Monthly Archives: September 2007

Mansinthe – The Antichrist of Absinthe?

Hieronymous Bosch

Hell (circa 1490)

“If by fire Of sooty coal th’ empiric alchymist Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold.” John Milton

It’s a hell of a time to be in the absinthe business! New brands are coming out quicker than you can chant a Satanic rite. Absinthe for me has always been a little bit of Heaven…but it seems the media’s plastic devil in makeup wants in on the action.

The trumpets are sounding and the Marilyn Manson Mansinthe hype is upon us! The Antichrist of Absinthe has arrived! Or has he? You not only get a bottle of Mansinthe, you get a label which features a picture created by cheeky Brian Hugh Warner himself. What really made me cringe was the 66.6% alcohol content. Heaven save us from the machinations of those devils in suits… advertising executives!

It’s nice to know that these bottles of devil juice are being knocked out by the very same conservative Swiss distiller (Matter-Luginbühl) also making this new cocktail absinthe (Marteau Verte), from the holier than thou pony tailed founder of the Wormwood Society. Strange bedfellows indeed…but with a common parent.

Who will jump on the bandwagon next? Perhaps we should watch out for Loch Ness Absinthe – created by a little known Scottish hermit, inspired by the green monster of the loch, and a secret recipe book once owned by Lady Macbeth?

Prototype 35 of his absinthe, the wonderfully named Mansinthe, has sold out despite being priced at close to $1000 a bottle.

😯 I was recently offered a few rare original bottles of 100mg thujone Century Absinth (2005) for a figure not dissimilar to that…so I’ll probably go for that classic over a bottle of vapid publicity bubbles, and a depressing label painted by Mr Manson.

“My vice is absinthe. I don’t know so much about its repercussions.”

👿 I suppose that Marilyn Manson should pay a visit to one of the many modern day “absinthe professors” who will enlighten him.

The original absinthe professors frequented the bars and cafes of Fin de Siecle Paris, advising people on how to properly prepare an absinthe. They gave this instruction in return for a glass – nice work if you can get it! Modern day “absinthe professors” frequent absinthe forums, and turn nasty if you ask inconvenient questions about thujone. Thujone is the closed gate to real absinthe sales in the USA – but some say it’s the gateway to the real mystery of absinthe.

Whom do you hate

“Marilyn Manson may not know his Nietzsche from his Nazis, but he has had the commercial savvy to make a success of his nihilist schtick, writes Antonella Gambotto-Burke | September 29, 2007

Make “Absinthe” at home?


Delicate Bitterness from Poland

Not really. This is something rather different, with a noble and ancient pedigree which actually predates absinthe (Stefan Falimierz 1534) Absinthist in Poland has sent us a picture of this little known wormwood drink, which is called Piołunowka (the Polish word for wormwood is piołun – the French word for wormwood is absinthe) According to Wikipedia:

Piołunowka has much higher levels of thujone than absinthe because it is not distilled. Many people produce it today to try and feel the ‘absinthe effect’

The level of thujone in Absinthist’s Piołunowka is unknown – anyone care to make a guess? There are of course numerous places that sell a ready to use absinthe kit  although this Polish drink uses only wormwood, no costly star anise, fennel, calamus, hyssop and so forth. As I have mentioned before I have been given a strange recipe for Známý likér absintovy (well known liquor absinth) from a late 19th Century Czech text. It seems to call for the addition of lemon oils – as well as the usual absinthe regulars – rather curious, which is why I am currently checking it with a more informed source. This recipe also requires no distillation – a kind of folk recipe absinthe which could be fun to try for Christmas!

What I also find very curious is that Absinthist – an expert herbalist – describes his drink as having a “delicate bitterness“. This is contrary to what others preach at us. We are told that macerating wormwood in high proof alcohol creates something “vile-tasting and insanely bitter” – quite wrong it seems.

The very same writer has penned another polemic on the wrongs of Czech absinth, written words which cry out for a little sugar when reading, due to their bitterness. The writer might like to ponder the words of wiser men: “The worst offense that can be committed by a polemic is to stigmatize those who hold a contrary opinion as bad and immoral men.” (John Stuart Mill).

Anyway, fancy making piołunówka? Here’s how simple it really is:

I have made piołunówka 39.6%, rye-base, no sugar, assemblage of distillate and macerate. Wormwoody to the boot, pleasant herbal aroma, delicate bitterness, medium alcohol bite.

