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Dr. LaBleue

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About Dr. LaBleue

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    Professeur d’Absinthe

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  1. Star anise in small proportions does this neat thing where it holds the louche down in the glass and makes the dilution appear heavy and oily. You can get the same effect from using a generous portion of anise, but the spirit ends up being too vegetable/"green". It doesn't take much star anise to dominate the scent, out of the bottle, with camphor -- so its best to limit the quantity in the macerate. Angelica, calamus, elecampane... they can all taste "hot" when you add more than the customary 125 grams per 100 liters. Cuts and methods of rectification can soften this result, but that takes time and experience to sort out. A good deal of herbal-interest is accomplished by giving hints of herbs in the spirit, taste and scent-wise. You overdo it, and people will know the game immediately. In all instances, ageing can be your greatest ally.
  2. The world's first Polish Arak substitute. You might have a look at the emulsion study done by Isabelle Grillo, to start with, or ask your question directly… grillo at ill.fr.
  3. Last night, before editing your post you'd stated you'd never read that article by Villon, now you're stating your intent from the start was to express the same view laid forth in Villon's article?... To agree that ageing was vital to absinthe, not economical and methods to simulate the maturing of an absinthe over a period of several years was desired? Oooo-k. And that's not what I'm talking about. There is a very definitive difference between eau-de-vie and esprit-de-vin, something a true student of absinthe is very wary of. The cut-off point for categorizing a spirit as even an eau-de-vie forte is 22° Cartier, or 59° by l'alcoomètre of Gay-Lussac. Even weak esprit-de-vin exists at the upper end of specific gravities (beyond .8900), above that of the strongest eau-de-vie. Lest we forget... We've gone on quite the tangent, but my only real point was this: this is, without any other qualifying information, not a statement of fact. It is true to say, a good absinthe may or may not exhibit a feuille morte early on. It is not true to say that an absinthe that has not developed a feuille morte after even 6 months of age is necessarily a poor, adulterated or improperly manufactured one.
  4. Esprit-de-vin, not eau-de-vie de marc, there's a significant difference.
  5. It is most certainly recommended to keep it that long... just not feasible for those who make poor absinthe that doesn't keep well or producers who are met daily with the difficulties of sitting on a product for that sort of duration. Villon, La Nature, 1894, II. L'absinthe, 150. "Le viellissement de l'absinthe est une question de premier ordre. Il communique à cette liqueur des propriétés particulièrement recherchées. Le procédé le plus simple consiste à laisser l'absinthe vieillir d'elle-même, dans des fûts, pendant 2, 3, 4 et même 5 ans..." Absinthe, like any other well-made spirit benefits from long rest, careful keeping... which is set at naught where a distillateur was... well... lacking. Colouring is very integral to the overall quality of a verte absinthe, though I wouldn't go so far as to say that the presence or absence of a feuille morte after 6 months of age, singularly dictates by some rule of thumb that an absinthe is of poor or proper manufacture. The strength of the spirit both before and after an absinthe is coloured, the quality and choice of colouring herbs, the preparation, heating method, time that the colouring plants contact the spirit, storage, racking, etc. - each factor into the scent and chlorophyllic stability of an absinthe by the time it is bottled. I know for a fact that traditionally made absinthe, both of commercial and artisanale origin, exist that exhibit hardly any of the jaunit en vieillissant that you mention... even after 6 months.
  6. Sometimes it's about the need to be accepted and insecurity (and that's not meant to be offensive, it just really is a significant aspect of the whole forum's psychological dynamic) and others it's just about being social as best we know how. I totally don't agree with tuning the tone and delivery of your thoughts and feelings to the flow of the online parade. That's how the more honest thoughts and feelings of a member get lost.
  7. Oxygénée did not state this was the fact of the matter, he merely offered the method of coloration in pre-ban Pernod Fils as a problematical consideration.
