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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Dr Magnan's Lab
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EdouardPerneau
Now I think I had found the most interesting book that mention absinthe color in the hey day ever :


Journal de chimie médicale, de pharmacie et de toxicologie 1866 happy reading

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absinthist
Ha! Think 1000 times before you accuse Boggy extraits of being too "brownish" green evill.gif

Great find, mon ami. If we read what Eugene Cusenier had had to say about it, "beautiful green with golden reflections" clearly says what the colour was that one the closest to.

When I and Dom were louching Boggy Cusenier using one of the fountains, the guy behind the stall said: "oh, you have a verte, nice colour" or something like that (he said that in French, so Dom might provide a better translation if he remembers LARS!.gif ).
Kirk
No.
Hold a louched glass of beautiful green absinthe up to the light and look through it . That is the golden reflection they are referring to .
Phoenix
Anyone care to translate the relevant text to English for the stupid Americans?
eric
A properly aged Verte will begin to yellow, albeit very slowly.

A young absinthe, and I mean anything less than several years old that has turned brown is improperly colored.

Of course this is only my opinion. I could be wrong.

Phoenix
It's not called the green fairy for nothing.
absinthist
QUOTE(Kirk @ Jun 30 2009, 05:23 AM) *

That is the golden reflection they are referring to .

That can be possible as well. In fact, only Eugene Cusenier knows excatly what he meant, we are just left with our own, feeble and prone to be erroneous, interpretations.
absinthist
QUOTE(Phoenix @ Jun 30 2009, 05:51 AM) *

It's not called the green fairy for nothing.

AFAIK, it was called so due to the fact that absinthe was going green when louched-that was the magic and allure concerning the extraits of the heyday, which is rarely found in the current offerings. As a matter of fact, the greener and more Veronese green akin absinthes were absinthes inferieures, so artificially-coloured, chemically-engineered crapsinths (Hill's and Absinthium 1792 protos) that were louching only thanks to the excessive badiane usage or aniline.

Eric, you are not wrong, everything is dependent on several factors: what was/were used as a colouring herb(s), which method of colouration was chosen, was any proofing present thereafter, at what strength extrait was coloured, what factual colour was desired and so on and so forth.
absinthist
QUOTE(Phoenix @ Jun 30 2009, 05:36 AM) *

Anyone care to translate the relevant text to English for the stupid Americans?

Unless the French-speaking and French chime in, I will try to do my best:

1) greenish yellow light, 60%, pronounced anisy scent, medium alcoholic savour, slightly bitter
2) deep brownish green, 69.2%, weak anisy scent, extreme alcoholic savour, bitter
3) brownish green, 70.9%, weak anisy scent, very extreme alcoholic savour, bitter
4) brownish green light, 53%, fennely and wormwoody scent, very extreme alcoholic savour, very bitter
5) enough deep green with brown nuance, 51.8%, fennely and wormwoody scent, slightly alcoholic savour with a note of fennel and wormwood
6) brownish yellow, 65.2%, fennely and wormwoody scent, very extreme alcoholic savour, very bitter
7) brownish yellow deep, 72.3%, fennely and wormwoody scent, very strong alcoholic savour, acre (sp?) and extreme
8) greenish yellow with a slight brown nuance, 61.5%, wormwoody scent, slightly anisy, medium alcoholic savour, mixture of wormwood and anise

It should be noted that these absinthes were analyzed in 1860.

