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Ádám Oláh (Phoney)

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Everything posted by Ádám Oláh (Phoney)

  1. It's hard to compare with Jade 1901, but it'd put my experience on the same level, too. It's ridiculously creamy (much more so than anything else I've had), and it has some heavenly fennel-calamus candylike thing going on. Some other German and Swiss absinthes have a more or less similar stlyle, but for me, Eichelberger does it best by far. Eichelberger 80 is very similar, too, and some of their pale verte. Limitée 68 is different but it's delicious all the same. Similar to La Grenouille and maybe Grön Opal, too.
  2. Anyone seen the technical file for Absinthe de Pontarlier published last March? Seems like it's on its way getting EU IGP. Lots of good rules there, except some looks too restrictive even for Pontarlier absinthe. Apart from the 20 mg thujone (which is deemed necessary all the same for any ABV, "in order to preserve these aromas"), it must be a "pale-yellow spirit with greenish hues", so peridot green won't cut it, I guess. And, I don't know if it's relevant, but the maximum allowed fennel content is some 20% less than what the old manuals had for Pontarlier absinthe. Also, fennel doesn't have to be distilled (or even included).
  3. Well, the louche didn't appear in the first place, and the glass was also marked at 1:5 ratio. On a side note, I've just checked several videos on St. Antoine's louche, and my bottle never louched anything thick like that. It also reacted to “power louche” with quite a latency. Thanks, I was beginning to think that I must have messed up something real bad at those few occasions... Indeed, my room temperature isn't exactly stable either, and the “Antoine-case” happened after spending a few days in a very old holiday cottage in the hot summer.
  4. Thanks for all the replies! Martin, the Lot code is exactly L 0719B13 (there's another line saying P 040713) . I suspected the weather, because the bottle arrived real warm (I unpacked right away, and it felt like at least 40 °C), and I guess it endured this (or more) all day; perhaps got warm and cooled down several times in the days of transit. On the other hand, I still have some of that bottle and just now, it louches all right... perhaps it's not even an issue with Antoine itself. It happened with two or free oil mixes, but it was the two distilled products that made me interested. The other one was Isidoros Arvanitis ouzo, which is supposed to be (and as much as I can tell from the flavor, is indeed) 100% distilled. It was a steel cap, cca. 1.5 oz. sample bottle which I filled myself from the original bottle (just to keep some of it for later.) Poured the first half, added ice water, almost no louche at all. Shook the rest (having no other idea), poured again, perfect louche (as far as Arvanitis goes, that is.) It wasn't double strong, though, so my idea about anethole content getting inconsistent must be indeed wrong. I always use iced water. And no absinthe in the fridge, ever.
  5. I've had this problem with several different anise spirits and once with St. Antoine, but never heard about it anywhere. Some time (and usually several glasses) after opening the bottle, they didn't louche (other than the very slightest haze) when ice water was added, unless the bottle was shaken beforehand. It seems like the anethole content tends to dehomogenize under certain conditions, or something like that. It's even more likely to happen with home filled 1.5 oz. sample bottles. In the case of St. Antoine, it was even before half of the bottle was gone. The bottles arrived lukewarm, if that counts, but only the Antoine had this issue. Curiously the non-louching glass came just some twenty minutes after a perfectly louched one. (I never dared to pour another Antoine without shaking the bottle.) Any experiences or ideas on why it happens? I rather wouldn't shake my bottles...
  6. I haven't seen absinthe so far in Europe that was middle shelf quality for a middle shelf price. That category of absinthe doesn't really exist yet (or, rather, not for the right price). I wouldn't even buy Kübler, since Turkish rakis are almost as good for third (!) the money (here in Middle Europe, at least, but Poland cannot be much different). There are very good absinthes from 30-35€ a bottle. You should order St. Antione, some of the Eichelbergers, Akveld's, François Guy, or anything that received more than just 3 starrs in that price range. Go cheaper and you'll have another bottle of Jekyll-like crap that doesn't worth any more than the cheapest ouzo.
  7. You, sir, just gave back Hungary its long lost absinthe tradition Time to read it myself, I guess.
  8. Thanks for the info, Ambear. Indeed, "Zwack" should be Unicum Next, and "Unicum" is the original Unicum. Normally, these have been never labeled merely as "Zwack" in Hungary (it's Zwack Unicum / Zwack Unicum Next with "Zwack" written in smaller font), but duty-free or otherwise tourist-frequented shops may have had the export labeling. I've also found the story I've mentioned yesterday. It's the novel Black Diamonds by Mór Jókai (full English translation at Project Gutenberg), written in 1870. [Pg 175] Note that the Hungarian original says champagne glasses, and doesn't explicitly mention a "sparkling spirit" but a "venomous liquid with angry green flash".
