Lucid Absinthe’s Distiller on Thujone: Confused?

Alice

“How much thujone in Lucid, Sir?” … “Ask no questions child.”

The words below were written by Lucid Absinthe’s distiller on the subject of thujone, the naturally occurring element in wormwood, previously credited in the 19th century with hallucinogenic and mind altering powers.

If you didn’t know yet Lucid Absinthe is the new FDA “thujone free” compliant absinthe that is being hyped from coast to shining coast in America this week. But is it real absinthe if it has no thujone? Read on..

Using every bit of information I’ve processed over the past seven years, my calculations indicate that quality original Pontarlier labels contained anywhere from 50-100mg/kg total thujone. I do agree that I feel that thujone is not the only player in the secondary effects, although I’m convinced it plays an important role. I also have some evidence that indicates that the presence of other essences and even manufacturing methods is influential.T.A. Breaux

June 5, 2000 (FeeVerte.net)

These days we are told that there was little or no thujone in pre-ban real absinthe by exactly the same source! Seven years of research, and a sudden change of heart? To quote Alice in Wonderland: “Curiouser and curiouser”. What should we make of this? The only person that can answer this is T.A.Breaux himself and he alone is invited to do so below.

32 responses to “Lucid Absinthe’s Distiller on Thujone: Confused?

  1. I think that the date of that quote says more than the quote itself. Having been a lurker at Sepulchritude (FV) since late 1997 and a posting member since early 2000, I remember the circumstances of that post vividly.
    It would be interesting to read Ted’s explaination of this inconsistency.

  2. I guess that I could just give him a call and ask him if I really wanted to.

  3. Thank you, KC. The thread is closed until we hear then.

  4. Would you be that optimistic to actually believe in hearing from them, if he rarely answers any questions thoroughly (just as at FV)? I am curious myself.

  5. Maybe, but I think it is only fair to allow T.A.Breaux the opportunity to reply as only he knows why he suddenly changed his stance so diametrically.

  6. Ultimately, T.A’s got two problems here:

    1. He comes here, denies his statement, then beats the party drum yet again. But, the problem is, he can’t very easily deny it (gotta love public record that way). So what I’d expect to see is a major amount of backtracking “oh, those were poor results” or “well, that was then, I’ve learned more now”, etc. Perhaps even a “I’m a scientist dammit!”

    2. He backs up his statement which then causes problems for him with Lucid. Why, if he said that absinthe contains so much thujone in the past (due to his “tests”) has he just now “discovered” that is doesn’t now?

    Either way, I find myself eating popcorn and watching this thread for the next couple of days in eager anticipation.

    But while we’re asking questions, perhaps if he does show, he can answer my perpetual question of “just what “authentic pre-ban” did he test when he found out that absinthe had little to no thujone?”

  7. Talking of public records, there is more, Leif.

    As we all know, Ted doesn’t only style himself as “absinthe chemist”, but also as “absinthe historian”. But what strikes me as odd is that only a few short years ago, this “historian” didn’t yet know how to spell “Belle Epoque”. Quote:

    “Belle Epoch (sic) Liqueurs was founded by a group of absinthe historians and scientists who became disenchanted with the poor quality …”

    Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20040322053754/http://bestabsinthe.com/

    That’s archive.org, a tool that shows what websites looked like in the past.

    And there is yet more. I don’t want to repeat here what I said two weeks ago, so just visit…

    http://www.laloyolan.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticleComments&ustory_id=03c33d0c-b12b-4a66-843d-f2ef690cf4e1#9cb3a325-95c6-4bb1-ac0d-b0c621468a7c

    … and read my last comment.

    The American public are just being fooled, it’s that simple.

  8. Opinions change based on available evidence.
    Nah that could never happen. Obviously he is trying to hide something. I mean it’s not possible that in 2000 he was basing his idea on available data/guestimates and then later on actual data.

    The real problem is when someone ignores new data and repeats the same old guestimate even after it is shown to be wrong (such as seen from Arnold and Absintheur).

    (I wonder if this gets posted)

  9. “every bit of information I’ve processed over the past seven years, my calculations”=guestimate?

    Damn, so much for that whole “scientific method” then…

    I’m not sure who you are insulting at this point, but I’d have to say it sounds like you’re insulting Ted.

  10. Hello Ari-

    “Opinions change based on available evidence.”

    And propaganda changes the opinions of the public.

    “The real problem is when someone ignores new data and repeats the same old guestimate…”

    No, Ari, the *real* problem is when someone is “randomly grabbing people on the street and whipping them till they repeat the accurate information…”

    Long live the Ministry of Love! ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Love )

    Except–as you know Ari–the above quote isn’t taken from Orwell’s 1984; it is something far more real; it is something *you* said.

    Source: http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2712&st=0

    Now, why are you so animated about Lucid anyway? Could it be because you are in their employ as one of their “guerrilla marketers”?
    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_marketing )

    Thank God for public records once again. I can dig up more if you like.

  11. So instead of addressing the points brought up you again drag out an old joke that you love to quote mine and then some ironic ad homs, good job, I knew I could count on you Drabsinthe.

