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Any herbs NOT allowed in a proper absinthe?

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This one I have, anyway thanks but where do you have those traditionally produced ones or do you mean traditional pre-ban ones? They as we all know had from 1.3 mg/l to 6 mg/l (those discovered in recent years) but we have already discussed those, have not we?

As I said it is not the 1st class, but 2nd so may not look as perfect as we all wish and may contain some other varieties.

The same happens if you purchase star anise, it may be as well containing Illicium religiosum.

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yet hyssop as mentioned in most of the oldest recipes shall be essential...

You're the only person I've ever known to say that.

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Maybe you do not like hyssop? :)

ordinaire - hyssop, demi-fine - hyssop, fine - hyssop, Duval - hyssop, Perrenoud - hyssop, Pernod - hyssop, Junod - hyssop, de Lyon - hyssop, Lemercier - hyssop, de Besançon - hyssop, de Nimes - hyssop, la blanche - hyssop, La Parisienne - hyssop, Berger - hyssop, Kübler & Romang - hyssop.

 

Mais son histoire remonte à la fin du XVIIIème siècle quand deux soeurs, les demoiselles Henriod, vendent à Couvet (Suisse) un élixir d’absinthe de leur composition.

La formule comporte quatre plantes, absinthe, anis vert, fenouil et hysope, infusées dans de l’eau-de-vie de vin. Sa consommation est alors recommandée par le docteur Ordinaire, un médecin français réfugié après la Révolution française, en Suisse, à Couvet.

 

from: http://www.prodimarques.com/sagas_marques/pernod/pernod.php

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...but we have already discussed those, have not we?

If so, then not very clearly. It seems to me the discussion has been unfocused and I'm not entirely sure that conclusions have been reached that you think have been.

 

Maybe you do not like hyssop?

That's not what I said or even implied. This is becoming frustrating.

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The conclusion to be drawn about pre-ban absinthes is one: since they ARE extraits d'absinthe there is no further regulation required and the same goes for their replicas.

As for modern brands, if top quality they should apply.

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Lachenmeier's studies are posted at many places on the web, including here.

... we are discussing top quality, 45% is ordinaire.
No, you're talking about (your opinion of) top quality. We are talking about how "absinthe must have the trinity of herbs, is there anything that you cannot include which would make it no longer an absinthe?" A grocery list of all the herbs most of us already know are traditional isn't really to the point; neither is a rundown on what herb is necessary to balance what and in which absinthe they're found in what quantities. As I said earlier, this isn't Absinthe Making 101.

 

I don't mean to be rude, and maybe it's a language barrier, but I'm uncomfortable with the way that you seem to offer many ideas as established facts, when they are just your opinions, and peculiar opinions at that. That can confuse and mislead the newer, less experienced absintheurs among us.

Yet we have macerated ones and some of them are quite good.

Thujone - discussion concerns modern brands, not reputable ones (they are automatically classified as absinthe since they ARE extraits d'absinthe no matter of their thujone content, they just are)

Maybe I'm wrong but I would really question a product with an A.A. maceration-only being good and containing a significant amount of AA.

It would also seem odd to include pre-ban absinthe but not include a hypothetical product made exactly like a pre-ban containing pre-ban thujone levels. I also don't see any reason to have any minimum thujone levels.

What he said. Absinthe is distilled. You mention a minimum thujone level that, if achieved through only maceration, would make an undrinkable swill. The French have repeatedly given gold medals to François Guy which, although I personally like it, is hardly a fine representative of the absinthe distiller's craft. Thujone level is irrelevant to quality except as a possible indicator that absinthium was used in the making.
Sorry Hiram, I have never seen real FF that looks like that. Looks like someone mixed in some common fennel with a few seeds of FF.
That may be the case here, but I've seen FF that looks pretty much just like common sweet fennel.

