Modern Filtration

This page was originally about Toulouse Lautrec Absinthe from Cami, but is now about the high tech process of modern filtration vs the the destruction of the herbals during distillation. Enjoy🙂


90 responses to “Modern Filtration

  1. The Czech blanche! The only clear Czech absinthe, according to some retailers. Nonsense! Martin Sebor’s Havels’ Alpine pre dates this clear absinthe, and was always held in high regard. Havel’s is really difficult to find, and I am not even sure if it is still being made. I came across some recently in a store, and bought the lot.

  2. Well! That’s the last time I rely on that Swedish reviewer who puts the Fee Verte “Guide” together:

    Here is what he wrote:

    I received a sample of the no longer available Czech blanche absinth, Havel’s Alpen from Arthur Frayn, a good absintheur friend. I must actually say that apart from the new Cami Toulouse Lautrec – it’s a shame for the Czech absinth “industry” that this one is no longer available. This was probably the only Czech absinth I would ever consider drinking again if it was still in production and if the Toulouse Lautrec had not been released.

    I can’t say it was perfect, since it wasn’t but it was at least palatable. It’s a distilled absinth and it did louche.

    > No it DOES NOT louche!

  3. Hi and welcome!

    Like some girls…some louche and some don’t. The louche is very faint at best & when we all tried it…well it wasn’t the best Martin Sebor produced.

  4. The Havel Alpen blanche was the one Havel I could stand drinking at the time the Havel products where new and around.
    As with other products containing only little anise and/or fennel a very slow drip of iced water does a world of difference. I have a vintage absenta which is a perfect example of this. If you drip iced water REALLY slow into it, it louches just fine. If you speed it up, it only louches a very little bit.

  5. OK…let’s see..YES! Hartsmar is right. Did Arthur Frayn tell you anything about how this one was made?

    I can also see that the louche is reversing itself, perhaps the current warm air temperature? This wasn’t a freeze filter was it? I don’t think so, but you get a nice louche with Kyle’s range to ice.

    You don’t care for Reality, Hartsmar?

  6. No, Reality is not for me. I don’t consider that a very good absinthe.

    I think the whole filteration thing is complete B.S and is completely uncomparable to distilling. As far as I know, the old Havel Alpen was indeed distilled.

  7. “I think the whole filteration thing is complete B.S”

    Why?

    By the way your website dates the Velvet Revolution to 1987…it was November 1989.

    “Let’s party like it’s 1989”🙂

  8. Because Mr Bairnsfather claims that filtering a macerate through labgrade filters will be better or equivalent to distilling. Which is B.S.

  9. You did not answer the question, Hartsmar.

    People wax lyrical about Reality because the scientific approach, in partnership with tradition, delivers the herbals in a refreshingly vibrant manner.

    I hold onto my second bottle like liquid gold. Rationing out sips on special occasions or whole servings in fits of passion. Sometimes I just stare at the bottle and reminisce–such is my love.

    http://www.absinthedrinkers.org/2007/08/my-love-affair-with-reality.html

  10. I did answer. The filtration does not equal distillation and does not produce a product similar to a distilled product. There’s a looooong discussion with Bairnsfather on this very matter over at FeeVerte.net

  11. Distillation was the only process available during the Belle Epoque – times have moved on. If you wish I will write to Mr Bairnsfather to ask him to explain further, as you do not seem to comprehend the importance of this technology.

    The filtration process used by the Bairnsfather Family Distillery is considerably more expensive than simple distillation. You praise Martin Sebor’s Havel Alpen seemingly only based upon your narrow perspective of what constitutes a good absinth – it has a louche and it was distilled.

    Lines like “B.S” do not constitute valid argument, Hartsmar.

    FeeVerte is a boxing ring – or bear garden(i) – for the entertainment of the bloated new “Emperors of Absinthe” and their sycophantic followers – it is a place where people are routinely insulted, and not an appropriate place to discuss such an important topic.

    (i)Bear garden.
    (a) A place where bears are kept for diversion or fighting.
    (b) Any place where riotous conduct is common or permitted.

    M. Arnold.

  12. “It is a place where people are routinely insulted, and not an appropriate place to discuss such an important topic.”

    For a few seconds, I thought you were talking about this blog which has had its fair share of fighting, insulting, ad hominem attacks, etc over the last few months.

    absintheur, does this mean that this blog will not descend to such levels in future?

    W

  13. New doesn’t mean better.
    Now, if I could only get a free bottle of reality I would do a taste test.🙂

    “where people are routinely insulted”
    Ironically by Kyle in said threads.

  14. Alan,

    I don’t recall anyone threatening to come round and beat anyone up, which – as I recall – was the kind of thing said on that wild FeeVerte thread.

    Ari,

    As you know Kyle gives as good as he gets – I personally wouldn’t advise challenging him a boxing ring, or for that matter regarding absinth expertise, as he is a heavyweight.

    Why don’t you buy a bottle of Reality with your earnings, Ari? It is available at eabsinthe.com I think, and who knows you might like it!

    You can then sit back and enjoy a real handcrafted 35mg thujone bottle of pure pleasure🙂

    I was just given some Absinthium 1792 – nice louche, lots of anise…but wait Czech absinth doesn’t have anise! I must be imagining it.

  15. “As you know Kyle gives as good as he gets”

    And in the thread on that forum that you condemn everyone else for being insulting he came in swinging.

    “Why don’t you buy a bottle of Reality with your earnings, Ari?”

    What earnings?

    “Czech absinth doesn’t have anise!”

    It doesn’t?
    That’s strange, especially posted in the section of one of the reasonably respected czech products.

  16. Kyle has an extra anise product – I prefer the smooth tatse of Reality. I really advise you to try them with an open mind.

    What earnings?

    From whatever it is you get up to, Thujone Boy. It is clear to me that you speak with the kind of “forked tongue” that only a seasoned defence barrister/ attorney could muster. You are either a youthful prodigy – or not what you seem, IMHO.