    I see this will go just the same as usual. At least Leif seems interested in the discussion.

  12. Ari-

    “So instead of addressing the points brought up…”

    I’m sorry Ari, but what points did you bring up? All I read was a desperate pro-Lucid rant by a kid that’s previously admitted that his “internet work” (a.k.a. guerrilla marketing) for the manufacturer pays for his education.

    I am sorry, I didn’t want to take it this far, but the truth must prevail — and you are giving me no choice here.

    I work in marketing and so I know there is a thick line between what’s considered *ethical* and what’s not. Your employers have crossed this line and they are laughing at the American public as I write this.

    Lucid isn’t absinthe. It’s an absinthe-like imitation. You know it, I know it, Ted knows it, the absinthe community know it. The (lazy) journalists don’t necessarily know it, but they rarely know anything about anything. As I said, I work in marketing and we pretty much buy any of them for any purpose we care. They’ll write anything if there’s cash on the table (or better still, under the table).

    To clarify this for people who have not followed the recent controversy: I do not market absinthe; I market far more mundane things (boring household items and such (check your bathroom). But I do love & drink absinthe, hence my interest in the debate. But I drink the (real) stuff made in Europe. I don’t care for imitations.

  13. Absinthe chemist, absinthe historian do not equal absinthe expert, just as being bar owner, like someone from the U.S. (not a forumite) does not mean vast knowledge of spirits.

    Buffoonery happens everyday, we just have to put up with it and hang loose and never take it too personal.

  14. “I’m sorry Ari, but what points did you bring up?”
    A) that he changed his opinion based on evidence.
    and
    B) point that don’t seem to get posted (I wonder if this will get posted or if it will be “lost” as well)

    —-
    “that’s previously admitted that his “internet work” (a.k.a. guerrilla marketing) for the manufacturer pays for his education.”

    Oh I would Love to see where you quote mined that from. Please show me the source of this claim.

    —-
    “Lucid isn’t absinthe. It’s an absinthe-like imitation.”

    Based on what definition and evidence?

  15. “So instead of addressing the points brought up…”

    Ari, you post a pointed and insulting message and then wonder why people ignore you? I know you’re not that naive so what is your intent here?

    As for what I’m interested in:

    What discussion? I’m interested in nothing of the sort. I just want to see if Ted actually shows up. Especially since discussions on absinthe are usually the biggest waste of time since the invention of the hula hoop (see what this “discussion” has turned into).

    Ultimately, there’s just you or Alan beating the same old drum and then getting everyone sucked into the same old tired debate. Hell, I’m a little surprised that Pan Buh hasn’t showed up yet to toss his hat into the ring.

    I don’t want to get rude here, however, this is exactly what always happens when something/someone gets called out.

    So, until Ted shows up (if he shows up). Let’s just bide our time. and try to be civil, dammit. We can bicker like schoolgirls later.

  16. Tom, you’re right.

    Ari made no points except a very subtle one (well, not so subtle, but still). It was an attempt to divide and conquer. Ie. “you folks are all about your lies and censorship…at least Leif is interested in the discussion”. If this is what “discussion” is, then no. I’m not.

    And here’s why:

    The absinthe world is a vastly complex world. One in which a lot of cons are currently getting there game on in. We have our “science” and our “history” and it’s all this gigantic, grandiose attempt to be something that it’s not anymore. But they still try to sell the lie.

    Hiram’s got his “authentic cocktail absinthe”, Ted’s got his “authentic absinthe”, Alan’s pimping his “real absinthe”, etc, etc, etc. And we’re all supposed to buy into it. Like drinking the stuff will somehow magically transport us back to a small French cafe. ” Oh…is that Van Gogh! why yes! he’s drinking absinthe too!” “We can’t be late for the Green Hour!” etc. etc. etc.

    As long as this stale, tired out image persists, as long as this is what is sold by the peddlers, then we’ll get the party line. “Absinthe historians’ know these things and who are you?

    Now I should point out that…sure, they have their moments. I wouldn’t turn down any of them if they offered me some of their wares. But I’m not getting sold on their claims to “authenticity” simply because they were not there or alive during that moment of time in the world (thank you H.S.T.). I can follow a 18th century drop recipe…but that doesn’t make them “authentic” anymore than buying “homemade soup” at a chain restaurant makes it “homemade”.

    We use these words too liberally nowadays. They fill us. One of the greatest secrets about the middle class American is that they’re desperately trying to buy into something…to feel a part of something. So if you can sell the lie, you make your Judas’ silver.

    Being apart of the Belle Epoque is just another one of those lies.

    I was accused recently of being allied with the “czech swill industry” over at Louched Lounge and that made me laugh. Mostly because it was true. (not really, but you folks already believe the lie anyway…so why not feed you more?) But seriously, it got me thinking. Well, I started thinking right after I finished laughing. I will say this: am I allied with the Czech Absinth industry? No. Am I disenfranchised by a bunch of pseudo-French/Swiss snobs who, when they aren’t hocking their wares…they’re cutting down anyone who has a different opinion? Yes.

    But seriously, what’s the point?

