Absinthe: The Effects

Oscar Wilde

What about the effects of drinking absinthe? Here are two reports from London and Chicago:

One night I was left sitting, drinking alone, and very late in the Café Royal, and I had just got into the third stage when a waiter came in with a green apron and began to pile the chairs on the tables. “Time to go, sir” he called to me. Then he brought in a watering can and began to water the floor. “Time’s up, sir. I’m afraid you must go now, sir.”

“Waiter, are you watering the flowers?”, I asked but he didn’t answer.

“What are your favorite flowers, waiter?” I asked again. “Now sir, I must really ask you to go now, time’s up, he said firmly. “I’m sure that tulips are your favorite flowers, I said, and as I got up and passed out into the street I felt the heavy tulip heads brushing against my shins.”

Oscar Wilde, London (1890) describes the effects of absinthe drinking

Czech Depp

Johnny Depp enjoys an absinthe whilst filming “From Hell” in Prague

 

The last time I did this, I lost the feeling in my legs,” says Ryan Kattner, aka Honus Honus, the mustachioed lead vocalist in Philly band Man Man. A 50-cent lighter spits a spade-shaped flame at a sugar-coated spoon, casting a soft neon green glow on a generously poured glass of absinthe. It looks like we’re cooking crack over a vat of food coloring, but it tastes like liquefied licorice and sweet moonshine.

“That’s actually kinda good,” says multi-instrumentalist Billy Dufala (stage name: Chang Wang) as he downs another hefty glass of green fairy juice. Good but strange. While no one’s had enough to make the room morph into Moulin Rouge, it takes only a few minutes before we all feel like cumulus clouds — floating somewhere between being stoned, drunk and (though I’m surrounded by dudes with three-week-old facial hair) aphrodisiac-addled.

Chicago, USA (2007)

Source: http://www.citypaper.net/articles/2007/04/19/stillborn-again

49 responses to “Absinthe: The Effects

  1. absinthe effects, or abinsthe affectation, with old Oscar? I never saw tulips grow out of a cafe floor…there is a kind of nervy buzz though.

  2. What absinthe do you drink, Bingo?

  3. I just saw Johnny Depp playing cricket in “Neverland”! I have seen everything now!
    Na zdrani!
    Robert-Gilles

  4. Absinthe effects again!!….blue absinthe creates dimensions shift in new murder mystery, The Salon:

    “If that sounds like something from the mind of an art history student, you’re on the right track….”Everybody in the painting field always talks about Cubism being this life-changing, art-changing, culture-changing event. I was just going, ‘Why?'”

    That question unfolded into a sprawling period piece in which bohemians in 1907 Paris track a murderer who is targeting painters, drink a blue absinthe that allows them to enter paintings and explore the new movements of the time”

  5. jacques senaux blue?🙂 or Blue Velvet absinthe:

    Blue Velvet claims to hover somewhere around 35mg/l — higher than some modern absinthes, but keep in mind that experts estimate Victorian-era absinthes were well into the hundreds of milligrams per liter, so if you think 35 is going to transport you into a magical realm, well you might be right, but it’s not going to be the same as what Oscar Wilde was drinking. Whatever the case, I found the effects of this spirit to be pleasant but mild — you can assure hesitant friends that it’s not going to turn them into crazy jack the Ripper maniacs.

    The Absinthe Diaries
    Food, Spirits, and Style..

  6. Absinthe, more reports on effects:

    In fact, we left it all alone until our last night in Holland, when we determined to check it (absinthe) out further, and had a nice stiff glass of what was supposedly the most absinthe-y stuff there, a Pine-Sol tasting French absinthe call “Guy Something.”

    The wormwood has an effect like a mild dose of “shrooms” as the kids call them. Everything a little extra colorful and detailed, some “giddiness.”

    Rev. Ivan Stang

  7. “Let us blow your mind:” that’s a good line. Much punchier than “from the birthplace of absinthe.” I’ll check with Claude-Alain whether we should put it on our labels. How will it read in French?

