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> The Kosher Fairy, The Quest for Kosher Absinthe
Oxygenee
post Jan 16 2015, 06:08 AM
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The pre-1914 Pernod Fils company only used grape spirits as a base for their absinthe, and advertised this fact expressly in their marketing literature. It was one of the key points distinguishing high-end absinthes like theirs from cheaper alternatives.

In 1900, in the fevered atmosphere of the the Dreyfus Affair, an overtly anti-semitic booklet attacking the company and the Veil-Picard brothers who owned it (originally Jewish bankers from Besencon) was published under the title La Verite sur la Maison Pernod Fils. This alleged that Pernod Fils in fact covertly substituted much cheaper grain alcohol for the claimed wine alcohol. There's not a shred of evidence though that this claim was anything more than an anti-semitic slur, and I've never seen it repeated anywhere else, even in the anti-Dreyfusard press like Libre Parole (which did however rejoice when the factory burned down in 1901).

The modern Pernod company is not the same entity as the original Maison Pernod Fils, nor strictly speaking even its corporate successor. The Ricard pastis company bought all the Pernod Fils trademarks in the 1930's, forming the corporation now known as Pernod Ricard. The reference you read referred to the original, very low quality early 2000's Pernod absinthe, which used beet alcohol. They moved to grape spirits with the release of the improved Mk II product in 2013.


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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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Artemis
post Jan 16 2015, 10:50 PM
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The 2000 Pernod absinthe was garbage.
The 2013 Pernod absinthe was different, but not better. The "metallic twang" at the finish was for me its most notable attribute, not tolerable, much less pleasant.
QUOTE
they started sourcing wormwood from the fields of Pontarlier, France, and they shifted to coloring the spirit through the maceration of botanicals like stinging nettles instead of using dyes

"Such as" stinging nettles, not "like" stinging nettles. Dyes color the absinthe, but the intent of finishing herbs isn't coloration, it's scent and flavor. The best wormwood on earth won't matter if coloration herbs lend a bad flavor. I can't say for sure if stinging nettles are responsible for the "twang", but it baffles me why anyone would use that crap when it's been established beyond a shadow of a doubt which herbs are the historically accurate and tasty finishing herbs.

The original Lucid was garbage.
I hear it's improved, but I'm confident I wouldn't drink it, much less offer it to anybody.

QUOTE
When I asked the folks at Jade for any other Absinthes to look into for Kosher purposes they mentioned (without authoritavly saying anything, that Pacifique could be worth looking into.

Zman (member here) owns Pacifique. G&C works with him. If you're looking for authorities on Pacifique, look to them.

In general, if I had to make compromises because of religion that limited me to the likes of Lucid, I would either switch to some other liquor, or some other religion.


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OCvertDe
post Jan 16 2015, 11:17 PM
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QUOTE(Artemis @ Jan 16 2015, 05:50 PM) *
In general, if I had to make compromises because of religion that limited me to the likes of Lucid, I would either switch to some other liquor, or some other religion.

^


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"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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FarbrengenVerte
post Jan 21 2015, 04:17 AM
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QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Jan 16 2015, 06:08 AM) *

The pre-1914 Pernod Fils company only used grape spirits as a base for their absinthe, and advertised this fact expressly in their marketing literature. It was one of the key points distinguishing high-end absinthes like theirs from cheaper alternatives.

In 1900, in the fevered atmosphere of the the Dreyfus Affair, an overtly anti-semitic booklet attacking the company and the Veil-Picard brothers who owned it (originally Jewish bankers from Besencon) was published under the title La Verite sur la Maison Pernod Fils. This alleged that Pernod Fils in fact covertly substituted much cheaper grain alcohol for the claimed wine alcohol. There's not a shred of evidence though that this claim was anything more than an anti-semitic slur, and I've never seen it repeated anywhere else, even in the anti-Dreyfusard press like Libre Parole (which did however rejoice when the factory burned down in 1901).

