinthe in name. No absinthium, no thujone. That leaves only the issue of labelling. A test case? Maybe. As several have reported even the parent company's staff seem to know nothing about this product, so it's a bit of a mystery to me as well."

Why, then, presume that you've can say more about the essential constitution of this product, a product made by two turn of the century absinthe manufacturers, than any representative of these companies can?

"We say, absinthe isn't defined by the average, 'mean' in both senses, schlock product of the 19 century and it isn't defined by the products like the hygeniques that fall in the cracks. We say, absinthe then and now ought to be defined by the best of the old products as progenitors of an admirable tradition -- not a toxic and loathsome one like the adulterated cheap Marseilles absinthes. And that the better modern absinthes do in fact represent the current end of the same tradition, a tradition to be proud of. 3 Million bottles a year of premium absinthes are better representatives of absinthe as a whole than 12 million bottles a year of poisonous glop. Anyone here want to drink from a well preserved bottle of cheap provencal absinthe that is shown to contain wood alcohol, heavy metal salts, carcinogenic or hepatotoxic dyes, rat poison, etc? I think not. That's the illogic of taking the 'historical imperative' too seriously."

So, you're taking as your model for turn of the century absinthe a self-admittedly non-representative sample, that you and Ted have settled upon, and have derived a definition from that.

You now want to take the definition, derived from said sample, and impose it not only on all manufacturers who use the name absinthe, but on all historical brands as well?

"The contrarian argument is like saying, let's recreate a totally representative, average vin ordinaire from 1800, right from the middle of the bell curve, rather than going for one of the grand cru. For to try to make a great wine wouldn't be 'historically accurate' as an example of Wine."

And, here we are again -- at the recreation issue -- this discussion has, until this point, solely addressed the issue of definition.

As I've said before, recreate whatever you want, the better the brand, the better the recreation. I look forward to tasting it.

But, the only reason to impose an idealized definition of absinthe, is to position youself as representative of that ideal.

That is not only intellectually dishonest, it's insulting to the consumer.

By Don_walsh on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 09:09 pm: Edit

What Absintheur has done is simply to drag out an example of the 'hygenique' thujone-free psuedo-absinthes from the period of the buildup to the bans. And to assert that these represent a historical tradition of which modern unAbsinthes such as (new) Oxygenee are logical descendents and thus entitled to call themselves absinthe.

It's circular reasoning.

Our position is that the hygeniques were an aberration, one intended to ride out the tide of pseudo-science being generated against thujone. In short these liqueurs were traitors to the absinthe tradition, old and contemporary alike. We modern absinthe drinkers reject the thujone hypothesis entirely, just how completely we reject it will become apparent in the fullness of (near term) time. There is no legitimate 'tradition' stemming from such perversions of absinthe. I say, Cousin Jeune ought not to have callid itself an absinthe at the time, and Oxygenee ought not to be called an absinthe today. How's continuity like that for you?

One can puncture any definition with exceptions and oddities and aberrations and blind alleys and mistakes and yes cowardice such as this. But such things aren't definitive, any more than the color red is 'definitive' of absinthe just because one absinthe is made red.

The hygeniques were a minor by-blow of absinthe for a relatively brief period culminating in the bans; they were a retrograde type of product, a commercial holding action, a retreat from absinthe, a last gasp. The modern equivalents such as Oxygenee similarly are attempts to evade various national laws -- most especially the French ones -- which is why it is available in France while La Fee, say, is not. While one can sympathize with the position of its makers, that does not make it absinthe. Unless it contain A.absinthium's oils somehow stripped of thujone. I don't care if the thujone is removed. I do care about the A.absinthium signature as a whole.

We are looking at four French liqueur products aren't we? La Fee, Trenet, Kermann, and Oxygenee.

Of these only ONE made the effort to win approval from the government of France for its fabrication to include A.absinthium (and presumably thujone), for its labelling as absinthe, and all that was conditional on export-only status. I say this is purportedly and apparently a bona fide absinthe, fair and square. Unavailable in France.

Trenet and Kermann -- virtually identical products both made in Le Havre, NEITHER containing A.absinthium, instead containing A.vulgaris (mugwort), labelled as absinthe and as such unavailable within France apparently just because they call thenselves absinthe, not because they really ARE absinthe and certainly containing no A.absinthium. I say, unAbsinthes, neither fish nor foul.

Oxygenee. Available in France. Reconcile that with the other products, and it is really hard to conclude that it can either be an absinthe in fact or an absinthe in name. No absinthium, no thujone. That leaves only the issue of labelling. A test case? Maybe. As several have reported even the parent company's staff seem to know nothing about this product, so it's a bit of a mystery to me as well.

