Eye On Wikipedia

Eye

Sweet, innocent and true – or a malevolent commercially inspired smear?

What follows is the Wikipedia article on absinth made in this ancient and proud land – it is mainly written by an individual who is a resident of the State of California, USA. In my opinion it is not only factually wrong, it is also peppered with pejorative words like “exploiting” “half truths” “taken advantage” “looked down upon” “negatively affect” and so forth; this is a clear indication of the hatred that lies behind these words.

It is an attempt to place the legal produce of one nation into an underclass, through the creation of a wholly false category.

For whose benefit? The new era of overnight absinthes that have popped up, like mushrooms after the rain, in the wake of the tremendous success of one sector of the Czech alcohol industry? You might think so, but I will refrain from commenting.

Read on…

Bohemian style Absinth

Often called Bohemian-style, Czech-style, anise-free absinthe or just absinth (without the ‘e’), it is best described as a wormwood bitters and is produced mainly in the Czech Republic where it gets its Bohemian and Czech designations, although not all absinthe from the Czech Republic is Bohemian style. It contains little to no anise, fennel or other herbs normally found in traditional absinthe that was popular in the 19th century, and is often more bitter from chemicals such as absinthine. Often the only similarities with its traditional counterpart are the use of wormwood and a high alcohol content; for all intents and purposes, it should be considered a completely different product. In most cases, Bohemian-style absinths are not processed by distillation, but are rather high-proof alcohol which has been cold-mixed with herbal extracts and artificial coloring. Contemporary Czech producers claim absinth has been produced in the Czech Republic since the 1920s, but there is no independent evidence to support these claims. Since there are currently few legal definitions for absinthe producers have taken advantage of its romantic 19th century associations and psychoactive reputation to market their products under a similar name. Many Bohemian-style producers heavily market thujone content, exploiting the many myths and half truths that surround thujone even though none of these types of absinth appear to contain enough thujone to cause any noticeable effect.

Bohemian-style absinth lacks many of the oils in absinthe that create the louche , and a modern ritual involving fire was created to take this into account. In this ritual, absinth is added to a glass and a sugar cube on a spoon is placed over it. The sugar cube is soaked in absinth then set on fire. The cube is then dropped into the absinth setting it on fire, and water is added until the fire goes out, normally a 1:1 ratio.The crumbling sugar can provide a minor simulation of the louche seen in traditional absinthe, and the lower water ratio enhances effects of the high-strength alcohol.

It is sometimes claimed that this ritual is old and traditional; however, this is false. This method of preparing absinth was in fact first observed by Czech manufacturers in the late 1990s and incorporated into its history as the classic method, which has been accepted by many as historical fact, largely because this method has filtered its way into several contemporary movies. Amongst many of the more traditional absinthe enthusiasts, this method of preparing absinthe is looked down upon, and it can negatively affect the flavor of traditional absinthe.

There are a few Czech products that claim to have levels of thujone, which would make them illegal to sell in Europe, as well as the rest of the world. Some of the most expensive Czech products go to the extent of macerating wormwood in the bottle quite similar to an absinthe kit. There is no historical basis for a thujone level this high.

Source: Wikipedia.

Your comments are welcome.

Update: Here is a screen shot from the blog of the Sales Director of La Clandestine Absinthe (a simple, but heavily hyped, Swiss brand) thanking the writer of the above passage. Sticking the knife in the back of Czech Absinthe is a popular tactic used by new manufacturers in trying to drive sales upwards. It’s very clear the two parties know each other rather well – well enough to know to send birthday greetings anway!

Wikipedia Remarks

53 responses to “Eye On Wikipedia

  1. I was expecting more.
    I did notice you edited out the fact that many of those statements are sourced, often using vendor websites as the source.

    If there are any factual errors or points of contention, I would be glad to discuss them. But remember you need to support yourself and wikipedia is not a place for vendor inter-fighting rhetoric.

    Blog post
    absintheur said, “on absinth made in this ancient and proud land”

    Then tell me why do many producers link their product to France and Switzerland? (not the first time I’ve asked this question.)

    Wikipedia reply.
    Wikipedia is not a soapbox, please do not edit the page as if it was a conversation, this is against wikipedia rules. Wikipedia is also about supporting yourself and citing sources.

    Comment left on wikipedia, “using Wikipedia as a marketing tool to defame the competition and write excellent things about themselves.”

    Support yourself. Cite examples, provide evidence these are attempts by producers to defame competition.

    Comment left on wikipedia, “act, the previous section of Wikipedia about Czech Absinth was full of references to articles or website that are full of their Anti-Czech propaganda.”

    Support yourself. Show this is “Anti-Czech propaganda” and explain why L’or is also anti-czech propaganda. (keep in mind some of those “anti-czech” articles say good things about the Czech republic and producers in it).

    Comment left on wikipedia, “So in order to regain market share, the French and Swiss producers collectively spread myths about Czech Absinth products in order to turn of potential customers and re-direct them to their own products.”

    Support yourself. What myths are being spread, and show that these are infact myths.

    Comment left on wikipedia, “Absinth has been produced in the Czech Republic since the 1800’s.”

    That absinthe was produced in the Czech Republic isn’t in too much dispute, although how much it was produced is another question.
    The problem comes when some companies make claims that their non-absinthe like products have both a connection to real absinthe and an unsupported history.

    Comment left on wikipedia, “In realizing the market demand, Czech producers offer absinth with higher thujone content.”

    Interesting, finally an answer to my question. So you accept the false marketing done by certain companies because it’s what the “market demands.”

    Conspiracy theory.
    Ok, I’m going to attempt to put an end to this. It was an amusing waste of time to watch the overly suspicious spin a conspiracy in their head. Especially since not only do I know the real answers to their accusations but it was fun watching people vanish (or blather all over themselves) when asked to support their claims. However the fervor of those making the accusations has gone beyond entertainment and is apparently starting to affect other sites .

    Who do I work for? No one. While it could be fun to work on an absinthe marketing/advertising project in the future, I’m not sure many teams would enjoy my annoyance of stretching the truth. I’ve been critical of practically every producer at one point or another so apparently, according to the conspiracy theories, I either held enough power to criticize my boss or I was part of a large french/swiss syndicate.
    How much money have I made on absinthe? Not much. I’ve made a few bucks on a couple micro-stock absinthe photographs, one of which was used in the 2007 Fête de l’Absinthe at Boveresse logo. The nice irony, which I find funny, of claims I’m cashing in on absinthe is that I have purposefully cut into my possible profits (which are small anyway based on the ideas of Micro-stock) by shooting some of the free images seen on the wikipedia page.
    Why then? Because missinformation annoys me. I wanted to give newcomers accurate information so those that want to learn can. I also like the concept that the common-person have access to more information/data than they have ever had in the history of mankind.

    Now the question is, did I make myself more of a target by those who profit from misinformation.

  2. To start with it wasn’t me that first suggested what you were really up to – it was respected member of the HG absinthe community in the USA.

    The Wiki comments that you cite are not mine – of course senior Czech industry figures are aware of what is going on, as you are abusing wikipedia to write inflamatory statements about legal commercial activities. This is a very small country compared to the USA – an easy target for bullying, but on the other hand like a village and Czechs are very down to earth and approachable. They are also easy going – up to a point.

    You and that pompous man Mr. Stone write as though you actually know something about this country – you know very little, and what you do know is presented in a manner intended to cause damage.

    You cite Alan Moss as a source on the Czech Republic – give me a break! He simply worked for Eabsinthe, and once got to talk to one of the BBH crew who started the absinthe revival – nothing more. So much for your sources! Very convenient in creating a picture though, eh?

    I have no idea why you mention L’Or as if they were the only producer of absinth in the Czech Republic – they do bother you it seems. Perhaps if you didn’t conveniently bunch everyone together it wouldn’t stink of a hidden agenda. It’s very useful for you to cherry pick details from websites run by Russians, Americans and British on the wild web, isn’t it? You can then slam the legal activities of companies organised under Czech law, who are entitled to offer their products to people who like them, without being subjected to the quasi official status that your bile enjoys courtesy of the Wikipedia system.

    You don’t like the flavour – you don’t like the fact that many Czech absinths are macerated – despite the fact that these were very common during the Belle Epoque, and even have a category in a respected modern French absinthe awards ceremony.

    This doesn’t suit your agenda. Macerate = Czech in your book.