And the conclusion is very interesting as it mentions that none of these absinthes was harmful to humans.
eric
It was nice of EP to post this.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

EdouardPerneau
My pleasure wink.gif If I don't you won't learn french
EdouardPerneau
other thing Tits is right with the translation
Marc
QUOTE(EdouardPerneau @ Jul 1 2009, 05:37 PM) *

Tits is right

You're on drugs again?




harhar.gif
Phoenix
QUOTE(EdouardPerneau @ Jul 1 2009, 11:37 AM) *
Tits is right

Now that's shcoking!
Tibro
Consider the source.
dr_ordinaire
1) greenish yellow light, 60%, pronounced anisy scent, medium alcoholic savour, slightly bitter
2) deep brownish green, 69.2%, weak anisy scent, extreme alcoholic savour, bitter
3) brownish green, 70.9%, weak anisy scent, very extreme alcoholic savour, bitter
4) brownish green light, 53%, fennely and wormwoody scent, very extreme alcoholic savour, very bitter
5) enough deep green with brown nuance, 51.8%, fennely and wormwoody scent, slightly alcoholic savour with a note of fennel and wormwood
6) brownish yellow, 65.2%, fennely and wormwoody scent, very extreme alcoholic savour, very bitter
7) brownish yellow deep, 72.3%, fennely and wormwoody scent, very strong alcoholic savour, acre (sp?) and extreme
8) greenish yellow with a slight brown nuance, 61.5%, wormwoody scent, slightly anisy, medium alcoholic savour, mixture of wormwood and anise

And this was the good stuff: no copper, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, silver or tin.

You guys seem like some scientists, denying ESP because it goes against your beliefs.
Jaded Prole
Were they all sampled undiluted?
EdouardPerneau
so better translation since Dr. O shows up with bitter facts

#1 Greeninsh yellow weak ,strong anise smell,average alcoholic taste,sligty bitter

#2 Dark brownish green,weak anise smell,Burning and bitter alcohol taste

#3 brownish green, weak anise smell, highly burning and bitter alcohol taste

#4 Light brownish green , a smeel of fennel and strong wormwood, a weak alcohol taste and strong fennel

#5 an dark green with a slight brown hue ,the smell of wormwood and fennel,an slightly alcholic taste with a taste of wormwood and fennel

#6 brownish yellow,a smell of wormwood and fennel,an high burning taste of alcohol and very bitter

#7 dark bronish yellow ,smell of fennel and wormwood,a very strong and burning alcoholic taste also acre

#8greenish yellow with a slight brown hue,a wormwood smell with a touch of anise , an average alcoholic taste mixed with anise and wormwood

QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Jul 1 2009, 04:01 PM) *

Were they all sampled undiluted?


yes
dr_ordinaire
Hey, EP, I've been quoting the French calling absinthe "bitter" for years, but THIS time, it was YOU who brought up the B word.

A lot of people in this Forum are wishing you didn't…
EdouardPerneau
So If I had well understood I made your day wink.gif ahaha
dr_ordinaire
You have NO IDEA what you have done, EP. This entire Forum struggled for years to find ONE instance where absinthe's taste was praised. One "douceur" in some obscure distilling manual.

And you provide me with several "bitters" to add to my tally? Even one - gasp- "acre"?

Morons who want to belong can now make jokes about Dr. O's "acredness", I guess. Who's first?

Thanks, EP. I look forward to the next absinthe review. A "taste of this", a "hint of that". An overpowering stink of bullshit.



dakini_painter
It could be that 1900 France was a sea of cheap absinthe colored with AA.

An old bottle from a documented mass production absinthe factory of the day would go a long way to supporting your cause.

And taking a quick translation by Boggy as supporting evidence for your ideas is not the best scientific procedure.
absinthist
I have translated the excerpt only for the purpose of colour discussion. Since we know the scientists analyzed extraits undiluted, their observations regarding aroma, flavour, etc describe the extraits in that form and we all know that absinthes in pure form are highly concentrated concoctions, hence requiring dilution thereafter.

Thus, even though one or the other extrait taken neat is acre, bitter, etc, who knows what was its taste after louching? Do we know the ratio: was it 1:3 or 1:7, how many sugar cubes were used by French sugar palate pussies scientists in question? The answers to these and similar questions we do not know.
EdouardPerneau
Saddly Dr.O this where absinthe that was seized in bar to make some test on … perhaps some were real some were HG … so no one could say
eric
I would not be surprised if there were lesser known brands that used A.absinthium to color their products.