  17. Absintheur said, “I really advise you to try them with an open mind.”
    If I could try them without spending money I would. Good is good, no matter who makes it.

    Absintheur said, ” It is clear to me that you speak with the kind of “forked tongue” that only a seasoned defence barrister/ attorney could muster. You are either a youthful prodigy – or not what you seem, IMHO”

    So do you have any proof of this clear forked tongue speak? Or is this just another empty accusation?

    By forked tongue do you mean not backing up what I say and changing the subject every time I’m backed into a corner?😀

  18. I see “send me a free sample and I’ll review it” a lot in the forums and personally I think it’s a cop out.

    It’s also a position that puts the “small” absinthe manufacturers in a funny position. The same doesn’t fly with bigger manufacturers. I could email Jimmy Russel all day long about “free samples to review” and he’d just laugh at me before he’d send me free Wild Turkey. And, to be honest, we’d expect that and probably laugh at me for my foolish attempt at free bourbon. However, the absinthe community seems to use that same argument to justify their mockery of “bad” absinthe. “well, if they don’t want to send us some…what’s wrong with it!”, etc.

    Heaven knows money is always an issue. I know it keeps me from trying everything I desire.

    In short, just lust after all the options like I do!

    PS. wasn’t this thread about Toulouse Lautrec? Hell, of a draughtsman that man was…

  19. So do you have any proof of this clear forked tongue speak?

    The Wikipedia page on absinthe that you constructed – actually “poisoned tongue” would be more appropriate!

    It is full of bias and the agenda of your elitist clique.

  20. Leif said, “a lot in the forums and personally I think it’s a cop out…”
    Of course I can go to the local liquor store and buy Wild Turkey for little money. On the other hand if I’m spending the money to buy absinthe, frankly there are a number of products ahead of reality that I have yet to try, that aren’t as much of a question/gamble.
    Perhaps if Reality wasn’t around $90 or so, I would buy a bottle to try.

    absintheur said, “The Wikipedia page on absinthe that you constructed – actually “poisoned tongue” would be more appropriate!”
    So you can provide examples of my “poisoned tongue”? are they unsourced? What are the examples of bias? How does this somehow prove the conspiracy that you seem to spend so much time thinking about? Remember, just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s bias or evil.

  21. 90 or so for a bottle?! From where? If that includes shipping, then yes, that number is close (but still about 10-15 high), however, if one develops the right system for purchasing you can save a lot of money…

    Yet, I’ve come to see buying absinthe a lot like I’ve come to see gambling on the horses…systems help but don’t always work.

  22. $90 for one bottle including shipping from eabsinthe. And yes if I spent more money (to take advantage of better shipping rates) it would be $69 per bottle (3 bottles) and $207 for the order.

  23. Alas, I remember when Reality was only 21 pounds (currently 24.95) on eAbsinthe. The good old days!

  24. Haven’t been in here for a while…

    Expensive filtration processes doesn’t necessarily equal superior quality to a method that is proven to work and work very well.

    The primary fault in the process and Kyle’s arguments is that the filtration process cannot and will not remove compounds/characteristics you would not want in what constitutes as a quality, authentic absinthe.

    I don’t really care how much time and money he has put into that whole process. It simply doesn’t cut it. Let me counter with this question;

    What in your aspect makes the filtration process so much better than distillation that you feel obliged to “praise” it? Nothing in Kyle’s arguments have convinced me of anything other than it being just that – B.S.

    Also, I have never ever praised Havel Alpen. Let’s just make that clear. Praise is waaay to much a word for that absinthe. However, I have said that it is one of the better Czech absinthes available at that time and it deserved credit for being an actual distilled product.

  25. The primary fault in the process and Kyle’s arguments is that the filtration process cannot and will not remove compounds/characteristics you would not want

    What are compounds remaining (that you refer to) that filtration leaves behind? Please be specific, I am very interested in your opinion.

  26. “Expensive filtration processes doesn’t necessarily equal superior quality to a method that is proven to work and work very well.”

    This reminds me too much of the standard art school freshman “oil paint is superior to acrylic paint because it’s old and I said so…” argument.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that by “authentic absinthe” you mean Real Absinthe™. So I’m taking all of this with a grain of salt.

    “I don’t really care how much time and money he has put into that whole process. It simply doesn’t cut it. Let me counter with this question;

    What in your aspect makes the filtration process so much better than distillation that you feel obliged to “praise” it?”

    And I don’t really care to have to justify my tastes to you, but I do enjoy this idea of obligation that you are bring up. Why am I obligated to “praise”…

    Simply put I enjoy Reality and since it is a product I enjoy, I will praise it. I could care less if it was filtered, distilled, macerated, infused, or sat out in a mason jar to be brewed by the sun. I’ve never debated process about my love of Reality and I never will. So, to answer your question: I don’t feel any obligations because well…I’m a free man and I can say what I want. I need no other reason.

    PS.

    “Nothing in Kyle’s arguments have convinced me of anything other than it being just that – B.S.”

    If you don’t like his arguments, his product, etc. then I’d advise you to not drink it. It seems to be very upsetting for you.

  27. The characteristic bitterness imparted by absinthins, would be my guess. Distillation does a fine job of leaving them behind in the pot. Bairnsfather’s filtration lets them carry over into his product.

    But I wouldn’t want to put words in Hartmar’s mouth. He’s much better versed than I.

  28. That is the first time I have heard somebody say that Bairnfather Absinth is bitter, or Sebor Absinth for that matter. Yes, of course his Bitter products are bitter, but it is written on the label “Bitter”. Pan Buh do you distill you tea or coffee? No because it would destroy the very herbal qualities that you want from the plants, the same is true with filtering absinth, it perseves the herbal healing and flavour qualities whereas distillation destroys them through heat the vaporization process.

  29. Which “herbal healing and flavour qualities” are destroyed exactly?

    And if distillation is so destructive why is it so commonly used for gathering essential oils?

    In fact, why even filter if you’re worried about losing some of the plants’ qualities?