    You say Czech absinth doesn’t contain anise – not true, there are many that do. Why don’t you write about Spanish absinthe that doesn’t contain anise? Why don’t you write about “Thujone Delirium” – a Spanish brand. Answer: it does not suit your agenda.

    Macerates are made in Andorra, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Poland, and of course in Spain and in France. But you, Ari, have decided to create a category called “Bohemian Absinth” to shaft the Czech market. You wish to delegate Czech absinth to a thrid class drink or to re-name it “wormwood bitters” – malevolent, commercialy inspired, and wrong!

    You wish to create the impression that distilled absinthe is superior when this is only your biased opinion. This is the view of Markus Hartsmar, who writes both absinthe.se and the Fee Verte guide.

    These websites are BOTH cited by you on Wikipedia.

    Alan Moss is busy planting links to his sales blog across wikipedia pages – including the absinthe page – for his copyright infringing (in principle) post which links to recipes copied from a published book: The Savoy Cocktail Book.

    Aside from the anti- Czech propoganda you have created a page which suggests that Ordinaire actually lived. You know very well that he was created by the Pernod dynasty. Why doesn’t Wikipedia cite Culpeper for example?

    You wish to ignore the rich medicinal history of absinthe, and focus on a few hand picked recipe books to create a definition for absinthe which you hope will be seen as exclusive and elite. Who can benefit from this but the new absinthe clique of retailers and manufacturers that seek to create a name for themselves by ridiculing and abusing the Czechs?

  3. •Absintheur said, “it was respected member of the HG absinthe community in the USA.”

    And who was that?
    (Of course you believe Dr. O so I guess you will believe anyone).

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “The Wiki comments that you cite are not mine – of course senior Czech industry figures are aware of what is going on, as you are abusing wikipedia to write inflamatory statements about legal commercial activities.”

    So you mean that while you were writing something about wikipedia someone from the Czech Republic just happened to make comments that reflect your opinion?
    What Abuse?

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “You and that pompous man Mr. Stone”

    And yet we are the ones blamed for insults, how tired.

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “You cite Alan Moss as a source on the Czech Republic ”

    No, I cite Alan Moss as a representative of BBH explaining how the burning method began to be propagated.

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “You don’t like the flavour – you don’t like the fact that many Czech absinths are macerated”

    Speaking for me now? Actually I have never tried Bohemian style absinth and have kept pretty consistent in either A) Not knocking the flavor, or B) basing my opinion on others and not claiming it was from experience.
    I have actually stated I don’t care if bohemian style absinth is macerated, but that makes it not absinthe.

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “despite the fact that these were very common during the Belle Epoque, and even have a category in a respected modern French absinthe awards ceremony.”

    Please provide evidence Macerates were common during the Belle Epoque and considered absinthe? (no citing wormwood soaked in wine (Vermouth) doesn’t count)
    So now the French are valid definers of absinthe when it suits you? Yep and it’s a stupid category displaying the fact that many people in France have some interesting and questionable views about absinthe.

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “This doesn’t suit your agenda. Macerate = Czech in your book.”

    Lie. Macerate = not absinthe in my book. There are a few german, and French macerates and there are some Distilled czech products.
    Although it does point out that it should be added other countries make macerates as well, when I get time I will add that in.

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “You say Czech absinth doesn’t contain anise – not true, there are many that do.”

    Absolute Lie. If you even bothered to read what you posted, Wikipedia “although not all absinthe from the Czech Republic is Bohemian style.”

    —–
    •absintheur said, “Answer: it does not suit your agenda.”
    False. Bohemian style as a Czech and germany product gets singled out because it is so pervasive in the market. You will note in another section a french absinthe is mentioned as playing on the tbones myth.

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “You wish to delegate Czech absinth to a thrid class drink or to re-name it “wormwood bitters” – malevolent, commercialy inspired, and wrong!”

    Again, please don’t talk for me. No I wish to keep people from getting confused. “Bohemian style” is a different product, thus it should have a different name. Just like the crap called Buddweiser shouldn’t have stole the name of a good quality beer called Budvar. I dislike the dishonesty of trying to trick the customer for a buck.

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “You wish to create the impression that distilled absinthe is superior when this is only your biased opinion.”

    Lie. If you really followed Wikipedia you would notice I just recently removed (well meaning) additions by another editor who put distilled absinthe above others, I even commented on the talk page, “Both artificial and natural coloring are traditional and so are oil-mixes (the ordinare grade often being an oil-mix). While some sites separate products based on Distilled/oil-mix the descriptions listed aren’t always valid and debatable how accurate it really is. New products (of both high and low quality) blur this line.”

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “you have created a page which suggests that Ordinaire actually lived.”

    Well yes, as far as I can tell there was a Man named Ordinaire, but his connection to absinthe is questionable, Wikipedia, “In fact, by other accounts, the Henriod sisters may have already been making the elixir before Ordinaire’s arrival.”

    —–
    •Absintheur said, “You wish to ignore the rich medicinal history of absinthe, and focus on a few hand picked recipe books to create a definition for absinthe which you hope will be seen as exclusive and elite.”

    False. Archive, “Wormwood has been used for thousands of years in drinks and recipes and has a history all its own. This page is focused on the product first commercialized in the late 18th, early 19th century produced by distilling Grand wormwood, anise and fennel.” I have even suggested either the wormwood page or another page be made dealing with the use of wormwood throughout history, however it seems easier for people to whine than to actually do something about it.

    —–
    Frankly if you are going to talk for me and blatantly lie about me and wikipedia I no longer have time for this. On the other hand if you would like to have a real conversation without the lies and rhetoric by acting like an adult and backing yourself up, I am quite willing to listen to what you have to say and what changes you think should be made. Your decision.

  4. I really don’t care what is said on wikipedia. I only use it for the really valuable things like “the scare-glo controversy”. IMO, Stephen Colbert has done enough to prove it’s not necessarily a reliable source, however, with all of the source citing and the calls for sources…it got me nitpicking.

    “Often the only similarities with its traditional counterpart are the use of wormwood and a high alcohol content; for all intents and purposes, it should be considered a completely different product.[13] ” (from wikipedia)

    I would say citing WS’ “what’s wrong with Czech “style” Absinth?” in your argument against Bohemian style provides a very faulty argument since that page shows clear bias without providing sources for its “facts”(there’s a word for this in rhetoric, but I can’t remember it).

    Now to move my nitpicking onto the source (WS’ “what’s wrong with Czech “style” absinth?” page:

    “Czech absinths are lacking in every quality that one looks for in an authentic absinthe: fresh herbal flavor; traditional ingredients; good, natural color; a good louche and proper manufacture – i.e. distillation of whole, natural botanicals…”

    Who is this “one” you might ask–since this “one” is creator of the “authentic absinthe” definition. We find out at the end of the page:

    ” …if one is after the authentic Belle Époque experience.”

    I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure “feelings” don’t count when you have to classify something, and feeling like you’re in the Belle Epoque is apparently the only “real” classification for what’s “authentic absinthe” on this page.

    Next:

    “It is very possible that the originators of Czech-style absinth, in all good faith, believed that wormwood was all it took to qualify a spirit as absinthe, and accordingly undertook to resurrect the Green Fair–although she had always been alive and moderately well in Spain…”

    With this statement, I’m left to assume that the Spanish manufacturers’ that produce a “bohemian style” absinthe are fine so long as they’re not of Czech origin then…

    “Is this a political or cultural bias? Definitely not. In fact, many absinthe connoisseurs who despise Czech absinth also happen appreciate Czech beers.”

    Obviously, the use of “I can tell jokes about minorities because I have some for friends” logic always works better to justify an argument than actual facts, especially since we’re not citing any here.

    ——

    I guess, what I’m saying is I’m all for citing sources–that’s the only way anything ever gets done. However, the sources that you cite always refer back to whichever side of the argument you’re on, and the strength of your argument stands on the strength of your sources. So when the source that you cite doesn’t cite sources, we have problems and I ask questions:

    A. How is that an irrefutable source?
    B. Aside from providing fuel for your position, why is that source used?
    C. What’s so important here that citing a biased and unproven source is worth risking the legitimacy of your argument?

  5. Leif said, “IMO, Stephen Colbert has done enough to prove it’s not necessarily a reliable source”

    Then be scared as at least one study, that I know of, has shown wikipedia to be as accurate as a standard encyclopedia. Which shows no matter what you read you need to use common sense and check their information. Of course the changing nature of wikipedia and the variable article quality is often a target. IMO wikipedia fosters the dying idea that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear and should double check facts yourself (fewer chain letters would go around if people did that.)

