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Everything posted by Auguru

  1. I have a question about the recommendations in the recent article by Lachenmeier and colleagues (see citation below). While he briefly notes the traditional method of macerating the ingredients in ethanol at 85% concentration before distillation, he goes on to the discuss approaches that should reduce the potential thujone levels in the distillate (to make sure the product is in compliance with EU requirements for maximum thujone levels). One is to reduce the concentration of the ethanol used in the macerate to 30%. I am a bit confused by this suggestion. If the testing of commercial absinthe (using more-or-less conventional methods) and testing of vintage absinthe has yielded thujone levels generally far below the maximum EU limit, why bother suggesting the change? Isn't a reduction in the ethanol concentration going to affect the extraction of other macerate-derived flavors? Might this change the character significantly? Furthermore, he indicates varieties/cultivars of A. absinthium are available that basically do not produce thujone at levels of significance in the production of absinthe using the traditional methods. This seems a more logical approach if my concerns about changes in flavor/character are relevant. Here is an excerpt from the paper: POSSIBILITIES TO REDUCE THE THUJONE CONTENT Today's manufacturers face the problem that they have to generate a distinctive wormwood taste, without exceeding the thujone maximum limit of 35 mg/kg. The selective enrichment of the bitter and flavor compounds, while keeping the thujone concentration low, was extensively investigated (45). Tegtmeier et al. (46) compared a water extraction to an alcohol extraction method By the percolation with water or alcohol (30%vol) no thujone could be extracted, because the solubility of thujone in water is poor. Only by the application of ethanol 90%vol, it was possible to extract 0.18 mg thujone per g wormwood herb. When the method of digestion with ethanol 30%vol was applied, 0.17 mg thujone per g wormwood herb could be extracted. The largest yields were obtained, whenever the macerate of the wormwood herb was distilled (0.24 mg thujone/g). The use of hot and highly concentrated alcohol for the extraction should therefore be avoided to obtain extracts with a low content of thujone. Because the percolation with pure water might lead to a loss of microbiological quality, the percolation with ethanol 30%vol is regarded as the method of choice. This method is described as being easy to handle and economic. Gambelunghe and Melai (47) verified these results. Wormwood macerated with ethanol 20%vol for 30 days contained only 0.2 mg/I of thujone, while the maceration of wormwood with ethanol 95%vol for 6 months contained 62 mgll of thujone. The consequence for the absinthe manufactures is that traditional recipes and methods have to be modified, in order to avoid thujone contents, which exceed the limit. The maceration should be done with low concentrations of alcohol and the wormwood herb should be separated before the distillation. A possibility for the continuation of traditional recipes is to remove the thujone from the wormwood herb before the maceration. Stahl and Gerard (48) observed, that the extraction with liquid or supercritical carbon dioxide provides a fast, selective and quantitative method for the separation of thujone from the wormwood herb. Absinthin, which is responsible for the high bitter value of wormwood, remains in the herb. It is therefore possible to generate nearly thujone free wormwood herb and to use it for the manufacturing of absinthe. However, the application of this method for the manufacturing of spirit drinks was never described. The most elegant alternative to avoid the toxic thujone may be the use of thujone-free wormwood herb, which is available in certain cultivation areas,IO.16 and appears to be perfect for the use in the spirit drink producing industry. With those chemotypes, it would be possible to produce absinthe with wormwood quantities on the basis of the traditional recipes, without the manufacturer facing the risk of exceeding the thujone limit. Lachenmeier, D. W., S. G. Walch, S. A. Padosch, and L. U. Kroner. 2006. Absinthe--a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 46:365-77. (Let me know if you want to see the complete paper).
  2. Happy Hendrick's Day, MT! Now what did you do with the rest of that cucumber...
  3. Too often these discussions degenerate into the clichéd "science versus art" dichotomy. I've my own bias, but see no reason to create a hard partition. Many an artist is a scientist as well. If in no other way than the tried and true route to enlightenment: trial and error. On the other hand, there are probably fewer scientists who achieve the transcendence so many call art. And just because you grok the scientific aspects doesn't preclude those "aha!" moments of creation. Is there intrinsic charm in artistic creation? We sure do prize such accomplishments. Artisanal versus commercial. Even if the products tasted the same, I'd wager most of us would throw in with the former.
  4. Should the seller return, perhaps he could use an alternative graphic for his elixir. Something that communicates its real value. As an anthelminthic! (Dewormer, natch...)
  5. Slap me if I'm wrong, but I'd say TGO has been applying Artemisia canariensis to his chest...
  6. Happy Birthday, Deaddy! Hope it was more than an act...
  7. Happy Birthday, Bifford! Hope you got a pinch to grow an inch. Or better yet, took a cue from Mandrake...
  8. Thanks, everybody! If it weren't for the "number" candles, my cake would've been blazing this year... Had a great time with the family today. Getting ready to send the oldest off to college this Wednesday. How did that happen so fast? (Hissy and Hiram: as for creating my own birthday thread... I'd have never lived it down. Would have been a hoot, though.)
  9. Dang, I'm away for a few days and I have to resort to "belated"! Happy Belated, Hissy!
  10. I don't know which was worse: The "Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America" (the anti-"fair market" liquor lobby who want to maintain a chokehold on liquor distribution) trying to demonize online sales with their industry-sponsored survey arguing "our kids are at risk" of buying liquor online. Never mind that the parents of these kids are often the source of the credit cards or gift cards used to purchase the booze online. Nor that the parents aren't monitoring their kids' online behavior in the first place... Perhaps worse was the wretched absinthe story. Not only were the kids lured by the god-awful movie reference to the "trippy" effects of absinthe, they bought some of the crappiest absinthe available. Then the kids conclude they won't buy it again (!) because it didn't taste good! The story suggests this ultra high proof liquor gets the kids drunk faster, but they didn't dispel the notion that the stuff is a hallucinogen. Criminy! Then the story about the way the online vendors circumvent state laws by direct shipment via courier. This might be the worst yet, because crusading state politicians may try to curb these sales by passing even more draconian laws restricting shipping practices. At least a triple-whammy!
  11. Happy B'day, BDV! Found: one ear...
  12. Better? As for frog legs... a classic:
  13. Wecome, Alyssa! What they said. Do you work in any particular media (oil, watercolor...)?
  14. You probably have local options, but if you need it converted to DVD, let me know. I can make a transfer and get it back in the mail in a day.
  15. I should probably look for the more appropriate thread, but I'll ask here for good measure: Is it necessary (or desirable) to open a bottle before letting it "age"? From some of the comments I've read, I am inclined to let it age/rest without opening. How will I know if it benefitted without a comparison? Ah! I guess I'd better order two bottles...
  16. You could use some "Cool Air"...
  17. Happy anniversaries. Happy birthdays. It's celebratin' time! No reason to stop as far as I can see...
  18. Happy Birthday, Goose! Hope it was golden.
  19. Welcome, Nymphadora! You should consider joining the August 5th "Louche Fest" here in Atlanta: Thread about the August '06 Louche Fest
  20. Welcome, Bluewolf! Remotely like the following? Stainless steel. Yikes!
  21. Happy Birthday, Maggie the Cat! "I caught one THIS big with my Jade fly!"