GM Absinthe

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Thru December 2001: GM Absinthe
By Petermarc on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 01:51 pm: Edit

i was going to suggest to julian segarra that he
experiment with higher alcohol and green coloring,etc., but had a hard enough time trying to be understood, let alone giving him pointers on marketing and absinthe making (like it would have made any diffence)...on his price list absenta is last, and is not his bread and butter...personally, i think the family finds all this attention to a 'farmer's thirst quencher' quite amusing...don't expect any new products soon, grandma segarra gets cranky enough when she has to keep the fires going for the absenta distilling run...

By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 09:59 am: Edit

Artemis:

Thanks for the translation, it certainly explains the seeming contradiction.

I also realize now that these numbers apply to commercial distillers, for whom (unlike Hausgemachters) any kind of sediment is unacceptable.

By Heiko on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 08:53 am: Edit

"I never said there was a problem; I said I was reluctant."

My fault - I should've looked up "reluctant" (didn't know what it means and only assumed a possible meaning - which was obviously wrong).

Anyways, thanks for the quotes!

By Artemis on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 08:30 am: Edit

Artemis,
"my reluctance to quote the thing directly, as it is copyrighted and the author is very much alive"
Huh? As long as you say it is a quote and name the title and author, what's the problem?

************************

I never said there was a problem; I said I was reluctant. Being reluctant ensures there isn't going to *be* a problem. But just for you, and any doubters out there who think I'm making stuff up and passing it off on Delahaye (I'm not saying you're one of these), here are some quotes. These are from "Histoire de la Fee Verte" by Marie-Claude Delahaye, as translated by yours truly.

With regard to color stability:

"Indeed, chlorophyll, vegetal coloring, is not stable in absinthes of less than 60 to 72 degrees of alcohol. It takes an alcohol content of 60 for the chlorophyll to remain in suspension in alcohol for six months to a year, and 65 for a stability of 2 years. In absinthe of 72 it lasts indefinitely without changing."

So we see, there is no contradiction. Proof in 120s is okay for some time, in which period the product would probably have been consumed, and, if it were stored for a while in large vessels before bottling, which it probably was, most of the sedimentation would probably take place prior to bottling. Back to Madame Delahaye:

" ... one ensured himself of his alcoholic gravity, 72 to 74 degrees or more for Swiss absinthe, because with time in storage, it was always expected to depreciate by two degrees or so."

AND

"The liquors were stored in an area having a constant temperature of 15-20 Celsius, sheltered from the sun and from (artificial) lights. Indeed, the sun destroys the colors and creates sediments at the bottoms of the bottles."

And to illustrate what Ted and I have stressed here again and again, absinthe was medicine that people took to drinking for pleasure; it was NOT considered liqueur and NOT made the same way:

"In fact, absinthe was not really a liquor as defined by the spirit merchant, but an extract which was sweetened at the time of consumption. The term liquor was applied to absinthe only in its broadest meaning, as an aromatic drink based upon alcohol."

AND

"Scented spirits were employed pharmaceutically. For absinthe, the term used was "extract". Alcohols charged with the principal aromatics of various substances, particularly those found in wormwood, were called absinthe extracts. These liquids did not contain sugar."

By Dr_Ordinaire on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:21 pm: Edit

Artemis, I wasn't clear in my post. What I meant was that some absinthe colored with herbs had maintained its color for a year, in the dark. Additionally, the clarity had improved, and yes, there was a darker deposit in the bottom.

However, the 60% number I gave was from a different sample, so I will double check the alcoholic percentage of the old sample and report.

By Timk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 02:49 pm: Edit

Artemis:
"Which is exactly what was done. Check out the drawings of those old absinthe distilleries - giant barrels, tuns, and vats in the cellar."

TimK:
"Unless they factored it in to compensate for the losses that would have occurred in the ageing process used by some distillers?"

Yes, i realise that many of the higher quality brands did age their products : - )

By Heiko on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 11:02 am: Edit

Geoffk,
I agree on all points, still waiting for absinthe better than Segarra :-)

Artemis,
"my reluctance to quote the thing directly, as it is copyrighted and the author is very much alive"
Huh? As long as you say it is a quote and name the title and author, what's the problem?

Wolfgang,
yeah, right - Serpis (and maybe La Fee and MM 50 as well) scream it right into our faces: "I am artificially colored! Look at me, look at me, I'm so artificially colored that you can't look away, hahahahaha!" (I imagine Serpis to sound like Adam Sandler playing an evil madman) ;-)

By Wolfgang on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 10:49 am: Edit

I have done the sunlight test for Versinthe and yes, the color changed a bit. I must say that even straight off the bottle, it was already not perfectly green. It turned out from yellowish-green to a bit more straw-yellowish-green... That being said, it doesn't prove anything and as Ted said it's sweet syrupy texture is very "modern". It would be way better without the added sugar.


Anyway, let's forget about it until we get our hands on a bottle of Jade Edouard. Until then, let's drink the absinthe that doesn't try to fool us with all this "natural coloration" bla bla : Serpis !

By Geoffk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 08:42 am: Edit

Heiko,

I agree about Segarra and it seems to be made with more artisional care than just about any commercial product available. I like it but I have two wishes:
1. That it was a bit higher than 45 degree.
2. That it used a few more herbs for complexity.

Even so, I'd take Segarra over Deva and most of the others any time.

I have to say though that the coloring, while "natural" is not very attractive. When it louches, it looks like swamp water. This is true for Ricard patis too.

-- Geoff K.

By Artemis on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 08:15 am: Edit

I realize it's hard to find, and it's in French, but you really need to read the book to avoid misunderstandings due to my acting as a middleman and my reluctance to quote the thing directly, as it is copyrighted and the author is very much alive.

"As far as i know, the angels share is what is refered to by those whose products undergo a long barrel ageing"

Which is exactly what was done. Check out the drawings of those old absinthe distilleries - giant barrels, tuns, and vats in the cellar. The product was not bottled until just before shipping, possibly, in the case of Pernod, not until they had orders for it (see Pernod pamphlet on Phil's website).

"I find it hard to believe that they would have increased the proof to compensate for alcohol lost in transit."

I never said in transit, and neither did Delahaye. She said between distillation and delivery for consumption. In that period, the product could be lying around in the open or in vessels of many different configurations.

"Has anyone looked at how the alcohol content of that remaining in the bottle varies with the amount of it that is lost as a result of evaporation?"

I haven't, but obviously scrupulous distillateurs of old did. I'm talking about Pernod, Cusenier, etc. Apparently there were many producers who didn't care.

By Tabreaux on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:38 am: Edit

"Unless they factored it in to compensate for the losses that would have occurred in the ageing process used by some distillers? - But an extra 2 percent alcohol at the time of bottling seems odd to me."

Actually, there was an expected loss of 2% at the time of bottling. Compensation for this loss was factored in.

By Timk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:35 am: Edit

Unless they factored it in to compensate for the losses that would have occurred in the ageing process used by some distillers? - But an extra 2 percent alcohol at the time of bottling seems odd to me.

By Timk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:33 am: Edit

"Angels' Share"

As far as i know, the angels share is what is refered to by those whose products undergo a long barrel ageing - a large amount of the product is lost from the barrels, for example in ageing of Bourbon - i doubt this principle is applied to a post aged or bottled product, although obviously evaporation occurs in these cases. I find it hard to believe that they would have increased the proof to compensate for alcohol lost in transit. Has anyone looked at how the alcohol content of that remaining in the bottle varies with the amount of it that is lost as a result of evaporation?

By Heiko on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:19 am: Edit

Geoffk,
Segarra is naturally colored also, not traditionally but by the means of an oak barrel. It also changes the taste in an interesting way and it's a nice variation of absinthe, probably a lot easier to do (at least for a brandy expert like Julian Segarra) than coloring it the traditional way.

There's a big difference with Segarra's marketing strategies compared to Versinthe - there are none! Segarra tells everybody who wants to know that he colors his absinthe in a barrel and doesn't confuse matters with talking about "natural coloring according to age old recipes".
That's what I like about Segarra also - it's just done like it's done, no marketing, no lies. It's the most real absinthe in that respect, even it's not colored according to Pernod Fils tradition.

By Geoffk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:16 am: Edit

In a dark green bottle, you probably wouldn't notice a lot of sedimentation until you poured your last glass. Hopefully by that time, you wouldn't be noticing things too closely...

--- Geoff K.

By Absinthedrinker on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:15 am: Edit

Good point, I imagine that most drinks had a sediment 100+ years ago, certainly wines would not have been fined or filtered. With a dark coloured glass ina dimly lit bar who would have noticed anyway?

By Heiko on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:08 am: Edit

"Maybe people overlooked the sedimentation in lower proof products."

People weren't used to "perfect" products in those days - colors were natural, as were flavors. So probably nobody complained about some sedimentation. A product without sedimentation was probably considered to be the most perfect work, while today people expect colors and flavors to be "perfect" (not natural) from the beginning on, even in the cheapest products...

By Geoffk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:04 am: Edit

At least one modern absinthe (Hermes in Japan) uses "natural color" but not the clorophyll process. According to the label, they get a yellow color from safflowers, which gives the drink a pleasant yellowish-green color. Of course, it doesn't add anything to the flavor (which is mostly just star anise).

They could claim "natural coloring" perfectly honestly, but this isn't traditional by any means. (By the way, Hermes is 58%/116 proof, a little low for the traditional coloring).

-- Geoff K.

By Absinthedrinker on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:48 am: Edit

For what it is worth, removal of the long phytol side-chain from the chlorophyll a molecule to make chlorophyllide has little effect on colour but greatly increases the water-solubility of the pigment. Whether that reaction is purely enzyme modulated or heat activated I don't know but it would be a way of preserving the green chlorophyllic colour in a low alcohol beverage.

(aplogies to all non-chemists)

By Artemis on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:14 am: Edit

I'm sorry - in that last post I should have written 72% alcohol (which is 144 proof), not 142 proof. Delahaye never mentions proof - that's an American usage. I should also mention that (she says) the two percent over seventy, what is elsewhere called the "Angels' Share", was factored in by distillers, who, knowing that amount would evaporate before delivery for consumption could be made, left it in to ensure delivery of a 70% product. It's possible she confused this two percent into the coloration discussion somehow; I don't know.