  9. I suppose the French managed to demonize absinthe to a degree that outsiders were made to believe that it tasted terrible, and that it was widely consumed only due to the special addiction it supposedly caused. Combined with the facts that wormwood is very bitter and the "apsinthion=undrinkable" myth was established even in the Belle Époque, it's no wonder novelists came up with the weirdest metaphors... and I wouldn't be surprised if some post-ban products were inspired likewise. It's worth knowing that the Zwack Liqueur exported to the U.S. is the "mild" version, if that's what you referred to. It's labeled Unicum Next in Hungary, aimed at younger generations who can't stand the bitterness of the old school stuff like the original Unicum or Ferencz Keserű. I can't really stand them, either, but "Next" is alright as far as I remember. There's not much record on how absinthe was consumed in Hungary. All I know it was available in the Belle Époque in at least two major cities. Since Hungary didn't have much Internet access in the early 20th century , I suppose most people didn't know what to do with it, and they just handled it like any overproof spirit. A 19th century Hungarian short story featured absinthe without any dilution. I'll try to dig that up, too. As for the word "bitter", it could have been easily misunderstood by Ottlik, because if something is only mildly bitter (less so than unsweetened black tea), then we usually don't call it bitter in Hungarian, but something else that would translate to "bitterish". Saying "mildly bitter" doesn't even make much sense in Hungarian, and "pleasantly bitter" would assume that one finds distinct bitterness pleasant. As I've explained before, many Hungarians have some perverted fondness of very bitter drinks
  10. The reason it surprised me is that such a response in Hungary should have meant something really extraordinarily bitter. Local traditional bitters have a bold, lingering aftertaste; they are somewhat less dry, but slightly more bitter than Fernet Branca, and they're consumed almost exclusively as shots. These being well known, even for a local who don't like them, it should have taken a KoS kind of bitterness to make them say something like that. I thought that kind of bitterness shouldn't come from distillation or oil mixing, even if it can be very nasty otherwise.
  11. I've found this Hungarian 1956 novella from Géza Ottlik mentioning absinthe in a peculiar way. I didn't found an English translation, so I made my own from the relevant part (hope it's not very terrible to read for native speakers). The author was born in 1912, and the scene is supposed to be in Budapest, 1936. I was always wondering if 20th century European references like this were inspired merely by the authors' misbeliefs or there was indeed some popularity of (probably home macerated) drinks intended to be absinthe, although without any understanding of how to make it or how it should actually taste. Several times, I was lead to believe that such recipes had popularity in certain circles before the 1990's, but was never able to check it for sure. (I'm not sure why pure alcohol was supposed to get milky, but that's what it says. Might have been the fusel alcohol content of cheap distillates in the era.)
  12. Ironically, gin and all other herbal spirits & liqueurs were also condemned by experts as dangerous poisons (Problems in Eugenics, 1912). Many scapegoats of alcoholism were made at the time, absinthe being #1 among them. Banning absinthe exclusively (at least in France) was a political decision that displeased many experts, who, basically, called a poison all spirits that were available cheap. They even demonized grain spirits, stating that only wine/fruit spirits were safe (a misconception still alive in Europe). Alcoholism wasn't very well understood at all – you may find scientific statements from the era going as far as "pure ethanol cannot cause delirium tremens". Edit: it wasn't Problems In Eugenics, but Poisons of French Liqueurs from 1902.
  13. More importantly, that short story wasn't written by Wilde, and wasn't published until 1930. (The same goes for other "Oscar Wilde tripping on absinthe" quotes.) I bet you can find very similar stories with other booze as well, but a poet seeing things drunk on rum is simply not that suspicious.
  14. Has any spirit product ever been halted by an IGP before? Or any product at all? It seems IGP's are all about protecting names,( not the products themselves). This, if applied as such, seems without precedent anyplace. Technically, it happened, although for a completely different reason. Austrian regulations (see in German) forbid the production of spirits that look and taste like present day Inländerrum, effectively banning the traditional version. When the regulation was born, all concerned products were halted based on their similarity to an IGP (despite them having different names at the time). The brands themselves, of course, could go on with new recipes. That, of course, didn't affect similar spirits of other countries, and there's no way the Swiss telling any foreign country what kind of spirits to make. The EU also never seemed like willing to agree to absinthe as a Swiss IGP (see "Point 4 - AG presentation 131112.pdf" in this package, for example), and I don't think they've got much reason to do so. (Inländerrum – like Stroh or Spitz – used to be a traditional Austrian rum substitute made of spiced alcohol, with some 200 years of tradition. Then the EU told them they can't call it such anymore, because it isn't even made of cane spirit, but they approved it as an IGP on the condition that the base alcohol will be Austrian-made cane spirit. Not sure how does it make a traditional Austrian spirit, though.)
