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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Absinthe in the News & in the Media
Mindshifter
Hello all,

I'm not frequenting this forum too much, so perhaps this is old news or already being discussed in another thread.
Anyhow, I'd just like to share that yesterday I received an email from the (Swedish) National Food Administration, informing that the European Committee for spirit drinks is likely to vote for a legal definition for absinthe on their next meeting.
This is an excerpt from the draft, according to the NFA:

"25a. Absinth
(a) Absinth is a spirit drink produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin or distillate of agricultural origin with absinth wormwood (Artemisia absinthum L.) in combination with other plants as Roman wormwood (Artemisia pontica L.), anise (Pimpinella anisum L.), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), mint (Mentha spp.) or with other plants provided that their taste is not predominant, using the following processes or a combination thereof:
(i) maceration and/or distillation at less than 86% vol.;
(ii) re-distillation of alcohol containing grains or other parts of the plants referred to in the introductory phrase of this point;
(iii) addition of natural distilled extracts of the plants referred to in the introductory phrase of this point.
(b) The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of absinth shall be 40%.
© Absinth shall contain a quantity of thuyone (alpha and beta) between 5 milligrams per litre and 35 milligrams per litre.
(d) Absinth shall have a minimum anethole level of 1 gram per litre.
(e) Absinth may have a maximum sugar content of 50 grams per litre expressed as invert sugar.
(f) Absinth shall not be coloured by other substances than those referred to in point (a), except for the colourants authorised on the basis of quantum satis, in accordance with Part I of Annex V to Directive 94/36/EC.”

What to think about this?
The drink is consequently referred to as "absinth", not "absinthe", but I guess that is of lesser importance.
One thing that really stands out is the wording in ©, where it's established not only a regulation for the maximum thuyone quantity but also a minimum quantity (!); a required quantity of no less than 5 mg per litre! blink.gif frusty.gif

In the email, the goverment agency says any comments on this should be submitted by November 29th.

Sorry if this already has been brought up. Otherwise, thoughts on this?
dr_ordinaire
Thanks for the post, Mindshifter.

Does anybody know why the macerating alcohol has to be less than 86% by volume?

Re: the thújone content, it seems to me that it makes sense for historical reasons. Absinthe originally was a medicine and, for all we know, thújone may have been one of the reasons for its efficacy as such.

It's like a rule stating that true tonic water has to contain quinine, instead of some other similarly tasting substance, even though we don't drink it to prevent malaria anymore.
The Standard Deviant
I'm surprised this subject isn't being discussed more, personally I think a minimum chop.gif limit is a bit bizarre.

Here's more of the text:

http://www.absinthes.com/themag/news-absin…f-absinthe-1072
Tibro
The bizarre bit is that if the legislation were to focus more closely on proper distillation protocols and appropriate taste profile the legal statement of minimum and maximum limits of chemical compounds becomes irrelevant. Take care of what goes in and the result takes care of itself. Advice fit for each individually. The means justify the end, not the inverse.
Père Ubu
I heard the crapsinthe makers were responsible for some of the weirder bits. But I wasn't there, so you'd have to ask those who were present.
Zman
I guess it was the crapsinth(e) makers that had it absinthe defined, in part, by maceration and/or distillation.
"
distillation?" What a load of garbage.
Jaded Prole
"Create your own reality"
L'Assommoir
I am wondering…

Say a distiller makes a perfectly good and absinthe run, yet it falls just below the minimum porkchop.

What would the options be?

Would there be a temptation to sneak in some laboratory grade t-bones? Thujone-Bottle.jpg

…then fucks up and adds too much, to the point of making it toxic.

Is that a realistic danger?
Jay
The afore-mentioned t-bones isn't something you add to a batch of absinthe with an eye-dropper in order to boost the levels, my friend. You'd simply throw in a few sage leaves to macerate and call it good.
L'Assommoir
QUOTE(Jay @ Dec 5 2012, 08:40 PM) *

You'd simply throw in a few sage leaves


True.
I was thinking of a situation that a distiller would not want to make a noticeable change in flavor/formula, and boost the tbone level as cheaply as possible.

And come to think of it, I guess if adding pure laboratory pork was economical someone would be doing it already to get the 'max legal' amount.
Alan
QUOTE(L'Assommoir @ Dec 6 2012, 01:58 PM) *
the 'max legal' amount.

Some are claiming precisely that.
Tibro
Is your wording meant to suggest some skepiticism as to what these unnamed "some" are doing?
Alan
No.
L'Assommoir
The whole thing makes about as much sense as tying a definition of beer based on minimum/maximum humulene content.

Bruno Rygseck
True, and t-jone is not a flavoring agent as far as I know. While they are at it, they could also define 'bitter' in absinth(e) context. Colored with A.a?
Patlow
Hah!
Bruno Rygseck
I, as a consumer/connoisseur/guzzler of absinthe just cannot afford anymore any undrinkable absinthes -- I have sinked too many already. A.a. in the coloring step is one way to make it unenjoyable, if not undrinkable, I think. Neither do I want any absinthe that won't louche at all (weakish louche however is OK). So , definitions or not, I would like to hear from the maker or vendor the following if and when a new absinthe comes to the market:
  • If it is marketed as 'bitter' (adjective) does that just mean that it is not sweetened or is it bitter as grande wormwood is?
  • Does it follow a traditional recipe (no quotation marks here) or does it contain "secret ingredients"?
  • Who makes the absinthe?
  • Do I get a discount? (Well not really)
dr_ordinaire
QUOTE(Bruno Rygseck @ Dec 7 2012, 01:44 PM) *

True, and t-jone is not a flavoring agent as far as I know. While they are at it, they could also define 'bitter' in absinth(e) context. Colored with A.a?


Coloring with A.a would ruin the taste of the absinthe, but the amounts involved are so small that they would not affect in any significant way the thújone content of the finished product.
Jaded Prole
How about official quality designations, ie Supérieur, Ordinaire, Oil mix, Macerate with requirements for each based on process and ingredients. Supérieur for instance would require classic distillation methods and natural coloration by herbs with a limit on ingredients based on the range used in classic recipes.

Designation should have to appear on the label.
Tibro
Drink it or sink it is all the consumer really needs to know.
Jaded Prole
True, but upfront designations (if the rules weren't written by big producers) would save people a lot of money by lessening the chances of buying crap.
Tibro
Corrupt institutions thrive by making people throw good money after bad. The various power brokers that control alcohol as a commodity are about as corrupt as they come. I see little hope of the consumer getting any help from any of them.
dr_ordinaire
We need an enlightened individual to bring back from the mount an Absinthe Reinheitsgebot that would last for 500 years… <sigh>
Bruno Rygseck
"I have acquired a taste for your elixier…" not.
dr_ordinaire
Ooops. wrong thread.
Jack Batemaster
chop.gif
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