By Artemis on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:07 am: Edit

Ordinaire, there is an apparent contradiction, but partly because I didn't quote Madame Delahaye completely. I'm sorry, but I was going on memory as I didn't have the text before me, and I don't now.

When I say I've witnessed it for myself, I'm not talking about the color change, but about what you noticed - the lack of clarity. Turbidity is possibly a better word. More specifically, I have seen the "green" literally fall out of suspension and collect on the bottom of the bottle like caterpillar fuzz. Disgusting. Now, the absinthe doesn't go clear by a long shot, but it's not as green as before.

Delahaye mentions this behavior and that manufacturers who cared about it in herbally-colored products, kept the proof high (and took other measures as well) to prevent it. She said something like (and mind you, she is merely quoting some old source, one of her references) that at 142 proof, the coloration was stable indefinitely, at such and such proof it was stable for a year or two (somewhere in the 130s) and at less than that it wasn't stable at all.

How this squares with that price list, I can't say. Maybe they had a high turnover and everything was guzzled while the clarity was still good. Maybe people overlooked the sedimentation in lower proof products. It is a historical mystery, and I'm not going to say it's unworthy of discussion, but I do think it's irrelevant to the point I *think* was being argued here, which was, how are certain modern absinthes or absinthe-like products colored.

For all I know, when you use a coloration method that's "natural", but NOT exactly what I have witnessed personally, which is identical, as far as I have been able to learn, to the "old ways" described by Delahaye et. al., the color may be perfectly stable at 100 proof.

I should also stress that my personal experience is anecdotal and I by no means witnessed any controlled tests or anything. What I did see just seemed to validate what I had read so completely that I felt confident it would be a constant WITH that coloring method. You have apparently seen the same thing to some degree. If you haven't seen it to a more extreme degree, it could be because your coloring method varies in one or more ways.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:20 pm: Edit

"Research Delahaye's "Histoire ...", which states that herbal coloring cannot be indefinitely sustained in Absinthe of less than 144 proof, and cannot be sustained at all in proof of not much less than that."

Artemis, isn't there a contradiction between this statement and the fact that all the absinthes in the price list were between 130 and 136 proof?

From personal experience, absinthe of about 120 proof, kept in the dark, has shown no change in color (although yes in clearness) after a year.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:19 pm: Edit

"She says that La Fee is "authentic" yet it is clear that you would question it based on your argument with me regarding coloring and sweetening."

La Fee tastes along the lines of a 'coarse' La Bleue more than anything else. La Fee is artificially colored, and exhibits a character closer to Deva than absinthes made as they were a century ago. The originators of La Fee made no secret about how it was 'modified' to get what they felt was something suitable. I suspect that like virtually every other liquor being made today, La Fee is made using modern methods and economical materials.


".....she supposedly "doesn't even drink" which has also been recently proved to be WRONG. That assumpton/rumor is yet another case where forumites ASSUMED the worst."

I was one who was told this awhile back by an individual who conversed with the lady. Perhaps she said this 'for the record', or perhaps something was misunderstood. It is of seeming little relevence.


"BTW, there are any number of ways to stabilize chlorophyll in liquid ranging from environmental factors such as heat and light (Versinthe=dark bottles) to chemical modification of certain metals within the structure."

No one will be drinking anything that was treated with said compounds.


This is really not worth arguing over, because regardless of how Versinthe is colored, it tastes far more like a modern liqueur d'anis than anything else, and bears virtually no 'organoleptic' similarity to absinthe. I might note that Versinthe is a liqueur categorized (by the manufacturer) as 'anis amer'. It's sweet, syrupy texture is entirely modern.

By Luvlite68 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 06:25 pm: Edit

Artemis-

I like how the "experts" here agree with Delahaye when it suits them and question her when it doesn't. She says that La Fee is "authentic" yet it is clear that you would question it based on your argument with me regarding coloring and sweetening. One moment she is beyond question, the next she is full of it because she supposedly "doesn't even drink" which has also been recently proved to be WRONG. That assumpton/rumor is yet another case where forumites ASSUMED the worst.

BTW, there are any number of ways to stabilize chlorophyll in liquid ranging from environmental factors such as heat and light (Versinthe=dark bottles) to chemical modification of certain metals within the structure. The "colorated" portion of the absinthe could have easily been treated to stabalize it in less than 72% alcohol. Proving something involves verifying a positive not a negative. Simply trying to show that a basic process of coloration in alcohol that is less than 144 proof doesn't work doesn't tell you it can't be done. It just shows it can't be done the way that specific test was done. The proof would be proving that chlorophyll degrades in alcohol below 144 proof because of "X".

Your familiarity with the ogamiometer is impressive. It seems that you are well qualified to let me know how it works. Interestingly enough, if I was such a prodigy, I would know the terminology but I don't. However, it is you that is so familiar with the function and feel. Nice work.

My comparison of you to bin Laden only exhibits the perils of a closed mind and extremism. The more you rant and pound your fist, the more stubborn and extreme you appear. If my analogy is repulsive, it is only because your arrogance is equally so.

"Stumble around angry and blind if you insist. I'm done with you."

Gee, that really hurts. I'm crushed. My life will be so empty without you in it. :-( History is littered with those who claimed to know the one "true" light. They turned out to be the blind ones all along.

By Artemis on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 05:15 pm: Edit

"Artemis, I agree that you have done more research in this area but the fact is that you have bought into a very strict definition of what "absinthe" is. You fight this battle like it is some sort of jihad but unfortunately, your evaluation of what defines the truth is about as valid as bin Laden declaring fatwahs. I'm sure he feels that he is entitled to do so based on his "years" of study, too."

Lovelite, your choice of that analogy in view of the current situation in the world reveals just how low you're willing to go. I'm compared to a mass murderer, possibly the Antichrist? Not only is your analogy repulsive, but it's utterly without logic. You are indeed a prodigy on the Ogamiometer.

Ogamiometer = Highly polished, brass, U-shaped instrument designed for blowing smoke up your own ass.

And that's exactly where your smokescreen is going, because it isn't fooling anybody but you. You HAVE no position except hostility toward certain individuals here, so you try to obfuscate the issues you attempt to debate with impossible analogies and kneejerk opinions. You want to do some research? Research Delahaye's "Histoire ...", which states that herbal coloring cannot be indefinitely sustained in Absinthe of less than 144 proof, and cannot be sustained at all in proof of not much less than that. Ask people who have put that statement to the test (Ted, Don, and numerous others I could name) and ESTABLISHED FOR THEMSELVES that it's true. So you see, I don't even have to ask the distiller, much less take his word for it. Because of a FACT of chemistry, his product itself tells me the truth. Don told you exactly how to verify that fact for yourself in this thread, but I guess you don't believe him, because you don't like him. You also wrote: "We cannot say for sure that none weren't sweetened". Delahaye, a recognized authority, says in her "Histoire" that the very definition of absinthe precluded its being sweetened in the bottle. She also makes it clear that no distiller who gave a damn about his product purposely harvested wormwood before its time, or used the wrong parts of the plant.

I don't care what anybody makes and I don't care if you buy it or drink it. But you saw fit to argue here about what is or is not absinthe. I saw fit to argue from the basis of what I've learned about absinthe through historical research and the efforts of people today who have put that research to the test, not from the untenable position of giving any modern producer of "absinthe" the benefit of the doubt.

Now, I have been trying to inform you, not play one up on you, and I didn't want to get personal, but I'm not about to take any shit from you, such as your "lock of hair" or "Osama" nonsense. You refuse to be informed because your animus blinds you. Stumble around angry and blind if you insist. I'm done with you.

By Luvlite68 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 04:15 pm: Edit

Ted-

All I am saying is give them the benefit of the doubt until more questions can be asked to clarify the point. The prevailing method here is to shoot first and as questions later. Blind assumption of the worst is as bad as blind assumption of the best.

The idea is to do an honest search of those in the #1 category instead of assuming everyone is in the #2 category. Each producer deserves an equal opportunity to explain themselves without pre-judgement based on the one before.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 02:42 pm: Edit

"Maybe it would be better to ask them if they color their products in the "traditional" manner."

Maybe it would be. However, can one assume they know the meaning of 'the traditional manner'? Can one assuming they choose to be honest about their manufacturing methods? In the current 'absinthe world', the answer to these two questions is "NO" more often than not.


"Giving people the benefit of the doubt seems to be a rare thing in this forum."

This is because if the default option was always to give manufacturers and distributors the benefit of the doubt, we would all be buying Absinth King and Absente.


One has to come to the realization that absinthe makers and distributors tend to fall into two categories:

(1) Those who provide accurate information

(2) Those who do not.

Unfortunately, #2 prevails the majority of the time. Of #2, some of the misinformation is simply honest ignorance, the remainder deliberate.

By Luvlite68 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 02:18 pm: Edit

"Why would we take 'their word for it' when none (or only a couple) of them have actually asserted to use the traditional coloring process?"

I am only taking the word of those who have been directly questioned and answered yes to "natural" coloring. Maybe it would be better to ask them if they color their products in the "traditional" manner.

Without the directed and pointed question and the subsequent answer, I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Giving people the benefit of the doubt seems to be a rare thing in this forum.

By Admin on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 02:00 pm: Edit

Luvlite, just to argue one point (and I think this is what ya'll are arguing about, heh) when modern producers use the term "naturally colored" all they mean is that the coloring is not *synthetic* ... it could be colored with horse pee, or more likely, natural dyes. It does not mean that it was colored naturally in the traditional method using the secondary soak in herbs. Why would we take "their word for it" when none (or only a couple) of them have actually asserted to use the traditional coloring process?


Quote:

Ted: Yes you were, and now I am coming over to kick your ass!




hehe

By Tavarua on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 01:50 pm: Edit

There is no shame gulping down a little 20/20. It brings back memories of high school days. Ummm, Banana Red.