  30. Don’t you know that to answer a question with a question shows that you do not want to answer the original question? You do not distill your tea or coffee do you? And you know that if you did you would destroy the very things that you are seeking from that vegitative matter. Which is why you did not answer my question, because you know your answer will only support the thesis that filtration is better than distillation is preserving the flavour and healing properties of herbs.

    If you look up distillation is a dictionary your will see one defintion is the act of filtration. Distillation of herbs for essential oils is an effective means of filtering the oils from the rest of the plant. Another mean is making a tincture, which then has to be filtered. So distillation is the quickest and cheapest means, Just like in making an absinth, distillation is quick and cheap.

  31. “You do not distill your tea or coffee do you?”

    You also do not run them through micron filters, doing so would destroy the vegitative matter you are seeking.

    You haven’t answered the question, ‘Which “herbal healing and flavour qualities” are destroyed exactly?’

  32. Big Johnson:

    “Don’t you know that to answer a question with a question shows that you do not want to answer the original question?”

    That’s just their way since they have no other means of proving their argument they obfuscate any real debate/knowledge/etc.

    Ari_x:

    “You also do not run them through micron filters, doing so would destroy the vegitative matter you are seeking.”

    So, you’re an expert in filtration now? Nice.

    Forgive me if I assume a couple things:

    A. the manufacturer defines what he’s seeking to have as taste, colour, etc.

    B. the manufacture works with the best means available to deliver a product he calls “his own”.

    Therefore, to say that he “would destroy the vegitative matter you are seeking” is to claim knowledge of the manufacturer’s intentions that are only known to himself.

    Score! Since you have the awesome ESP…can you tell me any lotto numbers for next week? (pardon the drama here, but I just have to…)

    Either way, to go back to your question of tea, etc…you do filter out any unneeded matter, which is what (I surmise since I’m no chemist, etc) micron filters would be doing to the absinthe. By extrapolation then, a micron filter would be doing a similar job to meet the manufacturer’s intentions.

    Also, define “destroy” because if distillation doesn’t “destroy” as well, I don’t know what does…

    “You haven’t answered the question, ‘Which “herbal healing and flavour qualities” are destroyed exactly?’”

    I believe the question queue is as such so you’ll have to wait:

    Pan Buh
    Big Johnson
    Ari_x (repeating Pan Buh).

    Fortunately, I’m not asking questions otherwise I’m in for a nice wait (since I’m not holding my breathe for your’s or Pan Buh’s answers…)

  33. I honestly am unaware that any “herbal healing and flavour qualities” which are destroyed during the distillation of absinthe. I do know that careful, artisanal distilling keeps the flavor components in a delicate balance, bringing over those are desired (even though they’d rather stay back in the pot) while also eliminating unwanted oils that impart an unpleasant bitter taste. To achieve this the process is neither cheap, quick nor easy.

    I also believe that the collection of essential oils is far more effective, resulting in a purer and more concentrated product, via distillation than is possible by maceration followed by filtration. Ultimately the distillation process in this instance is cheaper because it is more effective in obtaining higher yields of purer end product.

    Me, I like my coffee strong but not too strong.

  34. I agree with Kyle that filtration produces a superior product. Distillation is an inferior means of filtration, and it must be aknowledge by the pro-distillation camp, that distillation is only another means of filtering the macerate that is the foundation of absinth. So, Ari, Mr. God, and Hartsmar need to realize, they are promoting nothing more than another form of filtration, filtration by heat. Whereas Kyle uses a cold process to filter. They are both sides of the same coin. The coin metaphorically speaking is “Filtration” and it seems one group is only able to see one side that being the “Heat” side and are unable to comprehend the other side “Cold” is just a valid and for some people even better.

    Regarding herbal qualities and flavours, this topic has been studied for centuries and please go to King’s American Dispensatory which is on the internet though it was published in 1898. You will find there Chemical composition, Medical uses amoung other interesting information. There is also The British Pharmaceutical Codex from 1911 which is also a good source for information about the herbs “constituents”. You can school yourselves about what “herbal qualities and flavours” are in the plants that are used to make absinth.

    In the early history of the USA, Apple Jack was the only alcohol that was produced as distilling for some reason was around. Apple Jack was made by fermenting apple juice, and instead of distilling this, the let it freeze in an jar that was turned upside down and the alcohol dripped out and the mash stayed frozen in the bottle – a very basic cold filtration process. The ABV of the apple jack is under 30% and has a natural colour and extremly flavourful. If the mash is distilled, you get a clear liquid whose concentration of alcohol is much higer (distillation does allow for greater concentrations of alcohol, and essential oils) but the taste is obviously lacking in comparison to the cold filtered process. The same is true with cold filtered absinth.

  35. From mr god: I also believe that the collection of essential oils is far more effective, resulting in a purer and more concentrated product, via distillation than is possible by maceration followed by filtration.

    This is true, distillation is able to allow for higher concentrations of essential oils, but it doesn’t mean that they are purer because and essential oil is composed of many compounds, some of which can be lost due to distillation (they have higher evaporation temps. or they have a different condensation temp. and are not passed into the distillate – a negative of distillation).

    mr god is also not mentioning that the distillate of the macerate is dilluted to create the final product in a distilled absinth, so having a higher concentration of oils doesn’t matter, because that concentration will only be dilluted later.

  36. Leif said, “So, you’re an expert in filtration now? Nice.”
    Um, how does one need to be an “expert in filtration” to realize coffee and tea are passed through rather large filters (compared to micron filters)? Although you are welcome to pass your coffee and tea through a micron filter to see how it tastes.
    The point was his analogy was flawed.

    Big said, “I agree with Kyle that filtration produces a superior product. ”
    Based on what? Flavor? Chemicals left behind? name and explain these chemicals.

    Obviously we are just talking about which method we find best, sorting based on size or boiling point (well it’s a bit more complicated than than). So far I haven’t seen any reason to think it’s impossible to filter to a good product, but if you are going to declare one superior, perhaps you can give a bit better explanation.