    Any ideas what a well known absinthe salesman is making reference to here?

  8. Is this a French test? A boire ou je tue le chien!

  9. This piece, from the New York Times, is about a new thujone free “absinthe” called Lucid Absinthe and its effects:

    “And the buzz has an odd way of focusing the mind — I’ve rarely been so entranced by the swish of a basketball net”

    “Thujone marketing” without the thujone?

    It’s yet more spin from Ted – the youthful chemist with the genuine antique absinthe still. Wow! it must be just like what them there green fairy poets drank then..gonna get me a bottle, and read some Vera Lynn.

    Now you know what all this vicious anti thujone propoganda, using cherry picked data, was all about.

    Thujone doesn’t matter – therefore you can buy lurid “absinthe” in the USA – very convenient, isn’t it!

    Sadly drinks that don’t contain thujone ‘aint absinthe.

    See:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/business/yourmoney/29goods.html?ref=yourmoney

  10. “Let us blow your mind:” that’s a good line. Much punchier than “from the birthplace of absinthe.”

    The answer is to be found here:

    http://www.feeverte.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=4093

    A reference to a double teenage suicide in Australia, and speculation by a notorious absinthe salesman about using words from the online suicide note!

    If you thought that was low, it gets worse:

    “What will my wife say when she sees it? Especially knowing I was in Australia in December”

    “Forgive me if I tend not to think that we’ve lost a pair of brain surgeons here or something…”

    And Oxygenee wonders why invitations to post ones opinions at this forum / cesspit are politely declined? Ghastly people.

  11. B. - Formerly anonymous

    Funny how you talk badly about cherry picking data, then do the same yourself. Quite hypocritical don’t you think?

  12. B. - Formerly anonymous

    As for evidence of effects, you always seem to use anecdotal evidence instead of studies. However, you bring up an interesting point:

    “And the buzz has an odd way of focusing the mind ”

    Doesn’t that sort of prove the point I had made to you previously that the stimulation is due to the anise and fennel compounds, and not thujone?

  13. > Sadly drinks that don’t contain thujone ‘aint absinthe.

    I would have believed that drinks that aren’t distilled using reasonable quantities of Artemisia absinthium ‘ain’t absinthe’.

    So how does one define ‘don’t contain thujone’? To what mass value does that threshold correspond? Who determined that the ‘focusing of the mind’ effect is solely due to the content of thujone?

    And lastly, how does one determine *actual* (not advertised) thujone content from drinking it?

  14. >Funny how you talk badly about cherry picking data, then do the same yourself. Quite hypocritical don’t you think?

    No, Sirrah. I am not trying to hoodwink the authorities into changing the law, or flog a bottle of cats eye “absinthe” to the great unwashed.

    >“And the buzz has an odd way of focusing the mind Doesn’t that sort of prove the point I had made to you previously that the stimulation is due to the anise and fennel compounds, and not thujone?

    It’s marketing, B. You and I are above that sort of thing. Hell, that’s why one has a tradesman’s entrance. BTW: What did you make of the ghoulish gaffe about the teenage suicide pact? Ghastly! Some people really scrape the bottom of the barrel – You said: “Alan …..may occasionally make some crass statements” Indeed.

    >So how does one define ‘don’t contain thujone’?

    Cats Eye “absinthe” has no thujone -if it does have thujone it ‘aint legal in the US, right?

    Vapeur, why would one not drink a traditional pastis, rather than a glass of modern hype?

  15. B. - Formerly anonymous

    “No, Sirrah. I am not trying to hoodwink the authorities into changing the law, or flog a bottle of cats eye “absinthe” to the great unwashed.”

    But you ARE trying to hoodwink others into thinking that the FV is something it’s not. You’re doing the same thing, just to different people. Point is, you’re guilty of just as much spin as anyone else, regardless of the audience.

    “You and I are above that sort of thing.”

    Are you really? You seem to LOVE thujone marketing. I could cite many examples of you recommending absinthes based on the ‘effects’ of the thujone.