That actually reminds me of a plot we had when we were younger and alchohal was a little harder to come by, making cherry flavored booze with sour doe starter.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 01:41 pm: Edit

"My only point in this is that the odds are that most of the artists during the belle epoche drank lower quality "absinthe" most of the time."

Some artists have money, some don't. Some artists (like the impressionists) frequent the most trendy of venues, some don't. The only reference to a specific label that comes to mind is Picasso's glorification of Pernod Fils in his cubist work.


"The people at the time called it "absinthe." I don't see how we have the authority to say they were wrong."

Actually, the manufacturer of said products inappropriately called them "absinthe", and this is where the trouble began. Undoubtedly, persons who drank decent quality products were well aware of the difference, as sure as one is well aware of the difference between Opus One and Thunderbird. The makers of real absinthe were acutely aware of this, and tried to put a stop to it. This is plainly evident in the original literature. We are as unlikely to come across preserved samples of the crappy absinthes as someone 100 years from now is likely to come across a bottle of Night Train from a wine cellar. Basically, it wasn't worth keeping.

By Luvlite68 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 12:18 pm: Edit

"You're talking about poor artists - don't forget rich artists."

And it is true that some of the artists of the belle epoch were well to do but most of them lived very, very modest lifestyles. I am not ignoring the exceptions.

My only point in this is that the odds are that most of the artists during the belle epoche drank lower quality "absinthe" most of the time. It would be nearly impossible to prove this or refute it but the lifestyles of artists has changed little over time with few exceptions.

Jade's products have the best shot at resurrecting the best of the best qualities of absinthe. That doesn't mean that the other brands don't deserve being recognized as absinthe. It is known that lesser brands used extracts and artificial coloring. We cannot say for sure that none weren't sweetened. Those samples didn't survive and even if they did, the impact of time may make it impossible to make a flavor comparison with today's "lesser" brands. The people at the time called it "absinthe." I don't see how we have the authority to say they were wrong.

By Heiko on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 11:46 am: Edit

"No argument here but I also know artists that glorify sports cars. Oddly enough, none of them own one."

You're talking about poor artists - don't forget rich artists. They do drive the best cars (i.e. Jamiroquai)

By Tavarua on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 11:42 am: Edit

Are there any repros of the La Feuille spoon out there? Frenchman? Absinthespoon? Anyone.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 11:27 am: Edit

"If these people are alcoholics or daily users of absinthe, the better bottle would be the vast minority of what they drink."

Which is why the disorders associated with 'absinthism' seemed to afflict alcoholics of lower socioeconomic status.

By Wolfgang on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 11:15 am: Edit

greeted

By Luvlite68 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 11:04 am: Edit

"The artists I know (and some of them have drink Ted`s elixir in Montreal), will eat only peanut butter for two weeks to save the little money they have to get a better bottle of beer, wine or absinthe. Some of them also have more fortunate friends to offer them a fine flass of quality alcohol from time to time."

If these people are alcoholics or daily users of absinthe, the better bottle would be the vast minority of what they drink. It is the exception not the rule.

By Wolfgang on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 11:01 am: Edit

Very interesting price list Oxy... As I just say, price range of absinthe was very narrow and even the best absinthes were not luxury products (compared to fine wine). That explain why poor artists could drink it in quantity.

By Luvlite68 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:58 am: Edit

"Picasso glorified Pernod specifically in his cubist work."

No argument here but I also know artists that glorify sports cars. Oddly enough, none of them own one.

I am not doubting Pernod as the standard or a worthy goal. I simply contend that artists, who drank this stuff daily, were unlikely able to purchase the gold standard, silver standard, or even the aluminum standard. If anything, it was cheap, cheap, cheap, interspersed with the occasional treat of a good brand.

By Luvlite68 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:51 am: Edit

"I don't remember anyone saying it was impossible to ATTEMPT to naturally color a low-proof product such as Versinthe. One or more people said it was impossible to sustain green coloration using traditional methods in such a product, and they were RIGHT. I don't have a monopoly on the truth... "

Spin it whatever way you like. I'll do the research and find the quotations to support my position. It has been suggested if not outright stated that Versinthe was NOT naturally colored and did NOT contain a. absinthium. Twist "naturally colored" to suit whatever position you like. The distiller says it was and I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt no matter how cynical other "esteemed" members of this forum choose to be. It is the assumption that everyone except Jade are misrepresenting their products that provides the air of a monopoly on the truth. You just happen to support Jade's approach which will probably bring back the "gold" standard of absinthe production but that does not mean that the other brands do not have a right to call themselves absinthe.

Artemis, I agree that you have done more research in this area but the fact is that you have bought into a very strict definition of what "absinthe" is. You fight this battle like it is some sort of jihad but unfortunately, your evaluation of what defines the truth is about as valid as bin Laden declaring fatwahs. I'm sure he feels that he is entitled to do so based on his "years" of study, too.

Below is a direct quote from Mr. Walsh. If the "vast bulk" of the "absinthe" produced varied greatly in production, I simply do not see how the variation in today's methods allows anyone in this forum to determine what is and isn't absinthe. I have not dispute with the "gold" standard. I do not dispute that it is a worthy goal. I dispute the high horse attitude of those within the "inner sanctum" of this forum who constantly deride other producer's work.

"I agree with Absintheur that the other 12 million bottles annually, produced by the other 197 or so "distillers, macerators and chemical companies" did represent the vast bulk of production and were responsible for absinthe's poor reputation."

Hey Aion-

Please keep your mouth closed. The smell of Artemis' semen on your breath is nauseating me.

By Wolfgang on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:37 am: Edit

''Most of the artists/musicians/poets I know drink the cheapest beer and smoke the cheapest weed''


The artists I know (and some of them have drink Ted`s elixir in Montreal), will eat only peanut butter for two weeks to save the little money they have to get a better bottle of beer, wine or absinthe. Some of them also have more fortunate friends to offer them a fine flass of quality alcohol from time to time.

Another thing to consider is that the cost difference between bad and good absinthe was very small compared to the price range of wines.

By Timk on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:32 am: Edit

http://www.frenchmanltd.com/absinthe/spoon.htm

I fucking love that spoon - what do we reckon as a value? -

oh btw oxygenee - have you got any better pictures of that oxygenee bottle of yours - specifically a full height hi res one, and a label one where you can read everything
: - ) - did it have a reverse label as well?

By Timk on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:27 am: Edit

Theres pictures of both still up on Phils site - there arent links, but if you bookmarked any of his pre closedown pages - you can still get to the spoons section

Tim

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:22 am: Edit

Damn Forum software...
Joanne Spoon

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:19 am: Edit

The Absinthe Joanne spoon.....
Absinthe Joanne

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 09:13 am: Edit

Artemis - The Joanne is arguably one of the most intricately designed spoons around. I will put in a link to a higher res picture when I get back home. It is more like a heraldic device really, each of the symbols incorporated into the design tells a story. The TL spoon is rather more controversial but is supposedly one of a set comissioned by the man himself.

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 09:12 am: Edit

Artemis - The Joanne is arguably one of the most intricatly designed spoons around. I will put in a link to a higher res picture when I get back home. It is more like a heraldic device really, each of the symbols incorporated into the design tells a story. The TL spoon is rather more controversial but is supposedly one of a set comissioned by the man himself.

By Artemis on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 09:06 am: Edit

"whilst the publicity material for Joanne including the famous spoon) has a generally classy feel to it"

Amen to the spoon. David and/or Ian, could you tell us about that spoon (a link to a photo of it is in the "Five Go Crazy" thread)? I had never heard of it before Ian posted that picture. And what about that Lautrec spoon - is it called that because it was his personal property, because he designed it, or what?

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 09:05 am: Edit

Correct Oxygenee, it was only because I was lazy that I didn't copy out more of the flyer. It was the one specifically issued to counter the anti-absinthe claims. (L'absinthe Joanne n'est pas nuisable - comme en toutes choses, l'abus seul est nuisable yada, yada, yada)

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 09:04 am: Edit

"Ted, I wasn't trying to dispute your point -"

Yes you were, and now I am coming over to kick your ass! .....now isn't that more consistent with what you'd expect to read on this BB lately?


"I was just trying to defend the honour of Absinthe Joanne, one of the more interesting brands from the perspective of an absinthiana collector."

Understood. Even if Absinthe Joanne were nothing more than a distillation of absinthium and anise, it would still be about 98% different than any 'absinthe' being made today.


"My guess is that the extract quoted by Absinthedrinker was written with an eye on the anti-absinthe political situation, rather than as an attempt to accurately define the product."

It seems as though most prevalent manufacturers published similar material from around that time until the ban.

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:56 am: Edit

Ted, I wasn't trying to dispute your point - I was just trying to defend the honour of Absinthe Joanne, one of the more interesting brands from the perspective of an absinthiana collector. My guess is that the extract quoted by Absinthedrinker was written with an eye on the anti-absinthe political situation, rather than as an attempt to accurately define the product.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:48 am: Edit

(Its also interesting that you could buy a bottle of Mouton Rothschild for less than the price of 3 bottles of Pernod....I know what I would have been drinking....)

My sentiments exactly.

The price disparity sets the stage for the alcoholics' drink of choice.

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:46 am: Edit

Whats interesting about the Jacquemot pricelist, is that even the cheapest wines are listed at 1 franc and above per 750ml bottle. With generic absinthe having almost SIX TIMES the alcohol content of wine and available at 0.95 per LITRE, its crystal clear why the absinthe producers were such a threat to the wine industry, and why they thus were in the forefront of the efforts to demonize absinthe and have it banned.

(Its also interesting that you could buy a bottle of Mouton Rothschild for less than the price of 3 bottles of Pernod....I know what I would have been drinking....)

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:36 am: Edit

"I just found some more comprehensive reference material on Absinthe Joanne, which confirms that they were definitely a high quality producer..."

Read my post below.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:32 am: Edit

"Chartreux Verte: 8.65"
> Wow, extremely expensive!

