Has Anybody Tried?
Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archive Thru March 2002: Archive thru March 2002:Has Anybody Tried?
Thanks for your input, and sorry about my boorish behavior. It was past my bedtime, and I was cranky.
off topic -- Arj -- are you Steelio's friend from Cobb's in SF?
"The obvious" is what makes me nutty! I should be able to figure it out, but can't. But, then again, I've never heard an answer that rang home. E-mail if I need a headshot.
"No, this aroma is very clean and refreshing, not cloying. There is a bit in Nouvelle Orleans..."
LL, I do not know what flavor you are pointing to (other than the obvious), and I recall very little similarity between BEI La Bleue and Nouvelle-Orleans. Additionally, I do not read or keep up with all of the threads in this forum. Sorry.
Oh well, guess I'm not meant to know. Thanks for the 1/2 hearted effort.
No, this aroma is very clean and refreshing, not cloying. There is a bit in Nouvelle Orleans, if my feeble memory takes me back to a year ago correctly. Maybe it is mint? Or something along that line.
When you say "candy", I am not exactly certain as to which aroma you are speaking of, as many liquors give aromas that I can imagine as being described as such. When I think "candy", I think a synthetic confectionary aroma, like that typical of P. Kermann, Trenet, or even Hill's.
While I agree that a spectrum of bitterness is certainly to be found, I think the "absinthe is bitter" myth probably arose from simple steeped absinthes containing lots of nasty absinthins.
One is obliged to wonder what the widespread adulterant usage among vintage but non-premium (to put it mildly) absinthes did to flavor. The adulterants were there to fool the eye not the tongue. Anyone want to guess what antimony trichloride tastes like? Or cupper acetoarsenate rat poison? Or aniline green? Kids, don't try these at home!!!
Vintage does not equal good. Old bad absinthe is still bad and perhaps chock full of poisons. To the extent that toxic adulteration happened, the absinthe ban was justified, although it is a pity that the World War hysteria prevented the commission from doing what it wanted and letting the PREMIUM makers off the hook.
When Ted talks about vintage absinthe he generally means vintage premium absinthe, as his attentions are not merited by anything less.
Why should we strive to emulate schlock?
Since you are out and about. There is a certain "candy" aroma common to the 3 LaBleue's I have tried. One of which was BEI's, which I would assume you had tasted. Any ideas what it might be?
"Bitter" is a relative term that can be used to describe varying degrees and/or sources of bitterness. Some vintage labels are a bit more bitter than others.
I'm not trying to get anywhere with it. Just thought it was fun.
That does raise a question though: Where does this "absinthe is bitter" stereotype come from? I haven't tasted vintage anything, so will bow to your experience. Were many vintage absinthes bitter? Just the poor quality absinthes? Which vintages that you've tried were bitter? I recall Hemingway also said that absinthe was bitter in For Whom The Bell Tolls, and he sure is said to have drank his fair share.
It would seem that a good working definition of absinthe was just as elusive in 1894 as it is in 2002.
Wormwood is not and has never been the chief herb employed in absinthe making. Anise is, and if you consider anise plus fennel plus star anise, the distinction in terms of weight becomes huge. Wormwood is however a sine qua non.
Absinthe is not necessarily bitter.
That dictionary def. coveres steeped absinthes as well as absinthes that are steeped then distilled, but would not admit absinthes that are compounded from oils -- although such may well be superior to simple steeps.
In short, that's a lousy definition, and I wouldn't count on getting far with that case as a precedent for anything. Anyway the courts are now not very inclined to get involved in administrative law, so good luck, and I hope you have a lot of $$$ to burn.
Back to the legal issues, I thought this was fun. The United States Supreme Court defined what absinthe is in a case from 1894, Erhardt v. Steinhardt. Our favorite beverage was perfectly legal then, but an importer of some kind of bitters (which was similar to absinthe) was trying to get out of paying the tax applied to absinthe of $2.00 per proof gallon. He did get away with it after a jury sampled his beverage and absinthe, and decided the bitters were not absinthe. The Supreme Court agreed, and applied this definition, which apparently still stands as good law:
Absinthe, according to the Century Dictionary, is "the common name of a highly aromatic liqueur of an opaline green color and bitter taste," and is prepared by "steeping in alcohol or strong spirit bitter herbs," the chief of them being wormwood. It was not denied that it is bitter; that it is used as a beverage; and is not a proprietary preparation. It appeared that the wormwood "has a medicinal effect upon the human system as a tonic," and that the article contains anisette, a cordial.
Here's the instructions to the jury:
"It is unnecessary for me to detain you, except to state the question which it will be for you to answer in this case, affirmatively or negatively: Is plaintiffs' bitters substantially similar to either cordials, liqueurs, arrack, absinthe, kirschwasser, or ratafia? In determining the
question of substantial similarity you may take into consideration any or all of these compositions; the appearance presented to the senses; its adaptability for use; the uses for which it is sold; and the effect that it produces. Looking at the question of similarity or dissimilarity on those various grounds, you will determine whether it does or does not present any substantial similarity to
those enumerated articles."
The effect that it produces! Who wouldn't want to sit on that jury?
Mikey Likes It
Unfortunately some people think that if it's in the archives then it's a moot point. I have to agree that new voices can create a new conversation.
It's about discussion, debate, teaching, learning and alternative viewpoints.
Is a previously discussed topic moot for new discussion? I think not.
Look up there in the balcony; we have our very own cranky Muppet Show hecklers, Statler and Wal(sh)dorf.
Sicboy, we cool. LL, thanks. Barsnake, it was a valid question. Never hesitate to ask one.
Hope you feel honored. You finally got caught in the rabid spray of one of Don's little episodes.
It's nice to see that you new people realise you have as much right to say what you wish as Donster, even if he thinks it's boring old shit. Stand your ground, and feel free to say your piece.
Salient points, well said. Good job.
I would say that the best of all worlds would be where absinthe is as available as whisky with as many competitors. However, practically, Don has a point, especially with the current administration. It is extremely unlikely that raising awareness in the States about the Green Fairy would have anything but a backlash effect. The "Science in the Social Interest" crowd would zero in on the spirit like an Tomahawk missile if it became a widespread topic of discussion.
It is like pulling teeth to get the federal government to lighten up on anything, and when it happens it is only when there is almost universal support for the reform (example federal speed limits). Living in this country, it is my opinion that Don is right and any extra exposure in this country would have an adverse effect as the "Pleasure Police" would most assuredly not approve. I am quite happy with the quick blurbs about Hollywood stars trying Hill's or the like and simply saying it is too nasty to drink.