  16. > Cats Eye “absinthe” has no thujone -if it does have thujone it ‘aint legal in the US, right?

    I don’t know that. I don’t know specifically what the US gov determines as ‘no thujone’. Neither do I know if the US gov’s rationale in approving it, which may take other factors into consideration. Do you?

    Pastis isn’t absinthe. Pastis is a very different product, is made differently than absinthe, and doesn’t taste like absinthe.

  17. I notice that you choose not to comment on the “Let us blow your mind:” buy line for La Clandestine. You are a venereal and sagacious gent who speaks only when it suits, I suppose.

    B, I am not hoodwinking anyone – I do not SELL anything, unlike others. I have an open mind – my thoughts are dictated neither by the pocket book, or a cunning eye on the law book. I describe what I find, and you may agree with my opinions, or not, Sir.

    I have found that absente – and pastis style beverages – presumably like this new one (Lucid absinthe) – do not have the same effect as high thujone content absinthe. I am entitled to this opinion, B? Simply because it doesn’t suit “Hiram’s hymn sheet” version of the absinthe story, is neither here nor there.

    What is of importance is that many folks describe the effects of absinthe drinking in similar terms. What is wrong with this? The science of these ingredients is full of cock ups – according to you – it is like cannabis, and then it isn’t…it makes the neurons fire differently, and now Ari says it doesn’t. What are we to believe? Information from an organised legalise absinthe lobby group, or the unbiased opinion of the absinthe drinker down the years?

    Vapeur, my dear fellow: if Lucid absinthe has thujone it will not be sold in the US.

    Gentlemen, I think we can all agree that we wouldn’t want a bottle like that learing from the cocktail trolley! No, this is more a anise novelty for the ladies.

    I note that the Wormwood management are out in flavour of this new faux product! Quelle surprise!

  18. B. - Formerly anonymous

    How can you note that? It seems as though you must have an account there. Why not have some courage and introduce yourself.

    “You are a venereal and sagacious gent who speaks only when it suits, I suppose.”

    Why would I spend my time responding to every single point you make when you have not given me the same common courtesy in any of the half-dozen forums upon which you and I have conversed?

    “my thoughts are dictated neither by the pocket book, or a cunning eye on the law book”

    I seem to recall in the last forum you told me that you drank what you drank because ‘you aren’t as well heeled as I am’.

    Regarding the law, you may not have an eye on the law book, but you are quick to cite studies that prove your point, however outdated or spun they are. Do you recall me asking you to read the study you quoted on the first forum regarding the effects of thujone? Why do I doubt that you will ever respond to my questions about it? Hmmm…

    “The science of these ingredients is full of cock ups – according to you – it is like cannabis, and then it isn’t…it makes the neurons fire differently, and now Ari says it doesn’t.”

    When did I ever say it was like cannabis? Oh that’s right, NEVER. Point out that quote to me, please.

    I shouldn’t need to repeat this, but I guess I will one more time. The effects are not from Thujone. You would need to drink literally dozens of bottles of absinthe to get the effects from thujone that you talk of. The stimulation effect is from the elements in anise, fennel, etc. All of which you can get drinking many other drinks that contain nether wormwood nor thujone.

  19. I do not think that you ever said that the effects of absinthe drining might be compared to cannabis abuse. Science has said that – then it was later claimed to be incorrect (in a short paragraph!) The thujone in absinthe makes the neurons go wild – then some of you said the science was wrong. Oh my!

    What should we believe? I say the testimony of the drinker. The speedball stimulation effect that you graciously concede is to be found in which other drinks, B?

    I agree that we should draw the curtain of disgust on the other matter. I note that the perpetrator has left with his tail between his legs, as usual. I agree with your dignified stance on this distasteful affair.

    Talking of bad taste – I don’t like those cats eyes, and I am surprised that someone with Ted’s alleged sensibilities, has become involved in something so obviously tacky. I see that it will be launched in the Hamptons! I am washing my hair that day, or I’d be along for the laugh…I suggest Eartha Kitt might be a good star to book for the launch party?

