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Oxygenee
I recently found for the first time a complete bottle of the pre-ban Pernod Fils released from stocks held in Holland in 1937.

What interests me most about this bottle, is the date on the overprint: "Garanti fabrique en 1913". 1913, not 1914! What this indicates, is that when Pernod Fils ceased production in August 1914, the absinthe they were then bottling was actually distilled in 1913 - in other words, pre-ban Pernod had a minimum of 9 months ageing before release. The real figure was probably more - perhaps a year or so. It wasn't longer than 21 months though, because otherwise this absinthe would have said "Garanti fabrique en 1912". So, based on this - admittedly circumstantial evidence - we can say that pre-ban Pernod was aged for between 9 and 21 months.

This also indirectly sheds light on the 1914 Pernod cache I found last year. Remember that when absinthe is coloured, only a portion - say 40% - of the clear distillate is coloured. This is then mixed with the remaining uncoloured distillate to give the final product. Now this colouring step is by far the trickiest part of the production, and the part most susceptible to variations in the quality and origin of the constituent herbs. Pernod would - like all big brand producers - have insisted on absolute consistency in the final product. I think it's at least possible that they aged the coloured distillate seperately, and then blended it with aged uncoloured distillate to achieve a consistent product. This could explain the lighter than expected colour, and the colour variances of the 76 bottle 1914 cache. We know this was bought in an "unofficial" or under the counter transaction from Pernod - quite possibly this was coloured in haste in the demijohns or in a few individual barrels, and the percentage of aged colouring distillate added was not done with the same eye to consistency as would have been the case with the commercially released product.

It's also possible that the ageing of the coloured distillate seperately may have something to do with the uncanny ability of some vintage Pernods - and some other brands - to hold a large percentage of their original colour even after a century in bottle, a trick which no modern producer has yet mastered.

Pernod Fils were very open about the herbs they used in their absinthe. Duplais, Fritsch and others list distilling recipes in great detail. But there are two areas which are shrouded in obscurity: exactly how the herbs were prepared PRIOR to distillation, and exactly how, and for how long, the absinthe was aged AFTER distillation. I think it's in these before-and-after processes, rather than in the actual distillation itself, that the true secrets of the great pre-ban absinthes may lie.
Marc
Now, that's interesting, thank you Oxy abs-cheers.gif
I can't wait to try my 1913 sample tomorrow! Anyone tried his yet?
crosby
No, but the box is sitting on my desk, trying to seduce me.
Provenance
Shipping to my part of the planet seems to involve certain delays.
Jaded Prole
How long before that box seduces Cros?

I hear the seconds ticking and a still small voice . . .










go a head


just a taste
w00t2.gif
Marc
QUOTE(crosby @ Mar 22 2007, 10:56 AM) *

No, but the box is sitting on my desk, trying to seduce me.

Mine seduced me already.
It is wonderful, like the PF1914 you can easily recognize the PF 'touch', perfectly balanced, another proof (if needed) that the PF1914 cache is really a PF cache.
Yummy!
G&C
QUOTE
Yummy!


I thought that was the new Jade.
Marc
Also!
Butt nothing can beat the pre-ban Pernod Fils.

And it's not because you hold a grief against Jade products that we should all say that it's crap.
The PF1901 is very good, well balanced and rich, not in the line of pre-ban PF, specially the PF1914, I must admit (ok I've said bullshits in the past, I'm just human), but it's a good start for a PF clone, the balance is perfect yet (the base alcohol?) but I'm sure it will improve with aging, give it a chance abs-cheers.gif
hartsmar
I do think he ment the new Jade Yummy.

Ach! Those French...
G&C
Indeed™!
crosby
QUOTE(hartsmar @ Mar 23 2007, 07:03 AM) *

Ach! Those French...

You sure you aren't part German?
Marc
QUOTE(hartsmar @ Mar 23 2007, 03:03 PM) *

I do think he ment the new Jade Yummy.

Ach! Those French...

Ooops, I missed that Jade Yummy joke, sorry G&C.
I doesn't change my opinion on the Jade PF1901 though and on the fact that you hold a grief against it harhar.gif
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Mar 22 2007, 05:24 AM) *

I think it's at least possible that they aged the coloured distillate seperately, and then blended it with aged uncoloured distillate to achieve a consistent product.


It would follow then that they diluted the product down to 68% AFTER aging both the coloured and uncoloured distillates and blending them. Pernod Fils is notable for its bold fragrance, I suppose doing it this way might enhance the aroma.

I had always wondered about this bit in Fritsch, and your idea about them aging the coloured and uncoloured seperately and then blending would make this following description of how it's done using the Egrot system (the very same one Pernod Fils used after the fire) make a lot more sense:
QUOTE
After the still is recharged with the plants for coloration, a portion of the clear absinthe in the
distillation receiver is sent to it by compressed air and the whole is allowed to macerate after the
heat is set at the correct degree.

The colored absinthe is then drawn through a tap from the still, cooled and placed into barrels.


