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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Absinthe History
Mashoujiki
So amongst my own admittedly half-assed googlings on the topic, I seem to recall that back in the day, absinthe was pretty vehemently opposed by the wine lobby. The rational for this was that absinthe was so extremely popular that it eclipsed wine and (i'm guessing only some brands) were even cheaper than a bottle of wine.

My question is this: From what I've learned on this site, production of even decent absinthe is no small feat that requires not only know-how but access to the very best herbs, which if I'm not mistaken are in finite supply. So, how comes it that with bottlenecks such as these, it was possible to deliver a product that was consistantly even midgrade at prices cheaper than the chateaus were willing to part with their moldy grapes for?
absinthist
The appearance of inferior brands made it possible. Pernod or Vichet didn't have to compete with wine-producers, they were simply better. Inferior brands, on the other hand, were putting little or no efforts: the cheapest herbs of questionable quality, cheapest spirit from unknown source (could be methanol as well), not counting such dialogues:

"Jacques, our absinthe does not louche!"
"We should add aniseed, I hear they use it"
"We have no aniseed, nor fennel, not even the slightest seed of coriander"
"Merde! Hell, no. Is the bottle of aniline in the cellar still?"
"Surement, but it is out of date"
"Who will tell the difference, at least it will louche!"
"Yes, perfectement! Wow, what a thick louche! These morons at Pernod will be shocked!"
"I think something is missed... Ah, the colour!"
"Sorry, Jacques, we have no herbs left, we are already in the red, maybe grandma has some parsley?'
"No, wait. Henri, what are you doing? Yes, I see you are painting ,fuckin' impressionist(whispers). Can we borrow one green paint? Which one? Well, maybe this, vert Paolo Veronese, could be nice"
"Ok, so colour it with that paint and ask Jeanette to prepare the labels, and find the stores that would sell that poison, whilst we will have a nice red wine from our uncle's winery."
Absinthesizer
That dialogue reminds me of the early "Simpson's" episode, in which two Frenchmen are doctoring wine:

Cesar: "This will be our finest wine ever."
Huguolin: "But it's only been fermenting for three days."
Cesar: "Whenever my faith in God is shaken, I think of the miracle of anti-freeze. Too much can be poison, but the right amount gives wine just the right kick."
Wild Bill Turkey
QUOTE(Mashoujiki @ May 28 2007, 11:17 AM) *

production of even decent absinthe is no small feat that requires not only know-how but access to the very best herbs, which if I'm not mistaken are in finite supply. So, how comes it that with bottlenecks such as these, it was possible to deliver a product that was consistantly even midgrade at prices cheaper than the chateaus were willing to part with their moldy grapes for?

I think that you're confused because you're trying to imagine how today's absinthe industry could produce a cheaper bottle of high quality product than today's wine industry. It couldn't.

Absinthe's real rocket-ride to popularity kicked in during the phylloxera disaster that killed off most of the wine vineyards in France. So at that time, I'm guessing that a bottle of wine was unbelievably expensive.

Also, at that time, when absinthe had grown into its full-swing production levels, the herb supply was not only much larger and more steady, the herbs were also being grown by armies of growers who knew exactly how to grow what the absinthe industry needed. Imagine third-generation wormwood-farmers, accustomed to making their living feeding a huge industrial need for top-quality plants.

Likewise the know-how was anything but scarce in those days, with Pernod sons, cousins, and in-laws coming out and starting their own high-quality labels every few years until the ban, and producing their absinthe in huge, up-to-date, purpose-built distilleries.
Alice the absinthe eater
QUOTE(Absinthesizer @ May 28 2007, 03:58 PM) *

That dialogue reminds me of the early "Simpson's" episode, in which two Frenchmen are doctoring wine:

Cesar: "This will be our finest wine ever."
Huguolin: "But it's only been fermenting for three days."
Cesar: "Whenever my faith in God is shaken, I think of the miracle of anti-freeze. Too much can be poison, but the right amount gives wine just the right kick."




hah! I remember that one. it's the one where Bart goes to france.

so my mind has not failed me as I had thought.
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