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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > General Absinthe Discussion
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Marc
Never heard of this brand from California before.
http://www.sfspiritscomp.com/pdfs/2010Spir…ultsbyMedal.pdf
Marc
The maker : http://www.oldworldspirits.com
Zman
A GOLD medal for La Fee NV? A SILVER medal for La Fee Parisienne?
Shabba53
Thread and reviews here.
Provenance
More proof that "absinthe" competitions are innane.

La Sorcière Bleue Absinthe Blanche? WTF???
Shabba53
Yep and yep.
absinthist
Both at so low abv. Any pics of the louche action to be seen? More info on the herb-bill? Apart from what can be read on their site and the label:

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Steve
That is one of the most annoying websites I've seen in some time.

I remember looking at this some time ago. There was an article in the SF Chronicle or something. The distillery is only a 30 minute drive from my place. One of these days I'll have to check it out.

I don't hold out a lot of hope for a verte that is only 50° abv.
Provenance
Hope? I can't even hold out interest. There are too many serious absinthe artisans working today for me to waste my drinking time on nonsense.
Absomphe
Indeed.
kaseijin
That website is supremely annoying.
Tibro
Okay, I'm definitely skipping the website. The thread at WS was already more than I could stomach comfortably.
Artemis
QUOTE
Pour 1.5 oz. of La Sorciere into a glass. Slowly drip 3-4 oz. of ice cold water ... into the absinthe superieure.


Does one throw the Sorciere out of the glass before the water drip and replace it with an absinthe superieure, or is there a second glass involved? Absinthe superieure by definition contains at least 65% alcohol.
absinthist
At least 60% (vide Edouard) but nonetheless…
sixela
Out of morbid curiosity, I went, and the first words I read were,…

QUOTE

We are just humble sheppards


They're not humble, and their sheep are in pards rather than in herds.

Strange…of course, that's probably because I'm not smart enough to "comprehend".

I guess that means no Ultra Premium spirits for me, then.

Artemis
QUOTE
At least 60% (vide Edouard) but nonetheless…


HISTOIRE DE LA FEE VERTE
by Marie-Claude Delahaye
"The alcohol content of the finished product was variable. It was generally related to the content of essential oils, which made it possible to classify the absinthes along the following lines, according to Duparc:
Superior absinthe 65‑75% alcohol
Normal absinthe 50‑65% alcohol
Inferior absinthe 40‑50% alcohol"


absinthist
Um, no, Arty.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27622823@N06/2746263824/

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Artemis
No, what?

40 degree absinthe is irrelevant to the discussion of what is or is not superieure.

Absinthe suisse and absinthe superieure are not the same thing; absinthe suisse is also irrelevant.

Or maybe you meant, no, Duparc didn't say what he said or Delahaye didn't quote him correctly, or Duparc didn't know what he was talking about. Tell it to them. Good luck with Duparc.
Stroller
Psst. Tits, try this.

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absinthist
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…™

again superieure starting with 60%. The other books clearly mention that absinthes was rarely sold above 72%, so that 75% seems to be not credible taking into account the source, i.e. Duparc.

As regards Duparc himself, he as professor of Chemistry and Toxicology of University of Geneva was a close and ardent follower of Magnan and apart from being believer in absinthisme as defined by the latter, he seemed to favour anisisme as well and was eager to support the prohibition of anise-flavoured stuff similar to absinthe, etc should the need arise.

More on Duparc, Magnan et al and their treacherous actions against absinthe can be read in: "Jacquet, Louis (ingénieur des arts et manufactures). L'alcool, étude économique générale : ses rapports avec l'agriculture, l'industrie, le commerce, la législation, l'impôt, l'hygiène individuelle et sociale" (1912). Duparc saw absinthe as "un alcoolat des essences" what can be interpreted differently but gives a hint along the lines of his reasoning.
Artemis
Bedel wrote of fine absinthe (absinthe superieure):

"Macerate as described above and distill with 25 liters of water so as to receive 50 liters of product, then add 30 liters of alcohol and 20 liters of water. The product will measure 65 degrees."

DeBrevans wrote on the same subject, different recipe:

"Proceed as before. Yields 10 liters at 65%."

Fritsch wrote on the same subject, different recipe:
"(For 100 liters at 72%)"



But those guys were probably in bed with Magnan, too, or had some other evil agenda.
It's not worth arguing about five degrees. The point was that the product under discussion doesn't come close to being absinthe superieure.
absinthist
Yes, Berthoud recalls ordinaire as 46%, demi-fine as 49-53%, fine as 65% and Suisse as 72% (with adnotation pour exportation). In accordance to all these definitions, Sorciere should be classified as demi-fine and I was not advocating anything else, God forbid giving them a chance to justify "superieure".