  15. Anise-free crapsinthes contain little or absolutely no essential oils in the first place, so they usually don't represent an anise free absinthe. I'm ready to believe that other herbs (or at least many of them) won't provide much louche after distillation (due to the differences in oils' volatility and amount), but I've already tried alcoholic solutions of steam distilled coriander oil, mint oil, orange oil, and they all provided the same louche as steam distilled anise and fennel oil, so anethole didn't make a difference. That concludes that it's not the type but the amount of oils (in the distillate itself) that determines the strength of the louche, and if shikimi contains oils that are as volatile as anethole, it should provide louche. It's also possible that some absinthe makers used shikimi oil (the Fritsch manual says that non-suisse grade absinthes' had to be supported with added anise/badiane essence), in which case exact volatility wasn't an issue.
  16. If other essential oils louche, why use star anise at all? Because you have to replace the amount of anise oil with something, and you don't want to do it with just any herb. It may end up tasting very silly, and not to say, nothing like absinthe. Not as if I knew Japanese star anise's flavor and the volatility of its oils (during distillation), but it might have been a useful substitute.
  17. I thought all essential oils louche regardless to their anethole content – or at least I've never met one that didn't. They are called "oils" because they're not soluble in water. Also, from what a vial of steam distilled green anise oil tells me here, anethole (apart from being sweet and somewhat anise-like) isn't the principal aromatic component of anise and badiane. It lacks the sharp characteristics of anise. It could be possible that Japanese star anise both gives a good louche and more anise taste than its anethole content implies, and that was surely more than enough for some of the 19th century crapsinthe makers.
  18. "Zwack" sold in the U.S. indeed seems to be rebranded "Unicum Next". It was developed a decade ago or two, since the "original" Unicum won't really appeal to youngsters (nor to anyone with a decent taste, I would add). I'd describe Unicum's character shortly as "pointless": bold taste and extra bitter lingering aftertaste, yet it still doesn"t deliver much character to talk about, even though I've tried and sipped a good deal of it already. Unicum probably suffered from the Soviet socialist era (just like Hungarian drinking culture and alcohol industry in general), and it was possibly never restored to the pre-war original. Zwack's (i.e. the company's) other brands in Hungary are not unlike La Fée absinthe: fancy bottles, boosted prices, aggressive marketing, and the drinks themselves are often not even the real deal, but cold mixed imitations (of brandy, rum, fruit brandy, etc.) Unicum Next is not that bad indeed.
  19. It's too sad these "absinthe incidents" are able to happen exactly because absinthe is being seen as the most dangerous drink of history. European kids are drinking 120–180 proof shots of artificial crap thinking it's absinthe (occasionally igniting themselves), which possibly wouldn't be the case if absinthe would have been represented as it really is. This one really backfired on temperance folks.
  20. The draft already allows color that doesn't come from a secondary maceration. That being the case, artificial agents would be better, because you can usually tell a brilliant blue and tatrazine dyed blanche from a verte, but blanches dyed with natural agents will look natural green.
  21. Here is the full draft from December. Note that it's probably not in its final form, since it doesn't contain a statement on additional flavoring substances and preparations like all other EU spirit drinks categories do. They'll be probably allowed just like in case of (both ordinary and distilled) anis and other herbal spirits/liqueurs. If I'm not mistaken, this summary record says that the draft was voted and accepted in December.
  22. Be advised that its taste is possibly ruined, too. I've got a screw cap bottle from the late 70's and it's barely drinkable; tastes like it was stored in a plastic water gun. Also, it indeed is about the same as today – has exactly the same artificial coloring, too. Only has less sugar in it.
  23. From my experience, having any anise spirits with other alcohol always messes you up more pr less. I'm not sure why, maybe it only makes you fancy a few glasses more (in your case, you fancied another last drink when you clearly shoudn't have). Starting a party with a few glasses of absinthe and then switching to something else (or the other way around), diluting raki or Pernod with alcoholic mixers, drinking bunny hug – somehow you always end up more drunk than expected. I'm definitely okay with mixing booze, but anise makes me cautious.
  24. I guess it also doesn't mean that it'll be an actual verte. May be coloured with a natural agent (e.g. pure chlorophyll). That'd be an impressive gimmick.
  25. It's some Italian brand producing low-grade absinthe and alike for good money and with agressive marketing. They have several pages partly masked as "general" absinthe pages. One of our local association member was approached with a job offer, but he found even their "traditional" version appalling (it wasn't technically "bohemian stlye" as I recall, but most probably cold mixed).