Category Archives: Lucid Absinthe

Lucid Absinthe’s Distiller on Thujone: Confused?

Alice

“How much thujone in Lucid, Sir?” … “Ask no questions child.”

The words below were written by Lucid Absinthe’s distiller on the subject of thujone, the naturally occurring element in wormwood, previously credited in the 19th century with hallucinogenic and mind altering powers.

If you didn’t know yet Lucid Absinthe is the new FDA “thujone free” compliant absinthe that is being hyped from coast to shining coast in America this week. But is it real absinthe if it has no thujone? Read on..

Using every bit of information I’ve processed over the past seven years, my calculations indicate that quality original Pontarlier labels contained anywhere from 50-100mg/kg total thujone. I do agree that I feel that thujone is not the only player in the secondary effects, although I’m convinced it plays an important role. I also have some evidence that indicates that the presence of other essences and even manufacturing methods is influential.T.A. Breaux

June 5, 2000 (FeeVerte.net)

These days we are told that there was little or no thujone in pre-ban real absinthe by exactly the same source! Seven years of research, and a sudden change of heart? To quote Alice in Wonderland: “Curiouser and curiouser”. What should we make of this? The only person that can answer this is T.A.Breaux himself and he alone is invited to do so below.

Lucid opinions on Absinthe?

Bitter and Twisted

Absinthe Taste Test: Are New Brands the Real Deal?

“I’d like to take them both outside and light them on fire!

An interesting and amusing piece on Lucid absinthe from New York Magazine comparing Swiss oldtimer Absinthe Kübler & new absinthe baby Lucid – both now legal in the United States:

How does Lucid strike you when you drink it straight? I’m smelling more of the pastis than I am of the wormwood. But as it evaporates I do feel a slight bitterness on my tongue that lets me know it’s in the absinthe family.

Do you think absinthe does produce a different sort of “high” than other liquors? Yes. Drinking anything with the accurate amount of wormwood produces a different experience. A lot of people report not feeling drunk or down but feeling up and exhilarated. :mrgreen:

http://nymag.com/daily/food/2007/10/absinthe_taste_test_are_new_br.html

Thujone Booster for Lucid Absinthe?

Thujone in Absinthe

Hello, I heard that the herb Sage has a very high amount of Thujone. Is it possible to mix Sage and Absinthe together to increase the Thujone level of the drink?

Qwazar | (removed)@aol.com
Jul 9, 10:05 PM

A week ago, a poster posed the above question on a Lucid thread and it got me thinking. To start with, the question sounded like the classic line from one of those thujone is irrelevant campaigners – the guys whose line echoes the mantra of the new era of media-crazed absinthe entrepreneurs (aka. historians, chemists, etc). The script these posters use online tries to suggest that if you can’t get high from a Thanksgiving Dinner with sage stuffing, how come you can from absinthe?

Cute, huh?

This is, of course, a real turkey as it fails to acknowledge the purity of the terpene in alcohol (i), but it’s a simple argument and it delivers their message. A message that has helped absinthe – or as some say a thujone-lite faux absinthe – onto US soil.

Then I thought again. Maybe this was a real question. A quick scout round the web reveals that infusing real Artemisia Absinthium (Grande Wormwood) in Absente – the original thujone-free, USA legal absinthe – was common years before Lucid was even dreamed up! Folks have long been using original absinthe herbs as a kind of thujone booster!

I also see that many people are also using absinthe herbal preparations to make thujone rich-absinthe drink in the comfort of their own homes out of high proof alcohol – see, for example, sites like Absolutely Absinthe

Absolutely Absinthe.com

… or Green Devil:

Green Devil.com

I wonder what it tastes like? Anyone got any experience? Perhaps adding one of these preparations to Lucid Absinthe will just make the drink more delightfully bitter? After all, we know that Lucid’s manufacturer (coincidentally the leading anti-thujone “researcher”) has not only dumbed down the thujone, but also the traditional anise to suit US standards.

Can’t help but wonder. Also, don’t forget the next time you meet an online persona who talks about sage, turkey dinners and thujone, ask yourself this: is this some guy reading from a prepared script, or just a guy who simply wants thujone in his absinthe…. Not an unreasonable request… but one that I’m afraid the USA won’t agree to.

(i) Kurt Hostettmann est professeur à l’école de pharmacie de Genève-Lausanne. Pour lui, l’absinthe est avant tout une plante médicinale excellente pour la digestion. C’est seulement lorsqu’elle est mélangée à de l’alcool qu’elle laisse vraiment échapper cette fameuse thuyone.