The sample of E. Albado that was made in Havana during the 1930s tasted like it was colored with A.a.

However, none of the samples from the House of Pernod or Berger that I have tasted had any of the nasty flavor associated with the use of Grande Wormwood in the finishing step. I have not detected this type of bitterness in any of the post ban Spanish Absentas from the 1930s-1960s that I have sampled either.
sixela
QUOTE(dr_ordinaire @ Jul 1 2009, 11:46 PM) *

You have NO IDEA what you have done, EP. This entire Forum struggled for years to find ONE instance where absinthe's taste was praised. One "douceur" in some obscure distilling manual.

And you provide me with several "bitters" to add to my tally? Even one - gasp- "acre"?

And several non-bitters. Even - gasp - more than one. In fact, there are more without any mention of bitterness and "légèrement amère" (which absinthe certainly is) than there are others. "Acre" is something quite different altogether. I doubt that the diluted ones (whose oils would have been pulled out of solution by the water), by the way, would have been as bitter.
absinthist
For "acre", I have found several equivalents like "sharp", "spicy", "piquant" and such, just the flavour-descriptors which might have little to nothing with the bitterness' part. If absinthe is spicy, it is still not considered a flaw, either.
eric
QUOTE(dr_ordinaire @ Jul 1 2009, 05:46 PM) *
This entire Forum struggled for years to find ONE instance where absinthe's taste was praised.




"Absinthe is considered as being of good quality when, on being diluted with water, it becomes white, and exhibits the color of the opal, which is due to the essential oils from the seeds, and the resinous and coloring matters of the plants, which,under these circumstances, are set at liberty, and form with water, the milky compound so highly prized. In this state it should be pleasant, agreeable, odorous, and sweetish."

Taken from A Treatise on the Manufacture & Distillation of Alcoholic Liquors by P. Duplais, translated by M. McKennie 1871 page 241.



"There is an advantage in stripping the plants so as to exclude all of the stems and use nothing but the leaves. This is perhaps the key to the smoothness of certain brands and their success with the public."

Nouveau Traité de la Fabrication des Liquers d'Apres les Procedes les Plus Récents by J Frisch 1891, translated by Artemis
dom_lochet
QUOTE(absinthist @ Jul 2 2009, 04:51 PM) *

For "acre", I have found several equivalents like "sharp", "spicy", "piquant" and such, just the flavour-descriptors which might have little to nothing with the bitterness' part. If absinthe is spicy, it is still not considered a flaw, either.


"âcre" has a negative connotation. It means something irritating the smell or taste. I think the correct translation is simply "acrid".
absinthist
Sadly, that one I have not found, thanks Dom. If it is so, then, I believe it refers to alcohol being acrid, so harsh and wrongly-processed, not to the flavour. And out of 8 absinthes, it was one single case.
Marc
Right, this is used to describe the alcool flavor.
I also like the way they are using the word "brûlante" to describe alcool, like if they were not used to drink such a strong alcool neat, which I can understand.
Artemis
Nothing particularly shocking here. Some bottles of absinthe were apparently seized by the police and submitted for testing. The lab says, no big deal:


Civil Court in Bastia, we visited his cabinet at the Palais-de-Justice, where we were presented with eight bottles closed with cork stoppers, covered with wax, containing extracts of absinthe seized at R. M. T. et al.;

After taking the oath to give our opinion in honor and conscience on the list of questions posed by the examining magistrate, reported above, we immediately moved said bottles to our laboratory for the purpose of analyzing their contents.

We shall proceed, in the presence of M. the instructing magistrate, to examine and open these bottles of the following descriptions:

No 1 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with red wax, with the seal of the police superintendent and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No 1, R. M.

No 2 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with red wax, with the seal of the police superintendent and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No 2, B. J.

No 3 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with red wax, with the seal of the police superintendent and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No 3, P. L. & C.

No 4 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with brown wax, with the seal of the police superintendent and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No 4, B. S. & F.

No. 5 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with wax, with the seal D.F. and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No. 5, D.J. & T.