  8. 1797... an absinthe based on a true story. Put the 1797 in proper context. 1. The recipe this absinthe was inspired by was not distilled with a system that incorporated rectification in so sophisticated a manner as a spherical rectifier (that's not to say the method of involving "hydro-rectification" is something altogether elegant). 2. Nowhere in the original Abram-Louis Perrenoud recipe is there room for interpreting that wormwood must be macerated separately from anise & fennel, and that wormwood should be excluded from the distillation. 3. The popular interpretation of the 1794*/1797 recipe prescribes a low content of anise (equal to that of lemon balm, ie two handfuls in 18 pots of eau-de-vie)... a quantity of anethole-bearing herbs that equaled, in toto, that of say an Absinthe Suisse de Lyon as offered in Duplais would provide quite a different starting point. Initially, many compounded spirits that were made from an eau-de-vie or esprit base were put forth as medicamens by the apothecaries of France, but with the burgeoning of chemistry and shift to doctors and surgeons the apothecarial influence was quickly overcome... coincident with the early history of absinthe.
  9. How many of you are truly convinced that absinthe, as it stands - commercially, as art, as hooch, etc. - has genuinely reached that precursory apex where defining controls, standards & designations is logical? For every one of you that says "indeed," "yes," "tak...” ask yourself, "is there something I've overlooked... something that needs renewed consideration; a presumption that's mistaken or incorrect; somewhere I've assumed or misinterpreted?" If you deny that highly probable possibility (especially this early in the game... again), you've taken the first step to boxing yourself in, and your sentimental regard, that has been so willing to pocket dissenting after debasing view of our atavic absinthe will be for naught... because you've proved willing to trade art on a technicality. The absinthe movement will be stillborn, and overindulged prides, they will swell, until nothing is birthed; discussants o'shit, the lot of us. Things to consider: 1. Absinthe changes much more over a longer period of time than is currently accepted or economical. 2. Absinthe is the last hope for those engaged by the art of distillation in the 18th century... no one here was born into that art, that alone should give us pause. 3. The treatises that we've coveted from the mid to late 1800s are not definitive treatises of art. They offer, more along the lines of workable instructions. You must go elsewhen to understand the operative origin of a quality spirit and you must make a hundred-fold more sacrifices to make it manifest (legally). 4. "Herb," "spice," whatever it's called, a bad result is a bad result. You can't define your way out of an improper spirit, no matter how involved your argument may be. 5. GC coupled with MS does not amply replicate the gustatory predisposition of a thirty-something male... hell-bent on drinking ¼ of a 750 before surfing porn on his mother's computer. Taste is the only judge. Few possess it. And I, personally, favor the one that longs to know than the type that possesses, the type that describes like a bitch wine steward, sedulous in his flattery, and quick with his wallet. Everything else you've said, I'll say amen to... but I see no point in shining turds.
  10. There were many designations, les nom vulgaires, for products distilled from (predominently) wine. Eau-de-vie could be categorized as fiable, ordinaire, forte, rectifiée (in order of increasing spirituosity). And greater than this item of commerce, by virtue of the quantity of alcohol it contained, there existed esprit-de-vin. We encounter a few of the descriptors borrowed from older systems of commerce in the most popular treatises mentioned on these boards; trois-cinq, trois-six, trois-sept, rectifiée, trois-huit and alcool à 40˚ (the latter being a reference to the Cartier system utilized prior to the institution of L'Alcoomètre de Gay-Lussac in 1824 by the Administrations fiscales de l'Etat). My opinion on the subject aside, it is important to understand that by the time absinthe had secured itself as a valuable item of commerce, the methods for producing a very clean and limpid spirit from wine were very much established. Even fifty years after the brevet d'invention of Edouard Adam (near the fin du dix-huitième siècle) spirit sourced from marc still played second fiddle to esprit-de-vin, especially that sort that Pernod Fils received from the Languedoc region of France.
  11. For once, I completely disagree with you Ari. A Tabu party is not the place to educate. The German producer Rauter (makers of the Tabu products) actively sought to bring absinth-bibel.de down for posting an honest review of their poor products. Moreover, they aggressively sought to disrupt the efforts of a sound and reputable absintheur that many of us know and value as an authority on what good absinthe is all about -- quite the rarefied coterie to belong to. Luckily, the interim injunction brought against absinth-bibel was thrown back in Rauter's face. And the good guys won. Associating with this company is an offense to those that work dilligently to restore absinthe to its proper place. I'm sure you can see how any volume of air added back to their sail (however indirect) is deemed wasted by some of us.
  12. Interesting... I had no idea Ted was already working on absinthe in Thailand by '93.