Strong Absinthe in the USA

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Drinking different types of absinthe in the USA from Mark Pearson of the Summit Daily News in Colorado:

Absinthe, banned in most countries in the early 1900s, is still prohibited in the U.S., although legal to procure, possess and imbibe as it is not considered a controlled substance. It allegedly can cause hallucinations, the most popular being of a green fairy, aka. La Fee Verte.

I chose two different versions, Francois Guy and Franco Suisse. My coworker ordered the pick of the month for his groomsmen and Strong 68 for himself. Less than two weeks and $190 later, my share of the package arrived intact, as did the others, well packed in a cardboard box and stamped in words ending in icht.

Wow, this stuff was strong! I took a sip. Yup, tastes just like it smells. Black licorice. I grimaced. I offered a glass to my roommate and her friend. Not even the two of them could finish it. I will say this; it did give me a good buzz. Later on, after a few trials, I figured out that if I added a lot of ice and a little more water, it was a decent drink. And after being on the wagon for a year, I was a cheap date. Two kept me buzzed for several hours.

My officemate and I had planned on a sampling party, so one night after work I joined him at his house. If I thought my versions of absinthe were strong, my buddy’s version grew hair in your ears and nose. My head jerked like I had Tourette’s, and I uttered a few curses that made the dog run for cover.

Source

If I am reading this correctly: his buddy’s absinthe is a macerate, boasts 68% alcohol, as well as 35mg thujone. I quite like that quote, although my favourite is still from a Czech drinking absinth in 1941, who described it as like “dissolved lizards” Then of course we have the words of a famous Val de Travers distiller:

Mais je vous avouerai que la dégustation avec celle à 42 mg/kg a donné des surprises qui en disent long sur l’interdiction de l’absinthe en 1910 en Suisse et 1915 en France.

But I would admit that the degustation conducted on the 42mg/kg has led to many surprises which reveal a lot on the prohibition of absinthe in 1910 in Switzerland and in 1915 in France.

L’absinthe n’est pas un alcool “aimable”. Il a un effet stupéfiant à haute dose. La thuyone n’est pas seule en cause. Le mélange des diverses plantes et graines est détonnant. Au 19e siècle, on qualifiait l’absinthe d’opium du peuple. Je ne suis pas moraliste. C’est juste une mise en garde.

Not the sole cause? His experiment drinking some glasses of absinthe, from a batch yielding 42mg, are an interesting insight into the reality behind the modern day myths about thujone. Thujone doesn’t matter we are told – but by whom? Those that want to sell absinthe today in a climate that allows thujone up to 35mg in the European Union – and ZERO – big fat nothing- 0 mg – in the United States. Another factor to remember is that thujone levels are a good benchmark of the quality of the wormwood used in production – generally the higher the quality of the natural plant, the higher the thujone level. Tonight I can enjoy a glass of 35mg thujone absinthe – 7mg short of this distiller’s Val de Travers batch – I know what to expect.


10 responses to “Strong Absinthe in the USA

  1. “If I thought my versions of absinthe were strong, my buddy’s version grew hair in your ears and nose. My head jerked like I had Tourette’s, and I uttered a few curses that made the dog run for cover.”

    “If I am reading this correctly: his buddy’s absinthe is a macerate, boasts 68% alcohol, as well as 35mg thujone.”

    Dude, thujone has nothing to do with it. His description was of the FLAVOR. I’ve tried all three brands mentioned in that article, and I’d tend to agree with the quote. The level of astringent bitterness in the Strong is overwhelming. And no, not in a good way.

    “Another factor to remember is that thujone levels are a good benchmark of the quality of the wormwood used in production – generally the higher the quality of the natural plant, the higher the thujone level. “

    SOURCE PLEASE?!?!?

    First off, there is much more to gauging the quality of AA than just thujone content. Also, anyone who is familiar with distilling (or macerating for that matter) wormwood knows that different parts of the plant contain different levels of thujone.

    “Thujone doesn’t matter we are told – but by whom? Those that want to sell absinthe today in a climate that allows thujone up to 35mg in the European Union – and ZERO – in the United States.”

    Are you ever going to explain why YOU think thujone is important? You keep saying you’ll answer these questions later, but I’m beginning to believe that remark is nothing but a delay tactic.

  2. Wait, you want him to Explain his claims? Bah, just accept them, no question. 😛

    I should point out that the US so far has no regulations on thujone content in non-finished-foods or in certain herbs like sage. That’s right, None.

    So listen up folks, if you really want your thujones (and a possible trip to the hospital) go for the legal High-T plant extracts and don’t waste your money on these supposably high thujone over priced product. 100mg/l is child’s play.

  3. His description was of the FLAVOR.

    No, it was the effect as well.

    SOURCE PLEASE

    Herbalist expert – Ari knows him.

    knows that different parts of the plant contain different levels of thujone.

    Yes, the harvesting time, storage, drying technique, and climatic conditions also play a role I think.

    My own opinion of thujone is based upon several factors:

    (i) The clearly diiferent effect I and many others have noticed of drinking a higher thujone content absinthe.

    We all approached the subject with an open mind, you can believe what you like. I don’t care.

