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Full Version: Original recipe for Absinthe Ordinaire 65° Abel Bresson
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Absinthe History
Marc
With the prices for each herbs.

A big thank you to Libellule70 from the French forum who discovered this in the Vesoul city archives.

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bobt
Thanks Marc, that is a wonderful bit of absinthe history.
Kirk
Could anyone take a stab at what those prices would be in today's money?
Shabba53
With just a very quick search, I found that in 1913 (the earliest I found), $1 = F 5.184

So, if we take a look at the last set of numbers, regarding a hectoliter of absinthe at 65 degrees in 1911, we would get $218.20 in inflation adjusted dollars.

Give me a bit more time, and I can probably find exchange rates from 1911, and could convert all of the numbers.
Kirk
Thanks Shabba. It would be great to know what all those herbs used to cost.
Provenance
The exchange rate at the end of 1911 was also about 5.2 about the same earlier in the year. What inflation measure are you using?
Grim
Very interesting stuff… thanks, Marc.

I'm wishing he had other images, especially of the preceding pages.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Provenance @ Nov 3 2010, 12:31 PM) *

What inflation measure are you using?

CPI
Provenance
You may want to try normalizing the numbers as a share of GNP per capita. It can give a better sense of what spending that amount of money meant.
Shabba53
If you have the GNP data, feel free. This can be collaborative. I don't want to monopolize the data sharing.

I just wanted to answer Kirk's question relating to how much it would cost in today's dollars, not necessarily what spending that amount meant to people back then.

That would certainly be very interesting to find out though.
Kirk
It would be, and certainly what the money meant is related to what it is in today's dollars.
It would be nice to see the price of things like a cup of coffee, loaf of bread, pound of hyssop and how much sweat it took to buy one.
Grim
Of course, being me, finding out the cost of things doesn't seem all that exciting… but it is good to gather a sense of these sort of things for posterity, historical perspective, etc.

I think the fact that the recipe speaks of blanquette, in a "quantite habituelle" is a wonderful find. The suggestion appears in so normative a way, in pages filled with such very careful detail, it's something understood… typical.

The "à f" sometimes "a f"… is that "à faire", "à fois"… what is that understood to stand in for when you see it, Marc?

The coloration description is interesting.
Donnie Darko
Is 3/6 meant to be Trois-Six at 95 degrees diluted down to 90?

This is a pretty awesome find, as it's not a second (or third) hand account, like Duplais, Fritsch, etc, but seems to either be direct from the maker or the maker's book-keeper. Judging by the neatness of the handwriting I'd wager the maker's wife/mistress/gay lover was the book-keeper. Of course for all we know this could be a recipe for a shitty absinthe, but it's still one hell of a cool discovery. Thanks for sharing it. Some who have an interest in making absinthe might have kept it to themselves, so it's nice to have it out in the open.
Artemis
They use the "usual amount of blanquette". PTFA, Grim. It's not a "wonderful find"; we already knew this - well, some of us did, as I recently tried to tell you and you tried to convince me it was not so. You almost had me there, too - harhar.gif

If I have this right:

They made two runs using 632 liters of proof spirit (3/6 = trois six = proof spirit = pure alcohol = 95%) each time and the same herbs each time - doesn't sound like a best practice, but it does seem to say that the second run uses the previous charge of herbs - not the same amounts of herbs, but that same charge. The fact that the price for the herbs only appears once confirms this.

Then they repeated the first operation - two runs plus two runs now makes four runs total.

Then they mixed the product of the four runs with 1200 liters of proof spirit.

This yields 4700 liters of blanche at 74%.

They then took 2100 liters of this blanche and colored it, to yield 2000 liters of verte at 73%.

Finally they placed into a barrel: 2000 liters of verte at 73%, 1230 liters of blanche at 74%, and 400 liters of distilled water to yield 3630 liters of verte at 65%.

It's not so much a protocol as a cost analysis. Apparently water didn't cost them anything, since it's not mentioned.
Artemis
QUOTE
Judging by the neatness of the handwriting I'd wager the maker's wife/mistress/gay lover was the book-keeper


Ever seen the Declaration of Independence? Penmanship was once an ability possessed by many educated men and women alike, drilled by long hours of practice.
Artemis
QUOTE
The "à f" sometimes "a f"… is that "à faire", "à fois"… what is that understood to stand in for


Each instance. It's a unit price. Multiply by the units to get the lot price.
Kirk
Penmanship was practiced and tested by the student creating a fractur, a typical one might look like this, larger and more elaborate examples exist, some by the signers of the Declaration Of Independence.
Prol explained to me how pen nibs were once very delicate and flexible, allowing an incredible degree of control, the death of the flexible nib came about from the pen company offering guarantees of the product, a stiffer nib being less likely to fail from a heavy handed writer.
Kirk
I don't speak French so I just read the A.F. as @.
Artemis
QUOTE
I don't speak French so I just read the A.F. as @.


Good move.

