Absinthe Times?

Absinthe Time

The Plot to get Zagorova drunk on the Green Fairy

The drink of the 19th century bohemians, the infamous absinthe, often gets the label of something forbidden. It is no wonder that the singers of the musical “Jack the Ripper” approached it with some uncertainty.

Zdenek Podhursky, Roman Vojtek, Petr Vondracek and the ever so spirit-keen Richard Tesarik tried the bitterness of absinthe and the variety of ways to drink it while christening their new Jack the Ripper video-clip.

Even Jana Vaculikova and Hanka Zagorova — the cast members of the gentler sex — put on a brave face. Hanka doesn’t drink spirits at all, but she was interested to find out about the drink that inspired the artists of the 19th century:

“We all need inspiration, and we all have our ways to obtain it,” Hanka said, adding that she doesn’t intend to rely on absinthe for it. “I just took a sip, so that I knew what it tasted like. It’s a very interesting drink, but I doubt I’ll become a convert,” she laughed.

She apparently feels at home in her first musical. “I am very glad I did it. I feel good with the people that I’m working with, and that’s why I’m here with them today, out of the theater.”

Absinthe, the so-called “Green fairy”, is still forbidden in many countries because, in large quantity, it has the same effects as marijuana. It can be drunk with a burnt cube of sugar or with water poured over a sugar cube.

“The fire thing was really interesting, and it turned down the wormwood bitterness,” said Richard Tesarik with satisfaction. “I’ve tried absinthe before, but it’s not really possible to drink more the two shots, better to wash it down with beer after that.”

(Translated from the Mlada Fronta Dnes newspaper)

Note: For those of you outside of the Czech Republic, Hana Zagorova is something of a pop-icon in this country (and a really nice girl too). During the events of November 1989, she used her appeal to support the overthrow of the rotten communist regime (famously documented in a tape smuggled out of a Party meeting where the then-Chairman complained bitterly about her involvement: “Why is she doing this to us? I had her income statements brought to me earlier… Doesn’t she have it good here? Now she turns against us...” A talented performer indeed, she was here with us before the wall came down, and she is still with us now (unlike so many others). Keep going Hanka, we wish you all the best!

The Great Absinthe Plot ?

Meanwhile, 5245 miles away in New Orleans, the new Chemise Verte (Green Shirt) stormtroopers continue their battle to conquer the Universe, but will they set the world alight with their new brands of USA safe absinthe?

Forbidden

Forbidden Photo

Update: Following a complaint we are no longer allowed to publish the private photograph of Ted Breaux at one of his absinthe ceremonies in New Orleans. If you wish to see the original photo you can see it here: realabsintheblogspot.com

Who knows? Currently on overdrive in a fanatical campaign to create their twisted New Jerusalem, barely a day goes by without some hack publishing a glowing review for their new era absinthe, and of course a quick swipe at the Czechs! Perhaps they could take some lessons from the Communist old guard in propaganda? but I don’t think they need any!

Perhaps the first victim of this new wave of absinthe hysteria is a very nice little absinthe from South Africa called Doubs? It appears from this article : L’absinthe de Pontarlier victime de la contrefaçon that Doubs have withdrawn from the market following legal threats! I didn’t pay attention during French lessons, so that is what I can surmise from the article anyway.

On the same theme, if anyone knows what this disturbing image is about, perhaps they could get in touch? It was sent anonymously and is rather sinister, don’t you think?

New Order of Absinthe

19 responses to “Absinthe Times?

  1. Doubs is a Departement in Eastern France, not South Africa.
    Pontarlier is the second biggest town after Besancon!
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles

  2. Hello Robert-Gilles!

    I understand your point. Perhaps Doubs have been a bit naughty with their marketing😳 I don’t know the details.

    There is an absinthe from here called Toulouse Lautrec, and the practice of naming absinthe after drinkers and absinthe famous places like Doubs, where the old Pernod factory was based, is quite widespread.

    I drink Bairnsfather absinth and Tolouse Lautrec- so I’m only half guilty, your honour!

    What is alarming is that Doubs is a client – and exclusively sold online by – one of the most respected names in absinthe. All these people know each other on first name terms, and I am very sorry to see this frankly. I believe that this has more to do with current infighting than anything else.