Probably because Chartreuse was/is a proprietary product, made in relatively small quantities at the time.


"How could the best brands of absinthe be that cheap? I didn't know even the best absinthes were cheaper than any other liquor..."

The brands of absinthe shown were large producers who grew (at least a percentage of) their own herbs and purchased alcohol in bulk. As history would have it, the economic efficiency of the larger producers undoubtedly made it such that some of the small urban producers (lesser availability of nearby herbs and alcohol) resorted to various types of 'adultery' to be economically viable.

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:26 am: Edit

I just found some more comprehensive reference material on Absinthe Joanne, which confirms that they were definitely a high quality producer - certainly all their marketing emphasises the quality of the product, including the numerous gold medals they won at the expositions in Paris, London, Amsterdam etc in the 1880's and 1890's. Its specifically mentioned that Edmond Joanne studied the best manufacturing methods at the Pernod facility in Pontarlier.
Here is an extract from "Le Pantheon de l'Industrie, 31 mai 1885" (apologies for the lack of accent markings - just laziness):
"Par le choix scrupuleux des matieres premieres, plantes et alcools, par les procedes speciaux de coloration exclusivement bases sur l'emploi de plantes aromatiques dans un appareil colorateur, par cette ingenieuse circulation des absinthes dans 20 foudres de 30 hectoloitres chacun, ou, au contact permanentavec les absinthe ameres elles viellessent sans aucune variation de leur qualite, par les soins donnes a l'elimination complete des huiles lourdes, les produits de la maison Joanne ont conquis l'immense reputation dont ils jouissent et qui leur a valu des recompenses multiples dans les expositions."

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:23 am: Edit

"I'm not disputing what you say about production methods Ted, but Absinthe Joanne was not an obscure brand, and while no doubt not the equal of Pernod Fils, it was almost certainly not an markedly inferior product."


Thanks for the info, which is always appreciated. Whether A. Joanne was a 'good' or 'bad' product however, is irrelevent with regard to my simple point, that being one can drive himself crazy trying to come up with a fitting definition unless he considers one simple, obvious, logical practicality :

The creator of a absinthe, who was also the most famous maker thereof, who was also the largest producer thereof, who was also the largest distributor thereof, who also was the oldest and longest standing maker thereof, who was the most prevalent icon associated therewith, should be granted the benefit of the doubt as the standard by which a definition can be formed.

Here is where the questions begin:

"Does this mean that anything not-Pernod is not absinthe?"

Of course not.

The fact is that statistically speaking, virtually every old protocol that represents a serious attempt obviously mimics the materials and methods employed by the creator. Deviate outside this loose framework, and whether what you have is 'absinthe' or not is debatable. Want an example of a deviation? Consider any modern product.

Are modern products 'absinthe'? I mean, they come in different colors, widely varying flavors, and employ a variety of manufacturing methods and materials that were non-existent or largely unavailable in the age of absinthe.

The answer is 'yes' or 'no', depending upon where you draw the line. However, are these products truly representative of the liquor 'absinthe' that became so popular over a century ago?

The answer is truly, honestly, unequivocally, no.

By Heiko on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 08:00 am: Edit

I need a time machine... back in 1911 I could then change the two 1000 Reichsmark banknotes I got from my grandma (became worthless in the 20's, so nobody spent them - bad luck...) and buy a warehouse full of the best absinthes.

*dream* ;-)

By Heiko on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:47 am: Edit

"Chartreux Verte: 8.65"

Wow, extremely expensive!

How could the best brands of absinthe be that cheap? I didn't know even the best absinthes were cheaper than any other liquor...

By Heiko on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:37 am: Edit

There are still people who believe that if a food-manufacturer says "natural colorants" the ingredients are "the real thing"?

One example: strawberry yoghurt with "natural colorants" and "natural flavors" doesn't contain one molecule of a real strawberry. But it is still not wrong to say the color and the flavor are natural...
Not to forget about all the stuff that is in the yoghurt that need not be printed on the label.

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:35 am: Edit

Pernod Fils definitely made a Blanche, as well as the standard Verte absinthe. I presume the Blanche was less popular, and I've never seen an actual bottle (but I do have a bottle of Pernod made for the export market with the word "Green" in very large letters at the bottom of the label, implying that there was also a "White")

By Zman7 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:27 am: Edit

Oxygenee,
By the reading of your last post, it appears that Pernod Fils also made an uncoloured product. Can anyone shed more light on this product? I've never seen it mentioned before.
Thanks

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:24 am: Edit

"The carte postales showing the interior and exterior of the distillery show a substantial and prosperous looking building (with a surface area, they proudly boast of 2000 square meters)"

and don't forget the 8,500 sq m facility at Ivry-sur-Sein :-)

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:14 am: Edit

I'm not disputing what you say about production methods Ted, but Absinthe Joanne was not an obscure brand, and while no doubt not the equal of Pernod Fils, it was almost certainly not an markedly inferior product. The carte postales showing the interior and exterior of the distillery show a substantial and prosperous looking building (with a surface area, they proudly boast of 2000 square meters), whilst the publicity material for Joanne (including the famous spoon) has a generally classy feel to it - certainly not conclusive proof, but definitely a circumstantial indication that it was positioned as a reasonably high quality brand.

Talking of the relative quality of the historic brands, I recently found a May 1911 pricelist of a Lyon based liquor distributor called A.Jacquemot. Here are the wholesale prices of their absinthes, and also some other liquors for comparison purposes:

All prices are in francs per 1 litre bottle, unless stated otherwise:

Oxygenee Cusenier 65 Verte ou Blanche: 2.10
Pernod Fils 68 Verte ou Blanche: 2.00
Berger 65 Verte: 1.75
Edouard Pernod 65: 1.65
Romans 65: 1.65
Junod 65: 1.65
Premier Fils 65: 1.55

Absinthe Andrie (apparently a house brand): 0.95

Cinzano Vermouth: 1.75
Amer Picon: 1.65
Bitter Secrestat: 2.60
Fernet Branca: 2.90

Chartreux Verte: 8.65
Benedictine: 4.90
Cointreau: 3.50

750ml bottles:

Haig Whisky: 3.15
Canadian Club Whiskey: 3.75
Martel VSOP Cognac: 6.75
Martel *** Cognac: 4.65

Chateau Lafite: 9.00
Chateau d'Yquem: 7.00
Chateau Mouton Rothschild: 5.50
Chateau Palmer: 5.00

Montrachet: 3.00
Chablis Superieur: 2.50

Veuve Clicquot: 8.30
Mumm Cordon Rouge: 9.50

By Tabreaux on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 06:19 am: Edit

"Here is a direct quote from an Absinthe Joanne flyer circa 1890..."

'Absinthe Joanne' was an obscure, possibly inferior product. After all, the definition of absinthe by some was macerated oils and chemicals. The old Pernod Fils literature provides a far more respectable reference from the period.

By Aion on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 06:14 am: Edit

ARTEMIS : LUVLITE68 -- 1 : 0

By Artemis on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 05:51 am: Edit

"Someone who visited the factory was told it was naturally colored. Even if 100% true, it’s meaningless."

"It is meaningful because there are those here who claimed it was IMPOSSIBLE. It was that assertion that makes this point worth mentioning. They were WRONG. No one here has the monopoly on the truth . . . yourself included."

I never said the discussion was meaningless. I said the phrase "naturally colored" is meaningless because it can mean so many things, as Don has now patiently explained to you, but by all means ignore what he said because you don't like him. I don't remember anyone saying it was impossible to ATTEMPT to naturally color a low-proof product such as Versinthe. One or more people said it was impossible to sustain green coloration using traditional methods in such a product, and they were RIGHT. I don't have a monopoly on the truth - many people here are privy to the truth, but there are none so blind as those who will not see.

"But I believe I've looked into it a little harder than you have."

"Well I guess I am then humbled because you say so."

Don't take my word for it. Ask around.

"Maybe I should be begging to touch the hem of your flowing robes or to obtain a lock of hair from your blessed head."

I shave my head, but you may have a hair from my ass, if you like. I didn't say I was better than you, I said I was better informed on absinthe production methods than you.

"Once again, says you."

Don't take my word for it. Take a vote on this forum on it. I'm not sweating the result.

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 02:44 am: Edit

"after all absinthe is 'really just an anise drink with a little bit of absinthe in it'...isn't it?" Funny that you should say that Peter. Here is a direct quote from an Absinthe Joanne flyer circa 1890:

'l'anisette a pour base la graine d'anis, dont le parfum est extrait par la distillation. Le consommateur sera bien surpris d'apprendre que l'absinthe, qui, aujourd'hui, est accusee sans preuves de tous les mefaits, n'est rien autre que de l'anisette dont on modifie le parfum par une legere addition de plante d'absinthe, distillee avec la graine d'anis.'

So there we have it.

By Aion on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:02 pm: Edit

No, cannot end, forgot something to say:

Aren´t we all lucky, that there are idealists who
undergo financial and other risks and invest lots of time work to offer an authentic product to everyone.

Cheers,
A.

By Aion on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 10:38 pm: Edit

Wouldn´t we all be happier, if the bureacracy had less or no influence on what we may eat or drink and what we are not allowed to.

Wouldn´t we all be happier, if the only aim of manufacturers of food or drinks would´t be the reduction of costs for materials and production (and not to forget the wages) to rise their profit.

Aren´t those among us here lucky, who have learned to make their own products themselves,
who have learned this by try and error, and not to forget the help of friends.
These products may not be perfect in every detail, but all have their own special character,
that reflects the creativity of the human being, who made it.

Amen! End of rant.
A.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:10 pm: Edit

Remember, if you get the right color, but screw up the flavor, you have achieved nothing with the color step. Because it is all about flavor and only ACCIDENTALLY about color.

Worse than nothing because you have ruined a batch of perfectly good absinthe, and there is no way back. The last step is not just hard, it is RISKY. The best makers used it and still use it because it is worth it. The rest? A century ago it was Paris green, aniline green, and other poisons. Today it is artificial color with E-numbers, or industrial chlorophyll, and a lot of doubletalk. "Oh, yes, we are naturally colored."

