Absinthe Aphrodisiac

Absinthe Aphrodisiac

Interestingly, those that think thujone – the allegedly pyschoactive ingredient in absinthe – was the only reason for the prohibition of absinthe, should think again. It was also about love!

End of a Dynasty

War has not been kind to the descendants of Henri-Louis Pernod, that Frenchman who in 1797 gave to the world the aperitif known as absinthe. Henri-Louis used the formula of a Dr. Ordinaire, who was celebrated up & down the Alps for cures effected with mountain herbs. One of these herbs was wormwood, an excellent stomachic, which by the time of World War I had also acquired a reputation as an aphrodisiac, thereby helping to enrich the firm of Pernod Fils, leading manufacturer of absinthe. In 1914 the publisher of a small Paris newspaper started a campaign to prohibit absinthe, based on the popular beliefs that: 1) wormwood is an aphrodisiac; 2) continued use of aphrodisiacs produces impotence; 3) France is a nation of absinthe sippers; 4) therefore France as a nation is becoming impotent. Frenchmen’s mortal fear of impotence, coupled with war hysteria and a falling birth rate, put the campaign over with a bang. Absinthe was banned in France on March 16, 1915. Pernod continued to make absinthe in Tarragona, Spain, but few countries allowed its consumption.

After the war another member of the Pernod dynasty, Jules, whose firm was called Pernod Pere et Fils, concocted an aperitif that tasted much like absinthe but was less bitter, contained no wormwood. This he called Pernod Anise. In 1920 a M. André Hémard produced a something that could scarcely be distinguished from Pernod Anise and called it L’Amourette. Frenchmen took to it delightedly. By 1928 the original firm of Pernod Fils was back in the business, and all three makers of wormwoodless absinthe were united in the Société des Etablissements Pernod. Their product was known in bars from Marseille to Singapore simply as Pernod. In 1938 Société des Etablissements Pernod paid its sixth consecutive 100% dividend, sold an estimated 15,000,000 bottles. Despite the absence of wormwood the French birth rate fell all through the ’20s and ’30s.

Last week France’s Vichy Government banned Pernod and all other aperitifs containing more than 16% alcohol.* Alleged reason: Pernod caused men & women to quarrel and get nervous disorders, instead of becoming loving parents.

*Automatically banning them in the U. S., which forbids the importation of alcoholic beverages prohibited in the country where they are made.

Time Magazine, Monday, Sep. 02, 1940

Absintheur’s Question. Who said: “Absinthe is the aphrodisiac of the self. The green fairy who lives in the absinthe wants your soul. But you are safe with me.” ?

29 responses to “Absinthe Aphrodisiac

  1. Why don’t Czech products that call themselves “absinth” use the history of Czech absinth in their marketing? Why is it necessary to borrow a heritage from France? There is little in common between Swiss/French absinthe and most Czech absinth. Different ways of making them, different ingredients, different ways of drinking them.

    So why not use your own glorious heritage to back it up? The Velvet Revolution, the apparent distillation of wormwood in the area hundreds of years ago, famous Czechs of the past who you will know better than I do. The Americans don’t use the romance of Scotch to create an image for their bourbons (although they are both called whisky/whiskey). The Spanish don’t refer to champagne’s heritage or to Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot etc when they write stories of cava.

    I hope you don’t construe my comments as negative.

    Mod: Alan, I hope this isn’t the start of another flame war 😦

  2. The post was about absinthe + bedroom = FUN. Not about Czech absinthe marketing….do you have the answer to my quiz?

  3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

  4. What’s the prize?

  5. The prize is a place at a seminar in Kutna Hora held by Dr Ab entitled “Absinthe: All That I Know”

    Duration: Unknown


  6. Vive La Liberte!

    “Why is it necessary to borrow a heritage from France?”

    Dr Ordinaire? The “historical” figure – not the Fee Verte variety. He allegedly got that recipe from the Henroid sisters. Where do you think they got the idea? From a Swiss mountain gnome sipping a glass on a toadstool? or a long established European wide tradition? The gnome might make better sales copy. I’ll think up a name for you – or we could have a competition. Perhaps you could make up a name, Alan? It can’t be too difficult.

    Ordinaire and Pernod COMMERCIALISED absinthe. The history of absinthe is also very sketchy, by the way.

    Who is the next target of your online rampage? The French? Here’s what “handmade Alan” has to say today:

    “On a side note (for a later article) only Switzerland has laws insisting that absinthe made and/or sold in Switzerland is distilled and that it has no artificial colourings: the French do not have such a law in place”

    Therefore Alan’s brew is the only one you should buy? There are a few that will disagree there.

  7. Another of his statements from the blog:

    “according to the old manuals for making absinthe, it should not be called absinthe”

    Duplais’ recipe book also contains instructions for making lemonade! It is a recipe book and not a legal charter. What about the French macerates that are judged at the Golden Spoon? They are not absinthe, Alan?

  8. Mod: Alan, I hope this isn’t the start of another flame war.

    For this reason, I have no intention of discussing my blog on your site.

    drabsinthe can easily comment on my blog there if he wishes to do so. Although I won’t answer anonymous posts and may delete them.

  9. DrAbsinthe, I see that line nowhere in this blog, perhaps if you want to discuss Alan’s blog you can go to *gasp* Alan’s blog.

    On topic the worry over “races” is quite interesting. Dr.Magnan was worried that absinthism would by passed onto children at birth degrading the french race. On the other side of the gap some Englishman used absinthe as an example of the deficiency of the French race.

  10. Perhaps you should look again at paragraph 5. Any idea about what we can call this Swiss gnome? I am thinking Charlie.

  11. drab sinthe states: “Perhaps you should look again at paragraph 5.”