    —–

    Leif said, “I would say citing WS’ “what’s wrong with Czech “style” Absinth?” in your argument against Bohemian style provides a very faulty argument since that page shows clear bias without providing sources for its “facts”(“

    What was inaccurate with the statement made? Would citing multiple reviews that say the same thing be better?

    —–

    Leif said, “I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure “feelings” don’t count when you have to classify something, and feeling like you’re in the Belle Epoque is apparently the only “real” classification for what’s “authentic absinthe” on this page.”

    It also provided solid examples defining that “feeling,” not to mention many bohemian style producers advertise their product as giving that “feeling”

    —–

    Leif said, “With this statement, I’m left to assume that the Spanish manufacturers’ that produce a “bohemian style” absinthe are fine so long as they’re not of Czech origin then…”

    It may be a poorly worded but that’s not how I read it. It was pointing out absinthe was being produced in Spain long before Hills came along and caused a ‘revival’ through marketing. Spanish absinthe is known for being very heavily anise flavored and I don’t think produced bohemian style products until after the czech. In some cases I do think the article is a bit outdated, while the Czech are the most famous Germany produces a number of bohemian style products that are passed off as absinthe.

    —–

    Leif said, “Obviously, the use of “I can tell jokes about minorities because I have some for friends” logic always works better to justify an argument than actual facts, especially since we’re not citing any here.”

    Well I think that was written to try and put down the unsupported attacks of racism and czech hatred.

    —–

    Leif said, “A. How is that an irrefutable source?”
    “B. Aside from providing fuel for your position, why is that source used?”

    It’s cited specifically for the “Often the only similarities with its traditional counterpart are the use of wormwood and a high alcohol content” section. As a site that is about the traditional counterpart and written by someone who has tried a number of bohemian style products I find it an accurate source for that line. What would you suggest as another source for this line besides this article? A review of a bohemian style product?

    Sometimes sources are included not because the entire source is accurate or a valid argument but because one part of it (generally a valid part) supports the line or paragraph it is linked to.

    —–

    Leif said, “C. What’s so important here that citing a biased and unproven source is worth risking the legitimacy of your argument?”

    I would have to check the history but I believe that article was included as a source after wikipedia was threatened with legal action but an unknown (apparently some think threatening is better than conversation) to remove that section. I thus had to re-write and tried to source virtually every statement made. The article isn’t hard set on using this page as a source, it was just that a source was needed.

  6. “What was inaccurate with the statement made?”

    The inaccuracy starts with the source that was cited and just goes from there. WS’ page is written without any source for it’s info and I believe that the author has indicted himself enough on WS to prove he’s not an unbiased source when it comes to Czech Absinth.

    To go a step further, personal experience does not count. I believe wikipedia stongly cautions against “no original research” and if you’re calling something “fact” while basing it on unproven original research…it fails.

    “Sometimes sources are included not because the entire source is accurate or a valid argument but because one part of it (generally a valid part) supports the line or paragraph it is linked to.”

    I agree with you, but in this case that source is cited in support of a blatant POV. And in previous arguments here you call a lot of people out on their “inability” to either cite sources or provide faulty and/or obscure references that don’t have a “proper” backup, so I’d expect the same from you.

    “What would you suggest as another source for this line besides this article?”

    I’ll be the first to admit, it is a doozy of a problem.. But if it were me, here’s what I’d do:

    “Often the only similarities with its traditional counterpart are the use of wormwood and a high alcohol content; for all intents and purposes, it should be considered a completely different product.[13]”

    For starters, ” for all intents and purposes, it should be considered a completely different product” just needs to go. Aside from screaming POV, I believe the Duplais manual specifically states that any of the ingredients in absinthe can be in lesser/greater proportions and still be absinthe.

    Duplais=more reliabity and irrefutability than WS, sorry.

    I understand that the “often” needs to be there to avoid blanket statements since there are plenty of Czech products that match “traditional” absinthe. Without a rewrite of the entire section, I don’t know of any other way to immediately fix that.

    I don’t think wormwood can or should be debated. That’s just how it is.

    High alcohol may be another story, some are high some are low. Bu so are the French, Swiss, etc… Maybe saying something to the extent of bohemian style follows a less anise/greater wormwood equation would be more accurate. Also, such a statement would be a lot easier to back up than one that dismisses bohemian style altogether–since you could source Czech, French, Swiss, etc. manufacturers while pointing to Duplias–at that point it would provide a very easy compare/contrast between “traditional” and “bohemian”.

    Unfortunately, I think the Czech Absinth situation throws a lot of people a curve in terms of easy classification. Some is “bohemian” some isn’t. Some have high wormwood, some doesn’t. Some have high alcohol, some doesn’t. What no one apparenlty accouts for is that this situation isn’t any different than the manufacture of absinthes in many different countries…so I have a hard time understanding the quickness to lump most all of “Czech Absinth” into “bohemian style”.

    Was a “bohemian” style started by certain Czech Absinths, yes. So the history of a style must include that. But that’s also where it ends in my book. From there descriptions of “bohemian style” should persist in a matter of fact, here’s what it is and here’s what you should expect sort of way.

    But like I said earlier, aside from an entire rewrite (something that probably won’t happen or will take too long to do at the moment) there are no easy fixes.

    I’d propose the following:

    Separate “bohemian style”, Czech Absinth, and “absinthe without an e” altogether. These are not interchangable terms. Absinth comes in a variety of styles–not just “bohemian”.

    Leave “bohemian” as matter of fact as possible.

    Include Czech products that are clearly “bohemian” but also include others that should fall into that category.

    As far as the fire ritual is concerned…just keep it matter of fact.

    I do commend you on wanting to tackle a wikipedia page on absinthe–heaven knows I wouldn’t have the patience to do it. So you do get some mondo props from me.

  7. Leif said, “The inaccuracy starts with the source that was cited and just goes from there.”

    Well no I was asking how is the statement that bohemian style contains little or no anise among other herbs, doesn’t louche and shouldn’t be considered absinthe based on the rather wide criteria sourced in the article, inaccurate?

    —-

    Leif said, “To go a step further, personal experience does not count. I believe wikipedia stongly cautions against “no original research” and if you’re calling something “fact” while basing it on unproven original research…it fails.”

    It is not personal experience or original research but a citation of one of the experts in the area of absinthe, other experts agree and it is supported by research.

    —-

    Leif said, “I agree with you, but in this case that source is cited in support of a blatant POV”

    The sources don’t have to be NPOV, the article does. Is the source wrong? Is the statement mentioned above inaccurate?

    —-

    Leif said, “believe the Duplais manual specifically states that any of the ingredients in absinthe can be in lesser/greater proportions and still be absinthe.”

    Where does it say that you can virtually leave an ingredient out and still consider it the same recipe? Is 1 gram anise, 1 gram wormwood 1 gram fennel to 1000L alcohol still absinthe in your opinion? What about only anise or only wormwood or only mint?

    The “different product” is there because it’s accurate. Bohemian style should not be considered absinthe, based on everything that is known about absinthe (being the liquor the article covers and not the broad term thanks to it being the french name for wormwood).

    —-

    Leif said, “High alcohol may be another story, some are high some are low. “

    Well this is “high alcohol” compared to standard strength alcohol or wine. Generally anything over 40%. If the definition included any alcohol percent then Vermouth is bohemian style absinth.

    —-

    Leif said, “But that’s also where it ends in my book. From there descriptions of “bohemian style” should persist in a matter of fact, here’s what it is and here’s what you should expect sort of way.”

    In general I agree, although it does come out of Czech and Germany much more than any other country, and most that are pushing the style are Czech producers. Unfortunately as long as companies want to suggest it is part of czech history and it is called by that name some more mention than just the origin needs to be made.

    —-

    Leif said, “Separate “bohemian style”, Czech Absinth, and “absinthe without an e” altogether”

    Now you get into problems. They are and they aren’t interchangeable depending on where you read. I pegged down the term “Bohemian style” for no other reason than to try and distiguish it from Czech products that are absinthe and Absinth products that are absinthe (as I have yet to see an absinthe calling itself Bohemian style), but until other places stop using those terms they need to be mentioned to keep people from getting confused when reading other sites.