But it is REALLY reaching to point at this Oxygenee and claim that it represents the 21st century terminus (no pun intended!) of a 'tradition'. That's pretty thin.

We say, absinthe isn't defined by the average, 'mean' in both senses, schlock product of the 19 century and it isn't defined by the products like the hygeniques that fall in the cracks. We say, absinthe then and now ought to be defined by the best of the old products as progenitors of an admirable tradition -- not a toxic and loathsome one like the adulterated cheap Marseilles absinthes. And that the better modern absinthes do in fact represent the current end of the same tradition, a tradition to be proud of. 3 Million bottles a year of premium absinthes are better representatives of absinthe as a whole than 12 million bottles a year of poisonous glop. Anyone here want to drink from a well preserved bottle of cheap provencal absinthe that is shown to contain wood alcohol, heavy metal salts, carcinogenic or hepatotoxic dyes, rat poison, etc? I think not. That's the illogic of taking the 'historical imperative' too seriously. Because if THAT is the mainstream absinthe 'tradition' there can BE no modern continuation authentic to the originals, because no one in their reight mind would take such slow death into their bodies. Certainly not, and especially not for the sake of experiencing a medicrity of an absinthe, which is what these products were, and would be today, even stripped of the adulterants in toto.

We say, makers of those products deserved to be put out of business because they did represent a public health problem. NOT thujone, and NOT A.absinthium, but the garbage that unscrupulopus profiteers were willing to bottle for profit. And we say that DESPITE the fact that the French and other governments proceeded with the bans for the WRONG reasons, hidden reasons, and thus were happy to destroy the good absinthes, which had NEVER posed a public health threat, along with the bad absinthes and all other herbal liqueurs (at first).

The contrarian argument is like saying, let's recreate a totally representative, average vin ordinaire from 1800, right from the middle of the bell curve, rather than going for one of the grand cru. For to try to make a great wine wouldn't be 'historically accurate' as an example of Wine.

Sorry. That's just fugheaded. Nobody would go for the table wine. Everyone with any sense would go for the grand cru.

Man, I am weary of all this and I suspect the forum is too. Absintheur apparently hasn't noticed that he's too late, the horses are out of the corral, the barn burned down and isn't even smouldering anymore. The consensus of the Absinthium Principle has been achieved and as Kallisti has accepted it, and reorganized the BG accordingly, it's the de facto law of the forum. Absintheur is wearing a cyber-signboard and calling us all heretics and ahistorical ones to boot. REPENT he advises THE END IS NEAR.

And he's starting to resemble Al Gore's campaign manager.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 03:14 pm: Edit

"Of course there was an analytical assay for thujone, it was the first chemical constituent isolated in absinthe and blamed for it's effects."

Analytical chemistry was in a 'neanderthal' stage of evolution at the time. Only the very basics were known. The proper identification and analysis of many herbal essences were not derived until many, many years later (some not until the '60s and '70s). Chemistry books, medical formularies, etc. from this period make the limitations painfully apparent. Much information from the period, especially quantitative information, is not reliable.

Think about this: Would you rely on your doctor to treat you using a turn of the century medical formulary? Somehow, I feel safe in answering "hell no" for you.


"I agree, this is one of the reason that absinthe manufacturers felt no compunction about so regularly changing their recipes."

Just because past producers could got away with it then, doesn't mean that modern producers should. Because a few past producers misled consumers in the past doesn't excuse that practice today. They could get away with it then. Not any longer....if they want consumers to consider their product to be 'absinthe' anyway.


"Yes, and I suspect that it's products like Absinthe Cousin Jeune that make modern distillers like Oxygenee feel totally historically justified calling themselves absinthe, but producing a product which is totally thujone free."

We can only speculate about what they do or don't feel, but who cares? What we feel is quite clear. As consumers, we prefer to define that which is important to us. To allow the manufacturers to make that choice is akin to allowing the wolves to guard the henhouse. We aren't so foolish.

Like I said 20 times before, who cares about what's past? That's past. We are concerned about the present and we choose to get what we expect for our money. Categorizing products by our definition makes it easy for consumers. You choose to leave the details in the fine print, or overlook them altogether. We don't.

By Absintheur on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 02:27 pm: Edit

"All very interesting, historically, but, really -- who cares?"

Well, I'd turn this around and ask; if you're not interested in the history of absinthe, and you don't believe it's a drug (as you've stated), what makes it any different than any other anise, really?