    Gentlemen, it should have been resolved over an armchair chat! Perhaps the Czech delegation can mediate?🙂

    The new US market opening up has got tempers frayed, and there was a allegedly a bizzare spectacle in New Orleans recently, where one manufacturer was setting fire to their absinthe whilst another was conducting lectures nearby about the evils of this wicked practice.

    Here’s a historic fire and absinthe curiosity:

    On 11. August 1901 a lightning hit the plant of the Pernod company in Pontarlier. It was set on fire, and the high temperature made the huge tanks with alcohol explode. Some one million litres of absinthe poured across the plant, down the system and straight into the river Doubs. The river turned white and smelled of anis.

    Two days later, André Berthelot visited the Source de la Loue more than 15km from Pontarlier, on the other side of a high mountain ridge. While enjoying the romantic atmosphere at the clear spring, he suddenly noticed a change. The water turned milky, and a smell of anis filled the air.

    He knew this smell from the pub, but he had to take a mouthfull, to believe it: The water of the big spring turned into a free apéritiv!

    If that happened today of course there would be very few rivers where we could safely take advantage of this free drink! It’s a nice idea though… a picnic and dipping a glass in the river and enjoying an absinthe! Ah..nevermind the glass take a huge drinking straw!

  3. Sorry to burst your bubble. Doubs was sued by Guy distilleries (who doesn’t post online). Guy has been talking about location and naming for at least a year now.

    Tell me, what’s a “USA safe” absinthe?

  4. Guy distilleries (who doesn’t post online)

    And what if he doesn’t? What is his main online distribution channel, Ari? Why not get David to intercede rather than turning ugly like this?

    Guy has been talking about location and naming for at least a year now.

    Really? If you are impartial absinthe fan, as you often claim, and not an industry insider….how do you know that? You said he doesn’t post online, so where did you pick this up, then?

    Tell me, what’s a “USA safe” absinthe?

    Ummm..let me see…one that has managed to outsmart the FDA via a highly organised campaign of propaganda? Do I win a prize?

    Sorry to burst your bubble.

    Talking of bubbles: is there any concern in the USA about batch regulation as regards thujone levels. I understand that these can vary wildly, if for example the distillery is operated by a loco. Does this mean that your “microbiologist” master must remain permanently in Samur, and not attend any more press conferences?

  5. “And what if he doesn’t? What is his main online distribution channel, Ari?”
    The point was, Guy’s decision was hardly related to anything going on online. Guy’s main distribution channel would be stores in France, but online I wouldn’t know, FGuy is sold by a number of different vendors.

    “how do you know that? You said he doesn’t post online, so where did you pick this up, then?”
    You have got to be kidding right? I picked it up by reading, Guy is reasonably vocal in france and attends the absinthiades, where others attend as well.

    “Ummm..let me see…one that has managed to outsmart the FDA via a highly organised campaign of propaganda? Do I win a prize?”
    Not a real answer. Please try again.
    Which just adds another question, how do you think they are “outsmart”ing the FDA?

    “about batch regulation as regards thujone levels”
    Sounds like a good way to force companies into following the old Pernod and mix their batches to come up with a consistent (and aged) product.

  6. but online I wouldn’t know

    Not the Breaux – Schaf Liquers de France operation, then? I don’t know as I’m not an insider.

    I picked it up by reading, Guy is reasonably vocal in france and attends the absinthiades, where others attend as well.

    LOL. One of your weaker replies; like a rabbit in the headlights, Ari.

    how do you think they are “outsmart”ing the FDA?

    I don’t underestimate your obvious talents. How do you include it on a CV, though? It looks like some people are now whsipering to the press that it was an European Union iniative, this according to the lady featured on my CAD watch page.

    “you too can legally partake of absinthe, thanks to the European Union’s pointing out a loophole in the U.S. ban”

    Not a bunch of non peer reviewed “studies” and a cunningly organised campaign with a California based online “enforcer”, then?

    Ari: I am randomly grabbing people on the street and whipping them till they repeat the accurate information… careful what you ask for.

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

    Accurate information meaning your interpretation based upon your commercial imperatives.

    “about batch regulation as regards thujone levels”

    Oops… you didn’t answer the question, ever think of giving up your career in absinthe and going into politics? I’d vote for you.