    IMO it really should be called “wormwood bitters” as it has more in common with a bitters (many popular bitters are produced in that area, such as Germany) than absinthe. The “bohemain style” was really a compromise partly because these products want to be associated more with absinthe than with bitters.

    ———
    On a non wikipedia comment, while I and others get blamed for “attacking the Czech Republic” or for hating these oh so amazing companies more eyes should be watching the companies themselves. If they properly marketed their product with real czech pride instead of feeding off myths and infamous french history perhaps they would make a better name for their product and fewer would complain. It’s not like it’s impossible to distill real absinthe in the Czech republic as a few companies have shown, nor is it impossible to create a different tasting product using wormwood for a different demographic.

  8. “I was asking how is the statement that bohemian style contains little or no anise among other herbs, doesn’t louche and shouldn’t be considered absinthe based on the rather wide criteria sourced in the article, inaccurate?”

    By wide criteria…you mean the one source you cited for the sentence I’ve taken issue with. And by inaccurate, yes.

    Understand, if it weren’t for Duplais and other sources I’ve been reading, I’d probably agree with you, however, because of them–I can’t. Old words speak louder in my book than Belle Epoque fanboys–I could sit around all day and tell yarn’s about how it was to fight in the civil war and even though my stories may have tidbits of fact (that I’ve picked up along the way)–they don’t even come close to an actual soldier’s letter home.

    As far as anything else goes concerning the innacuracies of your source and why it’s not valuable to support your argument–see my last two posts because I don’t like repeating myself.

    Concerning Duplais:

    You’re right, it doesn’t specify how far you can give or take the quantitites. Which leads me to believe (under a strict interpretation of him) that there is no limit. His only caution is that it’s ultimately left up to the consumer to choose which one is successful and which isn’t.

    I was not trying to attack you. I felt that your sources should be checked and given over to discussion. Especially since you present yourself as being a very by-the-book “use a source” guy. That happened, and like usual, trenches got dug and nothing came of it.

    “I and others get blamed for “attacking the Czech Republic””

    The “czech absinth haters” post was worth it. I followed that from it’s livejournal/fee verte beginnings to this logical conclusion, and seeing them purposefully goad others (and spread ignorance) made me sick. There are no decent words to describe them, and you wonder why folks get “blamed”…

    “If they properly marketed their product with real czech pride”

    Aside from uttering “what does that even mean!?” I’m beginning to get the picture that unless anyone markets their product according to how you or anyone over at Fee Verte/WS wants, they’ll never be doing it properly…so please guys set up some guidelines on proper “authentic absinthe” marketing.

  9. Leif said, “And by inaccurate, yes.”

    What specifically is inaccurate?
    Are you saying that reviewers and marketers are inaccurate when they say products out there (let’s call them bohemian style) contain little to no anise? What about things like no louche? etc.

    —-

    Leif said, “You’re right, it doesn’t specify how far you can give or take the quantitites. Which leads me to believe (under a strict interpretation of him) that there is no limit. “

    I find that hard to believe. Many recipes and cookbooks suggest you can vary the quantities but if the product comes out markably different you are no longer making said product. An oatmeal-raisin cookie that has two flakes of oatmeal and chocolate chips instead of raisins isn’t an oatmeal-raisin cookie.

    You didn’t answer my questions and I would be interested to hear what you have to say. ‘Is 1 gram anise, 1 gram wormwood and 1 gram fennel to 1000L alcohol still absinthe in your opinion? What about only anise or only wormwood or only mint?’ Let’s take it even further, is vermouth absinthe? What about vodka? how about plain water? If there are no limits then all are possible variations on the Duplais recipe. Tell me how you define absinthe and not-absinthe and why.

    Now lets take this one step further, is there any evidence in the recipes that one variation lacked anise? Is there any evidence bohemian-style products were ever made and called absinthe before the new beginning? If not, should bohemian-style products be linked to French absinthe?

    Of note, it would appear anise became more popular over the course of absinthe’s history. The original recipe was rather anise-light compared to some of the very anise-heavy drinks during it’s heyday.

    —-

    Leif said, “I was not trying to attack you. I felt that your sources should be checked and given over to discussion.”

    And I haven’t thought you were. I quite like the sources to be challenged. However I have yet to see a solid argument as to why the use of the source or the statement is false, or why bohemian style should still be considered absinthe. Hopefully that can be remedied.

    —-

    Leif said, “Aside from uttering “what does that even mean!?” I’m beginning to get the picture that unless anyone markets their product according to how you or anyone over at Fee Verte/WS wants”

    If by that you mean “marketing by not using myths and false connections to trick the consumer” then you would be right.

    “Czech pride” means that I see people claim Czech producers take pride in what they do or that we are attacking ‘czech pride’, yet it’s some (not all) Czech producers (all of which appear to be defended in this blog) who market based on french history, drug connections and dislike their own product. If the blogger here really wants to display Czech pride, then looking at how Czech companies could display that pride is a much better idea than calling everyone haters or lying about what they say.

    Why aren’t czech companies taking pride in their Wormwood bitters and talking about the long history bitters has in their region?

  10. I’m sitting here at home now, so I have time to respond all proper-like…

    No one’s arguing that bohemian style doesn’t have less anise or higher wormwood, etc, etc, etc.

    You’re claim that bohemian style shouldn’t be considered absinthe is inaccurate because it is based off of a biased source. See a few comments above to find out why I think that’s true.

    “You didn’t answer my questions and I would be interested to hear what you have to say. ‘Is 1 gram anise, 1 gram wormwood and 1 gram fennel to 1000L alcohol still absinthe in your opinion? What about only anise or only wormwood or only mint?’ Let’s take it even further, is vermouth absinthe? What about vodka? how about plain water? If there are no limits then all are possible variations on the Duplais recipe. Tell me how you define absinthe and not-absinthe and why.”

    Before I proceed I’ll give the proper quote from Duplais:

    “It is always optional to diminish or increase the quantities of the ingredients in the foregoing recipes according to the taste of the manufacturer, or the price of the article he wishes to produce…” ( 239).

    There will always be a point to when something isn’t what it “is”. I took your question as just an example and left it rhetorical, however, now I’ll bite. The key to absinthe (and yes, I know this’ll cause just more ruckus) is wormwood. There’s a reason why absinthe is absinthe, and it’s not the anise. Eliminating wormwood elmininates its status as “absinthe”. Elimination of anything else, doesn’t matter as much as wormwood. Does absinthe need other ingredients? Sure. However, again, it’s up to the manufacturer and the demand placed by the public. On that note, vermouth would not qualify (aside from it already being designated as “vermouth”) based off of its low alcohol, infusion, and addition of caramel, etc (I suppose we can start the maceration/distillation arguments now too, if you want). I also believer vermouth has a shelf life while Absinthe doesn’t. Water? I’ll say yes just to be a bastard.

    The point I’m trying to make is there is no one definition of absinthe as is there no one definition of most anything categorical (hence subgroups). I know this throws the world into anarchic chaos, but I’m not concerned with that. The beer world got over it—so can the absinthe world.

    “Now lets take this one step further, is there any evidence in the recipes that one variation lacked anise?”

    Inconsequential at this moment in time. We can talk history later, at the moment, we are here and it is now.

    “Is there any evidence bohemian-style products were ever made and called absinthe before the new beginning?”

    Again, inconsequetial in terms of our discussion.

    “…should bohemian-style products be linked to French absinthe?”

    If by “linked” you mean lumped under the large umbrella of “absinthe” yes. Subdivide all you want after that.

    “The original recipe”

    Please tell me Colonel Sanders had something to do with absinthe. That’d make me love that man even more.

    “However I have yet to see a solid argument as to why the use of the source or the statement is false, or why bohemian style should still be considered absinthe.”

    Well, aside from quoting Duplais who:

    A. lived during the time “authentic absinthe” was being made.
    B. wrote a distillers manual that included the subject he researched.
    C. Having wrote a manual used throughout the period—he gets to set the rules for “authentic absinthe” not shady tests of unnamed “preban” absinthe that’s “reverse-engineered”.
    D. currently has (and had) nothing to gain from misleading the absinthe community.

    and discrediting your source for:

    A. Showing extreme subjective bias.
    B. Failing to provide a definition of “what” absinthe is without using scientific words like “feel”.
    C. Having a pecuniary interest in the subject (he’s in the absinthe biz now too, and has much to profit by leading people to believe his product is authentic belle epoque swill).
    D. Not citing his sources for his claims, thus making an even shakier ladder for you to climb.
    E. Disregarding the fact that most Czech Absinth’s are not as he states and ignoring the fact that some French, Swiss, etc. are.

