Absinto Camargo - My Review
Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived thru March 2001:Absinto Camargo - My Review
Thanks for the post and the nice private message.
I guess of UDV are using your cane juice feedstock based neutral spirits to make Smirnoff locally (which in UK is made from their premium grade) then it must be pretty clean, both in terms of cogeners as well as organoleptic qualities. Making vodka from rum is a little unusual; making absinthe from rum, even more so. But, nothing succeeeds like success. More power to you!
Ted already has a bottle of Absinto Camargo so I can save you the cost of shipping to Thailand...but thanks for the offer.
I have very fond memories of an old Brazilian girlfriend from Parana state, grew up in Sao Paolo, she was mostly Tupi Guadini indio plus Portuguese, Spanish, Italian. Crazier than five monkies in a sack of course...I like Brazilian food, too.
We use cane neutral spirits from pure sugar cane juice, not molasses. Molasses is a by-product of the sugar obtention process. This cane neutral spirits is also used by UDV to produce Smirnoff in Brazil (which is a mixture of grain spirits and cane spirits). It's coming between 5 and 40 ppm methanol. Our 'heads' is very little, about 1 cup (200ml). We'll analyze next batch 'heads' to decide whether to keep it.
Mario, the heads/core/tails thing. When one is distilling whiskey or brandy, this is usually a fractional distillation using a column and a reflux head, which gives a much sharper seperation of the methanol and ethyl acetate and aldehydes (light fractions), the good part, and the fusel oils (heavy fractions). Those are the traditional heads, core, and tails.
In the case of absinthe, the distillation is always a simple, not fractional, process. As the absinthe maker always starts with neutral spirits, if he obtains clean, low cogener neutral spirits in the first place, there are no 'heads' to remove, and in a simple distillation, one would have to throw away too much product to do so anyway. Potable neutral spirits should contain as little methanol as possible. I have seen assays from <5 parts per million to <50 ppm that I considered adequately clean. Anything above that I consider to be window cleaner.
There are neutral spirits on the market with 400 or more ppm methanol. HOWEVER these are not intended for quality liqueur making, they are intended for oxidizing into wine vinegar. Enormous quantites are produces for this purpose. So one must be careful in sourcing neutral spirits. Interestingly, the difference in price between a food grade for vinegar making and a premium grade for fine beverage making is as little as 10 cents a liter!
Cane (molasses) based neutral spirits (rum) will have a different taste than neutral spirits produced from other feedstocks (grain, corn, lactose, fruit, etc.) These organoleptic qualities can make an enormous difference in a product's flavor. I take it you are using cane based neutral spirits? I must admit that I have not tried alcohol from that geedstock for this purpose, and I haven't had a chance to try your producst yet. In this part of the world rice and tapioca are the usual feedstocks, but we don't use local alcohol at all (it tends to be dirty), we import the finest we can buy from a long way away.
Don and I are part of the same effort. I am the developer and distributor, Don is the producer. Our products are not yet available, and our pricing has not been made public. Our pricing is in the general ballpark as yours.
As far as our distillation techniques, we cannot publicize specific information, but what I can say is that the 'optimum' parameters vary with the equipment, spirit, and herbs.
sorry, tim, i just call it like i see it and sartre said it first...i have tried to live my life without causing discomfort or pain to others, but this is not how i perceive how others(in many situations) treat me...maybe i am too sensitive, maybe i'm full of shit...wolfgang, i assume you understand...
Don and Grin
No, we aren't making our own alcohol, this comes from another distillery at 96,2GL. Don, actually the heads/core/tails separating is imperative when you deal with the fermented mash. Though, even with alcohol from continuous distillation, there are advantages in separating again heads/core/tails. For instance, the heads usually contain some dangerous methilic alcohol and you know that the tails of absinthe distillation has a peculiar odour I would say bad, and different colour. More of the vegetable oils come on the tails. One should balance between getting more of the oils and getting the (bad) odour.
Concerning keeping the heads and re-distilling the core, it depends on when you stop calling it head and calls it core. I say heads are a very short stage. We don't re-destill the core as it is already very pure, clean and tasty. The tails can/ or not be re-distilled. Ethilic alcohol in Brazil is a very cheap commodity as the country is the biggest producer of cane alcohol. Many producers of cachaca just throw away the tails. In Italy, for instance, the taxes on alcohol are high, and paid when the product comes out of the first distillery. So it makes sense to re-distill the tails (not to waste any alcohol).
Don, Ted, would you say one can get much more taste or advantages re-distilling the tails ? Or, on the other side, get unwanted substances ? Feel free to keep your secrets. Actually we are re-distilling tails, for economic and environmental purposes, and I think it can bring some more taste and oils again.
Don, are you in Jade Liqueurs Thai ? Is your absinthe available ?
Ted, how much is yours ?
"l'enfer, c'est les autres"
Hell is other people?
Yes petermarc, I know about this little potion. It`s not something to drink in large quantity. It`s like chartreuse verte but more complex and more concentrated. A collector's curiosity I would say. Poison ? maybe. Like tobacco, alcohol and so many great things that make life easier. Maybe the mere idea of fun is poisonous in itself, who knows!