No. 6 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with red wax, with the seal P.G. and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No. 6, G.P.

No. 7 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with red wax, with the seal of the police superintendent, and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No. 7, D.J.

No. 8 - Green glass bottle of about one liter, closed by a cork stopper, covered with red wax, with the seal of the police superintendent, and bearing on the paunch a paper label with the writing: No. 8, Absinthe type Mr. A.

We will refer later in this report to each of these liquors by the number on its label.

Our first operation was to ascertain the organoleptic characteristics of the suspect liquors.

The No. 1 has a weak greenish yellow color, a pronounced smell of anise, an average alcoholic flavor, slightly bitter.

The No. 2, a dark brownish green color, a slight smell of anise, a burning bitter alcoholic flavor.

The No. 3, a brownish green color, a slight smell of anise, an alcoholic flavor very burning and bitter.

The No. 4, a clear brownish green color, a pronounced smell of fennel and wormwood, a flavor slightly alcoholic and pronouncedly fennel.

The No. 5, a fairly dark green color with a brown nuance, a smell of fennel and wormwood, a slightly alcoholic flavor with a taste of fennel and wormwood.

The No. 6, a brownish yellow color, a smell of fennel and wormwood, a very burning and very bitter alcholic flavor.

The No. 7, a dark brownish yellow color, a smell of fennel and wormwood, a very strong alcoholic flavor, acrid and burning.

The No. 8, a greenish yellow color with a slight brown nuance, a slight anisey wormwood smell, a moderately strong alcoholic flavor mixed with wormwood and anise.

Having noted these characteristics, we applied reagents to the eight samples to recognize the changes that could identify colorant materials. We obtained:

For the No. 1 with Lead Acetate:

In the No. 1 a weak greyish yellow precipitate

2 - very strong greenish yellow

3 - strong yellowish

4 - slightly strong brownish yellow

5 - fairly strong greenish yellow

6 - slightly strong brownish yellow

7 - slightly strong brownish yellow

8 - slightly strong brownish yellow

No. 2 with potassium

In the No. 1 a slightly strong yellow precipitate

- 2 - a fairly strong yellow brown

- 3 - strong greenish yellow

- 4 - slightly strong straw yellow

- 5 - slightly strong greenish yellow

- 6 - slightly strong brownish yellow

- 7 - slightly strong greenish brown

- 8 - slightly strong brownish yellow

We conclude that the colorant is the same in all these liquors but in varying amounts.

The brownish hue, as we later recognized, is due to iron peroxide acetate.

We then sought the density of the liquors and we formed the following table: (OMITTED)

The density of normal absinthe being 0.9070, this table allows us to conclude immediately: First, No.1 and 8 contain about the usual proportions of water and alcohol; Second, 2, 3, 6, 7 are more alcoholic, and Third, that 4 and 5, by contrast, are less alcoholic than normal absinthe.

But these preliminary indications provided by the comparison of densities had to be supplemented by precise determination of the proportion of alcohol contained in each liquor. We made use of the Salleron version of the Gay Lussac distilling device, and the alcohol meter that accompanies it. A volume of liquor diluted with a volume of water to reduce the proportion of aromatic essences that pass over in distillation with alcohol, was distilled to three quarters and the obtained liquid diluted with pure water to test with the alcohol meter. All corrections made, we were able to form the following table:

(Quantity of alcohol by volume in 100 parts of liquor):

1 - 60

2 - 69.6

3 - 70.9

4 - 53

5 - 51.8

6 - 65.2

7 - 72.3

8 - 61.5

As the dissolved materials are still too small in quantity to significantly affect the density, this table confirms what we said above, we see that the ordinary absinthes contain about 60 parts in 100 of alcohol by volume such as no . 1 and 8. No. 2, 3, and 7 far exceeding that proportion are too alcoholic; No. 6, although less rich than the previous ones, is also too dependent on alcohol, and No. 4 and 5, too low in alcohol indicate that ordinary eaux de vie was introduced with the aromatic and coloring materials.