  20. B. - Formerly anonymous

    “The speedball stimulation effect that you graciously concede is to be found in which other drinks, B? ”

    Have you read anything that I’ve posted in the past forums? I’ve given you many examples. Now go back and read them.

    As for lucid, given Ted’s proven abilities is all of the drinks he’s produced in the past (not just absinthe and perique), I plan on at least tasting it.

    I agree that the packaging is, in a word, unsophisticated. However, if you’d like to read more on my stance as to why it was picked, you can read my take on the marketing strategy on the WS, which you seem to frequent.

  21. I agree that we should give this newcomer the benefit of the doubt, B. Other more suspicious minds have already tried to suggest that some of Lucid’s statements are contradictory:

    “Lucid contains a full measure of Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium),” while US Customs and Border Protection state: “The importation of Absinthe and any other liquors or liqueurs that contain Artemisia absinthium is prohibited.” It will be interesting to see an explanation for this apparent contradiction!” (realabsinthe.blogspot.com)

    A more mature question would have been to enquire how Ted can eliminate the thujone from the Grande Wormwood. This is my question, and I would like an answer. Even 1mg / litre will be illegal.

    Lucid absinthe also seems to be using both the hype of that antique still (which always makes good news copy) and a disturbing pair of learing feline eyes. Is this the same old still that knocks out the other Jade brands?

    How do you know why those beady cat eyes were chosen? You have claimed before that you have no connection with the commercial production of absinthe!

  22. B. - Formerly anonymous

    “US Customs and Border Protection state: “The importation of Absinthe and any other liquors or liqueurs that contain Artemisia absinthium is prohibited.”

    The FDA has tested the absinthe and found it to be in compliance with their laws. What that means, I’m not sure yet. Ted mentioned that he would explain the whole story further on the WS in the next day or two.

    “Is this the same old still that knocks out the other Jade brands?” If by ‘same old still’, you mean the authentic PF still, then my guess would be yes.

    “How do you know why those beady cat eyes were chosen? You have claimed before that you have no connection with the commercial production of absinthe!”

    Seriously, you need to relax and lay off of the conspiracy theories. Read my post. I was GUESSING at the strategy behind why they did it. You’re really getting annoying with all of your baseless accusations.

    If you know something that I don’t, feel free to try to illucidate.

    You’ve given more indication that you are somehow involved with the production of Czech absinthe than I ever have of other brands.

  23. TIGER, tiger, burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?🙂

  24. Absinthe effects from Ted Breaux:

    “The thing about absinthe is, despite the alcohol you feel very lucid,” Breaux says. “If you look at the different herbs that are used in absinthe, they’re employed in very high concentrations, and those herbs have different effects. Some are excitatory, some are sedative. So it’s kind of like an herbal speedball. It’s a very subtle thing. Absinthe is not like taking an illicit drug. That’s all highly exaggerated.”

  25. > I have found that absente – and pastis style beverages – presumably like this new one (Lucid absinthe) …

    You haven’t found anything about Lucid, simply because you have neither seen it nor had it. In case you didn’t pay attention the first time, it isn’t made like Absente.

    > A more mature question would have been to enquire how Ted can eliminate the thujone from the Grande Wormwood. This is my question, and I would like an answer. Even 1mg / litre will be illegal.

    A more mature question would be how you arrrive at such a conclusion, being that you have no dealings with the FDA, and therefore have no insight with respect to the FDA’s rationale as to why they allowed Mr. Breauxs product to be approved. IF the FDA recently had a moment of lucidity with regard to what constitutes ‘no thujone’ where the typical LD50 margin of comfort is concerned and changed their stance, you wouldn’t know about it.

  26. Has the law changed then, Vapeur? “a moment of lucidity” LOL!

  27. B. - Formerly anonymous

    Has the law changed? We shall know within the next few weeks.

  28. Why all the cloak and dagger, B? Can manadrins change the law at will in the US, or does it not need due process?

    As for you, Capt. Vapeur: You have no idea what “insight” I have, or whether I correspond with the FDA. If Ted Breaux has had a thujone bearing alcoholic beverage approved – why can’t he say so?