    See, I think that a lot about most things.

    Ted holds a lot of clout in the “absinthe” world. And his band of disciples will pretty much do whatever he says. You remember the craze Ari. Lucid just hitting the streets and people buying cases of the stuff, bragging about it. And in their panic, threatening anyone who said “maybe we should calm down”, or “you know, is this stuff really ‘authentic'”, or…better yet…anyone who didn’t actually like the stuff.

    Is it so impossible to think differently? Can’t anyone let anyone have an opinion without trying to verbally rape them for it. Or is that impossible when money is on the line?

    So why then can’t Ted be called out on occasion? Absintheur is routinely called out on his own blog but that’s somehow ok. I’m called out on Louched Lounge and that’s just ducks. But heaven forbid Ted the Almighty gets mentioned by anyone who is not in the “absinthe elite” and only then with nice, sugar coated words.

    So what does happen issues are raised?

    The foot soldiers are deployed. Their mission is to obfuscate. Get the peasants distracted and continue waving your shinies in front of the idiots who fall for it. But it’s getting old and tired, man. And I’ve given up talking to a deaf, mute wall. Count me out of “discussion” anymore. Game over, because I have better things to do with my time. If we want to have a nice chat that is about something original, without the bullshit–I’m back in, but I’m not holding my breath.

    So here we are. You, me, absintheur, tom, etc. sitting around waiting for Ted. If Ted wants to enlighten us. Awesome. If he doesn’t. Well, that’s pretty much what I expected.

  17. To make a point: I’m not a fan of Lucid, but I see its worth. It’s opened the doors for far better absinthes to come into the US (and probably some that will be far worse, but that’s neither here nor there).

    Logic would lead us to conclude that Ted wouldn’t be lying regarding the ingredients in Lucid. He’s got too much of a reputation to protect. Would he really want to throw away his customer base that buys Jades at more than $100 a pop just to sell Lucid? I doubt it.

    And regarding thujone levels, I honestly couldn’t care less. Lucid (or Jade or any other brand) could have 1 mg/l or 100 mg/l and it wouldn’t effect which absinthe I’d buy. I have yet to find a difference in the ‘effect’ based on thujone levels. I could sit two absinthes side by side that have the same calculated levels of thujone, and get different levels of ‘effect’. Alternatively, I could also sit two absinthes side by side that have VERY different purported levels of thujone and get the same ‘effect’. Heck, I could mix myself a Tuaca Bomb and get more of an effect than any absinthe I’ve drank.

    I buy absinthe based on taste, that’s it.

    But, regardless of what I think of thujone, I don’t think anyone would deny the fact that over the past decade or so, testing methods for thujone have changed. Just as Dr. Arnold made an ‘educated guess’ on the levels of thujone in pre-ban absinthe, data since then (from several sources) has showed a different result.

  18. Wow. This is a remarkably mean crowd. Makes me sorry I showed up. And now I leave, having absolutely no idea what “real” absinth(e) is or why I should care.

  19. “The only person that can answer this is T.A.Breaux himself and he alone is invited to do so below.”

    Very well, I am here. Feel free to ask anything you like.

  20. T.A.-

    > “Very well, I am here.”

    Good to have you here. It is my understanding that several academics were invited to join the discussion but all politely declined as soon as your name was mentioned. Hmmmm.

    Well, I hang out with all kinds of people all the time, so what the hell…

    If Absintheur permits me, therefore, I’ll be the first person to fire off a few initial questions, T.A. More to come, but here’s the first round:-

    (1) Why have you picked Thailand, of all places, to begin your career in absinthe? Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Thais do produce a rather rough and sugary (yet quite good) Mekong whisky, but no absinthe whatsoever (and never have done). Why then?

    Puzzled.

    (2) You sign as “absinthe historian”. What evidence is there to back up this rather grandiose claim, other than your say so? How long have you studied the subject? When did you first realise that “Belle Epoch” was actually spelt “Belle Epoque”? Sure, most people could be forgiven for this (relatively) easy-to-make mistake, but a historian? Especially if he is misspelling his (proposed) company name?

    Puzzled some more.

    (3) As I have done in an earlier comment, I must express my reservations as to your marketing tactics. I feel a line was crossed that shouldn’t have been. No direct questions here, just a request for comments.

    Be well for now,
    Tom

  21. (1) At the time (1999), the prospect of a foreign venture legally producing absinthe in France or Switzerland seemed an unlikely proposition. A friend and potential business partner in Thailand offered the ways, means, equipment, contacts, etc., to get things started quickly, and with a minimum of risks and government hassles. The idea was relatively short lived, and eventually proved to be unnecessary. It bears no relevance to anything taking place today.

    (2) The terms “absinthe historian”, “absinthe researcher”, etc., accurately portray my relevance to members of the media, or whomever else who may inquire. As for my association with historical and technical aspects of absinthe, that spans 14 years as of last month.

    As for the name “Belle Epoch”, I neither named nor owned the original entity. Nevertheless, there was never any mystery that the word “Epoch” is not the French spelling. The practice of deliberately adopting foreign spellings for traditionally French words seems to be relatively commonplace.