The proportions of alcohol, almost all greater than in normal absinthes, and the alcoholic taste more bitter than acidic are sufficient to rebut the assumption that mineral acids have been introduced into the liquor to give them strength. However, to achieve greater certainty in this regard, we neutralized equal volumes of each of the liquors by by dissolving a titrate of soda. However, assuming that there are acetic acids or juices from plants that were used to flavor and color, from the oxidation of alcohol in contact with the air, we do find the following minimal proportions in one liter: (OMITTED)

It is therefore certain that there are no mineral acids in the examined absinthe.

We then proceeded to search for materials held in fixed dissolution, 200 cubic centimeters of each liquor was evaporated in a double boiler in porcelain capsules and residues of extracts adhering to the vessels were weighed. We found the following results: (OMITTED)

These weights do not vary very significantly - except for No. 1 and 2; this should fix the proportions of aromatic juices and colorants in proportion to the metal dissolved in the flasks in which they were prepared . Thus, No. 1, which leaves almost no residue, is almost colorless; No. 2, which leaves the most, is also one of the most colorful, and it turns out that that lead acetate in No. 1 yields only a small precipitate, while No.2 provides the most abundant precipitate. All these residues also have a pleasant smell. What is particularly important is the existence or non-existence of mineral residues harmful to health. We therefore charred the residues in the same vessels that contained them.

The coals obtained were treated with hot aqua regia until almost complete evaporation of the acid, and finally repeated with pure water sharpened a little with nitric acid and filtered. All liquors yielded a beautiful shade of yellow, which submitted alternately to a flow of hydrogen sulphide, yielded no precipitates, so there is in the absinthes under consideration, no copper, or lead, mercury, or antimony, or arsenic, or silver or gold or platinum, or tin. The sulfhydrate of ammonia yields, on the contrary, in all liquors, a more or less abundant black precipitate soluble in hydrochloric acid, and yielding a precipitate of Prussian blue using ferricyanide of potassium. The absinthes under consideration, therefore, contain iron; some absinthes containing more than the others. The presence of iron in these liquors is naturally explained, noting that the juices intended to flavor and color are produced by crushing plants in mortars of iron, acetic acid contained in these juices dissolves a certain quantity of iron acetate into absinthe that is more or less brown, more or less in proportion.

We also noted that the coal supplied by the residues from the evaporation of absinthe contained some potash: this was easy to predict, since all plant juices contain a greater or lesser extent of this.

About the wormwood essences contained in the suspect drinks, it has not been possible to determine the proportions; and it is also in the interest of the manufacturer to use the least amount possible, the white tint showing when the liquid is diluted with water, the smell spreads, giving us the certainty that the proportion is not too strong.

CONCLUSIONS

1 - None of the absinthe extracts submitted to us for testing contain mineral substances harmful to health.

2 - Absinthes 2, 3, 6 & 7 contain more alcohol than normal absinthes; 4 & 5 in contrast contain less.

3 - The tested absinthes cannot be considered harmful to health because of alcohol or essences they contain, but we will note that these two substances are still in very small proportion, constituting the basis of these liquors and their action on the physiognomy depending upon the amount of water with which they are diluted.


Artemis
Of more interest is an excerpt, unrelated to the absinthe test, that appears in the same journal of medical chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology:

Suspected poisoning - Research made as a result of various accidents

I, Jean Baptiste Chevalier, chemist, member of the Imperial Academy of Medicine, Board of Health, professor at the School of Pharmacy, charged by Mr A with the examination of 1 - vessels used in his hotel; 2 - juice of gooseberries for the manufacture of ice cream; 3 - vanilla ice cream and redcurrant prepared the day there were accidents, 4 - the milk that was in the frozen confections; 5 - meat juice; 6 - a box of canned food to determine whether these vessels and products can be considered substances that can explain the recorded accidents, especially, ice cream;

eric
worshippy.gif

Thank You very much Mr Cajun.