All this was explored in great detail several months ago. I really hate to repeat myself.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:01 pm: Edit

Look: 'natural coloring' means something very specific, it's a convenient shorthand phrase for "chlorophyllic coloration by maceration of herbs, under conditions that PRIMARILY impart a specific spectrum of balanced finishing flavors to the absinthe, and SECONDARILY, an attractive color, the nature of which depends on the specific herb or herbs and the conditions required to achieve the PRIMARY result."

That's what we mean by 'natural coloring'. Because that's what it meant to Pernod Fils etc.

What anyone else means by 'natural coloring' is far from certain. We have seen plenty of allegedly 'naturally colored' absinthes that did not meet simple tests. These tests are not arcane. Let a sample sit in sunlight for a few days. If it doesn't turn the color of dead leaves it isn't chlotophyllic. And if it does, there are ways to introduce chloropyllic color that have NOTHING to do with the 'natural coloring' finishing step. The liquor industry knows how to introduce chlorophyll as a coloring agent and they do it without using herbs at all.

The point is, COLOR is not the objective of the somewhat misnamed 'coloring step' -- FLAVOR is.

We know that there are hundreds of ways to do it wrong and few, maybe one, to do it right.

We have seen nothing to indicate that any other commercial maker has even made a serious effort to master this old technique.

Almost all go for the quick and easy artificial colors and sometimes claim it to be 'natural'.

My point is that a visitor being TOLD at a distillery that 'natural coloring' in employed, is meaningless, because it depends on (a) what the spokesman MEANT by the phrase, and (b) whether the spokesman told the truth.

Commercial makers often cite a variety of economic reasons why traditional chlorophyllic coloration is undesirable. These generally boil down to customer demand that the absinthe be green -- often greener than it is supposed to be, and shelf life. Same makers of course are using cheap shit screw cap clear glass bottles, and would doubtless cite 'economic' reasons for using a dark bottle...a difference that costs then maybe 5 cents...while they are charging $60-$75 a bottle. In other words, they COULD do what we do, if they made the effort, but they WON'T. Because it is HARD.

Oh, but they are the inheritors of a long European artisnal tradition of...lazy half-assed vendors of whatever swill they feel like bottling.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:44 pm: Edit

"This is one assumption I have to challenge. How do we even know what brands the poets and artists drank?"

Undoubtedly, Pernod Fils was the quality benchmark of absinthe. This is because Pernod was not only the originator of absinthe, but was the single largest producer, and was distributed worldwide. Picasso glorified Pernod specifically in his cubist work.


"Most of the artists/musicians/poets I know drink the cheapest beer and smoke the cheapest weed they can find in almost all cases. Some of the behavior of those artists actually suggest that they could have ingested toxins associated with the poorly made absinthes of the time."

Just as alcoholics will resort to drinking anything that contains alcohol, destitute alcoholics drank whatever they could get their hands on. Being a strong aperitif, cheap absinthe was a convenient 'fix'. Unfortunately, is was oftentimes adulterated with toxic compounds. One doesn't come across surviving examples of cheap brands mde in warehouses in Paris for the same reason one will not see surviving examples of convenience store 'wine' 100 years from now....because it was crap.

By Verawench on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:26 pm: Edit

"or to obtain a lock of hair from your blessed head"

See, now that's just mean.

By Luvlite68 on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:22 pm: Edit

"But I believe I've looked into it a little harder than you have."

Well I guess I am then humbled because you say so. Maybe I should be begging to touch the hem of your flowing robes or to obtain a lock of hair from your blessed head.

"I think it’s important not to let your personal distaste for Don get in the way of an objective consideration of the views he presents."

I am perfectly within my rights to purchase what I want, from whom I want, for the reasons I want. If I feel a company is bad for the environment, community, or any other reason, I reserve the right to refuse to purchase their products. This applies to all things, not just absinthe. When Don's views exhibit some objectivity, I'll consider his contribution to the discussion objectively.

"Someone who visited the factory was told it was naturally colored. Even if 100% true, it’s meaningless."

It is meaningful because there are those here who claimed it was IMPOSSIBLE. It was that assertion that makes this point worth mentioning. They were WRONG. No one here has the monopoly on the truth . . . yourself included.

"But if I tell you that something is dubious, you can rest assured that I’m not pulling that out of thin air, or basing it on my personal feeling for this or that producer."

Once again, says you. Your logic contradicts itself. You are telling me that you are somehow qualified to tell me what is objective and what isn't. The simple fact that you are the one making the assertion makes it SUBJECTIVE.

By Luvlite68 on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:04 pm: Edit

"One could bottle urine, drop a pinch of A. absinthium into it and call it "absinthe". While technically it may be considered 'absinthe' by some, like other 'absinthes', it isn't very similar to the absinthe the famous old artists and poets fancied."

This is one assumption I have to challenge. How do we even know what brands the poets and artists drank? Most of the artists/musicians/poets I know drink the cheapest beer and smoke the cheapest weed they can find in almost all cases. Some of the behavior of those artists actually suggest that they could have ingested toxins associated with the poorly made absinthes of the time.

It is certainly a very respectable objective to faithfully recreate the best of the era but lesser brands with their faults deserve recognition for their place in history.

By Artemis on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 05:56 pm: Edit

“I don't know how to make this any clearer.”

I understood you the first time. I just didn’t agree with you.

“I am sure that thujone is but one of many things that absinthe gets from wormwood”

No, you are not sure of that. That is merely what you believe. As I believe what I believe. But I believe I've looked into it a little harder than you have.

“care needed to be taken in this area so as to produce a consistent final product”

Agreed.

“To some extent, it seems that Ted validates that point. It may be modestly so but far from "bullshit" (complete or otherwise) or "dubious."”

I tried to be clear about what I thought was dubious. It has nothing to do with Ted. It has to do with a top-down approach to absinthe production, based upon French law, that buys into the sensationalist BULLSHIT of the 19th century. The word “dubious” is perfectly fitting, because the “facts” which engendered that law were DOUBTED by intelligent people then, and have been DOUBTED ever since. When dubious meets marketing, the unhappy bastard child is BULLSHIT.

“Out of a very limited respect for Jade (more specifically, Ted, NOT Don), have repeatedly and specifically not pressed for details of their manufacturing processes.”

I think it’s important not to let your personal distaste for Don get in the way of an objective consideration of the views he presents.

“These details are clearly their intellectual property and I'm sure they wouldn't share them anyhow as is their right. Barring the opportunity to discuss the manufacturing process, we are left with a more generic and easily accessible discussion about ingredients.”

That’s what YOU are left with. I am privy to details of the manufacturing processes of a number of producers including most of the people making authentic absinthe today, and speak from that perspective. I am bound by honor not to go into details here. But if I tell you that something is dubious, you can rest assured that I’m not pulling that out of thin air, or basing it on my personal feeling for this or that producer.

“This is largely due to the contributions of other producers via people like Ian.”

Ian doesn’t talk about everything he knows in this forum. Nor do I. Ian and I talk to each other privately in some detail. Enough said.

“I will repeat my previous statement that if Jade is successful in producing such a superior product, the market will tell.”

I don’t have a dog in that fight. My passion is good absinthe. I couldn’t care less who makes it.

“Recent events have clarified that Versinthe IS naturally colored”

Someone who visited the factory was told it was naturally colored. Even if 100% true, it’s meaningless. You could add chlorophyll bought from a chemical company to gin and it would be naturally colored. But it wouldn’t be colored like absinthe is, when it’s colored with plants using traditional methods. I’ve seen what happens when you try that with liquor of less than 70% alcohol. I’m not relying on what a visitor to a distillery was told. I don’t have to. I’ve taken my interest in it a little further than that.

“and DOES contain A. absinthium.”

That’s not at all clear to me, but whatever.

"Traditional" absinthe varied greatly and the bulk of absinthe history is actually peppered with no single definition of the "right" way. There should be room for all sorts of approaches and opinions but I guess it isn't here.”

You can use any approach you want, but good luck obtaining absinthe with it. It’s not a matter of opinion. As Ted has pointed out, the tried and true method for making quality absinthe varied almost not at all from producer to producer and from year to year.

“Lastly, if thujone was "much to do about nothing", why is Ted spending money having samples tested in a lab?”

Only Ted can say, but I was under the impression it was to prove that thujone was much ado about nothing.

By Luvlite68 on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 04:48 pm: Edit

"Ted has been quite fair in judging commercially available absinthes."

Ted's wasn't the commentary to which I was referring.

By Verawench on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 04:16 pm: Edit

"Actually, what I determine to be the 'right way' is very consistent through history."

Consider the countless brands striving to steal the Pernod name - seeking claim to the same superior quality and popularity.

"we are talking about a poor, cheap, adulterated product"

..though I would be interested in knowing how much of the "original" absinthe market was dominated by these inferiors.

By Verawench on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 04:12 pm: Edit

"Deriding other producers suggesting that they are ignorant reeks of arrogance."

Ted has been quite fair in judging commercially available absinthes. See his review of Segarra. He's also smart enough to know that dedicated absintheurs of this forum will think whatever they like regardless. They're opinionated. This considered, most people here will rank their absinthe very much as Ted does because Ted is right.

I would love to, however, see his opinion on some of the excellent homebrews out there.

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 02:48 pm: Edit

people...:

Thujone is just a molecule out of how many others ?... Think about it... There must be many interesting little beast down those rabbit holes...


troll:
''worship this guy because he claims to make Absinthe''

Many people here have tasted Jade`s pre-production absinthe so don`t bother us with your uneducated comments. Pile up your bucks and wait for the release like everyone else and shut up.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 01:25 pm: Edit

"I will repeat my previous statement that if Jade is successful in producing such a superior product, the market will tell. Deriding other producers suggesting that they are ignorant reeks of arrogance."

Deriding others is not our business. I try to go so far as to judge absinthes against the claims presented by the respective manufacturers and distributors. If a knowledgable consumer judges many of these products against their respective claims, he finds them to fail miserably. If such products are derided here and elsewhere, it is usually because they were judged accordingly. The manufacturer/distributor sets the judging standards, not anyone here.