    Strange way of handling the matter – does Ms Brod know?

  29. My point is, the law is written with sufficient ambiguity such that the FDA would be able to apply their discretion liberally without re-writing it. Exactly what constitutes “thujone-free” is entirely up to them, and they may apply it as tightly or as loosely when they choose, for whomever they choose, whenever they choose. Unless it is disclosed publicly, we have no real insight as to what rationale the FDA used to make their decision.

    Lastly, if the FDA approved this product as being sufficiently ‘thujone-free’, I seriously doubt Viridian would advertise it as anything other than that, regardless of how much or little it possessed.

  30. B. - Formerly anonymous

    “Why all the cloak and dagger, B? Can manadrins change the law at will in the US, or does it not need due process?”

    Buddy, like I said, lay off the conspiracy theories. There is no cloak and dagger. Like I told you yesterday, we’re all waiting to hear Ted’s explaination of how it was produced, and how the FDA approved it. I said we’ll know in the next few weeks, because, by then Ted will have explained it all.

    “You have no idea what “insight” I have, or whether I correspond with the FDA.”

    Well, unless you’ve been lying the entire time we’ve been corresponding, then he is right, you have no contact with the FDA. Care to say anything to the contrary? Do you have a contact name in the FDA that you can share with us all?

    “Strange way of handling the matter.”

    Not at all. Seems to me that Ted went through all the correct channels to have everything approved BEFORE even mentioning that the product would be available.

    How do you think it’s strange?

  31. “you have no contact with the FDA. Care to say anything to the contrary”

    I correspond with many people, on a wide variety of subjects. I have opinions which I choose to share with others, on important matters; one of these is absinthe. I am also interested in micro loans in the developing world, as just one example.

    The FDA is a public body, and not a mystic closed society. If they have changed their long held stance on the use of the name “absinthe” and thujone bearing alcohol – this is of public interest. It is also anti – competitive, not to allow other EU manufacturers the same rights in a timely manner.

  32. B. - Formerly anonymous

    “The FDA is a public body, and not a mystic closed society.”

    Heh heh, you obviously don’t know much about the ‘real’ U.S. Government.

    And what exactly do you know regarding micro loans to developing countries? I’d be happy to discuss this practice with you, as it’s something I’m very familiar with.

    Also, doing a quick search online, are you the Dr. Absinthe, the feminist activist, or are you Dr. Absinthe the Australian goth? If I’m wrong on both accounts, let me know. I’d love to know more about the person who’s posting such accusatory statements as those above.

  33. I have the utmost respect for the organs of US Govt. This is why I am a little surprised at the sudden appearance of this peculiar cat bottle, and the shimmering ambiguity surrounding it’s contents. Why is it so difficult, given the existing press coverage in the New York Times, to have the facts of the matter?

    B, if the FDA have suddenly reversed the legislation that has long prevented the export of thujone bearing alcohol, and of products bearing the name “absinthe”, to the United States, then other manufacturers from European Union member states are entitled to know. I assume that you accept this point?

    PS. What is a goth? Something to with swords is it?

  34. B. - Formerly anonymous

    “then other manufacturers from European Union member states are entitled to know”

    Let’s be real. If that was the case, word would spread like wildfire.

    “Why is it so difficult, given the existing press coverage in the New York Times, to have the facts of the matter?”

    Let’s see, maybe because the facts of the matter have not been made public yet? This isn’t something new.

    Drab, I’ve already stated my allegiences and/or conflicts of interest (which I have none). Why are you avoiding the question?

  35. B, I am not commercially involved with the Czech absinthe industry, I am simply an interested observer.

    I don’t sell, I drink.

  36. > As for you, Capt. Vapeur: You have no idea what “insight” I have, or whether I correspond with the FDA.

    Having interfaced directly with the FDA, EPA, BATF (now TTB), Homeland Security, and SBA on behalf of international clients, your naivity of regulatory dealings at this level is most evident.