    (3) I can neither comment nor clarify anything regarding ‘marketing tactics’ without specific references.

  22. Re. (1)

    Just hang on Mr. Historian… you seem to be getting your history wrong again. Why do you talk of 1999, when it was in December 2002 when the Best of New Orleans interviewed you, then wrote: “With a manufacturing facility in Thailand ready to roll…”.

    But who cares? Three years here or there…

    Why is this significant?

    (a) Because it is yet another example of how loosely you treat facts when it suits you (for a “historian” and a “scientist”);

    (b) Because in 2002, you could have set up in Europe. Except you couldn’t, or at least you couldn’t if you were to pursue the marketing tactics you were pursuing back then.

    Unlike the European Union, Thailand has zero history of absinthe-making and consequently no legislation whatsoever regarding thujone. In other words, you are free to bottle up as much thujone as you like and nobody will bat an eyelid. (As you know, they don’t generally bat eyelids over any food/drugs safety issues over there: prawns contain lead, antibiotics that were withdrawn as unsafe everywhere else years ago are being given out like candy, etc., etc.)

    But anyhow, no “government hassles” in Thailand (as you put it above), and therefore the perfect jurisdiction to produce your “herbal speedball” (as you called it back then).

    Here is what your business partner said about the matter:

    “As we are preparing to market a (non-EU compliant) authentic recreation of Pernod, and as we have the original pre-ban products to comapre it to, our product will be in the 90 mg/Kg class.”

    Note the reference to EU compliance, for it is the crux of the issue: Bottle up thujone-rich absinthe in a country that doesn’t care, then put up a webshop and sell your high-thujone “herbal speedball” by mail order.

    What a change of heart you’ve had since, T.A.

    But I understand your dilemma. Webshops do not sell much. It’s a hassle for the customer to order, then wait for it ship from the other side of the world. Much easier to just pick up a bottle at one’s local store.

    But this is where the almighty FDA gets in the way, for pushing the thujone message doesn’t go down well with them. So what is there to do? Well, of course, let’s just change the message! Thujone doesn’t matter anymore, kids.

    Sure, it gets annoying when somebody like me brings us the past, but hey, don’t worry too much T.A.: the majority of general public will never get to see this, and so they’ll be buying regardless. Absinthe is an easy sell, as one of the distributors for Kubler, your competitor, recently confirmed:

    “This is so easy. The key is to just get it into the market with all the theatrics that go with it.” (Lyons Brown, chief executive of Altamar Brands)

    And boy, did we see some theatrics already! But no matter how many times you repeat a lie, T.A., it will not make it true.

    Re. (2)

    I asked you what evidence there was to support your claims to be an “absinthe historian” and an “absinthe chemist”, and your respond:

    “The terms “absinthe historian”, “absinthe researcher”, etc., accurately portray my relevance…”

    I see. So that’s what you are, because you say so.

    Unfortunately, how you yourself perceive your relevance is totally irrelevant unless you have evidence to prove your status.

    So let me try again:

    In both the fields of absinthe history and chemistry:

    (a) What qualifications do you posses?
    (b) Can you provide a biography outlining your research experience?
    (c) Which scientific journals, if any, have published any of your work (not necessarily on absinthe)? Can you provide some examples please.

    I am looking forward to having this issue clarified, since I have not seen any such evidence yet. What I have seen so far is evidence of contradictions, sloppy errors and loose use of facts — which, you will agree, doesn’t instill much confidence vis-a-vis your “research” and its conclusions. In these circumstances, how do we know your research results are accurate?

    In reference to your media exposure (“my relevance to members of the media”), please do not insult my intelligence. In (c) above, I am referring to serious publications, not the popular press.

    Given a sufficient budget and a few months of time, I could make half of the world believe that Bart Simpson is a genius rocket scientist.

    Finally, you say:

    “As for the name “Belle Epoch” … The practice of deliberately adopting foreign spellings for traditionally French words seems to be relatively commonplace.”

    Oh is it? Thanks for enlightening me on this one. But why bang together a French word (“belle” – meaning “beautiful”) and an English one (“epoch” as in era)? Why not translate the whole thing? As in “beautiful era”?

    But hey, I must be wrong if you say so. Except I could not find one authoritative source (a dictionary, historian, publication) that ever said “Belle Epoch”. I did see the misspelling here and there: on amateur hobby websites and in college student papers mainly — and at your site.

    As for the backtracking (“I neither named nor owned the original entity”), please note that the misspelling was around since February 2001 until at least March 2004. Do you really want me to believe that in over three years you never once looked at the page and thought “hang on, what’s this here?” It shouted at me immediately.

    Re. (3)

    I think I pretty much covered that in point (1) above, but let us summarize…

    “They are playing pretend. It is nothing like the old stuff.”

    Now that’s by a guy you will know, in today’s Time, as you will know also. I’ve got a feeling more might be coming… Sorry buddy, the truth must be told.

    Cheers!

  23. (a) In 2002, the Thailand prospect remained the only default option (which is why I mentioned it in the article). I never exercised it because I chose to be patient.