Notice they do not say what happens to the uncoloured portion of the absinthe still remaining in the distillation receiver. They only describe what happens to the coloured portion, and they say it is drawn from the still, placed into barrels, and one would assume it was placed into the barrels for aging, not for reuiniting with the uncoloured distillate still in the distillation receiver.
hartsmar
QUOTE(crosby @ Mar 23 2007, 09:39 AM) *

QUOTE(hartsmar @ Mar 23 2007, 07:03 AM) *

Ach! Those French...

You sure you aren't part German?


I am. My grandfather was German. I don't speak much German though.
abs-cheers.gif
Grim
The 1905 catalogue describes the storage of absinthe (not un produit concentré) and alcohol in the cellars. That's a weak point all on its own...

The diameter of the foudres depicted in the Pernod Fils 1896 catalogue, also depicted in the 1905, are very nearly 350cm at the tête. That, unless my estimation is way off, would probably amount to nearly a 350 hl capacity (Barbet - Manuel Théorique et Pratique des Fabricants d'Alcools et d'Eaux-de-vie, Géométrie à Trois Dimensions, 1st form of formula 18). At that quantity per foudre, I really doubt a 40% fraction of a single batch's scented/colored heart would make all that much difference. For example, of a 1,500 liter alembic capacity and a 700 liter output of viable product, 40% (280L) would amount to a wee-bit-uh-piss in a very big bucket.

Click to view attachment

But I'm pretty sure they didn't color only a portion of a single batch though they had the ability to -- it wouldn't be efficient. They probably finished duel batches and exhausted both of the forward receivers via these hose bibs...

Click to view attachment

They probably colored a large volume of spirit (just like Berger is said to have done) at one time.

Turgan states:
La fig. 11 indique les 16 alambics avec les 8 bacs refroidisseurs et les 10 colorateurs disposés sur deux rangées extrêmes... les colorateurs on une capacité de 1,200 litres.

Click to view attachment

This proportion of alembics to colorators held for quite some time, I imagine it was the same condition after the fire. Or even closer to 1:1.

Click to view attachment

We find closer to the XIXème siècle that number becomes 26 to 22, and I can only imagine that's some indication of the disparity in the time one requires to perform an absinthe distillation versus coloration (and anyone who's played with these Egrot alembics will tell, these things can haul ass!).

QUOTE
I think it's at least possible that they aged the coloured distillate seperately, and then blended it with aged uncoloured distillate to achieve a consistent product.

Yeah, it's possible. I can't dispute that. I just think it highly unlikely where the handling is unnecessarily doubled, and that's to say nothing about quality assurance. For one, they'd been doing this stuff for quite some time and I can't agree that color is the "trickiest part of production." It's just a pain-in-the-ass where 1) you don't have an apparatus made specifically to apply controlled, gentle heat to high-proof spirit; 2) the quantity of herbs required are hit or miss because their quality is not certain or assured; etc. etc. Color absinthe on the industrial scale two shifts a day for one week, and I bet you'll be pretty damn canny on knowing quantities, contact times, volumes and heat. So much so that you can take a local and give him simple instructions, sufficient training and send him on his merry way. By the time one of the aforementioned foudres was full to capacity(and they had atleast 230 before 1900), I'd be willing to guess they'd assembled enough practical wisdom to avoid special blending post-rest.

QUOTE
quite possibly this was coloured in haste in the demijohns or in a few individual barrels, and the percentage of aged colouring distillate added was not done with the same eye to consistency as would have been the case with the commercially released product.

I think that's very likely.

QUOTE
It's also possible that the ageing of the coloured distillate seperately may have something to do with the uncanny ability of some vintage Pernods - and some other brands - to hold a large percentage of their original colour even after a century in bottle, a trick which no modern producer has yet mastered.

Large percentage of their original color? I think the cognac-like color of a few Pernods I've had is more indicative of an optimal coloring ages past than the faint hint of green in some of the cache you're speaking of, but that is only my opinion.
Grim
And one more thing, wouldn't ageing to even the end of August from the 1st of the year only amount to 8 months of actual rest?
G&C
QUOTE
I doesn't change my opinion on the Jade PF1901 though and on the fact that you hold a grief against it harhar.gif


I have nothing against the PF1901.

I've never tried it.
Marc
Ok, you won, I'm out.





Even if you know that by "it", I meant "Jade products", as stated in my previous post
G&C
I think you have me confused with someone else.
Marc
QUOTE(Grim @ Mar 23 2007, 09:04 PM) *

And one more thing, wouldn't ageing to even the end of August from the 1st of the year only amount to 8 months of actual rest?

That would still be a minimum of 8 months ageing, not bad at all.
Marc
QUOTE(Grim @ Mar 23 2007, 08:56 PM) *

I really doubt a 40% fraction of a single batch's scented/colored heart would make all that much difference. For example, of a 1,500 liter alembic capacity and a 700 liter output of viable product, 40% (280L) would amount to a wee-bit-uh-piss in a very big bucket.

I'm just blocking on that part Grim as Oxy was not supposing that 40% of a single batch (from a single alembic) was coloured and then mixed into a 300hl+ bucket, could you please elaborate that part ?
Grim
Gladly. I was saying, in a less than elegant way, that those variations that occur from coloration to coloration (which I predict were slight) would certainly be assuaged in adding that batch of an off-normal color to the comparatively huge reserve of colored absinthe stored in the cellars.
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