Spirits Corner on Too Joan

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Dec 2000:Spirits Corner on Too Joan
By Pikkle on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 05:22 am: Edit

Okay... it's not a major concern, just piquing
my curiosity.

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 05:06 am: Edit

The temp, the percentage of water, and the concentration of anethole all influence the solubility. We don't know the concentration of anethole, so that is an unknown, and without it, we can't estimate anything because the relationship is concentration dependent.

By Pikkle on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 05:00 am: Edit

Well isn't there a cutoff point for let's say NaCl
in H2O? That's about as basic an example I
can come up with being I live in Michigan. I'm
pretty sure that's standard. So wouldn't there
be a specific point of saturation of anethole in
alcohol at 'x' temperature? Yes, i know there
are a lot of factors involved and I'm about as
ignorant about chemistry as any steel worker
but I'm not sure I completely understand
based on what I know.

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 04:46 am: Edit

Dropping the temperature reduces the solubility of dissolved essences. The crystalline material which separated was likely anethole. Anethole is soluble in alcohol, but not water. A solution which is close to saturation will reach saturation as the temperature drops, and the dissolved component may crystallize. There is no 'cutoff' temperature for solubility, as it is a dynamic phenomenon and several factors influence it.

By Pikkle on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 04:22 am: Edit

Well, regardless of the thujone content of
Serpis, i still do not favor it... not to say I
wouldn't drink it if it were offered to me.
Another absinthe question: I'm very bad about
the whole chilled water and sugar cube thing.
I like to get it stirred up and down the hatch as
soon as possible... so i go with ice cubes.
Sometimes I go so far as to chill the absinthe
with the ice cubes prior to adding water...
which produces little white floaties. What are
these? Is this the anise? At what temperature
is it no longer soluble in water? Mari Mayans
seems to be the worst at this probably due to
their high anise content but I got some La
Bleue about a month ago and the UPS driver
in his infinite wisdom buried that package out
in the snow because i wasn't home. So when
I retrieved and opened the package, i found
the same thing occuring. After allowing it to
warm for a time, it appeared to go back to it's
normal disolved state but in one bottle, a little
white glob remained and after emptying the
bottle (down me gullet thank you!) I rolled the
little glob out and it tastes of solid anise.
Anyway, just wondering about the whats and
the whys...

By Tabreaux on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 04:10 am: Edit

Frederico is about as straightforward as they come, so there should be no doubts as to his good faith in doing business.

FWIW, many liquor producers have a 'lab' of sorts. Quite honestly, I'd put more faith in empirical estimates than anything else form an internal lab. If the Serpis people spit out some numbers for whatever reason, true or false, I don't hold Frederico accountable. Most laypersons assume they can take this information at face value, and this is not a safe assumption.

Likewise, most scientific data, especially published data, is reported in good faith. The threat of wrath from peers and the subsequent decimation of one's academic credibility tend to keep things honest. Unfortunately, reporting in good faith doesn't equate to validity of results. My point? Even if an idependent lab reports some numbers which are faulty, it isn't necessarily a sign of maliciousness, just sloppiness. If the chemist who invented the procedure would have found substitute equipment to give acceptable results, he would have specified it in the method. In the case of the thujone method, he did not, and apparently with good reason.

Now, no numbers were reported, but if we assume that Serpis as 4X the thujone of MM, what does that mean? Does it automatically mean Serpis is a 'better' product? Not unless you judge the quality of a product solely by thujone content (which is silly). Does it automatically mean that Serpis gives 4X the secondary effects? Not unless you think thujone is the sole contributor to such 'effects' (not so). Well then, just what does it mean (if anything)?

Well, let's say that MM hypothetically contains the legal limit of 10mg/kg thujone (it most certainly contains less). That equates to 40mg/kg for Serpis. For the sake of comparison, it's been scientifically demonstrated that an acute oral dose of thujone equal to many times what would be contained in an *entire* bottle of Serpis gives no discernable effects. I for one believe that other herbal content plays a significant role, but then again, neither of these products are real barnburners in the herbal content dept. (aside from star anise). Hmmmmm. So what exactly does this all mean? Well, I have some ideas of what I think it means, and if I am correct, it is a multi-faceted scenario which requires some knowledge of several different subjects to unravel.

Quite honestly and for the record however, I don't get much of anything 'interesting' from either of two beforementioned products anyway, so I'll just leave it at that.