    (b) In 2002, the climate in France with respect to the public perception of absinthe was very mixed. I was there at the time, and observed French regulators insisting that absinthe was still illegal.

    My associate made the same statements I did concerning thujone years ago. These statements were made on the basis of my independent estimations – just as Arnold did, albeit using different sources and arriving at a somewhat more conservative conclusion. We had no reason to question our beliefs until my analyses (as well as those repeated by others) proved differently. We gradually accepted these revelations as truth, and there is nothing that demonstrates otherwise.

    As for my ‘biography’, I have been a professional scientist and researcher in a variety of disciplines for years. I work in the private sector, and therefore my research remains largely proprietary and confidential. So non-science types understand, this means it isn’t typically a part of published university studies.

    > Why not translate the whole thing? As in “beautiful era”?

    Again, I didn’t name the entity, and the name never bothered me to the extent that it annoys you. Eventually, I did take the time to legally change it to what I preferred.

    > “They are playing pretend. It is nothing like the old stuff.”
    > Now that’s by a guy you will know, in today’s Time, as you will know also. I’ve got a feeling more might be coming… Sorry buddy, the truth must be told.

    Indeed, more is coming.

    As for “playing pretend”, the gentleman who made this statement drew his conclusions under a few outright misunderstandings concerning our adherence to original methods, and his beliefs were formed without ever conducting any analyses of absinthe. He confirmed these things to me in the conversation we shared only yesterday.

    Now, I have come here upon request and in a sincere, gentlemanly fashion. I don’t care to waste my time answering to petty attacks and minutia concerning spelling preferences. If there are any sincere, reasonably intelligent questions, I will remain around for a short time to address them.

  24. This is a very interesting debate. I just received and tasted my first glass of Lucid (as well as Kubler) yesterday and will review both on my blog in the coming weeks.

    One thing I will note, history is always written by the victors and the victors are usually the ones with the most power and influence.

    Mr. Breaux has immense influence in this niche industry and many of us are confused from his early comments that vintage bottles contained high thujone levels and now he says they really contain low thujone levels.

    I for one drink my absinthe based on taste moreso than thujone levels, but that doesnt stop me from seeking the truth or trying every new brand that comes out on the market. As a blogger and as an absinthe connoisseur its my unwritten job to try everything I can. Nasty or beautiful.

    It makes no difference to me if Mr. Breaux set up shop in Thailand to make absinthe. If the best absinthe came from South Africa I could care less. Maybe Thailand had cheap shipping rates. Maybe they have no legislation on thujone levels. But one thing is certain, why pick a country where a person can make recreations of vintage absinthes in a country that has no laws on thujone levels? Would it have anything to do with vintage absinthes actually having decent quantities of thujone in them? I would suspect so.

    Lets be clear that Lucid is not PF 1901 or Edouard. But in my humble opinion, all three have a place. Lucid I pray is a stepping stone to get the vintage quality Absinthes into America someday.

    I applaud Mr. Breaux for taking chances that no one else is doing. Everyone else sits on their ass complaining and not doing. As one absinthe connoisseur to one another… I think everyone here just seeks the truth regarding thujone levels and maybe if we stop complaining the answer is self evident, no need for explanation becuase what this really is about is getting the stuff in the US market first, then working the laws over time. The answer already here in my opinion.

  25. Mr. Breaux, what many people wish to know is how much, if any, thujone is in Lucid absinthe. Regardless of levels in pre-ban bottles, or whether or not one drinks for taste alone or the “trippin’ balz” effects, most of the controversy is based on whether or not it contains any. Most of us just want to know and don’t have the focused ferocity that many absinthe forum regulars exhibit.

  26. As for “playing pretend”, the gentleman who made this statement drew his conclusions under a few outright misunderstandings concerning our adherence to original methods, and his beliefs were formed without ever conducting any analyses of absinthe. He confirmed these things to me in the conversation we shared only yesterday.

    Really?

    Dr Arnold says one thing in Time Magazine one day and then claims he was wrong in a conversation with you “only yesterday”?

    Did Jad Adams – a published writer on absinthe unlike you – also ring you up and tell you he was wrong?

    Sounds highly peculiar to me – just like your suspected “Conversion on the Road to Mammon” regarding thujone levels in pre-ban.

    But the biggest controversy surrounding the liquor–once dubbed “one of the worst enemies of man”–is about not its resurgence but rather its authenticity. Enthusiasts claim the thujone-free brands, which contain less than 10 parts per million (p.p.m.) of the chemical, are made with the same relatively small amounts of thujone as the old brews. But scientists wrote in the British Medical Journal that absinthe bottled before 1900 packed up to 260 p.p.m. of thujone–which may not sound like much, but consider that only 15 parts per billion of lead in drinking water is enough to scare regulators. “They are playing pretend,” study co-author Wilfred Arnold says of the liquor’s new cheerleaders. “It is nothing like the old stuff.”