I saw that sampler in person at Kirk's house. We marveled at it - pupils were expected to do that! Now they misspell words using a keyboard. Sad.
Marc
QUOTE(Artemis @ Nov 3 2010, 09:54 PM) *

QUOTE
The "à f" sometimes "a f"… is that "à faire", "à fois"… what is that understood to stand in for


Each instance. It's a unit price. Multiply by the units to get the lot price.

Yup.
Kols 160 à f74
=
160 kilos at 0.74 francs per kilo
= 118.40 Francs.
Artemis
So if we do the math, they collected around 875 liters per run at around 67%. Seems to be a conservative cut in the interest of clean distillate?

Also of interest:

Russian anise
Lemon balm in the maceration
"Quarantain" fennel - is that a reference to forty, or was it actually quarantined, sanitary, or ... ?
Kirk
I was wondering about that too. I couldn't find a definition of the word that would imply anything other than the obvious. I found this example of the word being used in a gardening forum discussion about artichoke varietals:
"Violet Quarantain Artichoke of Camargue or Artichaut Violet Quarantain de Camargue"
Also a "Quarantain dwarf white kidney bean or haricot nain blanc quarantain.
Plant data base list from 1900: "Violet quarantain de Provence"

This from the French wikipedia:
QUARANTAIN.1 (ka-ran-chock) 1. Rural term. Variety of corn. Adj. Says certain species or varieties of pea, corn, giroflées, a growth or a faster production. Peas quarantains. 2. Vulgar name of the matthiola ass. ETYMOLOGY Forty. Emile Littré, Dictionary of the French language
I think they may be talking about fennel doux.
EdouardPerneau
copied from google book:


On emploie les fruits da| fenouil dans la fabrication de l'absinthe, … On cultive le fenouil sur une grands échelle dans les départements de l'Hérault Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse, Gard et Tarn il pousse à sne hauteur de lm,20 à 2m et fournit des ombelles garnies de fleurs jaunes.On en cultive communément deux espèces qui ne diffèrent que par leur hauteur et qui sont communément appelées : petit quarantain et gros quarantain. Le fenouil pousse le mieux dans les sols calcaires et bien drainés mais il peut croître n'importe où, et si on fume le sol avec soin, on obtient de bons rendements. Les fleurs apparaissent en juin, et on cueille les ombelles aux mois de juillet et d'août dès que les fruits sont mûrs.On les place sur des claies pour les faire sécher à l'abri du soleil et on sépare ensuite les fruits par le battage .


happy translating but AFAIK it look like sweet fennel
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Artemis @ Nov 3 2010, 03:50 PM) *

QUOTE
Judging by the neatness of the handwriting I'd wager the maker's wife/mistress/gay lover was the book-keeper


Ever seen the Declaration of Independence? Penmanship was once an ability possessed by many educated men and women alike, drilled by long hours of practice.


Good point. Now most people are so used to typing that they can't write very well by hand. While I am not old, sometimes it feels as if we're witnessing the decline of civilization. I was speaking with one college professor last night who said one of her students actually wrote "LOL" in a sentence in one of her term papers. I also have met some kids who can't read the hands on an analog clock.

Of course people probably thought civilization was crumbling when comic books became popular also.
Jaded Prole
The invention of the ballpoint pen marks the beginning of the end of civilization.
Kirk
Thanks E.P.
The fennel fruit is employed in the manufacture of absinthe. One cultivates fennel on a large scale in the departments of l' Herault Rhone delta, Vaucluse, Gard and Tarn. It grows to a height of 3 to 6 feet and when ripe the umbels have yellow flowers. Both species are commonly cultivated and differ only in height and are called: small quarantain and large quarantain. The fennel grows best in limestone soil, well drained, but it can grow anywhere, if you char the ground carefully, you may obtain good production. The flowers appear in June, harvesting of the umbels begins in July and goes through August or as soon as the fruits are ripe. You place the fruit on trays to let them dry sheltered from the sun, separate the fruit by beating.
EdouardPerneau
QUOTE(Kirk @ Nov 8 2010, 10:03 AM) *

Thanks E.P.
The fennel fruit is employed in the manufacture of absinthe. One cultivates fennel on a large scale in the departments of l' Herault Rhone delta, Vaucluse, Gard and Tarn. It grows to a height of 3 to 6 feet and when ripe the umbels have yellow flowers. Both species are commonly cultivated and differ only in height and are called: small quarantain and large quarantain. The fennel grows best in limestone soil, well drained, but it can grow n' import where, if you char the ground carefully, you may obtain good production. The flowers appear in June, harvesting of the umbels begins in July and goes through August or as soon as the fruits are ripe. You place the fruit on trays to make them dry with in shelter from the sun, separate the fruit by beating.



More than nice try wink.gif

n' import where => n'importe = any so anywhere
Kirk
Thanks E.P. I thought that might be it but wasn't sure about that one part so I left it alone.
Provenance
Two hands writing two different languages
Tibro
But can she drink absinthe and play the drums?
Provenance
Don't know but I remember one girl who could play happy birthday on the saxophone while drinking a glass of water.
Tibro
Saxophone? Really?
Provenance
Yeah. If Clinton had seen her….
Absomphe
…he'd have sacrificed a really pricey cigar on her altar.
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