The modern Pernod company is not the same entity as the original Maison Pernod Fils, nor strictly speaking even its corporate successor. The Ricard pastis company bought all the Pernod Fils trademarks in the 1930's, forming the corporation now known as Pernod Ricard. The reference you read referred to the original, very low quality early 2000's Pernod absinthe, which used beet alcohol. They moved to grape spirits with the release of the improved Mk II product in 2013.


Wow Oxy this is truly fascinating! And thanks for Clarifying and Thank you for sharing. Is it online anywhere? So the owners were Jewish? The Pernod family was not Im guessing?

Can you help me in letting me know which products of the brands in my list are main using grain alcohol and which are not. And which brands, if any, ever only use grain or beet alcohol?


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There is an old yiddish chassidic saying:
Dos vos es ken oiftaun a Chassidishe farbrengen ken malach Michoel nit oiftaun
What a Chassidic farbrengen can accomplish cannot even be accomplished by the Angel Michael.

LA CHAIM VERTE!

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FarbrengenVerte
post Jan 21 2015, 04:24 AM
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QUOTE(Artemis @ Jan 16 2015, 10:50 PM) *

The original Lucid was garbage.
I hear it's improved, but I'm confident I wouldn't drink it, much less offer it to anybody.


I have tried both and prefer the latter batches that reference Sukkah Hill. Why do you not like it?

QUOTE

Zman (member here) owns Pacifique. G&C works with him. If you're looking for authorities on Pacifique, look to them.

Thanks!

QUOTE

In general, if I had to make compromises because of religion that limited me to the likes of Lucid, I would either switch to some other liquor, or some other religion.


Well Im not to limited. Iv determined that Meadow of Love, Pacifique, La Cladistine (and everything else the distillery makes), Duplais, Keubler and a couple others are ok… at least for me.

For now I just need to know which Absintehs are made with grain wand which aren't. Will work from there


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There is an old yiddish chassidic saying:
Dos vos es ken oiftaun a Chassidishe farbrengen ken malach Michoel nit oiftaun
What a Chassidic farbrengen can accomplish cannot even be accomplished by the Angel Michael.

LA CHAIM VERTE!

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Provenance
post Jan 21 2015, 02:37 PM
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QUOTE(FarbrengenVerte @ Jan 20 2015, 08:24 PM) *
Well Im not to limited. Iv

For now I just need to know which Absintehs are made with grain wand which aren't.

Use of proper spelling and grammar is important.


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We all used to be things we aren't anymore.
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Jaded Prole
post Jan 21 2015, 03:03 PM
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Indeed. As for "grain," its really only relevant in the religious/legalistic parsing of those without much knowledge of distilling. There is no grain in grain neutral spirits. Take wheat based vodka. First you have wheat which you sprout, dry, and grind. Then you simmer it with enzymes to convert starch to available sugars. Then you add yeast which may get some nutrients from the grain but mostly process the sugars to breathe after they use up available oxygen. In the processing of sugars, yeast produce CO2 and alcohol. Distillation is about isolating and purifying that alcohol. Whiskeys have more of the essence of original grains but by the time you get grain neutral spirits, there is nothing of the grain left -- only concentrated yeast pee -- or alcohol. As far as "chametz" goes, that brisket is made of pure grain far more than a shot of vodka is. In America, most grain neutral spirit is made from corn though one company in Idaho produces potato based spirits. Whatever is used, the finished product, unlike wines or beer is far removed from the source of sugars.

Absinthes that use grape spirits will say so because this is an extra expense and considered an attribute. Most use grain neutral spirits. Beet alcohol is considered inferior, as is Lucid by connoisseurs and probably designed as such as to not compete with the Jades.

I can understand the issue for religious Jews as to which blessing might be appropriate before drinking but for the rest, a la chiam may suffice. Life is short -- enjoy.


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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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Artemis
post Jan 21 2015, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE
I have tried both and prefer the latter batches that reference Sukkah Hill. Why do you not like it?