    I note that I was called a “looney” on Fee Verte today – it was further claimed that I was suffering a placebo effect and not a thujone effect. This is unlikely as the opinion is shared by many – it is unlikely we are all “loonies” Or perhaps you’ll say next this is group hysteria or something. We are not the Moonies – many folks I know are serious professionals including one with medical training.

    (ii) Many opinions expressed in private communications with quiet clear headed experts on the subject. Many people are not interested in having nosiey wars with the new bully boys of commercial absinthe. You may find that surprising – but it is very true. My correspondence is always made with a caveat that these parties do not want conflict with zealots like Ari et al. This has happened with at least four different sources so far & they always bring it up. You are an intimidating and rowdy crowd, Shabba.

    (iii) The fact that much of the latest fresh science seems to have sprung up recently in total contradiction of more learned studies of the very recent past. This science was exactly timed with the arrival of the “real absinthe” tribe, of which you are a key part, Shabba.

    The “real absinthe” tribe consists of two groups:

    (i) Those seeking to profit from absinthe
    (ii) Followers, or what someone called, “the sheep”

    If I had the resources and the time of course I’d sponsor a study – in fact maybe I will or already have😉 The issue of the effect of thujone on the GABA receptors will not be resolved by PR sound bites about Thanksgiving dinners. It requires serious and IMPARTIAL study to confirm what many (not just “Czech absinth loonies”) believe is happening when one drinks a higher thujone absinthe.

  4. —-

    “The clearly diiferent effect I and many others have noticed of drinking a higher thujone content absinthe.”

    Of which you have no evidence is high thujone and no control group tests. Only biased opinion.

    —-

    “We all approached the subject with an open mind, you can believe what you like. I don’t care.”

    No we don’t, we approach a subject with pre-concieved ideas, the question is how likely are you to toss off those ideas when shown wrong. Welcome to the world of science.

    —-

    “This is unlikely as the opinion is shared by many – it is unlikely we are all “loonies” Or perhaps you’ll say next this is group hysteria or something.”

    Congrats you just discovered why the placebo effect is so important to test for, because multiple people can experience the same placebo.

    If your logic was accurate then sugar cures many ailments.

    —–

    “The fact that much of the latest fresh science seems to have sprung up recently in total contradiction of more learned studies of the very recent past. This science was exactly timed with the arrival of the “real absinthe” tribe, of which you are a key part, Shabba.”

    Source?

    —-
    By zealots I assume you mean people that ask you back yourself up and not lie. In which case, I enjoy my zealotry.

  5. On at least three occasions in recent days you have accused me of being a liar. It is only one of your online tactics ,which has been observed before elsewhere, in your self styled role as “asbinthe enforcer”

    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

    Do not call me a liar again please. The science that you don’t like is always “outdated” and yet you will happily agree with an antique dealer, or a former employee of an state electricty corporation, when they utter your chosen mantra.

    As for placebo – I cannot accept that, as significant number of them were trying to prove me wrong.

  6. So what should I call you if you have consistently misrepresented information and people (as you did in the wikipedia thread for example)?

    Well you could actually provide this science and defend it, or you could scrape the bottom of the barrel by taking jokes out of context.

    That they were trying to prove you wrong doesn’t matter. No controls, no data and small sample = laughable science. But feel free to pretend.

  7. “The “real absinthe” tribe consists of two groups:

    (i) Those seeking to profit from absinthe
    (ii) Followers, or what someone called, “the sheep”

    And what about someone like me, who began drinking absinthe more than 10 years ago (before the resurgence), who doesn’t seek profit from absinthe, and who isn’t a ‘follower’ in any sense of the word?

    I began my absinthe drinking with several HGed Spanish absinth, then with Serpis, Deva, Mata Hari, Strong, and Sebor.

    I’ve branched out to have collected close to 100 bottles of different brands, including most of the popular Bohemian, French, and Swiss brands, as well as others.

    How come I’ve NEVER experienced more of an effect with something like Sebor, Strong, Stromu or KoSG as opposed to the Swiss or French brands?

    How come none of the other people who I’ve drank it with have?

    So, based on what I’ve explained above, what do you categorize me as? i or ii? Or do you need to add another category: Informed Imbiber?

    “His description was of the FLAVOR.

    No, it was the effect as well.”

    Um no. I read the whole blog, before you even posted it here. He was talking about the flavor. Would you like me to have him post here to prove you wrong?

  8. ““real absinthe” tribe, of which you are a key part, Shabba.””

    And how am I a ‘key part’ in anything? All I do is clean up reviews. It’s not like I’d erase someone’s favorable review of a Bohemian brand, as long as it was legit. Nor would I erase a negative review of an authentic absinthe, again, as along as it were legit.

    However, if someone who is a known ‘Ted Basher’ or something of the sort, and who is only posting negative things to disparage him due to personal malice, then that’s a different story.

    As of now, I’ve never had to do anything more than rearrange some things to make them grammatically correct or fix some spelling errors.

  9. Would you like me to have him post here to prove you wrong?

    You can invite the Pope to comment if you like, but no born again evangelicals please🙂 Seriously : yes I don’t mind who posts comments here…as the advert says “All points of view are welcome here”

  10. So that’s the only response you’re going to give to everything I asked?

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