  7. “LOL. One of your weaker replies; like a rabbit in the headlights, Ari.”
    Oh yes you caught me, it’s not that I don’t actually use the web, it’s that I’m an insider, that must be the only reason.
    I also know Guy has an irrational fear of fennel. Ooooh fear my evil insider power.

    “Not a bunch of non peer reviewed “studies” and a cunningly organised campaign with a California based online “enforcer”, then?”
    Perhaps you can e-mail JAS (among others) and explain how they have been downgraded. Go on,don’t be shy, I will await the response.

    “Accurate information meaning your interpretation based upon your commercial imperatives.”
    Please tell me my commercial imperatives, I would also love to know how much you think I make doing this. Come on, you keep throwing out the claim, back it up, it will be amusing.

    “Oops… you didn’t answer the question”
    Perhaps because I don’t know enough about how each company plans to prevent a spike in tbones levels so I can’t comment. Or if said spike would even matter. It seems if you pay enough attention it’s not hard to do.
    (the nice petite irony in this thread is that Guy was one of the first to claim a no thujone absinthe yet often ranks high when tests are done.)

  8. it’s not that I don’t actually use the web

    Where on the web has Guy discussed his legal action against Doubs? You said before that it was something you had read, so you are now saying that this is online. Can you provide that link?

    Perhaps because I don’t know enough about how each company plans to prevent a spike in tbones levels so I can’t comment.

    Convenient. Just like your unexplained missionary zeal regarding thujone itself; the one block to the commercial success of faux absinthe in the USA.

    You can fool the majority, but not all.

  9. “Where on the web has Guy discussed his legal action against Doubs?”
    Where did I say he discussed his legal actions? What I said was that I’ve heard that Guy (and others) have talked about regionalizing the pontarlier name. I’m sure you can find some of this at FV.
    I have also heard comments from both France and Switzerland from companies that want to label their area the “birthplace of absinthe” and regionalize the name “absinthe” to only one of those two places.

    I’m still waiting for you to explain how I’m commercially tied to people and a guess on how much money I make. You put the claim out there, back it up. 😀

  10. “birthplace of absinthe”

    That’s not very likely given the fact that Dr. Ordinaire is a creation of fiction, and the Henroid sisters lifted the recipe from Culpeper or another historic source.

    guess on how much money I make

    Enough to keep you stocked up on swords? I saw some nice old blades in an antique shop here that you’d like. We hear today that the Societe Internationale d’ Absinthe was a Breaux creation.

    Then, after second thoughts, the Wormwood Society arrived – to avoid obvious accusations of conflict of interest.

    What is the most prominently featured article on the Wormwood Society website?

    “The Shaky History of THUJONE ” by….wait for it…oh my it’s by you, Ari!

    What’s the reason Ted couldn’t sell absinthe in the USA? THUJONE.

    We do not trust the CADs (Commercial Absinthe Distillers) or their groupies as far as the content of thujone in traditional absinthe. They want to sell absinthe. Not in the past, but now. We want the truth.

    dr_ordinaire (Jun 12 2007) FeeVerte.net

  11. “That’s not very likely ”
    We are talking legal cases, not reality, what’s law isn’t always likely or accurate.

    “Enough to keep you stocked up on swords? ”
    Haha, yep, I’m just rolling in them.

    “What’s the reason Ted couldn’t sell absinthe in the USA? THUJONE.”
    Great broken line of logic. Ted makes Jade, I wrote something for a site Ted isn’t connected too (that cites people Ted isn’t connected too), Thujone was a block to selling absinthe in the US, thus I must work for Ted. Or did I miss something?
    Yet still no support. Can you actually back up anything you say? Any evidence I’m connected in anyway, I would love to hear more of your logic.
    I assume that since I’ve talked with Alan I also work for Ted’s competitors. Maybe I’m cheating on both of them in a MCD – Guy threeway, now that would be a great story.

    And hopefully it wont be the featured article for long, the new site was designed to allow easier adding of articles. I want to read some new stuff.

  12. We are talking legal cases, not reality, what’s law isn’t always likely or accurate.

    Not sure I understand. We have a lawyer who drinks in our local bar who takes on cases by whim depending on whether he is amused or not! You’d make a great attorney, Ari. Give up absinthe and take up law..😉

    I doubt any court would take the flimsy Henroid/ Ordinaire story seriously.

