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absinthist
Apart from sake (as some of you know), I have naturally checked other wonderful drinks, like Polish pear distillate- a bit young and crispy, several beers from round the world, and finally the only modern piołunówka that seems to be the closest to the vintage ones I am still searching for.

It is a small batch, sold only in one shop in warsaw, so no limits on quality have been set, and with other products from that company I have been always fully satisfied.

The recipe was made by Grzegorz Russak, famous for Polish nalewka revival and coming back to golden times of Polish spirits industry of the heyday. Looks like it depicts Falimierz' s recipe from 1543 with some modifications in.

The price is reasonable if obviously it twice the price of regular very good vodka. The strength is 40%, could be a bit higher, but it is their choice.

The colour-all natural, slightly yellowish with beautiful green tinge. Upon pouring piołunówka into the glass, the well-known wormwood scent is evident and very pleasant, the alcohol not.

Although piołunówka is supposed to be sugared, in the taste, at first sugar becomes too dominant and starts to prevent wormwood notes from blossoming and reigning.

Fortunately, the finish is perfectly wormwoody, floral and bitter. (I do not detect stems in the aftertaste, so probablement only flowers were used, maybe some leaves-there is little spiciness with minty aura while swallowing).

All in all, it is piołunówka, probably a bit different than J.A.Baczewski's but very close.

Anyone willing to come back to the very beginning, should give it a try-natural, reasonably priced and 100% of Polish soul hidden in every drop.

It is advisable to add very little water to help the wormwood move more to the front as sugaring can be annoying and heavy to some and is the only drawback of that versatile and exquisite nalewka in any sense.

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traineraz
Sounds like Czechsinth to me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pio%C5%82un%C3%B3wka

(hey, that's how the link came up, and it worked for me.)

QUOTE
Piołunówka is a very bitter alcoholic infusion (so-called Polish "nalewka") made by macerating wormwood in alcohol. Its name comes from "piołun" which means "wormwood" in Polish. It is becoming popular due to the recent absinthe revival but has been well-known before absinthe. It differs from absinthe because it is macerated and rarely distilled (see the recipe below) whereas absinthe is additionally distilled. Piołunówka is not simply an amateur's version of absinthe but can be perceived as its predecessor. For centuries wormwood based elixirs have been used as digestive aids and disease preventatives.
G&C
That's gotta be a tasty drink!
absinthist
QUOTE(traineraz @ Sep 6 2007, 08:41 PM) *

Sounds like Czechsinth to me.


Definitely not. I have been trying to correct that nonsense but unfortunately I have not started that entry.

Piołunówka is in the range 40%-50% vol. Its main ingredients are: young wormwood flowertops, spirit, sugar and water, in the recipe I have provided for Wiki, you can read how it is made and how it is different from Czechsinths.

Piołunówka is gently bitter because as nalewka is to be consumed chilled and neat. However, is more bitter than Gorzka Żołądkowa or balsams, which despite the name are in fact bitter-sweet.

Piołunówka may be distilled as well or made from assemblage of distillate and macerate (that would be the case in the above one).

Obviously it is coloured naturally in the range of yellow-gold-amber-brown-green. It is much older than first Czechsinths ever (if Hill's was the first™), piołunówka per se was known centuries ago and made in Polish noble manors since 16th CE when Polish spirits industry was actually born.

For GC: yeah, very tasty, with long lingering wormwood and undetectable alcohol. abs-cheers.gif
traineraz
Um, it's sugared and macerated wormwood, which may or may not be distilled.

I can see it being moderately enjoyable if distilled, but . . .
absinthist
It is sugared because 95% of Polish nalewkas are sugared-such a rule. Macerate might be added to the distillate as well (one recipe from 80's calls for 20ml of wormwood macerate per two litres).

Sometimes sugar is replaced with caramel, depends what one likes. Well-made piołunówka is enjoyable just as any other nalewka, you either like it or not.
The Standard Deviant
Butt still: tastes like arse.
traineraz
Sure sounds like it.
Hopelessly Lost
I will be in Warsaw for several months this summer - would you mind divulging the name of the little shop where you purchased this tonic?

