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> Major new thujone article.
Oxygenee
post Apr 18 2008, 11:06 AM
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Chemical Composition of Vintage Preban Absinthe with Special Reference to Thujone, Fenchone, Pinocamphone, Methanol, Copper, and Antimony Concentrations

By Dirk W. Lachenmeier, David Nathan-Maister, Theodore A. Breaux, Eva-Maria Sohnius,
Kerstin Schoeberl, and Thomas Kuballa

Published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, April 2008


PDF available at Thujone Info here: http://www.thujone.info/thujone-absinthe-39

I'm very pleased to announce the publication today by The American Chemical Society in their peer-reviewed "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" of our long awaited article on the chemical analysis of vintage absinthe, with special reference to thujone concentrations.

A collaborative effort between Dr Lachenmeier of the University of Karlsruhe, myself, Ted Breaux, and several other researchers, this is the fruit of several years work, and for the first time provided certifiable, detailed and comprehensive analysis of a wide range of vintage absinthes.

It's hoped that with the publication of this article, many of the old myths relating to thujone and to pre-ban absinthe will now finally be laid to rest.


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...et c’est l’absinthe enfin, la grande absinthe ou la petite, parure chaste des montagnes et des rivages marins, fille des grand vents purs, blé des espaces vierges, emblème de la liberté farouche.
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Nephrite
post Apr 18 2008, 11:25 AM
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Some of us could care less about Thuj0ne and may be more interested in how Ted is going to justify his future stock competing with Brevans, Duplais, etc… dare we mention Doubs?


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Oxygenee
post Apr 18 2008, 11:36 AM
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…er, OK.


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...et c’est l’absinthe enfin, la grande absinthe ou la petite, parure chaste des montagnes et des rivages marins, fille des grand vents purs, blé des espaces vierges, emblème de la liberté farouche.
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hartsmar
post Apr 18 2008, 11:37 AM
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Yay, finally! Very interesting reading.


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Marc
post Apr 18 2008, 11:43 AM
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Great Oxy.

Nephrite, have a nap please.
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Nephrite
post Apr 18 2008, 11:46 AM
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What do you expect from a drunk who stays sober 2-3 days a week? Granted, at the moment I may as well keep drinking late into the morning and afternoon without sleep. Good thing I don't have any clients today wink.gif


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eric
post Apr 18 2008, 11:48 AM
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Thanks for posting this information David.

I am sure this study will be considered an important benchmark for many years.



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eric
post Apr 18 2008, 11:51 AM
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QUOTE(Nephrite @ Apr 18 2008, 05:25 AM) *
Some of us could care less about Thuj0ne and may be more interested in how Ted is going to justify his future stock competing with Brevans, Duplais, etc… dare we mention Doubs?




Probably the most ignorant thing I have seen posted here in quite a while.



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Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
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Nephrite
post Apr 18 2008, 11:54 AM
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How did you arrive at that conclusion? Sorry to be frank but all we want is better tasting/smelling booze. Price is No Object.


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Oxygenee
post Apr 18 2008, 12:37 PM
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Here's a (slightly modiified) version of the press release accompanying the article:

QUOTE
The Thujone Concentration of Vintage Absinthe - Some Definitive Answers.

Absinthe is an alcoholic aperitif made from alcohol and distilled herbs or herbal extracts, amongst them grand wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and green anise, but also usually including 4 other herbs: petite wormwood (Artemisia pontica), fennel, hyssop, and melissa (lemon balm).

The most popular misconception about absinthe is that it is an illicit drug, or at least similar to a drug in effect. This is not true. The hysteria surrounding absinthe in the early 20th century fueled the misconception that absinthe was a powerful intoxicant, caused hallucinations that drove men mad, threw them into epileptic fits, and made van Gogh slice off his ear.

The truth however, is both more interesting and less sensational. The story centers around a substance called thujone, which is a natural constituent of wormwood, and regarded as its 'active' ingredient. Thujone was said to be hallucinogenic and/or harmful, causing the distinct syndrome 'absinthism'; this is why there's been a widespread ban on absinthe all these years.