  37. Discussion seems to have shifted from filtration vs. distillation to finer distinctions. Apple Jack is made by what is often referred to as “cold” distillation. Here substances can be separated according to variations in their freezing point. Classic or “hot” distillation separates substances by taking advantage of differing boiling points. Filtration separates admixtures of substances by differences in particle size. Each has a valid use where the unique proprieties of the process and the substances to be separated correlate in a meaningful way to achieve specified ends.

    Big Johnson said: “it seems one group is only able to see one side . . .and are unable to comprehend the other side “Cold” is just a valid”

    I see the validity of each method. As a consumer of absinthe I just haven’t tasted a filtered absinth that I enjoy as much as a “hot” distilled absinthe.

    Furthermore, if I’m not mistaken, Bairnsfather employs both filtration (independent of temperature) and cold distillation where he freezes his product. I assume in this step he is trying to isolate a water soluble compound, freezing it while the alcohol and its solubles pass through a filter. Is he attempting to eliminate the bitter absinthins? Or the dreadful liquorice-like anethols? A proprietary question we’re unlikely to get an answer to. But from taste I can tell you that both are in his final product. Too many absinthins, for me. And too few anethols. For this reason alone I would consider it a flawed system – it does not produce a product that I enjoy as much a many, many “hot” distilled products that I’ve had the opportunity to taste. Does the taste fulfill what Bairnsfather wants to achieve? You’d have to ask him. That’s not my point, to guess his aims, but only to say that I think his process is unable to deliver the taste I want in absinthe. Maybe somebody else could do it who had different objectives, but I doubt it. Separation of “herbal healing and flavour qualities” by particle size just doesn’t seem as likely to deliver the flavor I seek as “hot” distillation does.

    Big Johnson said: “the distillate of the macerate is dilluted to create the final product in a distilled absinth, so having a higher concentration of oils doesn’t matter, because that concentration will only be dilluted later.”

    If Bairnsfather is indeed employing cold distillation in the manufacture of his product it seems reasonable to conclude that he also needs to dilute the alcohol that results at the end of the process before bottling. He makes no gain here, sorry.

    Furthermore, I think we can dispense with this erroneous statement:
    absintheur said: “Distillation was the only process available during the Belle Epoque -”

    You’ll need to revise this statement because it is patently false. I feel confident that many other liquors, certainly liqueuers, existed then, as they do know, that achieved their flavor profile by maceration and filtration techniques. Absinthe just wasn’t one. But filtration is the simplest and oldest of all our discussed separation techniques.

    Big Johnson said: “Regarding herbal qualities and flavours, this topic has been studied for centuries and please go to King’s American Dispensatory … also The British Pharmaceutical Codex”

    I did go to these sources, and I thank you for pointing them out. Particularly as I found both, and many more, all co-existing at this site: http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic Great resource which I probably wouldn’t have found without your prodding. Thank you.

    Unfortunately, I did not find any explicitly stated information about exactly which “herbal healing and flavour qualities” are destroyed “through heat [and] the vaporization process”. The fault may be mine for not having studied to become a chemist, but this information seems to be peripheral to or exceed the demands of the practitioners for whom these texts where primarily prepared for. Funny, because “hot” distillation would have been understood to be a common method for essential oil extraction. Maybe you can supply another source for this very specialist information on which you base your claim.

    I’m also curious if this “herbal healing and flavour qualities” formulation is meant to refer primarily, although not exclusively, to thujone? Because, clearly, thujone does come across undestroyed in “hot” distillation. Otherwise, I assume, it wouldn’t be picked up in GC-MS tests.

  38. Too many absinthins, for me. And too few anethols.

    Wow! Reality delivers as smooth & rounded a flavour that you could wish for, and I’m not alone in praising this absinth for that quality. If you are after anise then check out the Bairnsfather Extra Anise…that one is an anise bomb!

    Please carry on the discussion – it’s one of the most interesting we have ever had.

  39. I see that people are finally seeing that it all comes down to what a person likes, a subjective point of view called “taste”. I physically gag if I eat liver, but do I slander all those who like liver? No I don’t, do I go to websites and and argue why liver is bad, do I try to edit the Wikipedia entry for Liver to try and make peole not eat liver? No I don’t.

    The fact is that I like filtered absinth better because I can taste the complex herbal flavours, I feel better the next day, it makes me glow, I can taste the once living parts of the plant cells that have not been destroyed by distillation. If somebody doesn’t like this, then that is their perogative. I don’t tell them they are stupid for not likeing what I like. I don’t create false arguements and esoteric criteria for why they should not like what they do.

    I have never heard of freeze filtering refered to as “Cold distillation”, I am sorry mr.god but this is an oxymoron – two mutually uncompatible words.

    What has been over looked, and plays a far greater role in what compounds are in the final product more so than how the macerate is filtered, is what percentage alcohol is used to create the macerate. Because the percentage of alcohol and length of time left to macerate the herbs directly determines what compounds and in what amounts will leave the plant cells and enter the macerate in dissolved form and allow for them to be passed on to the final product. It is this step which has a greater influence on the final product than how the macerate is filtered.

  40. Big said, “The fact is that I like filtered absinth better because I can taste the complex herbal flavours, ”
    What distilled absinthe products have you tried?

  41. “What distilled absinthe products have you tried?”

    Does it matter?

  42. Sorry, it’s gotten rather hard to keep up here:

    Pan: “For this reason alone I would consider it a flawed system – it does not produce a product that I enjoy as much a many, many “hot” distilled products that I’ve had the opportunity to taste. Does the taste fulfill what Bairnsfather wants to achieve? You’d have to ask him. That’s not my point, to guess his aims, but only to say that I think his process is unable to deliver the taste I want in absinthe.”

    You state that it’s a flawed system. Why is it a flawed system? Because of your subjective tastes. Not that there’s anything wrong with personal taste, however, it is flawed way of determining whether or not something is a “flawed system”.

    ie. It’s a flawed system because it’s a flawed system because it tastes like its flawed compared to what I have a preference to, so it’s flawed.