I would also like to officially coin the term - "trafiony piołunem."
absinthist
Sure. The shop's name is "Nalewki-i-Inne". And is situated here: Warszawa, Muranów, Al. Jana Pawła II 82.

Last time I went there Piołunówka was in stock. But I would be far from calling it a tonic, sugar masks its herbality, if it is quite enjoyable.
Hopelessly Lost
Thank you very much. You are a gentleman and a scholar.
G&C
Not really, but he plays one on the internet.
absinthist
biggrin.gif
fryke
That wiki article sounds to me like the czechsinth-producers are now trying to reinvent history _again_. So this is where absinthe has its roots, eh..?
absinthist
I'd suggest getting a detailed map of the world and see where is Poland, where is Czech Republic and why Poland is not Czech Republic.
Bruno Rygseck
Trying to set the record straight once again (scroll down to Absinth and reader comments).
absinthist
At least, neither Poland nor piołunówka is mentioned. The fight remains between absinth and absinthe.
Provenance
QUOTE(absinthist @ Mar 16 2008, 01:40 PM) *
why Poland is not Czech Republic.
Even Czechs have standards?
absinthist
We could have been part of one country, but soon Great War broke out.
absinthist
1782-J.A.Baczewski kaiserlich und königlich Distillerie is founded in Lwów (Lemberg). Its portfolio is vast and amongst others includes: Winiak ***, Konjak, Polska Żytniówka 42, Wiśniowa 40, Pomarańczowa 40, Pomarańczowa niesłodzona 40, Souverain vodka, Żytnia Perła 45, Starka Podolska 40, Kontuszówka 56, Kminkówka 30, Monopolowa 40, Piołunówka 50 or Bernardine Imperiale. Soon, it becomes the biggest and most popular producer of various spirits and liqueurs that are known in France, Great Britain or Germany or the USA. Of all the spirits offered by the company particularly preferred are Piołunówka and Wiśniowa 40. At the time, "baczewski" became the synonym of exquisite, traditional spirit.

Products of J.A.Baczewski have won medals on the following exhibitions: 1866 - Vienna, 1867 - Paris, 1868 - Havre, 1869 -Rudolfheim, Amsterdam, Wittenberg, Altona, 1872 - Moscow, London, 1873 - London, Vienna, 1878 - Paris, 1882 - Przemyśl, 1888 - Lwów, Grand-Prix in 1900 - Paris, or 1904- Vienna. In 1918, the company was using the most modern equipment, like 3 rectification apparatus of Barbet-Pompe and Saval system-330 hectoliters/day or 5 apparatus for the sole distillation of herbs. In 1925 during the Spirits Competition held in London J.A.Baczewski won all the possible awards!

Unfortunately, the distillery was bombed in 1939 by Germans and further destroyed by Soviets.

Nowadays the price for an empty bottle of Baczewski is about 50 Euro and if the bottle is full, it may be around 5000 Euro AFAIK.

J.A.Baczewski Piołunówka recipe is believed to differ from Piołunówka of the Medieval times-apart from wormwood it should contain other valuable herbs and as most of Baczewski products it is aged prior to bottling.

The license for reviving J.A.Baczewski products was acquired by Polmos Starogard Gdański in the early 70's and that company released some of these spirits using also the same bottle shape. These were available till the early 90's when the production of these was discontinued.

After many years of searching, I have finally found J.A.Baczewski, although it is not the real deal from years 1782-1939, it happens to be the no-longer produced Piołunówka from Polmos Starogard Gdański. Together with that bottle, I can get also "Krambambuli" which traditional spirit from Gdańsk (then Danzig)-one of the most expensive vodkas of the heyday which was discontinued in the early years of the 20th century as well as "Silberwasser"-the younger, less common, hence rarer, sister of the famous "Danziger Goldwasser."