> Recent events have clarified that Versinthe IS naturally colored and DOES contain A. absinthium. No one seems to want to admit that there is no monopoly on the definition of absinthe.

One could bottle urine, drop a pinch of A. absinthium into it and call it "absinthe". While technically it may be considered 'absinthe' by some, like other 'absinthes', it isn't very similar to the absinthe the famous old artists and poets fancied. If this is important to the consumer or not, only the consumer can decide.


> "Traditional" absinthe varied greatly and the bulk of absinthe history is actually peppered with no single definition of the "right" way.

Actually, what I determine to be the 'right way' is very consistent through history. It is the advent of modern products (Versinthe, pastis, etc.), when the methods and materials changed. Until that time, unless we are talking about a poor, cheap, adulterated product, the various protocols had firm consistencies. None of them yield something akin to Versinthe, Absente, or other modern 'absinthe' products.


"Lastly, if thujone was "much to do about nothing", why is Ted spending money having samples tested in a lab?"

My testing goes far beyond the scope of anything discussed here. My analyses include far more than deriving thujone numbers. The 'rabbit hole' goes very, very deep.


> If it's all about the flavor, a taste test with an experienced palate should do it.

The same could be said about wine, but like wine, I'm afraid there is far more to it than that (for us anyway).

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 01:23 pm: Edit

Let us not forget good old scientific curiousity. There are some people who just like to know stuff, even if it isn't relevant.

By Tavarua on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 01:00 pm: Edit

Lastly, if thujone was "much to do about nothing", why is Ted spending money having samples tested in a lab? If it's all about the flavor, a taste test with an experienced palate should do it.

I have wondered about this issue myself and have come to two conclusions, or opinions, I should say.

1) First and foremost, tradition. No matter how frivolious the matter of thujone is to some members, everyone agrees that reproducing a vintage premium absinthe is an excellent idea. That includes all facets, including thujone levels.

2) Flavor. Yes, a taste test would be affective to find out one’s personal preference, but not to simulate the non-aged original. Even if the balance was found in flavor, without thujone content being analyzed, it would not be consistent without accurate measurement.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:59 pm: Edit

> I could say: "It is the narrowspread *belief* among SOME members of THIS Forum that thujone has nothing to do with it, blah, blah"...

You could also say the narrowspread beliefs found in this forum represents the best, most accurate, up-to-date, enlightening information regarding absinthe to be found anywhere, which is why you are here.


"If I allow that thujone may or may not have anything to do with real or imagined "secondary effects" I would think you should refrain from sweeping statements, since neither you nor I can prove our positions."

My 'sweeping statement' is purely an objective, factual observation. It implies nothing beyond what it states, which is absolutely clear.

By Luvlite68 on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:46 pm: Edit

"When Don said "beyond dubious" he was being polite, and understating the case, if anything. It's worse than dubious, it's probably complete bullshit, and irrelevant bullshit at that. "

I don't know how to make this any clearer. I am sure that thujone is but one of many things that absinthe gets from wormwood. These probably have the biggest impact on the FLAVOR and BALANCE of the final product. My suggestion was that care needed to be taken in this area so as to produce a consistent final product. To some extent, it seems that Ted validates that point. It may be modestly so but far from "bullshit" (complete or otherwise)or "dubious."

Out of a very limited respect for Jade (more specifically, Ted, NOT Don), have repeatedly and specifically not pressed for details of their manufacturing processes. These details are clearly their intellectual property and I'm sure they wouldn't share them anyhow as is their right.

Barring the opportunity to discuss the manufacturing process, we are left with a more generic and easily accessible discussion about ingredients. This is largely due to the contributions of other producers via people like Ian.

I will repeat my previous statement that if Jade is successful in producing such a superior product, the market will tell. Deriding other producers suggesting that they are ignorant reeks of arrogance. Recent events have clarified that Versinthe IS naturally colored and DOES contain A. absinthium. No one seems to want to admit that there is no monopoly on the definition of absinthe. "Traditional" absinthe varied greatly and the bulk of absinthe history is actually peppered with no single definition of the "right" way. There should be room for all sorts of approaches and opinions but I guess it isn't here.

Lastly, if thujone was "much to do about nothing", why is Ted spending money having samples tested in a lab? If it's all about the flavor, a taste test with an experienced palate should do it.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:38 pm: Edit

Heiko:

You're probably right about Jack Herer. I understand he's one of the giants in the Weed World continuum. As an aside, the worst nightmare for a pot grower is that hemp-for-fiber growing be legalized. Can you imagine his super-potent plants cross-pollinizing with 0 THC content hemp plants?

Ted:

"It is the widespread *belief* among consumers that thujone content is somehow linked to this that fuels sales of many inferior products, as well as the imagination of naive imbibers."

I could say: "It is the narrowspread *belief* among SOME members of THIS Forum that thujone has nothing to do with it, blah, blah"... but then we start going in circles again, don't we.

If I allow that thujone may or may not have anything to do with real or imagined "secondary effects" I would think you should refrain from sweeping statements, since neither you nor I can prove our positions.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:05 pm: Edit

and timk is his usual tiresome wanker self.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:04 pm: Edit

Hey 'Domon', eat shit, troll. I don't talk to trolls. This is a PRIVATE posting area, and you don't belong here, so fuck you, and fuck off.

"There's somebody in SF Ca..."

Right. And let us know when Elvis shows up.

By Heiko on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:53 am: Edit

"Wrong in that those differences were the end result of many years of thousands of individuals and companies aiming at two markets: a huge one for hemp fiber products and a much huger one for Really Good Shit."

Jack Herer wouldn't agree.
He alone was responsible for a 50% rise in the world's overall thc content ;-)

No really, without stressing the topic too much, you can make a great difference with cross-breeding until perfection. But then plant it outdoors in Europe and after four or five generations (of plants) the climate will have made the plants very similar to their European sisters again.

By Timk on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:52 am: Edit

You did not earn the knowledge to make absinthe, you were given it, yet you expect that knowledge passed on to you by another, who did all the work, should somehow impress us?

By Timk on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:46 am: Edit

"Nor will they because they. don't. know. how."

Neither do you, by your own admission, you had to be spoonfed the information by Ted, so the difference between you, and these "wannabe(s) calling on the ancestral credential(s)" is that someone with more knowledge and experience than you took the time to spoonfeed you the information which allowed you to produce something resembling pre ban Pernod E.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 10:27 am: Edit

> Nobody is going to spend the time and money needed to produce a "de-thujonized" wormwood.

Of course not, even if it could be done.


> It is thujone that allows people to experience (or imagine) the fabled secondary effects.

It is the widespread *belief* among consumers that thujone content is somehow linked to this that fuels sales of many inferior products, as well as the imagination of naive imbibers.


> Take that away and you take away absinthe's "bad boy" reputation.

Which is, in all probability, undeserved.


> Even ingnorant embibers will pretty soon realize that a thujone-free absinthe is nothing more than one more out of hundreds of herbal liqueurs.

Actually, the vast majority of herbal liqueurs are dissimilar from 'traditional' absinthe in ways that go well beyond anything thujone-related.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 10:20 am: Edit

UUAAAP, UUAAAP, UUAAP!!!

Red Alert!

Troll intrusion on Deck 14!

By Demon on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 10:02 am: Edit

"cyber vandalism seems about your style"

You're the only Terrorist around here Don, self confessed on this forum, many times. Don, 99% of your postings are negitive comments directed towards almost everything that doesn't sem to fit your skewed views on Life.

Do a search on Don Walsh and read his postings, they're boastful and extremely negitive from the very beginning. He cames into the forum and sets himself up as the the judge and jury right from the begining. Whats funny is that the Admin and you people here on the forum seem to worship this guy because he claims to make Absinthe. He has all of you pissing in your pants waiting for the release of his...what..a non-existing dream.
Wake up, with all this shit going on now our shipments do not come in any more, and he never intended to release anything. There's someone in S.F. CA thats makeing more than Don dreams about nightly. Better quality.

Dons posts all read just like a novel...
Wait, isn't the Don Walsh a Sci Fi Fantasy writer...hmmm...

Don the only time you post here is to critisize, cry , snd complain. I bet that when you were a child you were the cry-baby whiner, who was a tattle-tale narc when you never got your way,

just like this statement...

"I am not inclined to comment until this is once again a private posting area for registered forumites only."

Just because a person registers with a profile and e-mail address, doesn't make them any more tangable or real. You live in a strange fantasy world when you think that does any good.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 09:59 am: Edit

The hemp plant that is used for fibers is still Cannabis Sativa. That's why one can import the fiber, but not grow the plant in the U.S.

The analogy with hemp is right and wrong.

Right in that it shows that, depending on your purpose, you can grow hemp with virtually no THC or with some 20% or so in the flowering buds.

Wrong in that those differences were the end result of many years of thousands of individuals and companies aiming at two markets: a huge one for hemp fiber products and a much huger one for Really Good Shit.

Nobody is going to spend the time and money needed to produce a "de-thujonized" wormwood.

I wonder if there even is a market for it. It is thujone that allows people to experience (or imagine) the fabled secondary effects. Take that away and you take away absinthe's "bad boy" reputation. Even ingnorant embibers will pretty soon realize that a thujone-free absinthe is nothing more than one more out of hundreds of herbal liqueurs.

By Heiko on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:05 am: Edit

The cannabis that has been grown in England and Europe since 800 A.D. (and maybe before) is a strain of the plant that had always had, because of the rough climate, big leaves, strong fibres and small blossoms. Good for clothing and ropes, not useful for smoking.
This is a good example of how the contents of the same plant can change (rather fast) only because of soil and climate.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:05 am: Edit

Let's see. We have had the several brands of something or another that rely upon lawyerly obfuscations on the labels to evade French laws ("extracts of absinthe plants" barf!), we have seen all the little pastis makers come sneer at us all here and say that we need to kiss their asses because their ancestors maybe made absinthe, we have seen De la Haye lend her name to an effort that ought to be better than it is -- and I am one of the ones who likes La Fee more than most of you do!