The abv content was changing due to the laws imposed upon absinthe, especially that Law of Finances of 30th January 1907 which led the absinthe makers to reduce their 72% extraits to 60%. Closer to the end of absinthe, the abv was being lowered more. In Switzerland anisette was banned as well as being at >or 45% and having the absinthe characteristics (content of certain essential oils, louching, etc).

The problem with designation of absinthes lies in the fact, there were discrepancies and, what is reminded in "Traité d'hygiène publique et privée" of Michel Lévy, for 20 litres of absinthes consumed in France, 5 litres only was Suisse, the rest was commune or inferieure, so actually few of the chosen ones knew what Suisse was.

Obviously, I am not as good French translator as you're, but I believe I have an enough command of the language to find out this or that.
Artemis
I don't doubt your ability to find information and for all I know your command of French is better than mine; I'm not trying to get into any contest in any case.

Whatever problems existed in France at that time, the problem today is that people expect to slap anything at all on a label and get away with it. There are rules in the U.S. about what can be on the label of an alcoholic beverage, but many of them make no sense and some of them even guarantee that it will incorrectly labeled.
Artemis
As an example of a stupid rule, I recall one (probably a state regulation, not federal) that required beer of over a certain alcohol content to be called ale. Now every brewer who got past first grade knows that what makes it ale is the strain of yeast used to ferment the wort - alcoholic content has absolutely nothing to do with it.
dakini_painter
I'm sure you both know this already, but in the US the rules for labeling absinthe involve such things as not referencing hallucinogenic or drug-like qualities and the word absinthe not appearing by itself to imply a class or type designation (such as whiskey may be defined). The reason nearly all absinthe are labeled "absinthe superieure" as the TTB allows that as a descriptor for "excellent wormwood". It has no other meaning regardless of historical use.
Artemis
No, I didn't know that. That clarifies the current use of the word on U.S. labels, but proves my point about stupid rules as it has never had anything to do with wormwood, and the fact a regulatory agency considers it so does not make it so anymore than making a beer at higher than "normal" alcoholic content makes that beer an ale. What is "excellent" wormwood, anyway, and who gets to make that call?

QUOTE
It has no other meaning regardless of historical use.

That's not true. If you say it has no other meaning to the TTB, than so be it, but they don't know what the hell they're talking about.
dakini_painter
Sorry I meant that to TTB is has no other meaning. And they don't recognize absinthe as a distinct kind of spirit (again regardless of historical facts).

The producer decides what to put on the label in addition to the word "absinthe" whether that's superieure or verte or some other word/phrase they can get TTB to allow.
absinthist
At least, we could adopt the designations of the heyday and impose them upon TTB. To set things straight that not only the majority of products available in the US is superieure, nor they are absinthes at all.
Shabba53
I gotta say Boggy, the ratio of absinthe:non-absinthe in the US is a lot better than Europe.
absinthist
Only because the market is in its infancy. When European one was in its infancy stage and selection was highly limited and DEVA was a no holds-barred product of exceptional quality and rarity, no one in the US was thinking a ban will be lifted at all.
Shabba53
I'm not exactly sure how the last part of your post relates to the discussion, but in either case, I believe (or at least hope) that the efforts by some to propose a legal definition of absinthe will help to minimize the amount of non-absinthes in the US market. Obviously there's a long road ahead, but I think we've started out significantly better than the European market did.
Provenance
A US legal definition would be a mistake.

One, a definition wouldn't stop crap from being made and sold (nor do I see any purpose in attempting to do so).

Two, TTB may consider the process of developing a definition as grounds to (further) slow label approval.

Three, and most important, large spirits companies may well influence the development of the definition in such a way as to disadvantage of small artisanal producers.

In short, if you have a passion for crafting and/or consuming quality absinthe, you will not find increased government involvement to be beneficial.
Jaded Prole
I agree -- "let a hundred flowers bloom" and connoisseurs can and will select the best. Though small batch artisans will always operate outside imposed limitations, I think legal definitions imposed by know-nothings with the assistance of self-serving industries would do more damage than good.
Shabba53
The idea isn't to push out low quality brands. There will always be low quality brands, for every type of spirit. It's about creating a standard of identity aside from being lumped in the liqueurs and cordials category. Since that category is technically one where sugar is added to the distillate prior to bottling, it's not a category I'd expect to find absinthe.

Can you site any examples of how having a legal definition of bourbon, scotch, gin, rye, etc has hurt the respective category?
Provenance
Those definitions are long established. It's a different situation with absinthe where establishment of a definition would give large players the opportunity to place smaller makers at a disadvantage.

Artemis
QUOTE
Sorry I meant that to TTB is has no other meaning. And they don't recognize absinthe as a distinct kind of spirit (again regardless of historical facts). The producer decides what to put on the label in addition to the word "absinthe" whether that's superieure or verte or some other word/phrase they can get TTB to allow.

