Czech Absinth - A Theory & Other Useful Thoughts (Long)

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Dec 2000:Czech Absinth - A Theory & Other Useful Thoughts (Long)
By Artemis on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 01:29 am: Edit

"All in all, this theory could be pure bunk ..."

Makes perfect sense to me. Why they would follow their own tradition is obvious - that's what they had to work with. Why they would claim descent from the Franco-absinthes is also obvious, although less forgivable. Who would have stood in line to buy absinthe "in the Czech tradition"? Simply marketing there. Maybe in time when people explore these products with an open mind, the distributors will back off on the spurious marketing claims and pitch their products for what they are, and people will appreciate them for what they are.

By Germanandy on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 12:00 am: Edit


i've mixed the pilsen absinth with the cheap absente to have the taste of anise in it.
doesn't taste bad, better than the pure stuff.



By Tabreaux on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 09:54 pm: Edit

Sit back, make yourself comfortable, and read away:

I recently ordered a myriad of Czech products (not just absinth) from several distributors of Czech products, including:

First of all, let me note that each of these distributors give quality service, and each order always follows with a personal email confirmation.

In addition to the absinth products, I wanted to get a feel for other popular regional liqueurs, so I ordered a bottle of Stock Fernet and Carlsbad Becherovka. They were fairly inexpensive, and I needed some 'box stuffers'.

Stock Fernet carries the following description: "Today´s No. 1 drink in sales volume in the Czech republic. Very bitter herbal dark liqueur." (bohemia-drinks). This liqueur is 40% alc, truly dark, aromatic, dry, and very bitter. It leaves a somewhat heavy, medicinal finish. The verbiage on the rear label indicates that it is frequently had straight, with water, tonic, coffee, etc. Drinking this straight takes some fortitude, but I imagine some of the local folk do.
The ingredients are listed as: voda (water), lih (alc?), smes bylin (anyone?), cukr (sugar), and barvivo-karamel (caramel coloring). The first four are also common to the list on Absinth Schulz.

Becherovka carries the following description: "Most famous traditional Czech liqueur made according to the old recipe known only to 2 persons on Earth. Being popular for over 70 years and consumed in bars and restaurants as well as at home by consumers of all kinds. The latest way of drinking Becherovka is mixing it with tonic water as gin." (bohemia-drinks). The label is entirely in Czech, but states the origin being back in 1807 and makes a reference to serving at 6 degrees C I think. This liqueur is 38% alc, tastes not quite so heavy, but is bitter, aromatic, slightly medicinal, and tastes significantly of cinnamon.

After becoming acquainted with these liqueurs, I went back and tasted the Czech absinths. After doing so, I can't help but suggest that when the Czechs made these products (however recently or long ago), they more or less followed the flavor framework of regional herbal liqueurs. In fact, the only liqueur which tasted anything resembling anise was Sebor Absinth, and even that only slightly. A couple of the others supposedly contain it, but it isn't readily detectable. Apparently, anise isn't in the Czech palette of acceptable flavors. All these products however are claimed to contain A. absinthium however. Are these products simply their interpretations of absinthe coming from a background of their regional bitter herbal liqueurs?

As you can see, I am trying to look at these products from a different viewpoint for perspective's sake. If this little theory is true, I think the Czechs did themselves a disservice by describing these products as being derived from old Swiss or French recipes and the like. I likewise think pricing them so highly wasn't the best idea for longevity in a competitive market. After all, if you are expecting these products to be anything akin to the French/Swiss absinthes, you are in for an unpleasant surprise. On the other hand, if you are well-acquainted with their regional liqueurs, the absinths are not so unusual.

All in all, this theory could be pure bunk, and regardless, consumers will end up buying the absinthe which seems best to them. It's just another possibility to consider.

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