You are my hero.

Artemis
As I understand it from our conversation tonight, we are both going to hell.

I will toast you there.
eric
I would not miss that for anything my good friend.
G&C
Save me seat by the fire.
EdouardPerneau
Thanks artemis for a better translation than I could offer wink.gif
The Standard Deviant
Whoah, that's a lot to translate. Thank you very much, Artemis, I'm sure everyone appreciates it.
Phoenix
Thank you, good sir.
Marc
QUOTE(The Standard Deviant @ Jul 4 2009, 11:15 PM) *

Whoah, that's a lot to translate. Thank you very much, Artemis, I'm sure everyone appreciates it.

What he said. Thank you!
Grim
So are we still going to hang out in Dallas, eric, or are you headed to New Orleans?

QUOTE
We made use of the Salleron version of the Gay Lussac distilling device, and the alcohol meter that accompanies it. A volume of liquor diluted with a volume of water to reduce the proportion of aromatic essences that pass over in distillation with alcohol, was distilled to three quarters and the obtained liquid diluted with pure water to test with the alcohol meter. All corrections made, we were able to form the following table:


That's especially neat to read, as I was just looking through a book on manufacture of eau-de-vie that describes the use of this device in detail. But the author doesn't treat the use of it for liquids greater than 25°.

This makes sense in context of what I've been reading, if I take it as "One volume." Also makes distilling down to 3/4ths a bit more logical.
eric
Yeah it is looking like I will be in Dallas the whole weekend. Call me.
Kirk
Tell Anson I said hey.
eric
If I see him.
dr_ordinaire
QUOTE(sixela @ Jul 2 2009, 07:27 AM) *

QUOTE(dr_ordinaire @ Jul 1 2009, 11:46 PM) *

You have NO IDEA what you have done, EP. This entire Forum struggled for years to find ONE instance where absinthe's taste was praised. One "douceur" in some obscure distilling manual.

And you provide me with several "bitters" to add to my tally? Even one - gasp- "acre"?

And several non-bitters. Even - gasp - more than one. In fact, there are more without any mention of bitterness and "légèrement amère" (which absinthe certainly is) than there are others. "Acre" is something quite different altogether. I doubt that the diluted ones (whose oils would have been pulled out of solution by the water), by the way, would have been as bitter.


I'm going to reply you guys one day at a time, but this is first in the "Intellectual Dishonesty" scale.

1 Slightly bitter
2 Bitter
3 Bitter
4 Very bitter
5 (No mention of taste)
6 Very bitter
7 Acre
8 (No mention of flavor)

"Several non-bitters" "Even-gasp-more than one" As in two, out of eight?

"There are more without any mention of bitterness…" Are you and us in the same planet, Sixela?

"'Acre' is something quite different altogether". Well, you are right on this one. Acre is far worse than bitter.

"I doubt that the diluted ones (whose oils would have been pulled out of solution by the water), by the way, would have been as bitter." I'm going to savor this: could you please tell us, Sixela, how bitterness will diminish by the oils being pulled out of solution?

Make it a good one, Six. This question (and your answer) will live on.
dr_ordinaire
We have a hipothesis by Chicksela that undisolved oils would be sweet when dissolved.

And make absinthe sweet, not bitter.

It's Chicksela's theory, he explain it. Noone believes it.

He'll sure come an explain.

dom_lochet
There's a slight difference between "not as bitter" and "sweet"…
absinthist
Indeed!™ And these are very personal feelings-what is bitter for someone, might be slightly bitter or semi-sweet for the other. I believe we have discussed it already at length.
Artemis
I have changed the one instance of "acre" to "acrid" in the translation. I agree that "acrid" is the appropriate English word, but I missed it initially - got in a groove of typing "bitter". I think there was only one, anyway.

For the record - 1 was slightly bitter, 2 was bitter, 3 was bitter or very bitter depending upon how you read it, 4 and 5 he didn't say, 6 was very bitter, 7 was acrid, 8 he didn't say.
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