    > If Ted Breaux has had a thujone bearing alcoholic beverage approved – why can’t he say so?

    Why would he? Why should he? If you had a clue what he undoubtedly had to have invested in time and legal representation to get such a product through the regulatory minefields of at least two agencies that would stand in the way, you’d understand why it wouldn’t exactly be a wise business move to divulge the details of his success. He’s obviously succeeded where others have failed, so his credibility is evidently sufficient with the regulators. I doubt that was earned by hawking industrial garbage and boasting of thujone and hallucinations and other nonsense.

  37. LOL!

    Your undoubted excellence in “interfacing” and grandiloquence is a testament to your obvious high standing, Sir. We all stand in awe of your auspicious interlocution betwixt said parties. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us!

    Back on Earth: Ted and Jade Liquers, formerly of Thailand, and now France, is a manufacturer of alcohol in the European Union. If the FDA have changed the rules concerning EU exports, then it’s a matter for all manufacturers. The FDA should now duly inform the European Union (and Swiss Federation) of this trade possibilty. Unless you are claiming that this “interfacing” is only available to US citizens? Is that what you mean?

  38. 🙄 Absinthe effects?

  39. B. - Formerly anonymous

    “B, I am not commercially involved with the Czech absinthe industry, I am simply an interested observer.”

    You may only be an interested observer, but it doesn’t seem as though you are an INFORMED observer, given your nasty quips and accusations.

    “The FDA should now duly inform the European Union (and Swiss Federation) of this trade possibilty.”

    The U.S. already imports alcohol from the EU. Where have you been? Ever heard of scotch? Sambuca? Irish Whisky? No?

    As for Lucid, from what I understand (I may be wrong) the finished product is made by Viridian LLC, which is a U.S. based company formed by the following people:
    corporate attorney Jared Gurfein (formerly of Skadden Arps, NTL Incorporated and Jones Day), and includes partners Simon, Jerome and Leon Falic (whose major holdings include Duty Free Americas and luxury brands such as Christian Lacroix, Hard Candy, Urban Decay and the license to manufacture Perry Ellis fragrances and cosmetics); Jonathan Bonchick (formerly with Brown-Forman and currently with Duty Free Americas); and Eddie Soleymani and Leon Redensky (co-founders and Managing Directors of Lynx Capital Partners, LLC, an equity trading firm).

    Obviously, these people have done their homework, and found that Grande Wormwood, as an ingredient is not illegal, as long as the finished product passes current testing procedures for detecting thujone.

  40. Here is an interesting post from Bob Thornton on Blog Critics about absinthe effects:

    Hi – my name’s Dave – a few years ago I had a shot of an extremely bitter tasting liquid at ‘ye olde absinthe bar’ at a party in Brooklyn. After a beer and a shot of that I experienced a unique high – I was drunk, but also crystal clear headed – uninhibited and extremely focused – extremely present. Did this three times on different occasions… I’m assuming this was a home distilled czech style absinthe.

  41. Drunken Master

    You cite a COMIC BOOK as evidence of absinthe’s “effects”? Wow…..I’m just speechless.

  42. Drunken Master

    You also clearly do not understand the differences between primary & secondary historical sources and anecdotal evidence.

  43. What are you talking about, Drunken Master? What “comic book”?

  44. Drunken Master doesn’t know what he is talking about. He usually quotes that line about “sources” to appear erudite, yet hasn’t a clue who Portae and Brunschwig are.

    The only comic book figure I recall is Capt. Vapeur, in his green lycra body suit, who occasionally swoops down from his imaginery cloud to patronise Europeans with this hyperbolic prose rays.

    What a absolute shower!

  45. this was a lovely page to read. i just read the entire thing, and you people are hilarious.. and informative!!!!

    ps- i am secretly hoping that dr.absinthe is the goth from australia!! with many swords. ^_^

  46. I LOVE JOHNNY

  47. i love ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  48. you can say what you want but that’s not Johnny!

  49. It is actually. They were taken on the set of “From Hell” in Prague in 2001.

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