    You’re right, if you still believe that I don’t have a solid argument, I don’t know what else I can do.

    On an aside:

    “Why aren’t czech companies taking pride in their Wormwood bitters”

    I believe that they are, however, they also take pride in their absinth.

  11. If Czech companies called them “wormwood bitters,” or something similar, no-one in the Wormwood Society or in the real absinthe community would mind and we’d all ignore you… Alan Moss – Mar 14, 12:00 PM

  12. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Oh, that is me!

    Two points:

    absintheur writes: “You cite Alan Moss as a source on the Czech Republic – give me a break! He simply worked for Eabsinthe, and once got to talk to one of the BBH crew who started the absinthe revival – nothing more. So much for your sources!”

    In fact George Rowley gave me the information credited to me directly as part of an agreed response for Fee Verte. Maybe that will give it more credibility in your eyes.

    absintheur also writes, “Alan Moss …. his copyright infringing (in principle) post which links to recipes copied from a published book: The Savoy Cocktail Book.”

    I don’t believe you have any basis to suggest that this is copyright infringing.

    Indeed it is original work, since I have prepared a previously non-existent list of the absinthe cocktails in the book, many of which were actually taken by the book’s author from other sources in the 1920’s or earlier.

    I am using photographs with the full permision of the photographer, two additional cocktails with the full permission of the creator, and am providing direct links to various other websites which have one or more of the cocktails. Oh and I have also been in direct contact with the publishers on this and other matters.

  13. Alan Moss writes:

    As far as the second question is concerned and to clarify this point for once and for all, we have no evidence that the Bohemian fire ritual existed before the 1990’s. George Rowley lived in Prague in the early 1990’s and did not observe this then; it was only in 1998 that he and his partners observed the burning ritual in a bar in Prague for the first time..

    Something that Alan Moss writes on a board about what Mr Rowley did not see during a three year stay in Prague is turned into:

    # ^ Origin of the fire ritual Alan Moss explains the origins of the Czech ritual at Feeverte.net Retrieved 11 May 2006

    Bohemian-style absinth lacks many of the oils in absinthe that create the louche [17], and a modern ritual involving fire was created to take this into account.

    It is sometimes claimed that this ritual is old and traditional; however, this is false.

    It may suit Ari’s agenda, but that doesn’t make it fact. How do you know anything about this ritual when you most likely haven’t even been to the Czech Republic, Ari. Who says it originated in Prague bars anyway?

    Of course Wikiipedia, with it’s bogus classification, born of the well known machinations of Ari et al, is damaging the Czech alcohol industry by innuendo…never mind, eh?

  14. Leif said, “The key to absinthe (and yes, I know this’ll cause just more ruckus) is wormwood.”

    Why? Because of it’s name?
    Why can one ingredient be tossed but not another?

    —-
    Leif said,”Eliminating wormwood elmininates its status as “absinthe”

    So there are examples of historical anise free absinthe? Since you have been sticking to a literal duplais, where in the manual does it say this?

    Speaking of Duplais a quick look through the manual also notes that a distillation of just wormwood is included in another section, not the absinthe section, suggesting Duplais considered it in a different category. Same goes for the distillation of anise alone.

    —-
    Leif said,”On that note, vermouth would not qualify (aside from it already being designated as “vermouth”) based off of its low alcohol,”

    But low alcohol is just a variation on the recipe.

    —-
    Leif said,”Inconsequential at this moment in time. We can talk history later, at the moment, we are here and it is now.”

    No, not if you are using a book with multiple recipes (some close to absinthe but not labeled absinthe by that book) to claim removing an ingredient is allowed. And not if we are talking about the revival of that historical product.

    —-
    Leif said,”Again, inconsequetial in terms of our discussion.”

    Not if A) we are talking about the product that became famous in the 19th century and was drank in france etc. and B) Producers claim their product is the same or very similar to what was drank pre-ban.

    —-
    Leif said,”A. Showing extreme subjective bias.”

    I don’t think this bias matters when discussing what I cited it for.

    —-
Leif said, “B. Failing to provide a definition of “what” absinthe is without using scientific words like “feel”.”

    Who used “feel”?

    —-
Leif said,”C. Having a pecuniary interest in the subject (he’s in the absinthe biz now too, and has much to profit by leading people to believe his product is authentic belle epoque swill).”

    It was written before he got into the bussiness and Being in the business doesn’t automatically make a statement inaccurate.

    —-
Leif said, “D. Not citing his sources for his claims, thus making an even shakier ladder for you to climb.”

    I agree here. While he is being cited as an expert in the field I think an inclusion of Duplais as well is a good change.

    —-
Leif said, “E. Disregarding the fact that most Czech Absinth’s are not as he states and ignoring the fact that some French, Swiss, etc. are.”

    Yes and no.
    The article could probably be changed to be less geographic specific, but it does say, ‘although we include products from all over Eastern and Central Europe in the genre’

    —-
    “I believe that they are, however, they also take pride in their absinth.”

    Which companies take pride in their bohemian style as being a Czech product and don’t attempt to use french history to up their appeal?

  15. Leif said, “The key to absinthe (and yes, I know this’ll cause just more ruckus) is wormwood.”

    Why? Because of it’s name?
    Why can one ingredient be tossed but not another?

    —-
    Leif said,”Eliminating wormwood elmininates its status as “absinthe”

    So there are examples of historical anise free absinthe? Since you have been sticking to a literal duplais, where in the manual does it say this?

    Speaking of Duplais a quick look through the manual also notes that a distillation of just wormwood is included in another section, not the absinthe section, suggesting Duplais considered it in a different category. Same goes for the distillation of anise alone.

    —-
    Leif said,”On that note, vermouth would not qualify (aside from it already being designated as “vermouth”) based off of its low alcohol,”

    But low alcohol is just a variation in the recipe. (see what I’m getting at).

    —-
    Leif said,”Inconsequential at this moment in time. We can talk history later, at the moment, we are here and it is now.”

    No, not if you are using a book with multiple recipes (some close to absinthe but not labeled absinthe by that book) to claim removing an ingredient is allowed. And not if we are talking about the revival of that historical product.

    —-
    Leif said,”Again, inconsequetial in terms of our discussion.”
    Not if A) we are talking about the product that became famous in the 19th century and was drank in france etc. and B) Producers claim their product is the same or very similar to what was drank pre-ban.

    —-
    Leif said,”A. Showing extreme subjective bias.”

    I don’t think this bias matters when discussing what I cited it for.

    —-
Leif said, “B. Failing to provide a definition of “what” absinthe is without using scientific words like “feel”.”

    Who used “feel”?

    —-
Leif said,”C. Having a pecuniary interest in the subject (he’s in the absinthe biz now too, and has much to profit by leading people to believe his product is authentic belle epoque swill).”

    It was written before he got into the bussiness and Being in the business doesn’t automatically make a statement inaccurate.

    —-
Leif said, “D. Not citing his sources for his claims, thus making an even shakier ladder for you to climb.”

    I agree here. While he is being cited as an expert in the field I think an inclusion of Duplais as well is a good change.

    —-
Leif said, “E. Disregarding the fact that most Czech Absinth’s are not as he states and ignoring the fact that some French, Swiss, etc. are.”

    Yes and no.
    The article could probably be changed to be less geographic specific, but it does say, ‘although we include products from all over Eastern and Central Europe in the genre’

    —-
    “I believe that they are, however, they also take pride in their absinth.”

    Which companies take pride in their bohemian style as being a Czech product and don’t attempt to use french history to up their appeal?

  16. Perhaps,

    “Bohemian-style absinth lacks many of the oils in absinthe that create the louche [17], and a modern ritual involving fire is often used instead of the traditional water drip method.

    and

    It is sometimes claimed that this ritual is old and traditional; however, there is no evidence for this.”

  17. While I will still make those changes, you can ignore that last comment to you absintheur, it is no longer asking your opinion

    Originally I thought you were actually going to have a real conversation like Leif, and then you modified your post adding your standard unsupported conspiracy diatribe.

  18. Ari,

    ““Bohemian-style absinth lacks many of the oils in absinthe that create the louche [17], and a modern ritual involving fire is often used instead of the traditional water drip method.

    and

    It is sometimes claimed that this ritual is old and traditional; however, there is no evidence for this.””