    In short, it’s a very weird tautological nightmare.

    Ari_x: “Um, how does one need to be an “expert in filtration” to realize coffee and tea are passed through rather large filters (compared to micron filters)?”

    The ultimate purpose of a coffee filter is not to filter the “macerated coffee” but to prevent the grounds from infiltrating the brew. Therefore there’s no need to go smaller or larger. Indeed you can brew coffee without a filter at all and have the same quality. Same goes for tea. However, purpose of smaller filters is to refine just what goes through on a molecular basis. Large particulates != small compounds. Hence, you must be an expert in order to utilize small filters to your advantage.

    You said, “You also do not run them through micron filters, doing so would destroy the vegitative matter you are seeking.”

    Had I known that your “actual” statement was “The point was his analogy was flawed.” I wouldn’t have called you out on inaccuracies. Sorry about the unneeded hassle. But this brings us to a fairly decent point (I’m not just pointing this out to Ari, either):

    Why not just say what you mean instead of obfuscating your declarations with flawed analogies and tautological arguments?

    In short, aside from personal taste, why does everyone get hung up on the filtration process?

  43. Indeed.

    “What distilled absinthe products have you tried?”

    obfuscation: to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information, or perhaps http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring

  44. Abinstheur, I disagree with you. Reality is not as smooth and rounded as I could wish for. Further, I could wish that it didn’t have to contain sugar, I prefer to make that choice myself. And Bairnsfather Extra Anise is not an anise bomb. Really, look no further than Trul’s Absinthium if you want to taste a real anise bomb. Loaded with sugar, to boot.

    I’d be happy to share some of the various absinthes I have at home if you’d like. I believe, from my own experience, that the more various brands you’ve tried the more perspective you will have. That can’t be a bad thing if you’re responsible for an absinth blog site, can it?

    B.J. (hmm, rather appropriate short form for full name, no?), you are absolutely correct to say that taste is a subjective matter. But it’s also true that palates can be educated. A wealth of experience is important to making informed decisions. And growth through varied experiences is important. Often what we once found repulsive can gain a true level of appreciation through the experience of new preparations and flavor combinations. Just as old, favored flavors can become dull, even repulsive, as we gain an appreciation for more complex and refined flavors.

    I’m not surprised that you say you favor filtered absinth. Depending on my mood I also often favor vertes over blanches. A tasty blend of carefully macerated herbs can lend an incomparable taste to an absinthe. We may differ on what are acceptable herbs for a coloration step, but never mind, the freshness and extra depth of flavor are undeniable. I commend you for being a verte lover.

    Unfortunately, I’m still stuck on this assertion that some “herbal healing and flavour qualities” are lost in the “hot” distilling process. I beg of you to educate me about which these are and how you know.

    I also beg your pardon for referring to “cold” distillation. The accepted term seems to be “freeze” distillation. My distinction was gross, but I hope not confusing in context.

    I’m also eager to hear more about the importance of abv’s in maceration. I’ve read of pretty widely accepted numbers when one is going to follow up with distillation or is macerating for a traditional coloring step, but I know nothing about protocols for macerations preceding filtration manufacture of absinth. I didn’t think such information would be known outside the confines of the Bairnsfather absinth plant.

  45. Trul’s Absinthium if you want to taste a real anise bomb.

    Nice enough, but too much sugar for my taste when I am after a herbal bite. Wild louche though…if that is your thing. I am watching a Reality louche to ice as I write…some people add sugar, but I would hardly call it sweet – it has a subtle herbal bitterness from the local mountain herbs around Krásná Lípa. BTW: Bairnsfather Extra Anise Bitter is difficult to find…you are sure you know what I mean?

    This is getting off the point though…

  46. I know what I’m talking about.
    Mostly.
    Let’s sit and discuss our differences.

  47. Leif said, “Does it matter?”

    Absolutely. If we are talking taste and he is claiming he enjoys the herbal flavor from filtered more than distilled then I assume he must either A) have tried a number of distilled products, or B) Read many reviews of people that have tried both.

    So far he has claimed Filtration as “superior” claiming it contains herbal components that distillation destroys and he likes the flavor better. I would ask him to support himself.
    What herbal components do we get with micron filtration that we don’t get with distillation and why are they important (remember you don’t necessarily get more components, just a different mix)? and How does the taste compare to the distilled absinthe he has tried (since there is a huge range of distilled absinthe, it’s important to know. Of course if you like an ‘herbal thickness’ and the only distilled products you have had a swiss la bleues, your comparison might be off, etc.)

    For example I have yet to try Reality or Bairnsfather bitters, so while I’m skeptical and trust the reviews from others, there is no way I would compare tastes to a product I have yet to try and no way in hell I would claim one method is completely superior to the other.

    Leif said, “Why not just say what you mean instead of obfuscating your declarations with flawed analogies and tautological arguments?”

    Keep track, I didn’t use an analogy. 🙂

  48. I have tried Le Mercier distilled absinth, Sebor’s distilled absinth and Hosse’s distilled absinth (Lautrec) and every one had that hollow taste due to distilling the macerate, like I keep saying, it was missing the herbal qualites and flavours, like eating white bread instead of wholegrain. I like wholegrain bread, I like filtered absinth for the same reason.

    Mr. God still is in the creating mood, he has created a new phrase “cold distillation”, and using arguments against this when in fact the same arguments and can be used against distillation (which is and can only be hot), look in a dictionary :the application of heat…. If some uneducated people bastardize the English language, it doesn’t mean it is correct, espeically if distillation by its own very defintion implies heat. This misuse of language and facts just illustrates the Distillers tactics in slandering filtered absinth: they have to create new words and mythological processes to obscure the obvious: distillation is destructive to the herbs used in making absinth.