The recipe is simple, makes 300ml of piołunówka

1 coffeespoon of dried wormwood leaves macerate for 24h in 100ml of vodka, then strain and dilute it with 200ml of vodka, let it rest, sugar if you wish. The simplest recipes yield the best results.

The main difference between it and Falimierz’ s recipe: no sugar, wormwood leaves instead of flowertops, slightly less strong.

I wonder if Absinthist actually used spirytus rektyfikowany? A high proof Polish spirit that I understand cannot be legally exported from Poland. The comments box below is open for comments about this drink / alternative recipes – and nothing else.

Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar): Murdering Freedom in 2007


This small and insignificant piece of cyberspace salutes the brave oppressed people of Burma (*). Whilst the people of the Czech Republic enjoyed a Velvet Revolution in 1989, others are not so lucky on this day in 2007. The disgraceful and sickening violence of this evil dictatorship is a stain on the very soul of Asia. This is not a political or a current affairs blog, but it is a personal blog – and so I make no apology for using it this day to publish to my readership an image that fills me with horror, anger and a deep sense of compassion.

To the brave people that march and to the journalists that continue to risk their lives in Rangoon: yours is the noblest form of human behaviour. Let us hope that you prevail, and that your sacrifice is not in vain.

(*) Also many refer to Burma as Myanmar nowadays, including the major news networks, it must be noted that this is a name that was given to the country by the criminal regime that has for years terrorised “Myanmar’s” population; Burma’s people had no say in the name-change matter. Where some argue that “Myanmar” is the legally recognised name and so the country should be referred to as such, I argue that the obvious illegitimacy of the current Burmese administration denies any of their actions or decisions such a recognition.

Night with Absinthe?

Night with Absinthe

The latest piece of absinthe art from Leif Rogers. This piece is provisionally called “Night with Absinthe” – and our readers have further been given the chance to suggest an alternative name, in the comments section below, before the paint even dries! The original of one of Leif’s earlier works has already been snapped up by a well known absinthe house for their private gallery. Absinthe has long been the muse of art, and we are happy to see that the Green Fairy (La Fee Verte) is once again weaving her magic, after many years of enforced absence. Absinthe is back and it’s time to pour a glass, relax, shut out the troubles of the modern world, and say hello to that mischievous green lady from the past.

The Complete Distiller by Ambrose Cooper (1757)


Wormwood Water

Wormwood Water

There are similar references in Culpeper’s ‘The Complete Herbal’, 1653 as Spiritus et Aqua Absynthii & most importantly Spiritus et Aqua Absynthii magis composita.

Spiritus et Aqua Absynthii magis composita
Or spirit and water of Wormwood, the greater composition

College : Take of common and Roman Wormwood, of each a pound; Sage, Mints, Bawm, of each two handfuls; the Roots of Galanga, Ginger, Calamus, Aromaticus, Elecampane, of each three drachms; Liquorice, an ounce, Raisins of the Sun stoned, three ounces, Annis seeds, and sweet Fennel seeds, of each three drachms; Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmegs, of each two drachms; Cardamoms, Cubebs, of each one drachm: let the things be cut that are to be cut, and the things be bruised that are to be bruised, all of them infused in twenty four pints of Spanish wine, for twenty four hours, then, distilled in an Alembick, adding two ounces of white sugar to every pint of distilled water.

According to researchers at the University of Wolverhampton discussing another section:

“Culpeper, in a rather involved sentence, seems to suggest that two varieties of WORMWOOD were most commonly used; that is, SEA WORMWOOD for children and ‘people of ripe age’, and ‘common wormwood’ for those that are ’strong’, by which he probably meant the plant now usually called Artemesia absinthe [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)].

Culpeper also says: “Common Wormwood I shall not describe, for every boy that can eat an egg knows it” So the question is : what was this “common wormwood” that Culpeper mentions?

Would it be fair to say this recipe contains the Holy Trinity, which is used by some to define modern day absinthe:  artemisia absinthium, fennel and anise? Is this then evidence of absinthe – only the French word for wormwood anyway – existing as part of a much older tradition?

Is the dubious history of the Henroid sisters, and the bogus Dr Ordinaire, merely a 19th Century marketing stunt? In any case neither the Henroid sisters, nor the phantom Doctor, invented absinthe – at best it was copied.