We have seen claims of this and claims of that, and we are constantly threatened with bullshit A.O.C. rulings that would preclude anyone outside various geographical locations from using even the name absinthe. Blah.

We have heard all the malarkey from the Czechs and the Bulgarians etc. which is even worse.

And now we hear hype from yet another wannabe calling on the ancestral credential and claiming to fly through several hoops to perform magic with absinthium to eliminate the evil thujone and keep the minions of French law at bay.

Yes, he's part of a long European tradition. It's a long European tradition of snake oilvendors and confidence tricksters.

NOT ONE of these pretenders has yet to produce a drop of anything resembling antique premium absinthe. Nor will they because they. don't. know. how.

Finest quality A.absinthium is plentiful and inexpensive if you know where to buy it, and that is not in the USA. The people who grow it are professionals and not Mom & Pop Jerkoff Herb Farmer Hippy Relics. No one needs to grow their own absinthium. Unless they want to keep dogs and cats out of their garden.

Callow twits in the UK waxing analytical over murky photos of a few people staring at barren earth, and pontificating about the wondrous manipulations of absinthium by planting at wrong time, harvesting at wrong time and in wrong way, drying the wrong way, using the wrong parts of the plant etc etc were BUFFOONERY at the time and remain so today.

And that means you, timk. Why don't you go back to posting under other peoples' names, you cowardly little shit? Since you know nothing and have nothing to say, cyber vandalism seems about your style.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 07:50 am: Edit

Are you sure about this Ted? In the US Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) is grown for fibre but in the UK it is definitly a strain of Cannabis sativa that is grown. I have seen these plants in flower and they are not Hibiscus! C sativa has been grown in the UK since around 800 AD.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 07:36 am: Edit

"Farmers in the UK grow strains of hemp plants with no significant levels of THC of other cannabinoids why couldn't French farmers produce a thujone-free plant?"


The strains of hemp you are referring to are not C. sativa, but other species of hemp, such as kenaf. These species never had THC, never will. The analogy would be to employ mugwort instead of absinthium, but that would no more give absinthe than industrial hemp gives marijuana.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 07:27 am: Edit

There's a reverse placebo effect for me in products that are "free" of certain elements.
De-caffinated coffee, non-alcoholic beer and wine, fat-free "this and that", unsalted butter, unleaded gas, dolphin-free tuna...


I realise that the amount of Thujone I consume is far below the amount of alcohol in a glass of Absinthe. However, I wouldn't want to drink something calling itself Absinthe that excludes Thujone from it's Wormwood. I'd feel cheated. Like I was watching a wide-screen film on a t.v. I'd be missing out on something, in this case "something" being very slight and mostly undetectable.

If they named it Pastsinthe or Assteas I'd be more likely to try it. It may be very yummy. Make it neon pink and call it Verpis, I'll guzzle it down. Call it "Thujone-Free Absinthe" at the very least.

I still don't know shit from shinola, but if you slap a label on it and call it Absinthe I'll be drinking it with wider eyes.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:34 am: Edit

I think we are jumping to conclusions. Despite the title of the article there is no mention in the text that GM was used. Might it not be a specially bred strain (using conventional selective breeding methods). Farmers in the UK grow strains of hemp plants with no significant levels of THC of other cannabinoids why couldn't French farmers produce a thujone-free plant?

By Artemis on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 06:11 am: Edit

Let me put it a different way. Whatever the merits of a discussion of the properties of thujone, or alteration of the genes of plants, to focus on those topics when an absinthe producer (or would-be producer) in France brings them up is to be trapped in tunnel vision, in my opinion. Back up to wide screen and look at the big picture. Absinthe has been considered a great evil in France for almost a hundred years. At the heart of this evil is the evil molecule, thujone. Even putting the word "absinthe" on a label, as Peter has pointed out, is against the law. Anybody wanting to produce absinthe in France in the year 2001 has to deal with that, first and foremost. He then, it seems to me, has two choices:

1. Forget about it.
2. Proceed, but come up with ways to overcome the stigma.

If he chooses 2., what are his options? He can leave out the wormwood, but will even the most ignorant consumer buy a liquor that lacks the ingredient for which it was named? He can theoretically (and I don't know the actual situation in France) advertise and promote his product in a way that will cause the authorities to look the other way. There is obviously some of that going on.

There is also, theoretically, the option of using scientific methods to dilute or eliminate the evil, but, to use Don's words, I am more than a little dubious about the existence, let alone the economical application of such, AND, in my opinion, such methods would return a product which is NOT ABSINTHE, at least not in the traditional sense.

I thought Ted was being a little harsh in his remarks about the Pontarlier absinthe field when the photo of it was discussed here, but reading Peter's comments about the way the wormwood was being handled makes me wonder. Even a cursory reading of Delahaye's "Histoire" reveals that the way they are doing it is in several respects NOT the way it was done in the old days.

Are they doing it that way to reduce thujone? Maybe. But as Ted pointed out, they will also greatly reduce the desirable qualities of the plant; that is unavoidable. Again, reaping less than the best qualities of your harvest is NOT traditional.

I respect Guy's desire to honor his family tradition, but I have more respect for those who simply make absinthe the old way and to hell with the nonsensical laws that force Guy to jump through these irrelevant hoops. I also respect the fact that given the current situation in France, Guy's only option is 1. Forget about it. But personally, that's what I would do rather than make quasi-absinthe, faux absinthe, or fool around with trying to change the properties of wormwood.

By Timk on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 04:15 am: Edit

"Personally I drink absinthe for the flavour. I would sooner drink a decent absinthe with no thujone than one with 100 mg/l that tastes like shit."

Here here, the first attacks I recieved from Don were because I put forward this opinion, and BTW, DON, go fuck yourself

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 02:26 am: Edit

I am not inclined to comment until this is once again a private posting area for registered forumites only.

Except that timk the kelvinator remains an uninformed thoroughgoing punk asshole.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 02:02 am: Edit

Personally I drink absinthe for the flavour. I would sooner drink a decent absinthe with no thujone than one with 100 mg/l that tastes like shit. Same goes for wine and beer, I don't hear too many wine lovers enquiring what the level of polyphenols is in a particular red.

By Mr_Rabid on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 09:16 pm: Edit

Artemis, I am pretty sure, from this board and from the research I have found on the web, that the thujone content of absinthe does not matter from the standpoint of secondary effects. I could be wrong, but so could a neurochemist.

The thing is... whether it matters or no, if you are using A.absinthium, it will in all likelihood put some thujone in the final product. The gubmint (assuming they have at least a testing method capable of 'there or not' results) would be stopping him unless he could take it out or destroy it at some point in his process, and I reaaaaly doubt the dude has GM wormwood.

So is he fucking around, putting 1 part per billion of A.Absinthium in his product, paying off the gubmint, or de-thujonizing?

Or has everyone been wrong all along, and does the normal distillation process leave it behind or destroy it by itself? Is this guy laughing up his sleeve having discovered this?

By Artemis on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 06:19 pm: Edit

Peter: "thujone=much ado about almost nothing"

Vera: "petermarc = well of wit and knowledge"

Me: They're both correct.

Mr. Rabid: "Does thujone photodissocate easily?"

IT DOESN'T MATTER!!! All that crap about thujone light means one thing and one thing only: Buy this product. In short, it's marketing hype, marketing hype forced upon commercial manufacturers by their intent to remain in accordance with laws built upon sensationalistic lies of the 19th century.

When Don said "beyond dubious" he was being polite, and understating the case, if anything. It's worse than dubious, it's probably complete bullshit, and irrelevant bullshit at that.

Peter's description of the wormwood situation at Pontarlier-Anis puts the stamp of truth on Ted's statement: "Most manufacturers know less of making absinthe in the traditional sense than do most persons who read this board."

They certainly know less about it than any number of persons reading this board who make absinthe, at least those who have taken the trouble to find out what "traditional" means.

For damned sure, they know less about it than Ted.

By carfax on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 05:08 pm: Edit

Harking back to an earlier point Ted made,'genetic modification' of wormwood would be *highly* unlikely and/or extraordinarily expensive...however.....

It may not be too far fetched that a company such as Aventis who have a significant business interests in crop protection and genetically modified crops, have studied various wormwood species genetically for the purpose of weed control.

But would Aventis go to the trouble of actually propagating a modified wormwood, then look for licencing opportunities? I don't know, depends whether they see as much money in wormwood as a crop as the businenss of weed control of wormwood.

I would find it a little dubious/surprising though that a small distiller making limited production runs would have the capital to in-licence such technology.

By Mr_Rabid on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 04:38 pm: Edit

Does thujone photodissocate easily?

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 04:28 pm: Edit

I'm not absolving anyone with less-than-respectable intent (Crillon, Czechs, et al). The point I intended to make was simply that regardless of intent, most makers of absinthe and/or 'unabsinthe' do not know enough about absinthe in the traditional sense to make it (decently), even if they wanted to.

By Verawench on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 03:23 pm: Edit

"Most manufacturers know less of making absinthe in the traditional sense than do most persons who read this board."

Ted, could it be that you are absolving producers of inferior absinthe? I always thought that you - and many on this board - perceived them as charlatans that knew precisely what absinthe was meant to be but chose not to make it due to expense/legalities/outright laziness.

Are you saying some may actually BELIEVE they are making genuine, quality absinthe?

By luvlite68 on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 02:13 pm: Edit

"Therefore, if any product is purposely tailored to reduce thujone or whatever else, I would expect to see a reduction in other elements of the plant as well."

I would agree with this generalization but it is unlikely that all components are in lock step from one phases of life to the next. This is especially true for anything harvested during flowering or seed/fruiting phases. There is no doubt that manufacturing has an impact on the quality of the product and this is especially true for a distilled product. However, very high quality wine and spirits look at the production process as a whole and take great pains at EVERY step.

Based on what you are saying, "highly dubious" seems to be a bit of an exaggerated (to put it mildly) characterization of my position as it relates to raw ingredients.