    Source 17 gives me a 404, so an update there may be necessary, however, it sounds decent to me. The only thing I could think of changing would be “and a modern ritual involving fire” to “and is commonly served according to the fire ritual vs the water drip method” (sloppy, I know, I’m thinking on my feet here). Maybe just make them two sentences, but now I’m nitpicking.

    And as far as the last sentence is concerned, I think until there’s evidence (there could be and I just don’t know it) that seems pretty fair, but I’m not as versed in that aspect of it as some so I’ll remain quiet.

  19. I updated the link to an internet archive version until a better one can be found.

    “I think until there’s evidence (there could be and I just don’t know it)”
    Possibly, although IMO the fire ritual either started after Hills was introduced or was imported from somewhere like Spain. The lack of evidence the few surviving absinthe brands after the ban were set fire seems to suggest it came after hills was introduced. It does seem like a way to replace the louching theatrics with something a non louching high proof spirit can do (that is burn).

    I should add, unrelated to this, that while I complain about some companies, others have taken steps towards accuracy. LaFee/eAbsinthe being one of those companies.

  20. “Why can one ingredient be tossed but not another?”

    Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not advocating tossing this and adding that with reckless abandon. I’m simply saying that it appears that Duplais has allowed for an almost infinite variation of recipes.

    (I’m going to lump a few replies into one here)

    “So there are examples of historical anise free absinthe? Since you have been sticking to a literal duplais, where in the manual does it say this?”

    It doesn’t, however, that’s not exactly my point. The angle I’m approaching this is with an eye for modern development not “historical basis”. To make historical claims you do need historical evidence, however, to make a product now that’s gained acceptance as absinthe and following the “Duplais leeway” is different. In short, I think development is allowed. Therefore, imo, substituting things like mint for anise is justifiable. Does it make it “French style”? No, the recipes are different. Does is make it “bohemian style”? Yes.

    The only reason I shy away from the “historical basis” argument is because I have a firm belief that no one will ever know the full truth of an era past, so it’s pointless to wallow in its mire at times. Talking about Pernod’s history is fairly cut and dry, however, discussing the history of wormwood (or the fire ritual) isn’t as new evidence pops up all the time…

    “Not if A) we are talking about the product that became famous in the 19th century and was drank in france etc. and B) Producers claim their product is the same or very similar to what was drank pre-ban”

    A. I felt that we weren’t necessarily and if we did we would just go off on a tangent..

    B. True, but not necessarily completely relevent. Manufacturers and Sellers can say what they want, but it doesn’t necessarily make them right to do so (see Absente).

    On that note, I’d go so far as to say that the entire “authentic absinthe” category should be erased altogether–replacing that with the regions in which the absinthe recipe was made (ie. A Spanish manufacturer can make a “pontarlier” and a French manufacturer can make a “bohemian”, etc). I’m getting extreme here but I’d say unless an original company has been manufacturering the same recipe since back in the day…you’re not “authentic”.

    “Which companies take pride in their bohemian style as being a Czech product and don’t attempt to use french history to up their appeal?”

    Lots, I’m not going to provide a list right now since I’m already going through them for my blog. I’m avoiding this for now only because I desperately want this thread to stay on topic.

  21. IMO the fire ritual either started after Hills was introduced or was imported from somewhere like Spain.

    Great balls of fire..😀

  22. Leif said, “I’m not advocating tossing this and adding that with reckless abandon. I’m simply saying that it appears that Duplais has allowed for an almost infinite variation of recipes.”

    But you did say removal of one ingredient is ok but removal of another is not, even though you also say Duplais allows for infinite variations, even though in the manual it’s clear certain ‘variations’ were put into different categories by Duplais. I just don’t see a solid argument here.
    How do you define absinthe and why?

    —-
    Leif said, “he angle I’m approaching this is with an eye for modern development not “historical basis”. In short, I think development is allowed.”

    Development happened many years ago, and they called it Pastis, not absinthe. I’m all for development, but let’s call it what it is. If it’s not absinthe and wasn’t drank by french artists, then we shouldn’t call it absinthe or suggest it’s the same thing drank by french artists.

    —-
    Absintheur said, “Great balls of fire..”

    Interesting picture, do you know if that is a common way to serve that or if it was set up just for the photo. Why does the sugar cube burn like a candle? 🙂
    Frankly the fire ritual mirrors the traditional ritual enough I would be quite surprised if whoever created didn’t know of the water drip method and was trying to mimic it.

  23. “But you did say removal of one ingredient is ok but removal of another is not, even though you also say Duplais allows for infinite variations”

    True. I feel both statements are right. There will be a point when absinthe is no longer absinthe, however, I think that point is very far away, and some ingredients/techniques are more important than others. For example, maceration and distillation trump infusion which is why vermouth isn’t absinthe. The newspaper article I found last night talks of adding cinnamon, peppermint, and/or anise with a tone that suggests you can have whatever you want in there for “flavour”. I’ve been finding more of these too, while anise does seem to dominate the general descriptions there are enough odd balls that promote another idea.

    “If it’s not absinthe and wasn’t drank by french artists, then we shouldn’t call it absinthe or suggest it’s the same thing drank by french artists.”

    That’s just too limiting for me. For starters, we don’t know what “kind” of absinthe the artists drank. I’ve found another article that talks about how absinthe was “weakened” due to the high cases of insanity. (I’ll get this cited on my blog too) Were they then drinking the “weakened” or the “strong”? And what would the preban bottles we have today be classified as?

    “How do you define absinthe and why?”

    Sorry to jump around a bit on you, but this one may take up some space. After digging through the archives, I’m even more reluctant to define “absinthe proper” than before. And at the moment all that I can say with certainty is that it is a wormwood based drink that’s been macerated/distilled. What happens after that has entered a cloud that is even thicker than before.

    I’ve read of 8 day macerations (I know this was a question on the Oliva post in Fee Verte) but now I’ve found an article that specifically gives “8-10 days” (I’ll find it again and post it).

    I’ve read of using other ingredients to give absinthe crazy flavours that just wouldn’t fly nowadays.

    I’ve read of a million (exaggeration) variations of the “traditional” water drip method. Along with all sorts of crazy other serving methods, which suggest that while water was great for France, it wasn’t so great for other regions (apparently Texans liked a shot of absinthe topped off with some whiskey)

    And, I’ve been reading (will do lot’s more research) of absinthe in Prague, etc. from way back in the day.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is, I think it’s impossible to keep the definition so narrow, at least for me, at this moment. And we might be best served if we go back and redefine it all. I know that’s pretty much impossible, however, I’d like to research it even further.
    —————————————
    As far as the fire ritual is concerned there’s a good post over at Absinthe Alchemist that quotes Harold McGee and carmelized sugar. The fire ritual makes a lot more sense in my book having read that.

  24. Leif said, “I’ve been finding more of these too, while anise does seem to dominate the general descriptions there are enough odd balls that promote another idea.”

    Odd ball and different flavor are two different things.

    —-
    Leif said, “I’ve found another article that talks about how absinthe was “weakened” due to the high cases of insanity.”
    As far as I can tell, we are all anise and sugar haters compared to how the early 20th century french enjoyed their drink. Since it was wormwood that was thought to cause the madness any adjustment to make a ‘sane’ absinthe would have reduced or changed the wormwood, leading to Pastis after the ban.

    —-
    Leif said, “I guess the point I’m trying to make is, I think it’s impossible to keep the definition so narrow, at least for me, at this moment. And we might be best served if we go back and redefine it all. I know that’s pretty much impossible, however, I’d like to research it even further”

    I don’t see how the definition has been kept narrow. As far as the wikipedia page defines it based on historical manuals, recipes, bottles, and accounts, absinthe is a distilled product (either through alcohol or steam distillation) which contains anise and wormwood (enough anise to be noticeable as a main characteristic, defining how much wormwood is used is harder and not approached in the article), colored naturally or artificially, bottled with no sugar at a high proof (45% on up), which louches when cold water is added.

    This definition is quite open compared to what many others think, and the distiller can go to town on variations from there.
    (Then there are further contentions like is absinthe with AA in the coloration still absinthe. Is absinthe without fennel still absinthe, etc. but that’s beyond the scope of the wiki article)

    Until there is is evidence to show that absinthe without anise is still absinthe (as covered by the article) and that absinthe without wormwood is not absinthe I don’t see anything wrong with the above definition.

