La Fee = Deva ?

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Dec 2000:La Fee = Deva ?
By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 11:30 pm: Edit

Sorry, just came over me like a dark cloud...I'll go see a shaman and hopefully, this won't ever happen again...

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 11:11 pm: Edit

Who are you, and what the hell have you done with Don?

"The Portugese make good absinthe?"

This statement cannot be from the same guy who referred to Neto as "Lisbon sheepdip" and that "no one could be perverse enough to love old absinthes and like Neto at the same time."

Don, you are growing soft. ;-)


By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 06:47 pm: Edit

Dear Bob

I dunno. Others have suggested as much. Contrary to some people's belief, I
am not here to nitpick our competitors to death. The
Spanish/Ibizans/Andorrans/Portugese make good absinthe

Kinder, Gentler Don

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 09:45 am: Edit


Do the oily floaters in certain brands suggest this very same type of mixing of distillates? I think I've noticed these oil slicks in all of the Spanish brands save Segarra.


By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 08:59 am: Edit

I'd guess you are right, Tim. But I'm more interested in this as an insight into the art and technology in its modern implementation, than in cataloging which brand does what to what herbs.

A while back we were puzzled by a statement by the sole distributor of one of the major brands, who said his product involved four distillations. It made no sense to sequentially distill absinthe four times, esp in terms of energy costs! However if we interpret the remark to refer to four steam distillations of herbs, producing essential oils that are then mixed to make absinthe...suddenly it makes sense. The particular product (it matters not which one) is sufficiently one-dimensional in taste that four herbs only in its makeup is perfectly believable. Other permutations are possible; three herbs steam distilled and then the mixture with alcohol distilled again. Who knows? Only the maker.

By Timk on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 12:20 am: Edit

Presumably this is why the bloke who gave us some inside info on la fee would only say that the herbs entered the factort


By Thegreenimp on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 04:02 pm: Edit

And our fourth chief weapon is the comfy chair...

By Don_walsh on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 10:55 pm: Edit

NO ONE expects the Spanish Absinthe Inquisition!

Our chief weapon is Ted's chromatograph, and fear.

Our TWO chief weapons are Ted's chromatograph, fear, and ruthless efficiency.

Our THREE chief weapons are Ted's chromatograph, fear, ruthless efficiency, and fanatical dedication to Henri Pernod...


By Treeman5 on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 10:35 pm: Edit

Spanish Absinthe Inquisition! That's priceless, I just fell outta my seat when I read that..


By Tabreaux on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 06:18 pm: Edit

When I refer to maceration, I am referring to the addition of extracts or oils to a liquor. This is a common practice in the modern age. If what I read is correct, it is commonfare for pastis makers to make their own extracts or oils from herbs. They subsequently add this and sugar to a steep of other herbs.

By Don_walsh on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 05:28 pm: Edit

Ted likes to employ the word to mean both steeping herbs only (without distillation), or mixing from essential oils.

The formner produces godawful bitterness, and we view the latter as heretical -- but we think we are surrounded by heretics. I'm being jocular, we are not proposing a Spanish Absinthe Inquisition.

Personally I prefer to reserve the word to mean herbal steeping only.

The whole issue is complicated because we suspect that a lot of products combine the two methods. Some herbs are steeped and stilled, and other flavors are added as herbal essential oils or even discrete chemicals (anethole?).

By Bob_chong on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 11:44 am: Edit


"Macerated" as in oils used, not as in whole herbs steeped, right? I remember a conversation a while back whereby you put forth the former definition. Just wanted to make sure that was still your operational definition of macerate.



By Tabreaux on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 07:55 am: Edit

I am aware of the woody pungency you taste in Deva, and I can't say that I can give a definitive interpretation. We've casually referred to it as being aking to lemongrass, but it really doesn't give the tart, citrus flavor of that herb, although it hints at a 'citrusy' note. The label suggests that it may be fennel, but it doesn't taste quite like distilled fennel to me. Steam distilled oils give off a different flavor and texture than do distillates from alcohol. I am almost certain that this product is at least partially macerated. If it is, you can rest assured that all of them are. Of course, the added sugar doesn't help to resolve the contents. Sugar tends to subdue the 'funky' flavors contributed by added oils, but not the oily texture.

By Artemis on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 03:32 am: Edit

Ted, I agree the question is whether one or the other product has changed. If Deva has changed to meet La Fee, it's a step forward for Deva. If La Fee has changed to meet Deva, that's a shame. If you'd care to comment on the identity of the "woody" component, that would be good. I don't care if I'm wrong, I just want to know what it is.