By Don_walsh on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 03:55 am: Edit

I think you are perfectly right, Martin, about low thujone in MM, as this has been much commented on in the past. However as Ted pointed out, this is mostly irrelevant.

They probably are focusing on Serpis and not mentioning Deva etc because they are pushing Serpis harder than the others right now. Maybe they have a large inventory they want to dump, or maybe they make a better margin on it, I dunno. Maybe they just like red.

By Joshua on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 03:50 am: Edit

ill have to ask them,i have ordered many a time,but never was it offered to me

By Artemis on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 03:40 am: Edit

"how does one go about getting on the mailing list?"

Ordering something from them would probably do it, but alternately, you could email them and ask them to be put on it.

"now you know the source of the 'red' flavor..."

Yes I do, but my question about the red flavor was rhetorical, just trying to get an absinthe thread started. I wanted to see if anybody *else* knew what it was.

By Joshua on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 03:21 am: Edit

how does one go about getting on the mailing list?

By Petermarc on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 03:11 am: Edit

now you know the source of the 'red' flavor...

By Martin on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 02:50 am: Edit

I got that email too. They said it was 4x higher in Serpis than in Mari Mayans. That makes me wonder. If the it were truely 4x higher, that would mean MM must have a very low amount for Serpis to still be legal. I wonder why they didn't mention Deva, which they also sell?

I'm not going to accuse Federico of being dishonest, because he has proven to us all what a good businessman he is, but methinks these new "findings" have alot to do with the new promotion they're doing with Serpis.

Regardless, Serpis is a good absinthe IMO. I've definately gotten effects from it, though I have gotten effects to some degree with every brand I've tried so far. I've definately gotten some from MM too, but its hard to compare.

As I'm sure Ted or Don would tell us, the "effects" in absinthe are not based solely on the thujone (or alcohol), but from the subtle interplay between all the herbs involved. Wormwood isn't the only herb that contains potentially mind-altering chemicals. Coriander and anise, as well as pretty much all the herbs used, have a myriad of fun chemicals in them. That's what making good absinthe is all about... getting the balance between all the herbs just right.

The glasses don't looke etched, but in the up close picture of the single glass, it appears to have a small resevoir in the bottom of it. I like them, they look nice adn more interesting than the pastis glasses you seem to see most often.


By Artemis on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 02:37 am: Edit

Well, Ted, you're certainly preaching to the choir on (2). I loudly and consistently preached that sermon from this pulpit a long time ago.

And I'm familiar with (1) because you've explained it before. I believe you. All the same, here is the pertinent text from the SC email:

"Since we have become the official export agents for those countries in which absinthe is permitted of some brands, we have finally had the opportunity to compare the thujone levels. And we have found out that SERPIS is the absinthe with the highest thujone level, e.g. 4 times higher that Mari Mayans. This gives strength to our believe that, yes, Serpis is red, but it is one of the best absinthes available."

The glasses are here:

http://www.spiritscorner.com/scriptsing/buscar.asp?K=Detalle&IdProducto=2804 and

SC had a nice Christmas card, too. Sort of Picasso-ish. I assume most everybody saw that.

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 02:32 am: Edit

I must admit that in my case I do find more effects coming through after 3 glasses of Serpis than from any others I've tried.

Whether the thujone thing is overated I most definitely do get 2ndry effects from Serpis, Deva and Sebor, every time. I definitely don't get any effects from Mari Mayans. And as to the others I've tried, Segarra, Lasalla and Montana, the effects may or may not be there.

Ted if it's not the thujone then what is it? Its certainly not the alcohol.


By Tabreaux on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 01:58 am: Edit

I didn't receive that email, but even without seeing it, I can make two comments that you can take to the bank:

(1) The vast majority of testing labs do not have the proper GC column to perform the test. Instead, they will usually substitute a general purpose column. If this substitution is made, you can throw the results right out the window. Unless the proper column was used *and* spiked matrix samples were run for comparisons, the results aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

(2) The entire thujone thing is highly overrated.

By Artemis on Thursday, December 28, 2000 - 11:35 pm: Edit

Gotcha. Thujone.

I assume lots of people got the same email I did from SC. They say they have had absinthes tested for thujone, with Serpis (!) coming out higher than others.


What about the glasses? Does anyone know if they are scribed?

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