Below is the original J.A.Baczewski bottle so it can compared with the more modern bottle shape of Piołunówka by Polmos Starogard Gdański. The rest of the pics show the latter. Together with my Father we presume it might be from the years 1970-1980. First of all, that bottle shape as such was not available anymore in the 90's, moreover the label is bilingual (German-Polish). As it can be clearly seen, there is "Danziger Absinth" (Wormwood from Gdańsk) as well as "Jaszczurówka Piołunowa" (Jaszczurka-lizard was an emblem of Polmos Starogard Gdański (previously the company was known under the name of H.A. Winkelhausen Wytwórnia Wódek, Likierów i Koniaków, est. 1846)), together with "Gallen Likör" meaning herbal spirit. Noteworthy is the orange colour of the label, typical of the original J.A.Baczewski Piołunówka.

Moreover, the last pics show young piołunówka and the vintage one which thanks to aging has achieved very nice and natural tint.

For further information, etc, PM. I haven't opened it yet evill.gif
absinthist
I have finally cracked it and I must admit I am very surprised. The colour has retained some of its initial nuances if definitely the time has taken its toll.

The aroma is crisp, slightly herbal, I am at the position of saying it is 70% of spiciness, but not obtrusive and 30% of herbacousness, married well with alcohol. Actually, it is very smooth on the palate, though when swallowed gets a bit heavy and harsh. The culprit of the harshness in the finish seems to be… cinnamon shock.gif what might confirm my belief that "piołunkowy likwor" recipe of A.Piątkowski from 1808 (that calls for an abundance of ingredients) would reflect what was later known as "J.A.Baczewski Piołunówka".

The taste reveals very nice, complex balance of herbs and spices, where the most prominent are the notes of wormwood, cinnamon, cloves, some earthy and cognac-like nuances that travel from back to the front, and since it is a liqueur, caramel'y boldness from added sugar.

In comparison with piołunówka from Nalewki-i-inne and numerous other I have tried, it is very tasty, good, pleasant and wormwoody, even the sugar is not the obstacle. Now on the controversy of its bitterness-almost non-existent after so much time. Addition of some waer™ might help diminish the heaviness of the drink which still doesn't lose its complexity and exquisite style.
Doctor Love

How is ł pronounced?
absinthist
Generally like "w" as in "why".
Doctor Love

I sound like Barbara Walters trying to say that name
The Standard Deviant
Pyo-woon-oov-ka.
absinthist
Exactly.
Provenance
QUOTE(absinthist @ Aug 1 2008, 11:54 AM) *
"why"

A question asked about many of your posts.
absinthist
Just because tongue.gif
absinthist
Vintage pics:

1. The plan of J.A.Baczewski distillery
2. J.A.Baczewski pavillon (carafe-alike) during the "Targi Wschodnie" (1921-1938) in Lwów
3. Bottle shapes
absinthist
Today I would like to share more information regarding the general situation of Polish spirits industry of the heyday.

Back in the 18th century, the greatest production of spirits was in Gdańsk. Here we could find the following specialties, some of which I have been already talking about, like: Goldwasser and Silberwasser, Krambambula, Anisette, Danziger Tropfen, Kürfürst Likör (bitter orange-flavoured) ,Kümmel, Pomaranczówka and several others.

The aforementioned Baczewski porfolio included: Jarzębiak (rowan berry brandy), slivovitz, starka, rum, anisette, piołunówka, kminkówka (so almost allasch), apricot brandy, krupnik, several types of wiśniówka, żubrówka as well as licensed in a sense Bernardine Imperial (Benedictine clone), Souverain or both Chartreuse types. As I was mentioning somewhere else Baczewski was the sole importer of Pernod fils for Poland.

Another big enterprise, even closer to my heart, was Łańcut distillery established in 1784. Here the most popular were rosoglios, pieprzówka (black pepper-flavoured vodka), starowin (literally "old wine", slightly aged clear vodka), prunelle and various liqueurs ("Gwardian" being the most notable one). In 1900 in Paris, Łańcut got gold medal for all their products.