Marc, I don't have a red velvet smoking jacket, but I wish I did. I didn't think of the leopard skin pillbox hat (I do have one, inherited from my mom). The plastic cups were red. My female assistant claimed I was extremely sexy in the tiger-eye mask and proposed a picture of me, tiger eyes, red plastic cups of absinthe and all, for my forum profile. Fortunately, we had no camera.

Don, thanks. For me personally, absinthe must have absinthium, but to each his own. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I would say Absintheur is also a good guy. I really hope you guys bury the hatchet, and not in each other's skull.

By Timk on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 01:13 am: Edit

Funnily enough i can now taste what i hav heard described as a "vegitably aftertaste" in deva, i found that 5-1 was really overdiluting it, and 3-1 braught out more flavour for me anyway


By Thegreenimp on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 12:56 am: Edit

Maybe that could be the unofficial uniform of a private club of absinthe drinkers, in lieu of a blazer with the funny little monogram.
Might be an interesting concept for Vegas, to make it more endurable.........

By Marc on Sunday, December 03, 2000 - 12:15 am: Edit

I'm sorry, but, I can't shake the image of Artemis
in his tiger-eyed sleeping mask. Artemis, were you also wearing your red velvet smoking jacket and leopard-skin pillbox hat?

By Don_walsh on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 09:24 pm: Edit

Artemis, as I recall, you accepted our proposal that A.absinthium is necessary for absinthe to BE absinthe.

I suspect that is enough to put you in the other fellow's bad books. Along with most of the rest of us here.

Naturally, you are always in mine own good books. Not because you agree with me but because you are a good guy.



By Tabreaux on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 07:09 pm: Edit

I have samples of older Deva, new Deva, and older La Fee. Whether I smell them, taste them neat, or taste them diluted, I have absolutely no trouble whatsoever in telling the difference. The older Deva and new Deva I have are identical. What I do not have (yet) is a sample of newer La Fee. Therefore, the real question is if there is a difference between new La Fee and older La Fee. That is what I aim to discern here.

By Artemis on Saturday, December 02, 2000 - 06:11 pm: Edit

Okay, today I'm at the house where I keep the La Fee, and I brought the Deva with me.

I poured a half-ounce of each into plastic cups. First, I'll state the obvious - the higher alcohol content of La Fee (68% vs. 50% according to the labels) would give it away to a blind man instantly even if everything else were identical, but everything else is not.

I first familiarized myself with the scents of both products, keeping an egg cup of lemon juice handy to clear my nostrils. I could tell right away she was really gonna co.. (sorry, that's a Frank Zappa song) ... I could tell right away this was going to be a piece of cake. I put on my sleeping mask with the tiger eyes on the outside and had my companion hand me the marked samples. I correctly identified them by smell the first time and two subsequent times - no point in carrying this any further. Then I added cold water in the amount of roughly three times the amount of absinthe. I again identified the samples three times out of three by smell. I then tried by taste. Three times out of three. I held my nose and tasted them. Okay, this is tougher, I had to taste them twice, to be sure, but the tongue-numbing effect of star anise made the Deva apparent - again I was correct. Holding my nose showed me something in the La Fee I had glossed over previously - a nice dry herbal finish on the back of the tongue - Deva doesn't have that.

There is a component in the Deva - it's probably that to which Absintheur refers as "woody", that I used to, in my ignorance, attribute to wormwood. It is not wormwood. In fact, the aroma of wormwood is by no means heavy in either product. I don't find this woody component particularly pleasant - it almost makes my stomach want to rise. It is notably subdued, in fact almost non-existent in La Fee. That is a major difference between the two. The prevalence of mint in La Fee is another. The tongue-coating effect of star anise in Deva is another, although anise is more prevalent in La Fee than I would have conceded if I had not tasted it side by side with Deva.

I also gave my companion a shot at identifying the products. She does not drink absinthe; wants nothing to do with it. Her sense of smell is in general as dead as Don's centipede. She correctly identified the products by smell of the raw liquor, smell of the louched liquor, and taste with nose held, once I told her what to look for. She did this on the first try each time.

At no time did I or my olfactorily-impaired companion identify the products incorrectly. We batted a thousand.

The La Fee is from what I have every reason to believe was the first production run. The Deva I have had for a few months.

In closing, although this is in response to a thread started by Absintheur, I want to make it clear I take NO side in the dispute between he, Ted, and Don, and I really wish things had not come to the sorry state in which we now find them. It seems like every time this forum is going strong with good incisive discussion, it collapses upon itself. Hopefully the phoenix will rise from the ashes.

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