I never tasted the current version and never heard of Sukkah Hill.
The original (or the one I tasted years ago, in any case) was dirty.
Dirty means it has a funk, like the smell of swamp water.
It generally means the alcohol or the absinthe, or both, were poorly rectified.
To put it in two words, it stunk.
Absinthe is supposed to have a fine smell. Some smell better than others, but never should it stink.


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Il arrive souvent que les personnes couvertes d’esprit enflamme courent en appelant du secours.
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Artemis
post Jan 21 2015, 08:46 PM
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QUOTE
Beet alcohol is considered inferior, as is Lucid by connoisseurs and probably designed as such as to not compete with the Jades.

This goes to why I wouldn't bother to revisit Lucid, improved or not. It's not because of beet alcohol - one neutral alcohol is the same as the next when it comes to flavor (there is none). It's because it's apparently designed as an entry level product, what the French call bon marché. The phrase can mean a good bargain, but generally it's a perjorative, meaning cheap. Although Lucid isn't cheap for many people, obviously there's a reason for the difference in price between Lucid and the other Jade products.


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Il arrive souvent que les personnes couvertes d’esprit enflamme courent en appelant du secours.
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Artemis
post Jan 21 2015, 09:36 PM
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QUOTE
So the owners were Jewish? The Pernod family was not Im guessing?

My guess is the original founder of the Pernod absinthe business was Catholic, but Edmond-Charles Veil-Picard, whom I'm pretty sure was a Jew, bought into the Pernod business from Louis Alfred Pernod around 1888.


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OCvertDe
post Jan 21 2015, 10:22 PM
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I've bought a lot of Lucid over the years, mainly because for the most part, it was the best thing on local shelves. As such, it got me out of some jambs. I never recall any stink from any of the many bottles I had. Or funk, or anything else for that matter. My main gripe with it is with what it isn't: which is to say, anything special. I've heard it called "Jade light", and found the snarky witticism to be quite accurate. If Jade was thinner, less complex, cheaper, simpler, it would be Lucid. The worst thing I can say is that there's nothing especially right about it. Be that as it may, it's easy to get.
But that was then, and this is now. And now, (as of the last two years or so) I can get Vieux Pontarlier on a shelf about an hour from home, which while still nothing to write home about, is worlds better. And since I drive for a living, I get paid to swing through the area regularly enough to not get caught without any Absinthe and having to wait for mail order for something decent.


--------------------
"Hmmm, someone rated Zima higher than Sam Adams? Well, they both blow, so who gives a rat's ass?" -bob_chong
"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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Bruno Rygseck
post Jan 23 2015, 09:32 PM
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I cannot finish my bottle of Lucid, it does not taste good. When I had some Jade NO some time ago I tasted them in parallel, and with any normal absinthe dilution ratio Lucid was undrinkable while NO was alright. So I would not call it a lighter version of Jade.

An old thread about absinthe base where the base alcohol was discussed (Absinthe Brands Discussion):
http://www.feeverte.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=5091


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På detta dricka vi åtskilliga glas portvin.
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Artemis
post Jan 23 2015, 10:14 PM
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What it comes down to is the dirty Lucid was undrinkable, and clean Lucid is (by most accounts) unremarkable.
I knew I was taking a risk when I said above that neutral alcohol has no flavor. I was going by my internal definition of neutral, which is that it has no flavor. Dictionary definitions aren't of much use, because distilleries all over the world work under legal definitions, which vary from place to place.
I agree with Cheryl in that old thread that truly neutral alcohol such as what she uses is good because it give the herbs no place to hide.
On the other hand, fruit alcohol can bring a nice fruity nuance to absinthe, and it seems to do something to meld the herbs as well.


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Absomphe
post Jan 23 2015, 11:33 PM
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QUOTE(Artemis @ Jan 23 2015, 02:14 PM) *

I agree with Cheryl in that old thread that truly neutral alcohol such as what she uses is good because it give the herbs no place to hide.
On the other hand, fruit alcohol can bring a nice fruity nuance to absinthe, and it seems to do something to meld the herbs as well.


Agreed, on both counts.


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