In the meantime, Jewish enterpreneur, Hartwig Kantorowicz created his distillery in Ostrówek in 1793, however moved the premises to Poznań in 1823. In 1885, his products got 3 first gold medals during the New Orleans Exhibition. He was specializing in Monastique liqueur, curacao blanc et orange, angostura and Mandarin Ginger. He can be credited for the invention of Wyborowa brand-some of you should know very well.

The best cherry-flavoured vodkas were coming from Stefen Geneli who established his Warszawska Wytwórnia Wódek i Likierów. In Warsaw, we could meet M. Patschke Liqueur Distillery who was the second, after Baczewski, importer of French liqueurs, including lesser brands of extrait d'absinthe and ratafias.

Rektyfikacja Warszawska was another important player in the game, having their subsidiaries in Latvia and in Odessa. Their most popular products were: jarzębinowa, brandy, starka, siwucha and arak or the famous Kapucyn liqueur.

In Gniezno in 1888, Bolesław Kasprowicz was cooking 80 different brands, including starka, okropka and Refectorium or Boonekamp liqueur. His products were had in high esteem in the US, Canada and Brazil. Till 1913 Kasprowicz was given 72 gold medals in Rome, Paris, Vienna, etc.

Very popular at the time was also Haberbusch i Schiele SA that were proposing the following stuff: królewska, slivovitz, starka, orange-flavoured, Louis Marteau brandy, curacao orange and triple sec, as well as the most famous and worldwide-known Cacao Choix.

Until the outbreak of WWII, the Polish spirits portfolio contained at least 30 different styles, one distillery making up to 60 brands alone.
absinthist
Coming back to piołunówka. Below is the pic of genuine one and my humble replica thereof. It was made in January:

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As my friends: Conte di Ugenta and dakini painter were so kind to accept piołunówka I would like to share their opinions on these beverages:

Dakini's short review of piołunówka 2007
QUOTE

The piołunówka is very good. Similar to an aquavit a friend sent me. If there is any macerated AA in it, I cannot tell. These samples will disappear very quickly.

A little more AA in the distillation I think to bring out the flavor and aroma more, but that's all. (I must admit I don't have a good sense of smell, so I might be missing out on a good aroma.)

Very smooth and not harsh or bitter at all. Highly recommended.


Conte's short review of both piołunówka 2007 and Baczewski piołunówka replica 2009:

QUOTE
I tasted the two piolunowka whoa! I'm not a big fan of vodkas, but this stuff is pretty damn good! The P07 is my favourite, it's super smooth and less bitter, the P09 on the other hand is more aromatic, very interesting indeed! Can you tell me more on this product? Wiki doesn't help… No need to tell the ingredients, my biggest curiosity is what did you use as base alcohol to have it so smooth and oily.

It has a kind of oilyness that is remarkable, and I can't figure out where it comes from… I'd really find hard to believe it's the ageing, as ageing can of course smooth things out, or change and enrich the flavour profile, but there you have something oily in it, it even sticks to the glass, and even tho I don't know how wormwood you put in it, wormwood can't give out so much oils! Do you think you can reproduce it? The 09 is very good but not so oily, uhm!


I am very thankful for their feedback and critique.
absinthist
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Found that recipe yesterday. Very interesting, especially if we see that enormous amount of wormwood (even some of the more idiosyncratic and really early absinthe recipes do not call for such an abundance). The product should end either at 59.4% (if we take regular spirit) or at 43.08% (if we take the spirit of the heyday). 500g of sugar is not nihil novi for these times, though.

400g of wormwood flowertops
150g of bitter orange peels
8g of fresh calamus
2g of nutmeg
7g of cloves and cinammon each

The aging should last at least two and a half month.
dakini_painter
A friend and I are having vintage piołunówka that Boggy sent me a little while ago. Very good. Flavors of allspice, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon with some well balanced AA bitterness, and subtle other flavors.
abs-cheers.gif


My friend just said "Definitely a warming drink".
absinthist
I am glad to hear that abs-cheers.gif . Hope you will be tasting the rest I sent.

For those who have not seen yet, vintage J.A.Baczewski piołunówka label:

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Oxygenee
I've tasted piołunówka, and thought I'd post my video review.