  25. “I don’t see how the definition has been kept narrow. ”

    You said:

    “If it’s not absinthe and wasn’t drank by french artists, then we shouldn’t call it absinthe…”

    That seems pretty narrow to me, hence my comment.

  26. “Until there is is evidence to show that absinthe without anise is still absinthe (as covered by the article)”

    Considering the below source is from the British Medical Journal (early 1880’s), I’d say it’s a start.

    “Other flavoring oils are always added, such as peppermint, angelica, cloves, cinnamon, and anis-seed”

  27. I’ll post the reference later but here’s a 1914 definition of absinthe:

    “It is called “absinthe” after the flavoring which makes it distinct from all other “liquors”, which is from the essential oil of wormwood.”

  28. Recent posts on the Wormwood Society Forum:

    http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2106&st=0

    “Ari’s work for Wiki was superb”

    http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2837

    “Maggie is always delighted to get another bottle of Clandestine!…I have a bottle of Lucid on my bar right now”

    Both comments from Joseph Legate, aka “T73” of The Wormwood Society “Support Team”

  29. Leif said, “That seems pretty narrow to me, hence my comment.”

    And it should be obvious by now by saying “French artists” I’m trying to denote the Absinthe of 19th century popularity, etc. (to separate it from other uses of the word “absinthe” in the past). But see my definition for a better definition.

    —-
    Leif said, “Considering the below source is from the British Medical Journal (early 1880’s), I’d say it’s a start.”

    Frankly I wouldn’t consider a British Medical Journal a very authoritative source, and you will notice it mentions anise (and that I haven’t said adding any of those ingredients listed makes it not absinthe). It also mentions things like Spinach (used to boost coloring in poor coloration steps) and people going crazy from drinking it. At the time many british wanted to prove how degenerate the french race was (a bit of an irony that the revival really started with a british imports company).

    —-
    Leif said, “I’ll post the reference later but here’s a 1914 definition of absinthe:”
    You should see the 1911 encyclopedia definition, if we believe it, we are basically drinking poison. And yes, one of the defining ingredients is wormwood, which distinguished it from other liquors such as Pastis which tried to eliminate that evil wormwood.
    Random guess, the definition is either american or british (not that that has any bearing).

    —-
    Absintheur said, “…”

    I don’t even understand your point. Are you trying to show people at the WS drink absinthe? If so, well done.

    —-
    Absintheur said, “Both comments from…”

    On a side note, why don’t you ever give your identity or connections? since you seem to think they are so important.

  30. Oh, I understand your definition and no harm was meant by that comment. I was just trying to explain why I said what I said.

    “Frankly I wouldn’t consider a British Medical Journal a very authoritative source…”

    It isn’t “a” British Medical Journal but “The”…. Either way, ss far as summary definitions go…why not? I’ve found plenty of other sources that say very similar things–enough for me think it has merit.

    “you will notice it mentions anise (and that I haven’t said adding any of those ingredients listed makes it not absinthe)…”

    I did notice and I didn’t say you were, however, by implying that a lesser anise more mint (or whatever) bohemian style isn’t “absinthe” seems to imply that.

    What I took from the article was that absinthe may have many acceptable forms. Cinnamon + wormwood= absinthe? sure. Anise + wormwood=absinthe? sure. etc. Was anise the popular one? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have variations.

    “It also mentions things like Spinach (used to boost coloring in poor coloration steps)…”

    Chlorophyll’s chlorophyll and that’s far better than Copper Sulfate.

    “You should see the 1911 encyclopedia definition, if we believe it, we are basically drinking poison.”

    I think those definitions have merit to a certain degree given the amount of toxins put in certain brands (ie. copper sulfate for colouring, etc). Mind you, I’m not giving into the whole “absinthe makes you crazy and hallucinate” bit, but if the majority of your product is poor…word spreads. Actually, not even a majority, a strong minority of incidents that point to copper poisoning, etc and you’ll get some real bad press.

  31. Ari,

    Why does this photograph, that you have just published on Wikipedia, from Mr Brian Robinson of the Wormwood Society, show a bottle containing what appears to be yellow liquid?

  32. Leif said, “Either way, ss far as summary definitions go…why not? I’ve found plenty of other sources that say very similar things–enough for me think it has merit.”

    Well it gives no description of how or where it’s information is found or how accurate it is. That the article pushes absinthism makes it a bit more questionable. Then there is the fact that corrupt science was acceptable. Many British people had racial issues with the French and liked nothing more than to prove how inferior they were. This wasn’t completely uncommon in the science world, there are a number of cases where scientists faked data and drawings to “prove” black people were closer to animals, not as smart or a different species than whites. A reverse example of this is Dr. Magnan who locked onto absinthe as being dangerous for fear its disease would be passed down by those who had it and destroy the quality of the french race.

    Are there any first hand sources, say from producers or recipes known to be used by producers, etc.?

    —-
    Leif said, “by implying that a lesser anise more mint (or whatever) bohemian style isn’t “absinthe” seems to imply that.”

    Absinthe is anise flavored (among other things) ‘lesser anise’ as in it still contains enough anise oil (among other things) to louche and it is a noticeable flavor in the profile is still in the absinthe group. Bohemian-style would be the products that contain very little or no anise and generally don’t louche.

    —-
    Leif said, “Was anise the popular one? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have variations.”

    By popular I assume you mean included in every manual and recipe as well as advertising literature, etc.

    —-
    Leif said, “Actually, not even a majority, a strong minority of incidents that point to copper poisoning, etc and you’ll get some real bad press.”

    I agree.

    —-
    Absintheur said, “Why does this photograph, that you have just published on Wikipedia, from Mr Brian Robinson of the Wormwood Society, show a bottle containing what appears to be yellow liquid?”

    Hmm, no answer to my question? Not willing to tell us who you are?

    On the right? It’s a bohemian style absinth, I don’t know what brand. But you knew that already.

  33. It is a well known Czech brand – I ask again: why is Mr Robinson representing this vibrant green drink as yellow?

  34. Vibrant green?
    Which bottle are you talking about exactly?
    I’m guessing he represented it as the color that it appears (give or take things like white balance, color matching, etc.)

  35. “Which bottle are you talking about exactly?”

    The mysterious yellow one…

    “I’m guessing he represented it as the color that it appears (give or take things like white balance, color matching, etc.)”

    Doubtful…

  36. http://www.absinthedrinkers.org/?q=node/80

    Let us hope Brian Robinson – or Palirna U Zeleneho Stomu, Starorezna Prostejov, a.s. – can explain this pheomenon. Very interesting…

  37. Riddles upon mysteries upon enigmas!

  38. According to what I know there never was a yellow Stromu.

    I think it is time for the photographer to explain himself. He used to post all the time on this blog – and is “Shabba” on FeeVerte; he is also on some governing body of that “private organisation” that uses the name Wormwood Society – the same organisation that is quoted on the Wikipedia article by Ari iro Czech absinth:

    Often the only similarities with its traditional counterpart are the use of wormwood and a high alcohol content; for all intents and purposes, it should be considered a completely different product.[13]

    Author: Mr Gwydion Stone of Gnostalgic Spirits Ltd ( an unusual style for indicating limited liabilty in the USA – it is usually incorporated) and founder of the Wormwood Society.

  39. Since people are now complaining over the color of a single bottle, I will assume actual conversation over changes to the article are finished with.

    No one has had any comment on the fact the label colors are different too. Is it possible you don’t know as much about Stromu as you think you do? Nah, must be some evil conspiracy to make stromu look bad by giving it the color of modern herbsaint, even though I doubt most people could pick that out as a stromu product. Damn evil conspirators, they are a tricky bunch.

  40. “Since people are now complaining over the color of a single bottle…”

    This latest error is just symptomatic of bigger issues. The only difference is this one is glaringly wrong and not debatable.

    “I will assume actual conversation over changes to the article are finished with.”

    No, they’re not finished. We reached a stalemate and then got distracted by another side issue.

    “Is it possible you don’t know as much about Stromu as you think you do?”

    Never had a bottle in my life so I can’t judge quality but the funny thing is…I have eyes and can read.

    “I doubt most people could pick that out…”

    It’s not about what most people could pick out or what most people know. It’s about good faith, persisting in high quality articles/facts, and not deliberately misleading people with false photos and statements.

