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Absinthe on Australian TV

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Agreed. I liked the tone of this piece better than the thirsty traveler bit. Luc is quite the snappy dresser!

Edited by Selmac

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I'm not sure if this has been discussed and dismissed already, but this thread has reminded me. Did anyone catch Anthony Bourdain in France for his show No Reservations? He does a little absinthe tour. Interesting to watch.... as only Anthony Bourdain can be.

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Not too shabby, although some disagree with Ted's assertion that absinthe can't be made with modern equipment. I'm fairly certain that if absinthe had never been banned, Pernod Fils would be using state-of-the-art alembics today.

 

But all-in-all, not a bad job representing our vice of choice.

 

Much like the one Kallnacher has and uses for experimentation for absinthe as well as other things. New, modern with lots of nice features but still very traditional.

http://www.absinthe.se/travels/boveresse20...er_newstill.jpg

Edited by hartsmar

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I doubt that PF would be using stills of that particular type as pictured above. I don't doubt that they would move on to a newer type of still, but what improvements could be made (as far as absinthe is concerned) I don't know. Keep in mind that you want as little opportunity for reflux to the vapor coming over the swan neck to occur. Those stills, as pictured, are designed to "clean up" a lot of the vapors coming over, and return them to the boiler.

Edited by Dr. Verte

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Those stills, as pictured, are designed to "clean up" a lot of the vapors coming over, and return them to the boiler.

Actually, those stills are used for brandy, I think they'd be excellent for absinthe, except possibly for the narrow and angular pipes that have replaced the swan neck. I thought they were mostly interesting for the pot shape, as a modern still with a more traditional absinthe still form. Many of the Holstein alembics are designed so that you can choose whether or not to even use the column.

 

My basic point is just that there is modern equipment that can combine the best of classic design along with modern efficiency and scientific fine-tuning of things like tails management, temp and reflux. Modern equipment is designed to give the operator much more control than many of the older stills, giving the ability to monitor and control reflux with the turn of a few knobs.

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Interesting show to watch, yes, but wait a minute... What the heck is happening here, at 1.59 - 2.01 in the movie? Ted putting the whole herbs of wormwood into the alembic??? With stems and all? :blink:

post-354-1156011400_thumb.jpg

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Yep, Stems and all.

 

It probably does not hurt anything to do that.

 

Maybe it increases the Thujone.

 

 

I'm sure it does increase the thujone, because most of the thujone resides in the stemmy parts. I for one think that adding stems is a no-no. The old texts state to use the "tops" (leaves and flowers). I find the stems add an stange bitterness. If Ted is indeed using stems in his brew, that is quite a departure from the classic quality approach to absinthe making.

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When I went to the Pernot Distillery we stripped several kilos of wormwood from the stems. The stuff was so pungent that you had to wear a surgical mask to keep from choking on it.

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Hiram--

 

is the reason you don't want any reflux because you are working with an already distilled spirit?

No, the same would apply to making whisky from a previously un-distilled wash. It's not that you don't want any reflux—there will always be some—but you don't want too much. Reflux is where the vapors meet with obstacles (such as sharply angled surfaces, sudden bends or perforated plates) which cause the heavier parts of the vapor to condense and "flow back" (hence, re flux) into the pot to be vaporized again. This principle can be manipulated to control what parts of the distillate are collected and at what point. The big columned reflux stills are used to strip out all or most of the congeners (and therefore flavor), great for vodka, bad for absinthe, whisky, rum, gin, brandy and any other liquor that wants flavor and aroma.

 

Flavored liquor is made in pot stills, or "alembics," vodka and neutral spirits are made in reflux stills. Some stills, like those pictured above, are designed to function as either, depending on what's being run at the time.

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The still att the Matter-Luginbühl distillery, if I remember correctly, could be modified by turning some levers depending on what you wanted to distill, partly to control reflux.

 

There was also very smart solutions for cleaning it and steaming etc.

 

AFAIK, made according to the specs by Oliver himself. A very nice setup.

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