You need the sound on, it's not the same without the stirring background music.
OCvertDe
HA!
Tibro
Yeah, but what do you really think?
absinthist
Jokes aside, which one, David? And more about the producer and year and anything.
Oxygenee
This was some time ago, and the trauma has erased everything from my memory, except the lingering afterburn.
Marc
HA!
Tibro
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 13 2009, 08:05 PM) *

the lingering afterburn.

I thought it was supposed to have a "warming afterglow". Must be a euphemism.
absinthist
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 13 2009, 10:05 AM) *

This was some time ago, and the trauma has erased everything from my memory, except the lingering afterburn.

Must have been one of these fakes sold under the very name (there are at least 4 of them on the market AFAIK). As such, I cannot recommend a credible CO piołunówka right now, maybe the one from "nalewki-i-inne" or just grabbing some vintage harhar.gif

For instance, that I definitely NOT recommend: http://www.nisskosher.pl/piolunowka-gorzki-likier-ziolowy/

knowing the fact they distribute that: http://www.nisskosher.pl/absinth/ no-czechs3.gif

but there is more, under different names.
Kirk
Last time I tried it I was sick
but Drambuie makes me puke too, and even more people like it
absinthist
Tomorrow I might have something to show. The ardent traditionalists shall be pleased, the others can…wait till tomorrow…

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evill.gif
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Absomphe
:::Cringes and genuflects in abject horror::: harhar.gif
absinthist
The much adored J.A.Baczewski crystal carafe, ca. 1856-1894. In such shaped bottles, only 5 brands were sold: Anisette verte, Cherry, Cumin sec sec, Orange sec sec and Curacao sec sec. The group of spirits was named "Marque de la Renaissance", in Baczewski catalogue the bottle had the number 17 :

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Juliusz Mikolasch was the founder of the first in Galicja Towarzystwo Rafinerii Spirytusu (Spirits Refinery Association). What was inside the bottle is unknown to me yet, it dates from 1902-1905. Baczewski was using that shape of bottles, too, in his catalogue it was under number 10:

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More to come…
absinthist
Just some papers, but interesting (to those that should be interested therein).

1) Baczewski portfolio of 1930. Excerpt about the xit they owned and how much they could cook, etc.

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2) Potocki in Łańcut was the worldwide finest producer of rosoglios-no doubt about it. Little is known yet about that particular rosoglio I have underlined-any ideas? My theory would be buying someone else's absinthe and transforming it into rosoglio since none of Potocki's portfolios (the one here is from 1897) list absinthe or "absynth" as such. I have underlined the oldest anise spirit, so Kontuszówka and obviously, Piołunówka I had no idea Potocki had been making.

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Absomphe
Too many indecipherable werdz.™
Shabba53
QUOTE(absinthist @ Mar 12 2010, 05:48 AM) *
My theory would be buying someone else's absinthe and transforming it into rosoglio

I highly doubt they went that far. My understanding of rosoglios is that they are a wine based spirit infused with herbs. I would guess that would mean that particular type of rosoglio was a wormwood macerate.
absinthist
Not always with herbs. Various fruit (e.g. rowan, sloe, raspberry) were used as well. The current Łańcut portfolio is very poor, but gives a hint: http://www.polmoslancut.com.pl/eng/rosoglios.htm

If it was only wormwood based, then the name should be "piołunowy", not "absyntowy"-meaning absinthe is the base for rosoglio. Maybe it was more in the vein of creme d'absinthe or ratafia d'absinthe?

In a sense rosoglio is just a high proof likker. Back in a day, they were made just like likkers but using natural oils, alcoholates, sweetened with honey and/or with sweet wine added, left at 32% at least*. The very first Italian rosoglio was just poorly rectified wine spirit flavoured with rose petal oil and sweetened further to mask the flaws.

* from Baczewski: IPB Image

Józef Bełza in 1840 in his opus "O wypalaniu wódek" defines rosoglio (named then, rossolis) as aromatic spirit that is stronger and sweeter than ordinary or dubbel likkers.
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