Scientists from the USA, the UK and Germany have now uncovered the truth about thujone in absinthe by, for the very first time, analyzing the actual thujone content of a representative sampling of original vintage absinthes. Their study has recently appeared in the American Chemical Society's peer-reviewed Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry but is already available on the internet. The full text can be accessed for free at: http://www.thujone.info/thujone-absinthe-39.html

Perhaps surprisingly, samples of absinthe made in France and Switzerland before the ban survive today. Still-sealed intact original bottles of the famous elixir emerge from the dust of history from time to time. In an extensive international effort, more than a dozen samples of authentic vintage pre-ban absinthes were collected, from bottles found in France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the USA. Only bottles of unquestioned authenticity were used (e.g. intact wax seals, original corks and labels).

In total, thirteen pre-ban absinthes, including many of the largest and most popular brands, were analyzed for thujone as well as for further parameters that have been hypothesized as contributing to the toxicity of pre-ban absinthe, including naturally occurring herbal essences (e.g. pinocamphone, fenchone), methanol, higher alcohols, copper, and antimony.

The results of the analysis show quite conclusively that the thujone concentration of pre-ban absinthe has been grossly over-estimated in the past. Papers published in the 1980's and 1990's postulated thujone concentrations as high as 260 mg/L, on the basis of purely theoretical calculations, not actual analysis. It's already well known that modern absinthes made according to historical recipes don't have anything like these levels of thujone ' now, this new study has shown that the original absinthes of the Belle Époque also had only very moderate levels of thujone. The total thujone content of the 13 pre-ban samples was found to range between 0.5 and 48.3 mg/L. Contrary to ill-informed speculation, the average thujone content of 25.4 ± 20.3 mg/L fell within the modern EU limit of 35 mg/L.

All other constituents were also toxicologically inconspicuous. Nothing besides ethanol was found in the absinthes able to explain the so-called syndrome 'absinthism'. In other words, the entire historical demonization of absinthe is based on a false premise ' that it is a thujone-rich drink. It isn't.

It is now increasingly clear in fact that well-made absinthes following authentic traditional recipes seldom have thujone levels much in excess of the EU limit. It seems that irrespective of the quantity of wormwood used, relatively little thujone makes it through the distilling process into the final distillate. The significance of this finding can't be overstated. Many herbs, including those commonly used in cooking, contain substances that if consumed in enormous quantities are potentially harmful. But common sense tells us that they are safe to use, because in practice these substances are only present in miniscule amounts. Likewise with absinthe ' yes it contains thujone, yes thujone is potentially harmful, but the quantity of thujone actually in a bottle of absinthe is extremely small.


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...et c’est l’absinthe enfin, la grande absinthe ou la petite, parure chaste des montagnes et des rivages marins, fille des grand vents purs, blé des espaces vierges, emblème de la liberté farouche.
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Steyr850
post Apr 18 2008, 12:42 PM
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QUOTE(Nephrite @ Apr 18 2008, 05:46 AM) *

What do you expect from a drunk who stays sober 2-3 days a week?
A break.
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The Standard Deviant
post Apr 18 2008, 12:43 PM
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Well done to everyone involved. I can appreciate the amount of effort to produce a paper like this.


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Nephrite
post Apr 18 2008, 12:45 PM
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I agree with Oxy…. it's just I like the taste of… nevermind! I better take some ibuprofen.


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Jaded Prole
post Apr 18 2008, 12:49 PM
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Very good and useful study. I hope a copy has been sent to the TTB and other appropriate authorities. Thanks for the efforts of all involved.


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A fine absinthe is the product of knowledge, craftsmanship, and talent. An exceptional absinthe is the product of those things plus obsession. Most absinthe is the product of marketing.
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Marc
post Apr 18 2008, 12:58 PM
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I've read the article but I still find it bizarre to see such differences between the 6 PF :
P8 Pernod Fils, France, 1895–1905 1.4 2.2 3.6 0.1 2.4
P9 Pernod Fils, France, ca. 1910 6.8 41.5 48.3 31.5 3.1
P10 Pernod Fils, France, 1895–1905 0.9 0.6 1.5 nd 2.5
P11 Pernod Fils, France, 1895–1905 6.5 36.7 43.2 27.6 3.6
P12 Pernod Fils, France, 1895–1905 7.1 35.1 42.2 31.4 2.8
P13 Pernod Fils, France, 1895–1905 7.4 39.5 46.9 31.4 2.9

Oxy, is the "Pernod Fils, France, ca. 1910" the 'green' from the PF1914 cache?
I would have liked to see the composition difference between the 'green' and the 'feuille morte' from the same cache.
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