Just Gave Herbsaint a try.

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Old Topics Archived Thru Sep 2000:Just Gave Herbsaint a try.
By tabreaux on Monday, June 26, 2000 - 02:04 pm: Edit

When I say this, I am only guessing as to the rationale of writing the regs as they are written. When you look at the oral ED50 for thujone, it all seems rather overprotective, if not bordering on silly.

By tabreaux on Monday, June 26, 2000 - 12:23 pm: Edit

Well, it seems this way in the language, but when you look at the very tiny concentration lent by seasoning, as compared to the higher concentration and/or high efficiency delivery system possible with high-proof spirits, it makes for a more accurate perspective.

By Don Walsh on Monday, June 26, 2000 - 11:13 am: Edit

I don't suppose there is the slightest rationale for singling out thujone from one herb for prohibition while allowing it from ALL other herbs containing the SAME compound?

That is absurd and unreasonable to the point of -- legal -- unenforcibility.

By tabreaux on Monday, June 26, 2000 - 10:01 am: Edit

Actually you are correct, a review of the government mandates reveals that absinthium withstanding, certain spices used as food seasonings are exempt, so Stove Top Suffing is legal.

My detection limit proved to be around 1mg/kg. I compared chromatograms of Herbsaint with those using spiked Herbsaint samples. The thujone spikes were clearly resolved, while they were completely absent from the unadulterated sample, hence my conclusion.

By Mr. Wormwood on Monday, June 26, 2000 - 08:35 am: Edit

I think the government prohibits "detectable thujone from wormwood". If it was just detectable thujone Stove top stuffing would be illegal.

My testing method was almost identical to the one used for thujones in alcoholic beverages in the UK. My GC used helium for a carrier gas instead of hydrogen.

In an herbal beverage (like herbsaint) a false positive is unlikely but possible. If the beverage contained no a-thujone and a compound with almost extactly the same retention time. My GC could calibrate it as a-thujone. What is more likly is thujone comes from many sources it only prohibited when it comes from wormwood.

A false negitive result is almost imposible. When I reported my results I said n/d (not detected). My GC was having trouble with samples in the 5-10 mg/L range. A n/d sample could possibly have 0-4 or even 5 mg/L in it. No sample with significat levels of Thujones in it could have been reported as n/d.

I never even suggested any correlation between thujone levels and quality. Thujones are only one of many indicators that the beverage in question was made with herbs, most probably, but not always wormwood.

By tabreaux on Sunday, June 25, 2000 - 07:14 am: Edit

At this point, I can only comment on how the testing was done on my end, and I have chromatograms. Since I verified the negative results against matrix spiked samples, the possibility of a false negative appears to be virtually nil.

By Don Walsh on Sunday, June 25, 2000 - 03:52 am: Edit

Um. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. If something was badly wrong with Mr Wormwood's GC testing, so that he found thujone in Herbsaint where (after all) there was none, what about his equally surprising results finding NO thujone in certain absinthes where one might expect to find low but non-zero levels?

Ted, you might like to have a look at MM and Hills.

Also Red Cinzano.

Any chances of cooperation to identify the bug(s) in his technique or hardware so Mr Wormwood can retest more effectively?

Ted, did you get hardcopy on this stuff? Like chart recorder output? Or output to disk in a standard GC analysis software format?

By SeaRobin on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 11:56 pm: Edit

The US government sucks. Period.


By tabreaux on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 10:40 pm: Edit

The gov prohibits thujone as a food additive, and likewise prohibits any finished food product from containing detectable thujone (except for trace amounts in certain herbal seasonings).

By Marc on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 10:17 pm: Edit

Does the US government really check for the presence of thujone in liquor? Ted?

By The Green Imp on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 10:05 pm: Edit

Wouldn't the way Legendre manufactured Herbsaint, be fairly well documented and tested by the government these days?
If so I imagine that it would be hard to slip anything banned in it's manufacture.
Not mention the possible leagal concerns, in these days of lawsuits.
I suppose one could always call it "Training Absinthe" for spoon and sugar cube training.
I still enjoy it though now and then.

By tabreaux on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 09:21 pm: Edit

Looks like you might want to cancel that order.

By Marc on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 09:08 pm: Edit


I'm in the restuarant and bar business. I thought I would finally be able to legally offer my customers an authentic absinthe.

By tabreaux on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 08:51 pm: Edit

Don't blame him. This type of assay can be strange, and the results can be difficult to interpret. Until results are duplicated by a second party (i.e. me), they shouldn't be considered the infallible truth. In this case, I did not get the same result, and after exhaustive review, the nature my results were very convincing. Why would you order 5 cases of Herbsaint anyway?

By Marc on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 07:55 pm: Edit


say it ain't so. I ordered 5 cases of Herbsaint last week. No shit. Wait'll I get my hands on that Mr. Wormwood. Wormwood where are you!

By tabreaux on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 06:42 pm: Edit

I wouldn't make this assumption too soon. My preliminary results indicate that it may not contain thujone after all, so FWIW.

By Marc on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 06:38 pm: Edit


I've spoken to the distiller's rep, Sazerac,
and get the impression it is best to keep these thujone results lowkey. It is only a matter of time before some zealous journalist jumps on this "domestic absinthe" story and plasters it all the cover of the Lifestyle section of the Times. Oops no more absinthe. I hope it remains a secret

By SeaRobin on Saturday, June 24, 2000 - 07:43 am: Edit


I'm still not convinced that it is the new "Holy
Grail" of absinthes. Although it was fun to get
past the Killer Rabbit, transverse the Bridge of
Death, and sit through Scene 43, to drink some.

Until some more research is done, I think Iíll
stick to Deva.

I wonder if one could contact Legendre
Distilleries and find out where all that alleged
thujone is coming from? They might just tell
you if you asked....hummmm....sounds like a
project for this week.


By Morrigan Le Fey on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 11:22 pm: Edit

Greetings SeaRobin!!

Thought I'd give my 2 cents worth on the Herbsaint subject -

They actually serve it at a local French(ish) restaurant here in San Francisco, so I naturally had to indulge during my last visit. After 2 lovely glasses (agreed, a nice smooth taste, -heavily anisette and more complex than Hills or even M. Mayans, but still clearly a pastis-type drinky-poo) I enjoyed it immensely, felt a nice lil' buzz, but not much of the "otherworldly" tingle I've often felt the hint of with the green fae. Overall, I'd say it was plenty nice for the penny, but no absinthe!


By Marc on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 09:45 pm: Edit


I had to order Herbsaint from New Orleans.
Believe it or not, there's not a single liquor
store that sells it in all of New York City.
It hasn't arrived yet. As soon as it does, I'll share my thoughts.

By SeaRobin on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 09:39 pm: Edit

I know Herbsaint is old hat for many on
the forum so please forgive me for starting yet
another thread on the subject, but given the
recent, albeit unconfirmed, news of its thujone
levels, I had to give it a try.

Hey, its not too bad really. In fact its a nice
smooth little drink. Once you get past the
artificial color, FD&C Yellow #5, it has a
strong, yet sweet, anise aroma and flavor.

As I have not developed a good sense of
tasting for absinthe yet, I can't fully pick
out all of the flavors, however, I don't
think I tasted a presence of wormwood although
I cannot be sure.

Others who have tried it please chime in.


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