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plunger

Why so bitter?

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Ok, so we all know that czechsinthe pretty much sucks. But I am wondering why it is so bitter.

 

I was fooling around last night with my KoS and this stuff called Zelena Muza(I was real bored) and I could not figure out what I was tasting. I have a pretty good idea about how wormwood tastes in a relatively well balanced absinthe, but this stuff is so bitter I can't even keep it in my mouth long enough to get a good flavor profile. I am sure that the makers want it this way because that's part of their marketing gimmick, but not even chewing a sugar cube with the stuff helps it out.

 

I do not think it is the absence of anise or fennel that causes it. Is it just wormwood oil, or are there other bitter herbal oils that they use? (Kyle?)

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If you were drinking KoS, you probably saw the leaves in the bottom. I'm not 100% sue, but I would put money on those being wormwood.

I would say because of its off green color and bitter taste that it is guilty of Ordinairre's Blunder (sp) and of course, the wormwood leaves in the bottle itself don't help much either. Wormwood and alcohol are really all I tasted in that drink and I thought nothing futher than the Blunder and poor marketing.

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It's indeed the (water soluble, but not alcohol soluble) absinthine (at least in the ones you quote - there isn't a trace of bitterness in Hill's, which tastes like cough syrup or Listerine, and Sebor isn't that bitter because of their freeze distillation process).

 

Coupled with, for some Czechsinths, really awful Indian fennel (they overheard "fennel" and they didn't PTFA).

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If you were drinking KoS, you probably saw the leaves in the bottom. I'm not 100% sue, but I would put money on those being wormwood.

 

Nope - too expensive. Someone actually researched it, and it isn't even wormwood.

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HA!

 

Wormwood, too expensive for czechsinthe!!

 

Did that person find out what they were?? Grass?

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:blink: Plunger, you're gonna hurt yourself if you keep drinking that stuff. Does somebody give it to you for free at least?

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All in the interest of science. No, Speedle, I paid for it on the first order I ever made. I bought mini's of Hill's, Zelena, KoS, Something by Sebor(not Sebor itself), and Something from Cami. All crappy. Funny how I still have it all :wacko:

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Basically, Czechsinths are usually macerates, which is the first step in making absinthe. Distillers soak the herbs in alcohol to extract certain compounds. This is where Czechsinth stops. They just stick the first step into a bottle, herbs and all.

 

Absinthe makers distill the macerate, which eliminates most of the bitter compounds (they don't come over in the distillation) and most of the thujone, and produces a clear liquid. This can be left as-is and called a blanche.

 

The clear liquid is sometimes colored with other herbs (not Aa). These herbs add not just color, but also many layers of aroma and flavor complexity. Presto, a verte.

 

Pop quiz time!

 

Czechsinth is bitter because:

 

A. Czechs thought that "bitter beer face" should also apply to absinth

B. The base alcohol is contaminated with LAGN squeezin's

C. The manufacturers don't bother to distill after they macerate

D. The manufacturers don't like to hold still while they masturbate

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Probably E-all of the above. Have you had Segarra 68? They use AA in the coloration step...is it bitter(to the point of needing a heaping load of sucre)?

 

And the dumb question of the night...if one were to macerate some green anise in one of these czechsinthes and then distill it...would one have an acceptable distillate?(I know what you're thinking, and no, I'm not)

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Well, chances are the quality of all the other ingredients would suck, they'd have used Indian instead of Florence fennel, and you wouldn't know the ratios so it would be all out of whack.

 

But, aside from that, you could probably come up with something drinkable, assuming your expectations aren't high.

 

For the expense and effort involved, you'd be better off buying something of decent quality, which would be far better than whatever you'd make from Czechsinth. If you were going to do such a thing.

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That's what I was thinking. From the way so many talk about the importance of herb quality, even mid range herbs wouldn't make for a great absinthe, let alone the close-out priced stuff some of those companies must buy.

 

I think you would be better off buying a brita filter with replaceable filter, and just filter the hell out of it. Not sure if it will help, but the closer to vodka, the better. :)

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A Brita filter is a great way to turn a crappy Czechsinth into worse vodka.

 

If memory serves, such high alcohol content doesn't work too well with an activated charcoal filter. I wouldn't advise it. You'll just have a ruined $20 filter and a bottle of bitter, brown vodka.

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Trust me fella's--The question is fully out of curiosity.

 

The answer is what I guessed. I know there are plenty of oil mixes out there that are drinkable. It's just interesting that they are so close in manufacture yet so far apart in taste.

 

And yes, filtering it with a brita is no good. I have no intentions of wasting time trying to make czech stuff better anyway.

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:drunk: I solemly swear (with finger crossed behind me) that no crapsinthe will ever cross my lips. (OMG Bill that Absinthe that you brought over, it's only vice was it's oversweetness)

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I'm curious which of Cami's absinths you have? I believe they use the same macerate from another of their products to produce their distilled Toulouse Lautrec. That would be some real science to taste those side by side.

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Absinthe makers distill the macerate, which eliminates  most of the thujone,

 

Who told you this? Are you absolutely sure that this is factual information?