    So the question that remains is, How mind-altering were Van Gogh’s cocktails? Skeptics pooh-pooh the so-called absinthe effect as hype perpetuated by artists and people trying to sell newspapers. Yet research shows that thujone has a significant effect on the brain, in part by blocking the neurotransmitter that controls nerve impulses. “It makes the brain zap around really fast,” says Jad Adams, who wrote in Hideous Absinthe about the liquor’s renown for causing lucid inebriations. “Like when you have a really strong cup of coffee.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1689232,00.html?imw=Y

  27. I have only two questions:

    1) Why there is no licorice root in Verte Suisse which is supposed to be a replica of C.F. Berger?

    2) Knowing the quality, neutrality (or lack of) , burnt(tm) profile resulting from and higher amounts of methanol in wine alcohol, why do not you resort to using grain spirits as base alcohol, which not only are healthier, but, what is an important factor as well, cheaper?

  28. Let’s address your points from the bottom this time, shall we, T.A. You say:-

    “Now, I have come here upon request and in a sincere, gentlemanly fashion.”

    And why I must doubt that. You will no doubt agree that the word “gentleman” traditionally implied honesty and integrity, amongst other things. Or, to put it another way, gentlemen don’t usually lie.

    Whilst it is not my place to give you lessons in etiquette, I have a point to make.

    Re. Dr. Arnold – you said:

    “As for “playing pretend”, the gentleman who made this statement drew his conclusions under a few outright misunderstandings concerning our adherence to original methods, and his beliefs were formed without ever conducting any analyses of absinthe. He confirmed these things to me in the conversation we shared only yesterday.”

    A dear friend of mine, Rose Samuels, telephoned Dr. Arnold yesterday evening to confirm if this indeed was the case. Dr. Arnold furiously denied your claim.

    Now, I must seriously question your sanity. If I were in your shoes, I would have kept my mouth shut rather than try to lie my way out of trouble. Your vain mouth is working for the prosecution rather than in your defense, T.A.

    But regardless…

    Dr. Arnold was one of the academics invited two days ago to debate with you on the issue. Here is the polite response he wrote (published with permission):

    —————————————-
    November 29, 2007
    Dr. Rose Samuels

    Dear Dr. Samuels;

    Thank you for the information.

    However, I have found these “blogs” to be generally of little value in
    advancing the field because the preponderance of the players has no
    science training but rather a long history of unorganized emotion.

    (…)

    Thank you again.
    All the best,

    Wilfred Niels Arnold Ph.D.
    Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    University of Kansas Medical Center
    Kansas City, Kansas 66160 – 7421
    tel.: 913 – 588 – 7056
    fax.: 913 – 588 – 7440
    email: warnold@kumc.edu
    book: “Vincent van Gogh: Chemicals, Crises, and Creativity.”
    Boston, Basel, Berlin: Birkhauser (Springer), 1992.
    Vincent van Gogh and Acute Intermittent Porphyria, see:

    http://www.med.wayne.edu/elab/vangogh/MainIndex.htm

    —————————————-

    Indeed. “Unorganized emotion” = popular media, popular media = your platform. But as I said earlier, popular media do not provide credibility; they provide the _perception_ of credibility in the minds of the naive public.

    Just as the other academics who were invited (and declined) to debate with you, Dr Arnold is a published scientist who is not afraid to subject his findings to peer review.

    As for you? You say:

    “I have been a professional scientist and researcher in a variety of disciplines for years. I work in the private sector, and therefore my research remains largely proprietary and confidential.”

    What are the “variety of disciplines”, T.A.? Perhaps you could tell us that at least? Surely that would not compromise any “proprietary and confidential” information? And what exactly are your qualifications? You have not answered that at all.

    Now, that’s the subject of chemistry covered. But you know I said: “In _both_ the fields of absinthe history and chemistry…” Why have you ignored this? Is your historical research also “proprietary and confidential”? And, again, what are your qualifications in this field?

    To summarize, what I’m getting here is “I am so-and-so because I say so”. I asked for evidence, I got none. I got a desperate lie instead.

    Now for the minor points:

    “(a) In 2002, the Thailand prospect remained the only default option…”

    So it was 2002 after all, not 1999 as you previously claimed. Did I hear “sorry”? Oh, to hell with it, three years here or there…

    “(b) In 2002, the climate in France with respect to the public perception of absinthe was very mixed. I was there at the time, and observed French regulators insisting that absinthe was still illegal.”

    And what a lot of nonsense this is. France reformed its legal system with the Napoleonic code two centuries ago (which later influenced the legal systems of much of continental Europe). To put this another way, France is a prime example of a country where “perceptions” (as you call it) do not matter one bit. What matters is what’s written in the law, so all you needed to do was to say “the law such and such says I can distill absinthe” and that would have been the end of the matter – stamped, okayed, approved. “Climates” and “perceptions” and such concepts do matter to an extent in countries whose legal systems often call upon legal precedents (i.e. the UK), but definitely not in France, the country that pioneered (for better or worse) the idea of clearly written and accessible law. As a historian, you will know this, I don’t doubt.

    Finally, you say:

    “I don’t care to waste my time answering to petty attacks and minutia concerning spelling preferences.”