    It is a common fact, yes a fact 100% indisputable, that heat destroys the quality of herbs, the compounds in them that help heal the body as well as compounds that provide flavour. This is why herbs and nearly all edibles are labled “Store in a cool and dry place”. This is why every modern household has a refridgerator and a freezer. It is because COLD prolongs the longevity of herbs and organic matter. It is because HEAT destroys them. Mabye Pan Buh and Ari have a special process where they use heat to prolong and maintain flavour of their foods? Heat destroys, cold prolongs and perserves. And distillation is not just about heat, it is about the actual destruction of molecules as they turn from liquid to gas, so any dissolved compounds are released and lost. Of course in the face of such obvious facts about the destructive effects of distillation on herbs and the macerate used for absinth, the distillers must create a PR campaign to create the illusion that their process is better, so create the unquantifiable standards they brandish like “desired absinth attributes”.

    Ari will be upset that I do not feel that I need to quantify my beliefs. This is because they are based on facts: heat degrades herbal compounds related to flavour and increased human well being, distillation breaks the molecular bonds of water and alcohol thus releasing and losing compounds that they once held in solution, distillation requires two changes in the physical state of matter (liquid to gas and gas to liquid), the increased moleculare movement during the distillation process (heating) is destructive and breaks apart compounds in the macerate.

    All I hear in rebuttal is that what is lost or destroyed is supposed to be lost or destroyed during distillation. That is not a valid rebuttal, that is a smoke screen, putting the burden of proof on Bairnsfather to provide a list of compounds that are maintained by a cold filtration process and not destroyed by distillation is also a smoke screen, and the same demands can be made of distillers to provide a list of compounds they claim should be destroyed during distillation and those that should be carried over?

    The obvious facts about the destructive properties of heat (increased molecular movement) and distillation (two changes of pyhsical state of matter) on compounds that are contained in plant cells which are desired for healing abilities and flavour are indisputable. Which is why this debate is so flamable, the distillers are forced to see their Emperor is wearing no clothes, and that is a brutal self-realization that nobody willingly wants, so they must create new words, esoteric criteria, slander and verbally abuse those who force them to realize their own faults, because they cannot bring themselves to realize their foundation is not what it seems or have been led to believe.

  49. Big said, “distillation breaks the molecular bonds of water and alcohol thus releasing and losing compounds that they once held in solution, distillation requires two changes in the physical state of matter (liquid to gas and gas to liquid), the increased moleculare movement during the distillation process (heating) is destructive and breaks apart compounds in the macerate.”

    Ok no offense but you may consider taking a chemistry class. Distillation doesn’t break the “molecular bonds of water and alcohol” a molecular bond is the bond between atoms, such as the bond between hydrogen and oxygen in water. Distillation separates the two molecules based on boiling point. Phase shifting doesn’t mean destruction nor does “molecular movement”

  50. Minor (read anal) correction “bond between hydrogen and oxygen in water.” I should have said of water. (A covalent bond being the sharing of electrons).

  51. So now you are censoring pots?

  52. Been chewing on some freshly harvested wormwood, Ari?

    I thought this was interesting:

    Claude Alain’s custom designed distilling apparatus at his premises in Couvet, a former butcher shop!. The alambics each have a capacity of 145 litres, and produce 95 litres of finished absinthe. They are single-walled, rather than duplicating the bain-marie system more commonly used in France. Claude-Alain feels that the fiercer heat gives better extraction of the herbs.

  53. Would you use cold water to brew tea?

  54. Well considering after two attempts to post a longer reply (although big seems to no longer be posting here) my post was either deleted or oddly snipped, I would say something strange is going on.

    Personally I brew my tea with ice cold water and then strain it through a brita-micron-filter for better herbal extraction. 🙂

  55. “Would you use cold water to brew tea?”

    Yes. Lipton makes a fine cold brew! So there!

    “my post was either deleted or oddly snipped, I would say something strange is going on.”

    I find this funny. If there is mass censoring and snipping then why aren’t the comments pointing out the censoring and/or snipping–censored and snipped? Since they’re pointed and intentionally harmful–you’d think those would be the first to go…but they’re not. Curious censorship indeed! As it stands it just seems like you folks like wearing the tinfoil hat and claiming conspiracy whenever you get a chance.

  56. Where did I say in that post there was censoring?

    There is this funny thing called time, it oddly makes us not be able to see the future. Perhaps you have heard of it.

    The reality is, somehow only a third or so of a post out of 2 posts got posted, I would say that is strange, wouldn’t you?

  57. Nodody has commented on Bugnon’s contention that the firecer the fire the better!

    Perhaps CAB can be invited to explain – in French if he likes – by those that know him. I would like to know if this is part of the Charlotte recipe (1930s), or an idea of his own, from his background working at an industrial oil refinery.

    Can anyone tell me is the Artemisia equipment superior to the common or garden “bain marie” or just cheaper?

  58. I think he was waxing poetic when he made that comment.

    Obviously one wouldn’t want to burn their product.

  59. Nope, there’s even a picture of his single walled, inferno boiler here:

    http://www.absintheclassics.com/absinthe_clandestine.html

    It is said to be unusual by Oxy – Bugnon thinks that the hotter it gets the more “extraction” one gets.

  60. I think it stands to reason that ‘fierce’ heat is a relative statement. If it were too hot, the resulting product wouldn’t be light and refreshing (which CLB most certainly is), but instead would be harsh and taste burnt.

  61. Alambics designed for the distillation of absinthe are almost always based on a bain-marie system, so that the herb mass can be indirectly heated by steam, without risk of scorching.

    Oxygenee.

    Bugnon uses a different alambic with a single wall and disagrees with the Belle Epoque distillers (it seems to me)

  62. Agreed. That’s what it seems. However, I’m pretty sure he’s found a way to apply higher heat, but still do so without scorching. I’m sure you’ve been able to taste scorched product. It aint yummy.

  63. “Yes. Lipton makes a fine cold brew! So there!”

    It may be fine, but it pales in comparison to what most would consider high quality teas, which have been brewed with hot or boiling water for thousands of years.