Site de la Chartreuse : http://www.chartreuseliqueurs.com/
Ps.: Bravo pour votre sitation de Sartre dans le profil. En une phrase il a résumé tous mes maux le bonhomme.
yea I have had elixir vegetal 71% - i cant remember specifics, but neat it tasted horrible - like alcoholic cough medicine, and it came in a hollowed out wooden bottle case ( it was a miniature) - ill dig it out and give irt a re-taste sometime : - )
A french martini---from hell!
actually chartreuse is probably the most absinthe-like (in composition, but not taste) product that is legal in france. the 'elixir vegetal' is 71% alcohol(which does not seem to be a legal amount for any other beverage in france except maybe 'ricoles' which is mint alcohol at 80%) but when i asked about the difference between absinthe and elixir vegetal at a french wine shop, the owner explained that elixir vegetal was a medicine-like tonic where-as absinthe was and always had been a poison! wolfgang-there are also a couple of threads about this product and it's comparison to absinthe...edit--just read your tasting post, guess you already know about elixir!
Ho boy! Thank you Mr. Chong . This tread was awesome (the one starting with Anna's review of her first experience). Some parts of this forum are pure gold!
As for aging absinthe, I really like those topics, being myself a (very modest) wine collector. In fact that`s my passion for wine and it`s history who brought me to absinthe history and so on ...
Maybe I should wait to taste Ted`s stuff before saying this but I really have the feeling of witnessing a major historical event in the history of alcholic beverage with all those ''revival of the true absinthe' posts.
Anyway, I`m having a good time and I haven't even received my first bottle of absinthe yet ! La Dame verte is probably already taking hold on my mind with all her mystical, poetic and historical power.
In the mean time, I will try mixing Chartreuse with Vermouth and Bombay sapphire... It may make an interesting ''waiting'' drink...
There have been some excellent discussions on this very topic in the past. Use the keyword search (over there on the left, under "Utilities") and look for "aging" as the keyword.
Here are a couple examples of what comes up:
Is it possible that absinthe improve with age such as great wines ? I mean, even if someone is lucky enough to get a sip of 1890's Pernod, it will be a very old Pernod indeed... We should cellar some bottle and see the answer in 50 years...;-) (and even then, we will be tasting with our 'old attenuated taste buds'...).
Give me a time traveling machine!
Yup, the use of the terminology was a bit confusing, in that heads and tails are generally the stuff that is thrown away. My guess is that Mario meant "heads" as the first stuff out of the still that, in the case of absinthe, you keep; the core is what you would keep and redistill with the next batch; and tails is everything that would go down the drain.
Did I understand you correctly Mario?
This exchange, between Ted, Don and Mario, is exactly what I come to this site for. Its intelligent, civilized and informative. Thankyou
will you be accepting credit card payments?
It wasn't the snake I had it mind, it was the river wasp, pickled in the bottle like the worm in mezcal...but anyway, best wishes with your products.
The 'heads/core/tails' stuff is out of place, IMHO, as this technique is used for cleaning up brandy and whiskey, which ought not be necessary if your alcohol you are starting with is clean. You aren't making your own alcohol, are you?
I was forgetting.... the reason we didn't use an Anaconda on our label is because we also produce Cachaca Coral which brings a Coral Snake on the label. I'll keep your idea in mind. (see http://www.cachacacoral.com.br).
I read your review about Absinto Camargo and I'm glad most of it reveals exactly what our product is.
Although we use 2 types of anis (Illicum verum and Pimpinella anisum) and Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), we keep their quantities at a lower level not to cover the flavors of other herbs.
We also use angelica, hyssop and melissa and a special ingredient: coriandrum sativum.
I should disagree when you point that "the flavors of other herbs is very subtle". I had one French chef tasting Absinto Camargo and the first thing he said was "Tastes angelica", which made me happy.
We intended Absinto Camargo to taste as artemisia absinthium and art.pontica because that's the name of the beverage; and not letting anis overcome the other flavors. Yet, it's not a bitter drink. The slight bitterness remains on one's tongue.
Keeping the louche softer helps creating the 'fluorescent effect'. Actually one has to wait nearly 90 seconds until Absinto Camargo's beautiful louche is revealed (that is terrific under a club's lighting).
We do not encourage people to add water to Absinto Camargo (only ice). The maximum proof allowed by Brazilian regulations is 108 (54% alc/vol). Eventually, water is needed in absinthes of higher proof.
We bought a 99,99% pure alpha + beta thujone standard to employ on our gas cromatography and mass espectrometry analysis, made in an outsorced laboratory in Brazil, commanded by Dra. Regina Vanderlinde, Phd in Bourdeaux, France. We do not reveal the quantity of thujone as it's changing from batch to batch. Thujone quantities are very difficult to control because there are many parameters to look at. Quality and quantity of the plants, first infusion time, separation during distillation (heads, core and tails), second infusion time and quantities of herbs.
Regarding the price of US$ 90,00, our product is very artisanal and most herbs come imported. Besides that, nearly US$25,00 are freight charges.
Hope you have a nice time with Absinto Camargo. I've tried many different cocktails with it (featured in our webpage), but for me, "pure over ice" is still the best.
Mario R. Camargo