    Now here you score a point at last, T.A., for this is exactly how I would have argued this if I were you. In marketing speak, this is called “repositioning”. Let’s not call the error an error, but let’s reposition it as a “preference”. Except, marketing and science are worlds apart.

    And “petty” it isn’t either, T.A.; it is actually quite significant when you think about it. Imagine I was a chemist: for three years, I write “H4O” to refer to water. Except, there are two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen in water, hence the correct “H2O”. Would you call that a “preference”? I wouldn’t — I would call it a fundamental error.

    For three years, you called the “Belle Epoque” a “Belle Epoch”. Nobody else has done that before or since (save a few college students). So what am I to think about the credibility of a person that styles himself as an expert on that particular period of history, yet can’t even name the period correctly?

    I am not questioning the levels of thujone in past, present or future absinthes. What I am questioning is you integrity and your credibility as a scientist.

    Be well,
    T.B.

  29. I spoke with Dr. Arnold very recently, as I have on several occasions over the past seven years. Dr. Arnold expressed that he has trouble remembering, but I don’t.

    Dr. Arnold was wrong in his assumptions expressed to me concerning distillation methods used by myself and certain esteemed others. Contrary to his beliefs, our methods concur EXACTLY with those in references often quoted by himself.

    Dr. Arnold informed me as he has in our previous conversations that his results were calculated from essential oil studies, and not from actual analyses of vintage absinthes. His published works contain no details of any analyses of samples of vintage absinthes.

    I am prepared to discuss these things in a court of peers, public opinion, or otherwise. I distill on a regular basis, and I submit samples for third party analyses on a regular basis.

    As for continued rants and ravings about Thailand, misspellings, and other obsolete, or otherwise irrelevant minutia, I’ve already provided the answers twice before, and I don’t care to waste my time further.

    Many thanks to the others for being civilized.

  30. T.A.-

    You now say:

    “I spoke with Dr. Arnold very recently…”

    I have asked you many direct questions over the past two days but I didn’t get a clear answer to any of them. Perhaps I’ll strike it lucky this time:

    Have you spoken with Dr. Arnold “very recently”, or did you in fact speak with him “only yesterday” (as you claimed herein previously).

    Consequently, are you, or are you not, a liar, T.A. Breaux?

    As I expressed earlier, you have a proven tendency to be very loose with facts (see the 1999 vs. 2002 issue and others). And now, there is clear evidence of plain dishonesty. (Evidence of plain incompetence is above, no need to discuss it further).

    What am I to think — or do? … except to ask you YET again:

    What evidence is there to back up your credibility as a scientist and–in light of the recent deception–your integrity, T.A.?

    T.B.

  31. And why am I not surprised we have not seen you here since, T.A. Instead, you sought to heal your damaged ego in the company of your faithful followers.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t quite finished with you yet.

    You claim that your comment was deleted, and so you have instead posted it on the Wormwood Society. Is this, in fact, the truth, or it is yet another fabrication? Did you post that comment here, or did you write it in haste and posted elsewhere in order to protect your reputation amongst the followers who gather there?

    Regardless, let us look at that comment. You are quite keen to discuss thujone levels and such, but you have yet again failed to answer my simple and direct questions regarding your qualifications as a chemist and a historian.

    Unlike others, I have agreed to debate with you here, T.A. However, I made it quite clear to the blog’s owner that I would only do so under the conditions that I would be permitted to question your qualifications. I made it quite clear I wasn’t interested in debating thujone levels. I also said the same to you earlier (see above):

    “I am not questioning the levels of thujone in past, present or future absinthes. What I am questioning is you integrity and your credibility as a scientist.”

    Because you know what, T.A.? Unless your credentials can be independently verified, there is absolutely no point in discussing anything else. To put it another way, I could now go and discuss rocket science all day long. Would that make my opinions worthy? No, unless I can prove sufficient qualifications and experience in my field.

    “Pan Buh” noted that “the prosecution attorney, here played by “Tom Boyd”, appears to by trying to undermine the credibility of the witness…”. And quite rightly so, of course! Because, as I keep pointing out, if the “witness” lacks credibility and integrity to begin with, how can we trust his subsequent testimony?

    “Pan Buh” also made references to a “kangaroo court” and such. Well done, Tim, you score a point here! When every other option is exhausted and the defense is clearly losing the case, let’s just attempt to discredit the legitimacy/jurisdiction of the court itself. Of course, this is precisely what T.A.’s other pals at the WS have been doing as well, but none of them argued it as intelligently as you. (Congrats.)

    But anyhow, in a response to your attempt to assassinate my character, Tim, (“mean and petty” etc.), the user “Meatwaggon” noted:

    “A smart and critically thinking jury would immediately recognize that mean and petty does not automatically invalidate a line of reasoning, no matter how mean or petty.”

    and

    “Clearly, the guy’s motivations seem malignant, to say the least. But dishonorable motivation, once again, does not automatically invalidate a line of reasoning.”

    Indeed. Nor my character nor my motivation are relevant here. What is relevant is this: I have asked clear, direct questions regarding T.A.’s qualifications. Did he provide any clear, direct answers? No. Instead, he demonstrated his tendency to be very free with his use of facts, to be evasive, backtracking and, in the end, he told an outright lie (and another one since, but I’ll come to that later).