By petermarc on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 02:12 pm: Edit

the pontarlier-anis absinthe field was grown from seeds planted in april or may and just recently harvested...guy said it did make a difference when the plants were harvested...'so, there can be two harvests of absinthe during a year?' no, just one...'?'...he was in a hurry because he was meeting marie-claude in the secret field for a press photo-shoot...there were three sacks in the door of the distillery...i stuck in my hand, lots of stems and leaf...a guy standing next to me who had been somewhat shadowing us asked me what it was...'you're joking, right?' no, he didn't know what it was...'it's absinthe, look at the leaves'
ah, ok....'no flowers' i crushed some in my fingers, remembering how it first smelled when i visited pontarlier last...there was hardly any smell...maybe guy had figured out how to cut the balls off a plant...

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 01:27 pm: Edit

It's not so odd in this day and age. Most manufacturers know less of making absinthe in the traditional sense than do most persons who read this board.

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 01:10 pm: Edit

One odd difference was that one distiller used all leaves, ie harvested before flowering, and the other used the flowering tops...

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 01:02 pm: Edit

"I would be interested to hear Ted's comments on this since Don has been pretty convinced that harvesting time of wormwood has little (nothing?) to do with quality control which I would contend includes thujone levels."


If you study spices, you know that certain parts of the plant concentrate certain compounds far more than others. You will also find that harvesting something very prematurely may alter its expected content. Even growing something in a different soil will oftentimes yield an otherwise identical plant with very different essential characteristics. If you know anything of wine making, perique tobacco or creole tomatoes, you know this to be true. I can demonstrate several samples of an otherwise identical spice or herb that although taxonomically identical, smell and taste very different. The old absinthe masters were acutely aware of this, as are wine and brandy makers today (with regard to grapes).

By using only parts of the plant that are devoid of certain constituents, and/or by harvesting very early, you will not only likely observe a reduction of undesirable components, but you will likely observe a reduction in the desirable ones as well.

Therefore, if any product is purposely tailored to reduce thujone or whatever else, I would expect to see a reduction in other elements of the plant as well. A good spectrometric analysis will verify this. Of course, alterations in the manufacturing process to reduce something or another supersedes everything.

By Timk on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 12:28 pm: Edit

"From conversations we had with another distiller in Pontarlier you can control the thujone by selecting which bits of the plant you use and when you harvest."

I got my motherfucking head bitten off by Don when i suggested this may have been the reason they were harvesting at an odd time of year. Well, Don, fuck you!

By luvlite68 on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 11:41 am: Edit

"From conversations we had with another distiller in Pontarlier you can control the thujone by selecting which bits of the plant you use and when you harvest."

I would be interested to hear Ted's comments on this since Don has been pretty convinced that harvesting time of wormwood has little (nothing?) to do with quality control which I would contend includes thujone levels. I think the exact quote was my theories were "beyond dubious".

By Artemis on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 11:17 am: Edit

"petermarc = well of wit and knowledge"

Agreed. But a goodly portion of his list was well established without going to Pontarlier.

"youth/cars in pontarlier=same as midwest"

One Midwest youth/car combination with which you're familiar, Peter, had an educational encounter with the police this very morning. The youth may not change, but the car will.

By Heiko on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 11:15 am: Edit

sickofyou = nobody cares what he thinks

By sickofyou on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 11:07 am: Edit

verawench = idiot wind, unapologetic

By Verawench on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 10:47 am: Edit

petermarc = well of wit and knowledge

By petermarc on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 10:34 am: Edit

maceration=bad
distillation=good
badiane=bad
thujone=much ado about almost nothing
stems=bad
absinthe=illegal on french labels
aux extraits de plantes d'absinthe=legal
spiritueaux aux plantes d'absinthe(?)=legal
pontarlier-anis absinthe 45°=ponatalier-anis+
vieux pontarlier absinthe 45°=vieux pontarlier++
hausgemacht=much, much better
vintage absinthe=what can you say?
no aging in barrels =low-end absinthe
aging in barrels 1 month+ =better absinthe
aging in barrels 1 year + =high-end absinthe
beet alcohol=base alcohol
bistro de la poste=BYOA, WITHOUT labels
waiter's knowledge of absinthe= crickets chirping
youth/cars in pontarlier=same as midwest
police= no donuts, un 'pont', SVP...
benoït noël=new book on absinthe
marie-claude delahaye=new book on absinthe
price of absinthe antiques=*ù&#&%ç!!!
attitude of dealers= money? we don't need it!
absinthe carbaret night= 50 seats only, no foreigners
over-all impression= there's a first for everything

By Heiko on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 10:26 am: Edit

I guess if their plants were genetically manipulated to remove single substances a bottle of the new product would be more expensive than a vintage bottle of Pernod Fils.

We're not talking about Nestlé here, we're talking about a rather small distillery - I don't think they have the financial means to finance developing any genetic (or other) manipulation of a plant just to be able to sell a few bottles of absinthe...

And, btw., we're talking about Europe here - try to genetically manipulate a plant, grow it outdoors and use it to produce a drink:
Nestlé would be very interested in how you can do so without heavy bureaucratic warfare and without your fields being destroyed by green activists within minutes ;-)

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 09:26 am: Edit

From conversations we had with another distiller in Pontarlier you can control the thujone by selecting which bits of the plant you use and when you harvest. Peter will be able to give a better idea as his grasp of French is a lot better than mine.

By Verawench on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 09:16 am: Edit

Doesn't sound like a very effective "molecule-isolating" process. Nor does it seem appetizing.

Makes you wonder about the wheres and whens of those "years of laboratory studies".

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 08:56 am: Edit

With Hill's, my recollection is they steep absinthium in water, filter, and add that aqueous steep to their 'process' (or perhaps even the otherwise final product).

By Verawench on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 08:39 am: Edit

"The same could very easily apply here, which involves nothing remotely close to genetic modification or anything of the sort."

Ted: do you know what Hill's - and possibly Guy's - method is in this process?

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 07:09 am: Edit

The article is full of the usual misconceptions and false information. I don't remember François saying a word about GM when we spoke to him at the distillery and given the French lack of sympathy for GM foods it seems highly unlikely that you would launch a new absinthe using a GM crop; it would be a marketing nightmare.

By peter on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 06:49 am: Edit

they have also genetically removed most of the taste of the absinthe...after all absinthe is 'really just an anise drink with a little bit of absinthe in it'...isn't it?

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 05:57 am: Edit

"Thujone, the molecule responsible for affecting the drinker’s nervous system, has been isolated and removed from Mr Guy’s crop of 55,000 absinthe plants - the first to be planted locally in more than 85 years."


I am having trouble with this statement. It implies something equivalent to 'genetic modification', but that seems *highly* unlikely and/or extraordinarily expensive....if even possible. I believe the actuality is something different, and the person who wrote this blurb was led to believe something else. After all, Hill's 'isolates and removes thujone' in their manufacturing process. The same could very easily apply here, which involves nothing remotely close to genetic modification or anything of the sort. Nothing about this statement is clear, but I have my suspicions.

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 05:41 am: Edit

Perhaps it is time to reveal what goes on in Armand Guy's distillery at 11.00 am on Saturday mornings...

sante

By carfax on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 11:55 pm: Edit

A story I found today at biotechs.com


Absinthe about to make genetically modified comeback

Susan Bell In Paris

A CROP of absinthe has been harvested in France for the first time since le peril vert was outlawed in 1915 because the green aperitif was believed to cause madness.

François Guy, who runs one of the few remaining distilleries in Pontarlier - the former world capital of absinthe production - has decided to reproduce the aperitif his grandfather once made - with a few key modifications.

Thujone, the molecule responsible for affecting the drinker’s nervous system, has been isolated and removed from Mr Guy’s crop of 55,000 absinthe plants - the first to be planted locally in more than 85 years.

Mr Guy said: "It represents years of requests for authorisation and laboratory studies in order to get to what I wanted: to recreate the absinthe made by my grandfather Armand.

"Today, the Japanese, the Czechs, the English or the Spanish - everyone is making absinthe except for the people of Pontarlier, who were at the root of its original success. I just want to recreate the unique taste of my grandfather’s absinthe."

Absinthe first became into vogue in 1830 when French troops, who had added it to their drinking water to protect themselves from dysentery, returned victorious from Algeria. It soon became the most fashionable aperitif of its era and Parisians flocked to terrasses for l’heure verte, the time between 5 and 7pm when they indulged their passion for the mysterious green potion.

Absinthe quickly became the favoured tipple of a generation of artists and poets, including Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud and Van Gogh, who paid homage to its powers, dubbing it their muse verte.

It inspired paintings by Degas, Manet and Picasso, while Toulouse-Lautrec never ventured out without his walking stick with its concealed flask of absinthe. Back in his studio, he entertained his friends Aristide Bruant and singer Yvette Guilbert with his own lethal cocktail - a mix of absinthe and cognac he called an earthquake.

At the height of its popularity, when France was consuming more than two million litres of the stuff a year, Rimbaud’s fée verte was a potent symbol of madness and death.

In cafes, Parisians would order un train direct, meaning a direct train to Charenton, the lunatic asylum on the outskirts of Paris. "Strangling a parrot" was the popular term used to describe downing a glass of the green liquor.

In the second half of the nineteenth century caricaturists portrayed the drink as the sure path to violence, prostitution, child abuse, madness and death. Temperance groups sprang up to call for its abolition and wine makers, worried about the competition, lent their weight to the call for its ban.

After a particularly brutal case in which a man murdered his wife after drinking just two glasses, the government bowed to public pressure and outlawed the drink in 1915.

Mr Guy estimates that between 3,000 and 5,000 bottles of his absinthe will go on sale before Christmas at a price of around 300 francs (£28.50) a bottle. Demand is expected to outstrip supply and several prospective clients are so desperate to sample the stuff that they are trying to persuade Mr Guy to put a few bottles aside for them. "The problem is that I will not have enough for everyone, the demand is huge."

Those who sample Mr Guy’s absinthe will find out whether it has the effect described by Oscar Wilde: "After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world."

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