Where to drink Lucid Absinthe

Black Absinthe Cat

The following article tells New Yorker’s where to find that elusive pussy cat of absinthe, Lucid:

Employee’s Only, 510 Hudson St

STK, 26 Little West 12th St

Waverly Inn, 385 6th Ave

Highlights include:

Wait, watch, marvel, stir, and serve — and, presumably, sink into a mad hallucinogenic stupor. Actually, the mad hallucinogenic stupor is sold separately, somewhere in Afghanistan:

Clarification and Correction: We earlier wrote that the Waverly Inn had obtained a license to serve absinthe, which was incorrect; a variant of absinthe has been approved by the FDA for sale in the U.S. and that is what is being served in the above-mentioned locations. For more information on what makes this version less likely to make you see little green fairies, see this article from the New York Post earlier this week. ETP apologizes for the error. The little green fairies made us do it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/06/21/abfab-at-the-waverly-he_n_53215.html

Looks like someone was “off message”

Then there’s another cracker: “Absinthe is like the ultimate experience in drinking,” says Employees Only bartender Dushan Zaric. “If you have a palate for it, you’re a grown-up.” Except that the thujone levels and anise flavour have been altered for the USA of course, Dushan.

Lucid absinthe even has it’s very own cocktail: The Mint Muse which, according to the New York Post, is made with Lucid, pineapple juice, muddled mint leaves, lime and lemon soda. I hope it comes with a little paper umbrella and a cherry 😉

Absinthe now legal in the USA?

Thujone

Maybe.

The bizarre story of Lucid Absinthe and their hapless marketing campaign takes another twist! According to absinthe retailer David Nathan Maister: “Absinthes with less than 10mg/l thujone are now potentially legal in the US” Importantly there has been no change in the law, but rather a change in the “margin of error” as regards thujone testing. Apparently this means that Lucid (or any other absinthe) with up to 10mg of thujone is deemed thujone free! How strange is that! The FDA are being led a merry dance it seems!

Why Lucid are still reticent about stating the thujone content in their absinthe remains unclear. It seems that strong absinthe within the thujone 10mg – 35 mg European designation -and known as hořká lihovina (amer) – will still not be allowed.

A very strange tale, and as foggy as a louched glass of Absinthium 1792 (which unfortunately is nearly 3 times the allowed thujone limit for the USA). Still it’s better than an outright ban – but what a strange way to do it 😕

Lucid reply on thujone in absinthe?


Thujone Free Absinthe

Thujone free fee verte? It’s been tried before and is nothing new, but they didn’t call it absinthe! Here’s the long awaited comment from Lucid:

What is the difference between Grande Wormwood and Southernwood (or Southern Wormwood)?

Lucid contains a full measure of Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). By contrast, other products with a claimed relationship to Absinthe contain Southernwood (Artemisia Abrotanum – sometimes referred to as Southern Wormwood). Southernwood bears little resemblance to Grande Wormwood and has a completely different flavor and chemistry. Genuine Absinthe, such as the Absinthe made during the Belle Époque period in France, has always been made with Grande Wormwood as a key ingredient. In fact, the word “Absinthe” itself is derived from the scientific name for Grande Wormwood- Artemisia absinthium.

How were you able legally to import Lucid into the US if Wormwood is illegal?

Wormwood is not illegal as long as the finished product meets applicable standards for content. We found that by adhering to the strict techniques used over a century ago, the result was not only a genuine, historically accurate product, but a product that also happens to meet US requirements relating to alcoholic beverages.
Is Wormwood responsible for hallucinations or is this a myth?

The reputation of Wormwood as a hallucinogen is largely based on the politically motivated publicity that was given to Thujone, a chemical contained in Wormwood, back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. However, modern studies have conclusively demonstrated that humans are unable to detect (or experience any effects from) the presence of Thujone when consumed in test samples containing relevant concentrations. Moreover, thanks to T.A. Breaux’s modern testing of vintage bottles of Absinthe from over 100 years ago, we now know that, just as with Lucid, most of the high quality Absinthes from the 1800’s would meet today’s US standards for content, further discrediting the theory that Thujone had any real relevance to the Absinthe experience. In any event, we believe that if you consume Lucid responsibly and in moderation, there should be no unusual effects.
Does Lucid contain Thujone?

Lucid has been tested and it meets US and EU standards for content. It is worth noting that using modern equipment, T.A. Breaux, the distiller of Lucid, has analyzed dozens of bottles of traditional, high-quality vintage Absinthe from the Belle Époque period and has determined that quality Absinthe that was properly made typically did not have any significant Thujone content- even 100 years ago.