    Ted makes Jade

    Doesn’t he also make Lucid? Thujone is a big issue there, isn’t it? Oh, but that’s on behalf of some guys that approached him out of the blue, right?

    I’ve talked with Alan

    🙂 I’m sure you have. Machiavelli also talked with many princes, didn’t he?

  13. The french would argue that Pernod brought back, developed and created the absinthe craze in france, making it a french drink. I assume the swiss would argue it was bought in Switzerland and thus originated there. As far as I’ve seen I don’t think either case holds water and I don’t want the name “absinthe” to be regionalized to begin with, but that doesn’t mean a judge wont see it differently.
    Just like I think Guy suing Doubs was a bit ridiculous yet the courts apparently didn’t see it that way.

    Yep he makes Lucid, it may have been the first to gain legal status but it’s not the last. Some old news comments suggest it may not even be the first to explore selling real absinthe legally in the US, just the first to navigate the red tape.

  14. Just like I think Guy suing Doubs was a bit ridiculous

    Yes, I think so too. I wonder why he couldn’t just have got Oxy to sort it out. I personally have a lot of respect for David, who seems to be a jovial fellow, as well as a writer whose opinions are worth reading.

    Makes you think he was trying to make a name for himself, or that there are other factors involved.

  15. Who does Oxy mean when he says “Bunny”? Can you help, Ari?

    Guy vs Doubs

  16. Again, tardy to the party…

    Here’s what the first search turned up on our society internationale d’absinthe:

    http://www.amazon.com/Absinthe-Sip-Seduction-Contemporary-Guide/dp/1933108150

    Memorable quote:
    “T.A. Breaux is a professional scientist who has perfected the technique of reconstructing the most famous original brands of absinthe. Breaux is also the founder of the Societe International d’Absinthe, a worldwide absinthe-connoisseurs organization.”

    Also here:

    http://www.feeverte.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=174

    etc…etc…etc…

    Sorry for the cynicism, but it stinks of the Belle Epoque.

  17. PS. Note the use of “perfected the technique” in the Breaux quote.

    And one other thing, in the Fee Verte post Ted talks about Conrad’s book…and well, I believe you know what I already think about Conrad’s book…

    And again from Fee Verte…
    “You may have noticed the blurb about the “Societe Internationale d’Absinthe”. This is a non-profit organization with a noble purpose…”

    Yes. The Noble Purpose.

    Sorry, but at this point I’m putting on my tinfoil hat.

  18. This might of been from the days when “Jade” was born in that well known center of absinthe culture – Thailand!

    Don Walsh, who undertook the update of this page, is an organic chemist living in Bangkok, Thailand, where he serves as managing director of Jade Liqueurs Co.,Ltd.

    http://www.3dchem.com/molecules.asp?ID=142

    Athletic, muscular and projecting a surfeit of self-confidence, Ted Breaux looks more like a personal trainer than a chemist, but appearances can be deceiving.

    Ahem…🙄

    Good enough to go public. Through La Fee Verte, a Web site dedicated to absinthe, Breaux met chemist Don Walsh. Walsh, a New Orleans native living in Thailand, shared with Breaux a fascination with absinthe and an interest in authenticity. The two hashed out a business plan and founded a company, Jade Liqueurs Co. Ltd., to produce Breaux’s meticulous recreations. From the onset, they decided that absolute authenticity would be their goal. “No one has gotten it right,” Breaux says. “The market that they appeal to is more young people who want to get drunk. That’s not our market. Our market is connoisseurs.”

    With a manufacturing facility in Thailand ready to roll and the possibility of a distillery in France…

    http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/2002-12-17/cover_story.html

  19. “you couldn’t get laid in a Thai whorehouse with a hundred dollar bill wrapped around your woody”

    “In short — f**k you. Ignorant snot!”

    “watch me shove a liter bottle of Blue Label up your ass and give you an enema you’ll never recover from, you pasty faced Brit closet case c***sucker.

    This is the talk of Mr Walsh, the real guy behind Jade.

    and of course this:

    http://www.feeverte.net/archive/messages/16/563.html

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