    Para 5 of this blog article states: *Automatically banning them in the U. S., which forbids the importation of alcoholic beverages prohibited in the country where they are made.

    No reference to Swiss gnome.

  12. We were discussing paragraph 5 of your latest poison pen series. Here you state:

    “according to the old manuals for making absinthe, it should not be called absinthe”

    I raised two points:

    1. Duplais is a recipe book containing recipes for all sorts of drinks like grog and lemonade. To use the term “laid down”, as you often do, is misleading. Did Fanny Craddock “lay down” the legally binding definition of a trifle in any of her recipe books?

    2. I pointed out that you are now aimimg your canons at the French absinthe industry. What of the macerates judged at The Golden Spoon Awards? According to your logic (dicat) they are also not absinthe. What do others in the absinthe industry feel about this?

  13. Drabsinthe, it seems pretty tacky to use the comments section on one blog to argue about something unrelated in another blog.
    From the look of it, no one is going to take the bait. I’m surprised the owner hasn’t deleted OT comments.

  14. Your decision to stand up for your friend is honourable. However, a man of your distinction also realises that my remarks – both of which are related to the definition of absinthe are compelling.

    The owner of the realabinsthe blog deletes comments that he does not care for, or that raise tricky questions. It is pointless contributing to the blog for that reason, and because its sole purpose is to promote the sale of La Clandestine Absinthe.

    Mod: Deleted. No more remarks like this please

  15. I have replied to two of the points drabsinthe mentions directly on my blog. If he/she wants more answers, then I will respond to his/her questions when he/she posts them there.

  16. 😮 Comments about this subject on Alan’s blog only. Only comments about absinthe as an aphrodisiac from here on… please! Thank you

  17. From recollection, I have only deleted a couple of insignificant, but nevertheless fairly snide comments on my blog from someone anonymous.

    I have not deleted any comments from anyone who has given a name or identity.

    drabsinthe has also been offered the opportunity to discuss these issues and any others on either of the two absinthe forums. He/she should follow the example of great Czech leaders of the past and be brave about this. Please join us there.

  18. “Please join us there”

    Thank you for the party invite, and the flattering comparison. I suspect it is a case of “How cheerfully he seems to grin, How neatly spreads his claws, And welcomes little fishes in with gently smiling jaws!”

    I’ve told you already why not. Both are curate’s eggs – there is an element that I don’t want to associate with. That ill tempered thread on Fee Verte about Markus, an absinthe retailer, is a case in point.

  19. Establish some ground rules with Oxygenee or Hiram: they will make sure they stick.

    The Markus debate was free speech. Both sides gave their views. Good to have an open discussion like that, in my opinion.

  20. It is flattering to think that either of those noble gentlemen would be prepared to make special arrangements for me.

    That thread mentioned was full of bluster and hatred. There were unseen personal agendas at play. I particularly disliked the remarks made by that smoking Viet Cong. Also, many of the remarks on some threads are in code, adding to the general sense of paranoia and mystery. I am interested in absinthe history, absinthe distilling and so on, but not intrigue and antics.

  21. drabsinthe writes: “I am interested in absinthe history, absinthe distilling and so on, but not intrigue and antics.”

    I doubt that you would find people who know more about absinthe history and distilling anywhere else. I understand your other point, but it’s a lot worse on many other internet forums. It’s a shame you can’t put up with a bit of “intrigue,” considering how much information the guys there have.

  22. Generally speaking there is little difference between posting here and there (the same people he talks with now would be at FV or WS, those that he complains about can read and/or reply (some of which aren’t at WS) etc.) the only difference is that here he takes over someone else’s blog while complaining about morals and ethics.

    He knows where to go, I don’t see any reason anyone here should continue to accept his abuse of the comment feature and I at least will no longer feed it by replying to off topic posts.

    Now, back to the blog.

  23. “no longer feed it by replying to off topic posts”

    Thanks! 🙂

  24. The article mentions that absinthe

    “acquired a reputation as an aphrodisiac, thereby helping to enrich the firm of Pernod Fils, leading manufacturer of absinthe”

    The article does not make clear whether this was because of a marketing campaign, fact, or urban legend. Many of the ingredients in absinthe are reputed to have an aphropdisiac effect in their own right, I believe. Those “panty dropper” adverts are merely following the historical precedent in a racy modern fashion.

  25. drabsinthe writes: “I am interested in absinthe history” and then goes on to link the “panty dropper” adverts to this alleged historical precedent.

    If drabsinthe is really interested in absinthe history, I suggest you have a good detailed look at the largest collection of old absinthe advertising in the world on


    They are a long, long way from the “panty dropper” advertising mentioned by drabsinthe and as such certainly do not set a historical precedent.

    Absinthe as aphrodisiac? Well the major and most active ingredient in absinthe is alcohol whose qualities as an aphrodisiac probably don’t need explaining.

    By the way, the pastis ban was revoked in 1944.

  26. Oh la la!
    I’m in deep trouble!
    Have only one rule:
    Have sex before the drinks and the dinner. It must be a good one as I still have regular sex at the age of 58, have a regular drink and plenty of food. Will have to toast that with an Absinthe asap (after sex, mind you!)
    Cheers, na zdrani, prosit, skol, salute, chin chin, kampai and what else!

  27. Robert-Gilles writes: “It must be a good one as I still have regular sex at the age of 58.”

    There’s a difference between regular (which could mean anything between every few hours and just every January 1st), and frequent. I don’t think, however that this blog needs any more details!

  28. Details are most welcome. It sounds like a joke from Fawlty Towers “So how many times do you and your wife manage it then?”…”I beg your pardon” etc…

    Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder – there’s a seedier version of that saying from the lips of the great Tolouse -Lautrec.

  29. Alan!
    I’m afraid you just jumped in the swimming pool!
    Don’t take it too badly!
    Cheers to that!

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