    And what happened to “Meatwaggon”, the guy who dared not to follow the official Party line and committed the crime of engaging his brains? He got reprimanded:

    “You don’t seem to be paying attention…” and “My apologies for being snippy, Meat. Since you’re new, perhaps I should have been more patient.”

    Oh dear God! This is from the guy who also said:

    “You might not be aware that Hiram, Ari, Shabba, Alan, Zman, Ted and several other opinions are esteemed and indeed, more than a couple are rightfully considered experts.”

    And:

    “I grew irritated as you continued to defend the bastards’ arguments… Continue reading and you will quickly learn who to trust and who are the cretins.”

    What am I to think about the use of the word “esteemed” in reference to oneself and the words “bastard” and “cretin” in reference to an opponent (in the same post)? Rather contradictory, wouldn’t you agree, “T73″?

    But whilst good manners obviously left your part of the world some time ago, what is truly astonishing is your line of reasoning, i.e. “Don’t question us. We know the truth. You listen and learn. I forgive you for now because you are new.”

    My dear God! Don’t you see that it is precisely this arrogance and hypocrisy I have been questioning? Let me say this once again, and for the last time: If T.A. is a credible absinthe scientist and a historian — and not just a media hoax — why will he never confirm his qualifications and experience in the field? Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

    Meanwhile, the evidence of your blatant dishonesty is piling up as we speak, T.A.

    You say:

    “What the blog moderators did not realize is I entered the blog after inviting the Czech press contacted me with questions about it, and I invited them to view it.”

    And what a preposterous lie this is, T.A. The Czech press have no interest in the debate; they couldn’t care less what “absinthe” you sell to the unsuspecting American public. So when you say: “the press now admits the blog to be a complete fraud”, would you care to clarify which newspaper/journalist expressed this opinion? Or is that information also “proprietary and confidential”, just as your credentials (as you claimed here a couple of days ago)? This is a serious accusation and one that you must back with evidence now.

    You are, of course, misleading everyone again. No “Czech press” is involved, but rather one Tim Rogers of the English-language weekly called the Prague Post. Tim Rogers, of course, is the person known as “Pan Buh” (which rather arrogantly translates as “The Almighty”) on this and the WS forums (I have already addressed some of the comments of this individual above).

    Will we see a piece published this week, Tim, or next? I am looking forward to it.

    For those of you who don’t know, the Prague Post is a rather left-leaning weekly that hardly ever publishes any original or researched pieces of journalism. Rather, it is a 70-80% rewrite (in English) of last week’s news published in the mainstream Czech media.

    Their food writers are the subject of popular jokes in Prague, since they have a reputation of writing positive reviews in exchange for a free lunch (…but to be fair, Tim, things have improved greatly since Dave Faries took over that column — keep it that way!).

    But fun aside, was it, or was it not, the Prague Post that on July 5, 2006 published a full-page article (or would “advertisement” be a better label?) promoting Pavel Varga’s absinthes? Under the title “A King with a Commoner’s Touch”, the article talks of “real” and “handcrafted” absinthe, and a “powerful” absinthe with regards to its thujone levels?

    For those that might not know, Pavel Varga is the proprietor of L’Or Special Drinks and the maker of King of Spirits. Unless one knows better, the article is persuasive enough to have pretty much anyone run to a shop, get a bottle of King of Spirits and go “tripping” with the Fairy.

    Obviously, editorial integrity should never get in the way of a chance to make a few hundred bucks, Tim.

    But I’m looking forward to your piece anyhow. I sincerely hope you will not try to bore us with your Marxist views or any other such silliness this time.

    As for you T.A., why have you sunk this low? Lies, more lies and now a desperate attempt to get your name in a paper that everyone stopped taking seriously years ago?

    May I ask you once again:

    What are your qualifications and your experience? What evidence is there to confirm your status as a scientist and a historian, other than popular media hype?

    Reference: http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2354&st=30#entry111564

  32. Quote

    · “(b) In 2002, the climate in France with respect to the public perception of absinthe was very mixed. I was there at the time, and observed French regulators insisting that absinthe was still illegal.” END QUOTE

    And what a lot of nonsense this is. France reformed its legal system with the Napoleonic code two centuries ago (which later influenced the legal systems of much of continental Europe). To put this another way, France is a prime example of a country where “perceptions” (as you call it) do not matter one bit. What matters is what’s written in the law, so all you needed to do was to say “the law such and such says I can distill absinthe” and that would have been the end of the matter – stamped, okayed, approved. “Climates” and “perceptions” and such concepts do matter to an extent in countries whose legal systems often call upon legal precedents (i.e. the UK), but definitely not in France, the country that pioneered (for better or worse) the idea of clearly written and accessible law. As a historian, you will know this, I don’t doubt.

    I am pretty new to absinthe and this thread has grabbed my attention if not only for the entertaining debate going on – my findings lead me to this link http://www.lafeeabsinthe.com/parisian-launch.php which shows La Fée Absinthe was distilled in Paris as early as 2000?

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