🙂 Hmm…are you thinking what I’m thinking? This is all based upon one serious report made by Dr Dirk Lachenmeier and an extract follows:

Habitual abuse of the wormwood spirit absinthe was described in the 19th and 20th centuries as a cause for the mental disorder ‘‘absinthism’’ including the symptoms hallucinations, sleeplessness and convulsions.

A controversial discussion is going on if thujone, a characteristic component of the essential oil of the wormwood plant Artemisia absinthium L., is responsible for absinthism, or if it was merely caused by chronic alcohol intoxication or by other reasons such as food adulterations. To ascertain if thujone may have caused absinthism, absinthes were produced according to historic recipes of the 19th century. Commercial wormwood herbs of two different manufacturers, as well as self-cultivated ones, were used in a concentration of 6 kg/100 l spirit. In addition, an authentic vintage Pernod absinthe from Tarragona (1930), and two absinthes from traditional small distilleries of the Swiss Val-de-Travers were evaluated. A GC–MS procedure was applied for the analysis of a- and b-thujone with cyclodecanone as internal standard. The method was shown to be sensitive with a LOD of 0.08 mg/l.The precision was between 1.6 and 2.3%, linearity was obtained from 0.1 to 40 mg/l (r = 1.000).

After the recent annulment of the absinthe prohibition all analysed products showed a thujone concentration below the maximum limit of 35 mg/l, including the absinthes produced according to historic recipes, which did not contain any detectable or only relatively low concentrations of thujone (mean: 1.3 Æ 1.6 mg/l, range: 0–4.3 mg/l). Interestingly, the vintage absinthe also showed a relatively low thujone concentration of 1.8 mg/l. The Val-de-Travers absinthes contained 9.4 and 1.7 mg/l of thujone.

In conclusion, thujone concentrations as high as 260 mg/l, reported in the 19th century, cannot be confirmed by our study. With regard to their thujone concentrations, the hallucinogenic potential of vintage absinthes can be assessed being rather lowbecause the historic products also comply with today’s maximum limits derived to exclude such effects. It may be deduced that thujone plays none, or only a minor role in the clinical picture of absinthism.

Quite a deduction based upon 3 old bottles and a re run using traditional absinthe recipes! An interesting question would be how these absinthes, that were supplied to Dr Lachenmeier, were produced, and by whom. According to Lucid, a skilled distiller like Ted Breaux is perfectly able to produce an absinthe which does not register thujone content when the FDA test is applied. The distiller knows that using particular parts of the plant, harvesting time and climatic conditions have a dramatic effect upon thujone content in artemisia absinthium. Dr Lachmeier should also consider the effects of time on the thujone molecule in those pre ban bottles.

Lucid “Pre Ban” Absinthe

molecule.jpg

Thujone Molecule – In Lucid Absinthe or not?

 

These are interesting comments on Lucid absinthe, the new American absinthe:

Absinthe is back. Sort of.

There is probably no beverage with more mythology attached to it. Called la fée verte, or the Green Fairy, it is an anise-flavored liquor that was once the hootch of choice for the demi-monde of bohemian Paris. Poetry has been written about it. Paintings have been made, music composed.

“Absinthe has a wonderful color – green,” wrote Oscar Wilde, known to have downed a dram or two. “A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?”

Purported to have near-hallucinogenic properties, it was banned in France in 1915 and has been illegal in the United States since 1912. Now, a distributor is going to aim a new brand of the liquor to the upscale American market. Called Lucid, it will sell for about $60 a bottle. Unlike the many absinthe substitutes that have been on the shelves for years, Lucid claims to be made according to original, pre-ban recipes.

In Europe, though, there has been a resurgence of absinthe manufacturing. Done properly, it is completely legal in most countries there. The makers of Lucid have contracted one of them to create their new American version of the liquor, adapted to American tastes, with less of the anise flavor that the French adore and Americans have always been suspicious of.They are betting that they can market the new, cleaned-up absinthe based on its not-so-clean outlaw reputation.

http://www.azcentral.com/ent/music/articles/0518absinthe0519.html

Cleaned up! Seems that we are still in the dark about the thujone content of this “cleaned-up” pre ban recipe ❓ When the writer says done properly, he forgets to mention that many European absinthes have up to 35mg/ l of thujone. La Clandestine absinthe from Switzerland for example – according to one retailer – has 30mg/l.

Note: Annex II of Directive 88/388/EEC (EEC, 1988) allows in excess of 25mg/l thujone when the product is labeled as a bitter. Why can’t America follow the sensible European Union lead, and allow American consumers the chance to try real European absinthe that hasn’t been modified?