Category Archives: thujone

King of Spirits Prádlo u Nepomuka


I have a confession to make: I like the stuff!

King of Spirits is made by L’Or in Prádlo. According to L’Or : “Prádlo is a great address for distillers, the water here is the best.”

It’s certainly a very popular brand in Prague. The taste is not to everyone’s liking, don’t expect a perfumed cloying sweetness, but rather a confident wormwood note without too much background noise. You’ll notice the herbs at the base of the bottle. King of Spirits is good company; a heady brew which is not for the shrinking violet, and then of course there’s the thujone!

Thujone is the active ingredient in wormwood and the sole reason that absinthe cannot be sold in any liquor stores across the USA. The law is unclear, but it seems that you may buy absinthe for personal use without any problem. People have run into problems where they have promoted absinthe parties and sold tickets (according to recent news reports) but that is a different matter altogether as one can be prosecuted for running vodka parties like that too.

King of Spirits is openly sold as being a thujone rich brew and King of Spirits Gold even claims to have levels of thujone at 100mg (the European Union max is 35mg)

I’ll keep drinking Czech absinth for the taste, the pleasure and the unique experience it offers. Well! I’ll sit back, take a sip of King of Spirits, and leave them to it. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer 🙂

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


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.

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?

Thujone in Absinthe


Absinthe: attention performance and mood under the influence of thujone. : An article from: Journal of Studies on Alcohol

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether the impacts of absinthe on attention performance and mood were different from those experienced with beverages that contain only alcohol. The ingredient causing absinthe’s toxicity is believed to be thujone. Method: A total of 25 healthy subjects participated in the study. An attention performance test and two questionnaires testing different mood dimensions were used. Three drinks with an identical amount of alcohol but with different amounts of thujone were offered. Results: The results of the present study showed that the simultaneous administration of alcohol containing a high concentration of thujone had a negative effect on attention performance. Under this condition, the subjects tended to direct their attention to signals in the central field of attention and to neglect peripheral signals; the number of correct reactions decreased significantly in the peripheral field of attention, and reaction time and the number of “false alarm” reactions increased significantly. The effects were most prominent at the time of the first measurement. When the subjects were under the influence of alcohol or were administered both alcohol and a low thujone concentration, these effects were not observed. The assessment of mood state dimensions showed that the anxiolytic effect of alcohol was temporarily counteracted by a high thujone concentration. Conclusions: As they are apparently opposed to the effect of alcohol, the reactions observed here can be explained by the antagonistic effect of thujone on the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor. Similar alterations were observed for the other mood state dimensions examined.

Seems pretty clear to me 🙂