 

I am asking because I am not certain that this is true.

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Plunger, is there any information on the Zelena Muza bottle as to who the manufacturer is? I'm curious who's responsible and can't find anything beyond the product name by googling. Nor is it one I ever see locally. I suspect someone designed it purely for internet consumption. But who?

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Absinthe makers distill the macerate, which eliminates most of the thujone,

 

Who told you this? Are you absolutely sure that this is factual information?

 

I am asking because I am not certain that this is true.

Just for clarification, what do you believe might be in error?

 

I know that several independent labs have verified low levels of thujone in properly distilled modern and pre-ban absinthes, most recently, the studies by Lachenmeier, et al. Or are you suggesting that even the macerate contains low levels of thujone?

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I wish that I could say more, but I have been told(by an unamed insider) that some recent, unpublished tests seem to question the theory that Thujone "stays in the pot", or does not come over during the distillation.

 

I do not think that anyone really knows for sure right now. I guess that caused me to take issue w/ Spaz's tone of authority that he took in making a statement that I believe may very well be incorrect.

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I had a question about the chamical properties of Thujone, and since we're talking some science in this thread, I thought I'd post here, instead of starting a whole new one.

 

I've read from several sources that there is more Thujone in Sage than in wormwood. But, from other research, I've found that there are two different types of Thujone: levoratory A-Thujone and dextrorotatory B-Thujone. Upon further reading, A-Thujone is present in Thuja and Sage, and B-Thujone is present in tansy and wormwood.

 

My questions are:

1)Do the two types of Thujone have different effects on the body when ingested in high enough levels?

2)In regards to the prohibited additives in food or alcohol, did the U.S. distinguish between the two (thus leading to the reason why wormwood is banned and sage is not)?

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1. It is my understanding that Alpha is considered more active, and that Beta is considered largely inactive.

 

As for your second Question I do not believe that the Government makes any distinction between the two.

 

Furthermore, it is also my understanding that A.a. contains both in varying amounts.

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Alpha and beta thujone are normally found in most plants containing thujone, the ratio varries but beta thujone seems to be more common and less toxic. Both wormwood and sage contain varried amounts of both.

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Pan Bah- The Cami I have is called Extract de Fee-35 mg Thujone!(pfft)

 

The Zelena is made by Likerka Delis and can be found through absinthe-dealer.com...although they are a thujone hype site so stay away.

 

Dr. Mauve- that is some interesting info about thujone post distillation. And after Ted went on national TV and said numerous studies show that it stays in the pot. If that is true how do the distillers(Pernot, Kübler et al) control that amout of thujone so it meets EU standards? Pure Ratios?

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At the Time that he did that show, that was what he, and everybody else believed. It still may be largely correct. There also may be a number of factors that have not been fully realised.

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At FV there was a thread about La Bleues and that some producers have had a hard time getting under the limit because they were using thujone rich wormwood. The idea that virtually all thujone stays in the pot seems to be inaccurate, but so far tests show that the majority does (or more exact that it doesn't come over into the distillate, so it could be destroyed instead, I'm not sure anyone has tested the pot before and after.) The testing method used is also important (as has been mentioned many times before) as it seems most methods, besides GCMS, can produce inflated results.

How much the coloring step effects the numbers has yet to be tested, as a couple herbs used have tested positive for thujone (they've been juicing).

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If I may share some insight:

 

 

On Czech 'absinths':

 

Most 'Czech-sinths' and equally inferior brands are simply macerates of industrial oils (think aromatherapy oil or diluents thereof) and/or extracts into an inexpensive base spirit, to which synthetic dyes (usually a blue and green) are added for color. No whole herbs are involved. This is common practice for many mass-produced liqueurs and cordials, as well as mass-produced, industrial 'absinthes'. I seriously doubt if many of these Czech and other self-proclaimed 'distilleries' even possesses a commercial still. Commercial oils and extracts are distilled from water and are clear, which explains the necessity for the dyes. Distillation from water does not yield an equivalent distillate profile as distillation from ethanol (or mixtures thereof), and the content of industrial oils (including thujone) tend to vary somewhat from brand to brand, depending on various factors. FWIW, the Zelena Musa brand is by far the most vile commercial liquor that I've tasted to date.

 

 

On thujone, plants, and distillation:

 

- Beta thujone is relatively inactive, pharmacologically speaking.

- The two enantiomers (alpha and beta) are not differentiated in regulatory requirements. Total thujones is the reported concentration. Nevertheless, to ensure the accuracy of the total, one must demonstrate the capability to resolve each form in testing.

- Plants vary in thujone concentration, depending upon the same variables that affect the content and flavor of grapes (and ultimately wine). And yes, factors that affect thujone concentration also affect compounds that influence the flavor profile, for better or worse.

 

As far as my blurb on thujone staying in the pot, it served purpose as a convenient explanation that fit within a few seconds of camera time. As for the real fate of thujone, that is largely determined by human factors that take place before the first drop of distillate is collected. . .

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