  64. Distilling isn’t all science, there’s a lot of art to the process. Bugnon’s stills are custom made to suit his personal process. His products generally have a very full, yet refined and well balanced, flavor. I believe he knows the science and art of distilling very well. And yet, what works for him using his particular apparatus may not work for another with a different set-up.

  65. Interesting. I thought they were “simple” – and therefore this inferno style alambic might be the cause of this simplicity…aaccording to Oxy:

    suggesting that the La Clandestine (a simple Swiss style clear absinthe) is a comparable product, or an equally highly rated one, to the Jade PF 1901 he’s been drinking the stuff rather than selling it.

    I know that he is cold macerating artemisia absinthiun in his new verte – post inferno – as all the “sugar crew” are complaining about the bitterness of Angelique absinthe.

  66. The bitterness of the Angelique is different than a normal distilled wormwood bitterness. I’m sure you already know that by reading all the forums.

  67. “I thought they were “simple” – and therefore this inferno style alambic might be the cause of this simplicity”

    Come on man, I know you know more about absinthe production than that. A blanche is almost always more simple than a verte simply because it lacks the additional coloration step. That step not only imparts the color, but also another level of flavors that adds more complexity to a verte.

    That’s basic absinthe knowledge.

  68. OK, so we know that a blanche like Clandestine is a relatively simple distillate.

    The secondary phase of maceration imparts “complexity” as you say – what happens after this maceration….filtration surely?

    C.A.Bugnon macerates with grande wormwood and then filters (FILTERS) the macerate to create the more herbally sophisticated verte.

    So cut out the cute old tales about butcher’s shops, Aunt Charlotte and so on…and what ya got? A Swiss guy macerating a simple distillate and then filtering in Couvet?

  69. I’m sure you’ve heard of Dr. O’s blunder.

    Youe logic of the process is spun all wrong, as I’m sure you’re aware. It’s not the coloration step that adds the best flavor. It only adds depth to an already well produced distillate.

    Let me ask you, have you ever tried any of the products we’re talking about here? Clandestine? Angelique? Any of the Jades? An Eichelberger? Any of them?

    Please, enumerate your experience. I’d love to see what you’ve tried so I can gauge the validity of your debate.

  70. “filtration surely?”
    Normally through only large filters, large enough some brands even have a bit of sediment from the herbs. Matter of fact filtering too much can thin out the taste of a product.

    Surely people here can understand the concept of different sized filters.

  71. Clandestine is NOT a relatively simple distillate. It is, in my opinion, quite a complex absinthe. More complex than many vertes. A simple distillate is rectified spirits, high-proof vodka, if you will. Someone with the distilling skills sufficient to create vodka does not necessarily have the skills to create even a simple absinthe. Do not confuse an absinthe which does not undergo coloration with a simple distillate. It is simple only in relation to an absinthe which will undergo further steps before being considered finished.

  72. Pan is right, if someone is excellent at one thing, it does not mean, he would be so excellent at making another.

    “Someone with the distilling skills sufficient to create vodka does not necessarily have the skills to create even a simple absinthe.” – Hangar One???

    Les bleues, at least to me, were always more complex, with lots of intriguing nuances in the initial and aftertaste, like that of bold fennel, or genepi, things that are rarely found in vertes, which on the other hand, represent another dimension of complexity which is dependant of the colouration stage-enriching, refining the initial aromas of basic herbal notes.

    However, we might come across simple verte (e.g. UE45) or simple bleue (e.g. La Valote Fornoni) having little to offer as far as complexity is taken into regard.

    Vodka is the best example of a simple distillate, but making good vodka is also an art.

  73. “Hangar One???”

    I’ve heard good things about the prototype run, but I’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve tasted it.

  74. “There is this funny thing called time, it oddly makes us not be able to see the future. Perhaps you have heard of it.”

    I’ve heard of it but I don’t believe in it.

    Regarding Cold Brew Tea:

    “It may be fine, but it pales in comparison to what most would consider high quality teas, which have been brewed with hot or boiling water for thousands of years.”

    The point of a cold brew tea is not to be brewed with hot or boiling water…let alone served hot. It’s along the same lines as a sun tea and should be classified as such. And as far as cold teas go–it serves up as good as the rest of them. Besides, who has the “time” to wait around for thousands of years for tea to brew?

    But I digress…

  75. “it serves up as good as the rest of them.”

    Oh heck no Lipton does not even compare to a cold Rooibos or white tea. Even good black teas and Pu-Erh teas blow Lipton out of the water.

    Oh wow, I made a pun, and didn’t even mean to.🙂

    Regarding how cold tea is supposed to be made, I’m pretty sure I understand that cold brewed tea isn’t supposed to be brewed with hot or boiling water. My point is based on FLAVOR and QUALITY, which is what I believe we’ve been debating.

  76. FLAVOR and QUALITY

    Lapsang souchong, I like…subjective though, isn’t it? Same point made earlier by Big Johnson about liver:

    I physically gag if I eat liver, but do I slander all those who like liver? No I don’t, do I go to websites and and argue why liver is bad, do I try to edit the Wikipedia entry for Liver to try and make peole not eat liver? No I don’t.

  77. But there is also a process whereby we can educate our palates. You can poorly prepared liver once and have a life-long disdain for the stuff. But have you given yourself the chance to see if your experience was really representative? Complex, unfamiliar flavors often take time for us to come to an authentic appreciation of them. And that appreciation often leads to appreciations of other things we may have previously turned our noses up at. Live and learn. But to do that you have to be willing to try new things with an open mind. Which brings us back to the point of which absinthes have you tried?

  78. “I mean, come on. King of Spirits Gold??? Their claims:

    “Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway…Bob Dylan, Marilyn Manson and Eminem are just a few who used and drew inspiration from this original Absinthe and its effects. ””

    I’ve never found a statement from them worded that way, and Alan’s been on my back about it too.