Thanks for the additional clarification. I didn't think my contempt for the TTB could deepen, but reading your original post pissed me off (not at you of course). I admire your ability to put up with those clowns.

Shabba53
QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 29 2010, 10:38 AM) *

It's a different situation with absinthe where establishment of a definition would give large players the opportunity to place smaller makers at a disadvantage.

It's my impression that any definition passed would probably have to be fairly generous in order for the TTB to look at it as a credible entry instead of as a power play by big liquor, like HR 5034.

But are you in support of the 'long established' definitions for those other classifications? For absinthe to have a 'long established' defintion, it has to be put in place at some point.
Grim
What's the specific way that big liquor is making a power play by H.R. 5034… (have a copy of the bill in my hand)?
Provenance
Conyers isn't likely to move CARE anytime soon as you probably know.

As for "long established" definitions, I made no indication as to whether they were good or bad, only that it is a different issue than absinthe since this creates a new opportunity to screw over small producers.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Grim @ Apr 29 2010, 11:50 AM) *

What's the specific way that big liquor is making a power play by H.R. 5034… (have a copy of the bill in my hand)?

I've read about a dozen analyses of the bill, but this one here goes into pretty good depth on the consequences. And it's not just limited to wines, obviously.

Some producers have weighed in at the WS as well just for more info.
Grim
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Apr 29 2010, 07:38 AM) *

For absinthe to have a 'long established' defintion, it has to be put in place at some point.

Not necessarily. Consumers can vote with their pockets, and develop an understanding of what they prefer over time.

There was a time Bordeaux brandy livres-per-barrique exceeded Cognac, but whatever transpired since then, Cognac was established in preference to all others. The cognaçais obviously benefited from the maneuvers and tactics of their representatives, but political action ebbed and flowed in anticipation of market conditions, shifting market centres augmented trade, and conditions of foreign demand/preference altered the methodologies of production… in other words, there were real, tangible, objective influences that shaped and molded understanding of this spirit. The preference of Champagne brandy over others happened gradually, and many decades before our modern designations/AOC were firm. Nowadays, Cognac can't be fucked with. You may have two pages worth of descriptions of brandy in 27 CFR 5, but cognac isn't fucked with.

I think, at this juncture, through legislative action, hardball and activism one may obtain a definition, but it won't strictly be in the best interest of the improvement of absinthe…
Grim
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Apr 29 2010, 08:17 AM) *

QUOTE(Grim @ Apr 29 2010, 11:50 AM) *

What's the specific way that big liquor is making a power play by H.R. 5034… (have a copy of the bill in my hand)?

I've read about a dozen analyses of the bill, but this one here goes into pretty good depth on the consequences. And it's not just limited to wines, obviously.

Some producers have weighed in at the WS as well just for more info.

I've seen it… I've even gone so far as to read Webb-Kenyon and the Wilson Act to see what is modified. I'm wondering what in specific needs to be addressed in the proposed legislation.
Stroller
I think HR 5034 takes away the anti discrimination language in the Wilson act & reaffirms the 21st amendment.

So each state (influenced by lobbyists) could stop direct shipping from out of state vendors. It would be up to each state to decide how they wanted to regulate alcohol without fear of someone cryin' discrimination.

Or maybe I'm wrong, I'm still trying to wake up.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Grim @ Apr 29 2010, 12:38 PM) *

QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Apr 29 2010, 07:38 AM) *

For absinthe to have a 'long established' defintion, it has to be put in place at some point.

Not necessarily. Consumers can vote with their pockets, and develop an understanding of what they prefer over time.

I think you misunderstood. My point wasn't that the definition must be put in place, but that for a definition to be 'long established', it must be put into place at some point to allow that clock to start ticking.

Of course consumers will vote for their pocket, but at the same time, having a general identity would be a good thing. At this point, a consumer has no idea what to expect when they are looking at a shelf that might contain Leopold, Pacifique, LTV, La Feck NV and Fenom. The disparity is such than one might not have ANY similarity to another.

While with a definition, someone who goes in to buy tequila knows a great deal about how it will taste, whether they pick from the top or the bottom of the shelf. Same with Scotch, Gin, Vodka, etc. There might be a wide variety of flavor profiles, but they all share some general characteristics that a consumer is assured of.
Jaded Prole
For consumers there has always been and continues to be a learning curve. Those wishing to pursue knowledge have the advantage of sites like this with buyer's guides. That which is of high quality will stand the test of time and be found by those who are really looking.
Tibro
QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 29 2010, 03:59 PM) *

A US legal definition would be a mistake.