"There was no analytical assay for thujone at this time, so there is no way to be certain of the content of anything back then, unless of course, an intact sample exists."

Of course there was an analytical assay for thujone, it was the first chemical constituent isolated in absinthe and blamed for it's effects. If there weren't such an assay, it's likely that absinthe would never have been banned; it was the specter of thujone, the toxin, that garnered public support for prohibition.

The fact that there was an assay for thujone, and no modern medical testing of it's effects, was precisely the problem that distillers faced. Most couldn't simply deny that their products contained thujone, as it could be tested for, and they couldn't deny it's deliterious effects, as medical science at the time was primitave.

This is from a flyer (I don't know whether it is a press release or an advertizement) amongst this stuff:

"Mon absinthe analysee par un des premiers chemiste expert de Paris, member de la commission technique permanente pour la repression des fraudes, a ete reconnue expempte de thuyone."

Indicating that Ernest Cousin was concerned enough about establishing qualitatively that his product contained no thujone, that he contracted to have it assayed as being totally thujone-free.

"This was one of the great pitfalls of the day, as there were virtually no food/beverage quality laws, and no way to test products for compliance."

I agree, this is one of the reason that absinthe manufacturers felt no compunction about so regularly changing their recipes.

"Once again, this is academic with respect to modern consumers. This liqueur was marketed upfront as being 'thujone-free absinthe', and this was clearly emphasized. Since they had no way of knowing if the product was truly thujone-free, I strongly suspect this product was actually absinthium-free."

I couldn't agree more.

This was a product, one of a few, that openly marketed their absinthe as being totally free of Artemesia absinthium. Not all distillers were so forthcoming.

"This manufacturer apparently felt that this made the product more attractive. Similarly, a modern absinthe-substitute, Oxygenee, claims to likewise be thujone-free right on the label, and is apparently absinthium-free."

Yes, and I suspect that it's products like Absinthe Cousin Jeune that make modern distillers like Oxygenee feel totally historically justified calling themselves absinthe, but producing a product which is totally thujone free.

By Don_walsh on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 01:04 pm: Edit

All very interesting, historically, but, really -- who cares?

You haven't heard the last about thujone.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 12:15 pm: Edit

There was no analytical assay for thujone at this time, so there is no way to be certain of the content of anything back then, unless of course, an intact sample exists. This was one of the great pitfalls of the day, as there were virtually no food/beverage quality laws, and no way to test products for compliance. This certainly bolstered the case against absinthe, as well as 'similar liqueurs'. Meanwhile, I do have a bottle of antique Swiss Berger absinthe, which was a highly respected Swiss label. It remains to be tested.

Once again, this is academic with respect to modern consumers. This liqueur was marketed upfront as being 'thujone-free absinthe', and this was clearly emphasized. Since they had no way of knowing if the product was truly thujone-free, I strongly suspect this product was actually absinthium-free. The manufacturer was honest and forthcoming in disclosing this to the consumer (a real problem in those days). This manufacturer apparently felt that this made the product more attractive. Similarly, a modern absinthe-substitute, Oxygenee, claims to likewise be thujone-free right on the label, and is apparently absinthium-free.

By Absintheur on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 10:43 am: Edit

Cousin Jeune, not discussed terribly much here, was huge, producing 1,800,000 liters of absinthe in the year 1896 (the company was founded in 1886 by Ernest Cousin in Francbourg), accounting for one fifth of the total production in Doubs, and nearly as much in Pontarlier.

I've, just today, come into some Cousin Jeune papers that address some frequently asked questions regarding the composition and character of Swiss absinthe around the turn of the century.

First, Cousin Jeune was, in 1896 avaiable in both Absinth Verte and Absinthe Blanche, though only in 55% stength.

Secondly, starting in 1904 Cousin Jeune adopted this advertizing slogan:

Absinthe Cousin Jeune sans thuyone est l'absinthe de l'avenir, l'absinthe par excellence!

It is unclear from the papers I've got whether this represented a change in their formulation, or whether this was simply an attempt to capitalize on the anti-thujone hysteria in France at the time by admitting that their existing product was thujone-free, but, given that this dates to 11 years beofre the Swiss ban, this may be the earliest example of an absinthe marketing itself as being thujone-free (possibly wormwood free, I'm looking for further evidence of that).

Incidentally, it appears that Cousin Jeune may have been the company that coined the term Absinthe Hygenique, connoting an absinthe without a trace of thujone, in 1906.

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