    “To get back to the point though, it seems as though everyone on this site who prefers Bohemian Style absinth to Traditional absinthe has yet to taste any of the absinthe brands that are highly regarded…”

    Whaaa…? I have, just haven’t blogged them yet (been sorta busy lately). Some are good, some are bad, some leave me wondering why I wasted my money on this and not gone with the Wild Turkey like I originally planned on. And I’ll be honest, I’ve spent no coin on the preban stuff (simply can’t afford it) so I can give an opinion about that. Btw. highly regard by whom? the folks that determine our opinions?

    “…like thinking that drinking Miller High Life is drinking a ‘good’ beer.”

    Whoa…that’s the champaign of beer you’re talking about buddy. hehe.

    Pan Buh:

    After educating palates, learning complexities, etc. what if you still prefer what you prefer? Connoisseurship and status drinking be damned. At that point are you going to stop faulting people as unintelligent for having tastes that you deem plebian?

    “Which brings us back to the point of which absinthes have you tried?”

    Which brings me back to my point…it doesn’t matter. People have the freedom to like what they like without having to prove to you, God, or anyone else that they’ve “been there and done that”.

  79. “People have the freedom to like what they like without having to prove to you, God, or anyone else that they’ve “been there and done that”.”

    Absolutely. No one here is arguing against that. But there are just as many people who bash us for drinking ‘low thujone’ absinthe as there are who bash you for drinking ‘czechsinthe’.

    Here’s a big difference though, I don’t know one person from the WS who bashes bohemian style absinthe but hasn’t tried it. Most have developed their own educated opinion on what THEY think is good absinthe.

    Many people who bash French and Swiss absinthe and decry that Bohemian style absinth is the only true absinth have never tried any of the French and Swiss brands that are considered at the top of their respective categories.

    Frankly, I don’t care what anyone likes or dislikes. But I don’t like misinformation. Bohemian style absinths dole out misinformation like it’s going out of style.

    “I’ve never found a statement from them worded that way, and Alan’s been on my back about it too.”

    I copied and pasted that directly from a distributor. Doesn’t KoSG have control over how their own product is marketed?

    Also, that’s certainly not the only Bohemian Style absinthe that makes those sorts of claims.

  80. Many people who bash French and Swiss absinthe and decry that Bohemian style absinth is the only true absinth

    Many people who do what, you say? Total nonsense. What examples have you of this alleged activity?

  81. I meant to say declare that Bohemian style is the only true absinth.

    “What examples have you of this alleged activity?”

    I’ve seen many advertisements that say that the Czech stuff is the ‘real deal’, like what they drank back in Belle Epoque France, because it’s got the higher thujone, unlike what the French and Swiss are making today.

    As for evidence, go up a few posts to see a brand that’s famous for it. Lots of other brands do (or have done) too.

  82. So no evidence of anyone “bashing” French or Swiss absinthe then?

    Plenty of evidence of people “bashing” Czech absinthe though – there is currently a PR campaign which uses “bashing” under the pretence of “educating”

    Is that how you and the other newly self appointed phoney grandees of absinthe see yourselves? As educators? I personally doubt it – your agenda is as cynical and transparent as a Las Vegas neglegee.

  83. “So no evidence of anyone “bashing” French or Swiss absinthe then?”
    Did you not read my post? I know you know your way around the internet enough to find the same sites that I do. You’re in denial if you don’t see it too.

    And what, prey tell, do you say my ‘agenda’ is? I have none, so I’m anxious to see what you make up this time.

  84. you know your way around the internet enough

    Yes, and I can read too! I can read your ringleaders’ posion pen and innacurate article “What’s Wrong with Czech Absinth”

    I can read Alan Moss’ bizarre and failed attempt to set up Czech absinth hate sites which simaltaneously promote “real absinthe” i.e the brand he is trying to push. A clumsy amateur attempt at “negative marketing” I think you’ll agree. However, this negative marketing is still one regretable aspect of a media campaign in the USA currently being orchestrated by bigger fish in the absinthe pond.

    I don’t see anyone bashing Swiss, Spanish, French, German or Austrian absinthe. The “real absinthe” movement is born of a cynical commercial agenda – it has chosen the popular Czech brands as it’s whipping boy.

  85. So again, I’ll ask you (since you didn’t answer the first time around), what, prey tell, is MY agenda???

  86. prey? was that a Freudian slip?

    The history of “movements” during the 20th Century provides us with ample oppurtunity to observe the phenomenon of the self righteous zealot/ follower; misguided by others in the name of a “cause” that was not what it seemed. The internet age has spawned myriads of micro societies, which exhibit, and exaggerate, features of these movements. Does the cap fit?

    The Wormwood Society is a fascinating place, controlled by one person, who sees Himself as an absinthe messiah. Perhaps you are simply a disciple, spreading His gospel of derision?

  87. How many times have I defended everyone’s right to enjoy whatever absinth(e) they want to prefer? How many times have I said that there are plenty of Czech or Bohemian absinths that I’ve tried, and some that I don’t mind drinking in some way, shape, or form?

    How many times do I have to reiterate that what I don’t care for is ANY form of deceptive marketing or spin from people who just don’t want to accept factual scientific study?

    You seem to be so upset about how Hiram describes Czech absinth, but I don’t hear you condemning any of the deceptive marketing practices that so many Czech brands are guilty of.

    Maybe you’ll finally come to your senses and realize that it’s because of those false claims that they make in their ads that the category has drawn so much ire from the proponents of French/Swiss style absinthes.

  88. “Many people who bash French and Swiss absinthe and decry that Bohemian style absinth is the only true absinth have never tried any of the French and Swiss brands that are considered at the top of their respective categories.”

    So, absintheur, what have you tasted? Just to the conversation grounded.

  89. Pán Bůh, this is the old routine – we’ve seen it many times before. I tried to stop it on this rather important thread, but gave up.

    These questions are repeated ad nauseam on most threads – they were all answered before by Leif when Alan was banging away on his little drum.

    I’ve tried many absinthes, Sir.

    Where’s Ari? Skool exams keeping him busy?😀

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