At this point in time I would have to agree. The risks far outweigh the benefits of any "generous" definition the TTB might be imagined to come up with. Definitions that might now be referred to as "long established" were established during a time when market information gathering and politics were not so fierce and immediate and round-the-clock as they are now. The forces that compete for sales and political clout today are far more on top of the game then in the past. As Grim demonstrated with cognac these forces used to ebb and flow in a far less understood way and independent of partisan political lobbying. Every category has undrinkable brands. To recognize undrinkable tequila as tequila is not saying much. Same with the current non-category of absinthe. Consumers have never had better resources to educate themselves by than now. Fuck 'em if they don't take advantage of what's available. But don't risk fucking the artisanal producers.
Grim
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Apr 29 2010, 09:32 AM) *

QUOTE(Grim @ Apr 29 2010, 12:38 PM) *

QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Apr 29 2010, 07:38 AM) *

For absinthe to have a 'long established' defintion, it has to be put in place at some point.
While with a definition, someone who goes in to buy tequila knows a great deal about how it will taste, whether they pick from the top or the bottom of the shelf. Same with Scotch, Gin, Vodka, etc. There might be a wide variety of flavor profiles, but they all share some general characteristics that a consumer is assured of.

"with a definition"… you're saying absinthe will be expected to have general characteristics that a consumer is assured of… but a wide variety of flavor profiles. And from that definition, fait accompli, that is the intended result?

Defined in… in CFR? In 27 CFR 5? As in, you want a class, say 13, dedicated to absinthe?

Please read my brief history of early eau-de-vie above, as you seem to have misunderstood or ignored (imagine that) what I was saying.
Shabba53
QUOTE
Why not educate everyone on "American type" absinthe, and go that route… rather than lumping all absinthe in with it?


Well, for starters, it's not just domestic producers who are in support of a legal definition of absinthe in the US.

QUOTE
That will result from a general "definition" of absinthe?

I would say so. Since the general class definition of whisky is:

Spirits distilled from a fermented
mash of grain at less than 95%
alcohol by volume (190 proof) having
the taste, aroma and characteristics
generally attributed to whisky and
bottled at not less than 40% alcohol
by volume (80 proof)

I think it would be fairly easy to concoct the same type of definition for absinthe, such as:
Spirits distilled from xxx at less than xx%
alcohol by volume (xx proof) having
the taste (predominantly of anise and wormwood),
aroma and characteristics
generally attributed to absinthe,
louches, and bottled at not less than xx% alcohol
by volume (xx proof)


Your comment about "American Style' could techinically be included as part of a type, such as the types listed for whisky, but I'm not sure how one would go about to differentiate them to that degree. Possibly even just classify them by coloration method (uncolored, naturally colored, artificially colored).
Grim
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Apr 29 2010, 11:39 AM) *

QUOTE
Why not educate everyone on "American type" absinthe, and go that route… rather than lumping all absinthe in with it?


Well, for starters, it's not just domestic producers who are in support of a legal definition of absinthe in the US.

Fair enough. But what consumer gives a shit? Again, they cast their vote with their pocketbook. The only thing I can see, is that it's somehow being assumed that this definition will hold up smaller producers who will make absinthe more "traditional", and true to the proposed rule, against the threat looming from some "big liquor" interest waiting to pounce.

Is that what 27 CFR 5.21 is there for? Or does it identify spirits that are understood through consumption and industry at present? Those more established objects of commerce given rank with a "class" designation and a refining "type."

QUOTE
QUOTE
That will result from a general "definition" of absinthe?


I would say so. Since the general class definition of whisky is:

I think it would be fairly easy to concoct the same type of definition for absinthe, such as:
Spirits distilled from xxx at less than xx%
alcohol by volume (xx proof) having
the taste (predominantly of anise and wormwood),
aroma and characteristics
generally attributed to absinthe,
louches, and bottled at not less than xx% alcohol
by volume (xx proof)


Try replacing that rough sketch with some actual numbers now… seeing how you know next to nil about producing absinthe therein in lies one problem (edit: that sounded meaner than I intended). And that is also why there are very few people, yet alone a group of folks, who I would feel comfortable pressing our legislators or departments of government in this way.

"I would say so."

That didn't really answer anything. I'm trying to understand, is it the expectation that a new codified class will bring about a kind of typifying influence on all spirit called absinthe? Moreover: that's the goal? Or, is it to afford some protection for those goodly and kind producers who can do things properly and according to the definition sought?
Shabba53
QUOTE(Grim @ Apr 29 2010, 03:44 PM) *
seeing how you know next to nil about producing absinthe therein in lies one problem.

I think I've mentioned several times in this forum that I'm not an expert at producing absinthe, so your jab really is misguided. Although I've read a fair amount of distillation manuals, I do not practice distillation myself.

Also, seeing that I'm not the one proposing a definition, I was only speaking in hypotheticals and showing you an example of what a definition might look like, not proposing a specific definition.
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