    “Damn evil conspirators, they are a tricky bunch.”

    I agree and we’re seeing evidence of that.

    Ari, you didn’t take the photo and for all I know didn’t notice the “mistake”. So your defense in this matter isn’t really needed. What is needed is the removal of the photo and some questions answered (truthfully) by the photographer.

  41. Now that we’ve got that pesky “yellow absinthe” out of the way we can resume talks:

    (for a brief refresher) The issue is the author of Wikipedia’s “Absinthe” article declaring “bohemian style” absinthe…”a completely different product” and how that is a false statement given the source’s credibility.

    From wikipedia:

    “The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation.”

    What’s a “reliable, published source” you ask? (I cut the first paragraph to get to the meat, although I encourage the reading of it):

    “Reliable sources

    …In general, the most reliable sources are books, journals, magazines, and mainstream newspapers; published by university presses or known publishing houses. As a rule of thumb, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication. Material that is self-published, whether on paper or online, is generally not regarded as reliable, but see Wikipedia:Verifiability for exceptions.”

    Quote of Note:

    “Material that is self-published, whether on paper or online, is generally not regarded as reliable,”

    Therefore, regardless of what you think of Duplais, news papers, The British Medical Journal, etc. they’re all “reliable sources”. The WS’ “What’s wrong with Czech Absinth” isn’t.

    Now you might wonder about “exceptions”:

    “Material from self-published and questionable sources may be used as sources in articles about themselves…”

    Since the source isn’t cited in an article about itself this doesn’t stand.

    “Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications.”

    Not an viable exception here either…

    Finally, there’s a list about what’s even an acceptable source when it is used as a source about itself…and WS’ page even fails most of those and I don’t feel like listing them at the moment.

  42. Leif wrote: “This latest error is just symptomatic of bigger issues. The only difference is this one is glaringly wrong and not debatable.”

    For once I agree with Leif that there are much bigger issues. This error, if indeed it is one, is small, probably accidental and there is no obvious commercial motivation.

    The bigger issues are all those “absinths” that deliberately pretend to have a heritage that is linked to France in the 19th century or to Swiss recipes.

  43. Leif said, “What is needed is the removal of the photo and some questions answered (truthfully) by the photographer.”

    So you don’t know if they have ever made a yellow product but have labeled it as false?
    It’s been a couple days now, have you asked him?

    —-
    Leif said, “regardless of what you think of Duplais”

    As already mentioned the Duplais book supports the wikipedia page by listing a distillation of only wormwood as a separate type of liquor.

  44. ALan,

    “there is no obvious commercial motivation…”

    Depends on how you define “obvious” I suppose…

    “The bigger issues are all those “absinths” that deliberately pretend to have a heritage that is linked to France in the 19th century or to Swiss recipes.”

    Since Absente is saying it’s an absinthe (as well as others) you should probably add “absinthes” to that list too.

    Ari,

    “So you don’t know if they have ever made a yellow product but have labeled it as false?”

    Um…what?

    Listen man, we can debate the definition of absinthe all day long as far as I’m concerned. But, why do you keep fighting for this one? This debate’s over. Aside from showing you the product catalogue from the company I don’t know what else I can do to prove it to you. The question I have for you is why are you the one forced to offer an apology for the photographer?

    “It’s been a couple days now, have you asked him?”

    No, and here’s why:

    1. I could easily PM him on WS’ forums but I’m not going to. Why? At best, you have hearsay; at worst, you have claims that can’t be proven.

    2. I could get a thread started but since I’m new to posting it’d cause an uproar and I’d get myself labeled as a troll (see the rise and fall of Glaucus).

    Besides, between my blog and absintheur’s, this should be a matter of public record and I’d like to leave it there.

    I assume word gets spread so if he wants to talk, let him talk. If not, it’s no sweat off my back (or his for that matter).

    PS.

    “As already mentioned the Duplais book supports the wikipedia page by listing a distillation of only wormwood as a separate type of liquor.”

    I’ve been looking for that segment in Duplais and can’t find it. It could easily be my fault (I get blind now and then) do you have page numbers?

  45. Leif said, “This debate’s over.”
    Frankly I’m ‘fighting for it’ just to get some solid information. A current product catalog may not provide information on old products. Have you actually asked the makers or the photographer? Real or fake I would like people to substantiate their accusations (which seems hard on this blog).

    —-
    Leif said, “I’ve been looking for that segment in Duplais and can’t find it. It could easily be my fault (I get blind now and then) do you have page numbers?”

    I don’t have it with me, but a search for wormwood should find recipes using different wormwoods including AA in other sections beyond “absinthe”

  46. Have you actually asked the makers

    Yes. This is what they said:

    Our company do not produce yellow Absinth. You can to see, that the bottle was open and contens of a bottle is not original. We are producing yellow – honey liquer – that have precisely the same colour, which you can to see in the bottle on that picture. Somebody changed this our two products and evocate this problem for us.

  47. A. With Stromu’s reply, there is no longer a need for the photographer to be questioned–aside from a “why did you lie?” which I’m probably just going to ask him. I’ll get back to you.

    B. A search through Duplais gave me these notable hits:

    1. perfume
    2. vinegar/wormwood mix of some sort

    3. “Essence of Absinthe”

    Dried leaves and tops of wormwood
    (grade absinthe) (artemisia absinthium)
    Alcohol, 85
    Process as above.

    *The process involves distillation, etc.

    4. “Waters of Absinthe”
    5. Tincture of Absinthe

    6. “Creme d’Absinthe” (my current favorite)

    Dried tops and leaves of the larger
    absinthe
    Dried tops and leaves of the less
    absinthe
    Dried peppermint leaves
    Anise
    Fennel
    Cdamus
    Fresh lemons (rind), number
    Alcohol

    The odd man out here is:

    “Liquore delle Alpi”

    Larger absinthe (picked from stalks)
    Lesser absinthe (picked from stalks)
    Angelica (tops)
    Peppermint (picked from stalks)
    Hyssop in flower
    Genepi
    Anise
    Fennel keeds
    Lemons (outer rind)
    Alcohol, 85

    It possesses pretty much everything it needs to and is distilled, however, it’s given a special name. The only distinction in recipes and thus name is the parts of the plant dedicated to the process for anything called “absinthe” it uses the tops/leaves of wormwood, whereas “liquore delle Alpi” is specifying wormwood “picked from stalks”

    Even for “essence of absinthe” (which is pretty much just distilled wormwood) it specifies tops and leaves.

    The “water of absinthe” allows for leaves, tops, and “small” stalks with the only liquid being water.

    Using this, I’d now go so far as to say you’re absinthe if you simply utilize the leaves and tops (and small stalks) of the wormwood. Anise, distillation, the use of essences, alcohol, etc. are now up for grabs.

  48. Curious, does the Duplais book list those recipes in the same section as absinthe?

  49. Ah, so I finally find this thread. Absintheur, why didn’t you just take the stuff from the other thread I posted on, and insert it here? Or at the very least, direct me to the right thread to post on.

    If you have contact information for Stromu, please pass it along to me, as I’d be more than happy to send them a sample of the contents of the bottle, so they can analyze it to find out if it indeed was replaced by the seller, if it’s a counterfeit bottle, or if it was just due to the degredation of the green color from sitting out in the hot mexican sun.

    I now know that you have my contact information, so feel free to contact me offline if you have some way of me contacting Stromu, or if you’d like to discuss this further.

    My efforts to contact Stromu have not elicited a response.

    As for my position at the wormwood society, I am only a review editor. All I do is look for spelling or grammatical errors and clean them up. It’s not paid, and it’s not biased.

  50. Absintheur, why didn’t you just take the stuff from the other thread I posted on, and insert it here?

    B, I wanted to but I did not know how…actually the system does not allow it….

    You also posted this on a tasting thread:

    So, what’s the best (most reputable) site for me to buy some of this? I’m not being sarcastic. I’m planning on buying a bottle so I can compare the flavor with the yellow bottle I have. I want to see if I was duped, or if the color just changed due to the intense sun in the Yucatan.

    😐

  51. Yes, that’s the truth. I plan on buying another bottle, but want to do so from a site that is tried and true. What’s wrong with that?

  52. And what about this part?:

    “Or at the very least, direct me to the right thread to post on.”

  53. “You also posted this on a tasting thread:”

    I was under the assumption that it was a ‘buying guide’, like it is titled. Not a review/tasting page.

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