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where do you have those traditionally produced ones

Take a look at "Table 3 Thujone content of absinthes produced according to historic recipes"

 

traditional pre-ban ones?... we have already discussed those, have not we?

No. You have not explained why absinthe produced 100 years ago is exempt but a hypothetical exact replica of that absinthe would no longer be called absinthe based on all your criteria.

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I don't mean to be rude, and maybe it's a language barrier, but I'm uncomfortable with the way that you seem to offer many ideas as established facts, when they are just your opinions, and peculiar opinions at that. That can confuse and mislead the newer, less experienced absintheurs among us.

 

But which opinions do you mean in particular?

 

DP has proposed that these regulations would apply top quality, so if we are discussing it, it is.

 

Ari, I have just said that BOTH pre-ban and replica absinthes would be exempted.

 

I have talked with Dr Dirk Lachenmeier about these results and it is because of wormwood and there are the following factors affecting thujone content:

a ) amount of thujone in cultivated wormwood plant

b ) time of harvest (temperature and weather)

c ) the process and conditions of drying

d ) maceration (usually 12-48h)

e) distillation (especially which fraction is collected)

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Fritsch's 1891 Treatise Nouveau Traité de la Fabrication des Liqueurs d’Apres les Procedes les Plus Récents states

 

The plants that form the basis of the drink are:
  • Grand wormwood
  • Petite wormwood
  • Anise
  • Fennel
  • Hyssop

 

He then goes on to say that this is merely the "basis" as many manufacturer's aren't content with these five, and add others.

 

Of the distilled products listed in the admittedly small selection of texts that I have, all list hyssop as an ingredient. This of course does not mean that there were reputable pre-Ban absinthes that did not contain hyssop. On this matter we may not be able to know that for certain.

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Ari, I have just said that BOTH pre-ban and replica absinthes would be exempted.

I guess I missed that.

Then the definition is not really about absinthe if traditional top quality absinthe is excluded.

 

I have talked with Dr Dirk Lachenmeier about these results and it is because of wormwood and there are the following factors affecting thujone content: ...

Exactly. Thus the only way to make absolute certain the product meets the unsupported definition is to add pure thujone to counteract the variance in each plant. These variables makes thujone levels a very poor part of the definition.

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Exactly Hiram.

 

I'm fairly confident that some CO could make an absinthe that we would all consider absinthe, and it'd be pretty good. (Not to except the possibility in HG, but we don't discuss that here.)

 

And there's no reason for a lower limit on thujone. Given the low levels of thujone in pre-Ban I doubt that thujone is a significant contributor to the flavor profile in wormwood. Therefore, a Grand wormwood without thujone would be possible. It doesn't even require genetic engineering, just selective plant breeding and proper soils, etc. Of course, thujone may offer Wormwood (the plant) resistances to certain pests and diseases so such a program may be deficient in this regard.

 

And no one should take my views as being very important nor definitive. There are many people much more knowledgeable than I on these matters.

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Actually, DP, I think you are far more knowledgeable than you give yourself credit for. Your modesty undermines you.

 

The quote from the Fritsch is one person's thoughts on what an absinthe should contain, not a definitive source for establishing what is and is not absinthe.

 

Personally, I don't see any reason to define absinthe within particularly strict terms of 1) thujone content, 2) herbal content, 3) alcohol content, 4) adherence to historical recipes, etc. Those games are for politicians. Define it by its three main ingredients: anise, fennel, wormwood. The rest is all semantic.

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Wormwood without thujone, please read:

 

Chialva F, Liddle PAP and Doglia G, Chemotaxonomy of Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium L.) I. Composition of the Essential Oil of Several Chemotypes. Z Lebensm Unters Forsch 176:363-366 (1983)

 

Nin S, Arfaioli P and Bosetto M, Quantitative Determination of Some Essential Oil Components of Selected Artemisia Absinthium Plants. J Essent Oil Res 7:271-277 (1995)

 

Aboutabl EA, El Azzouny AM and El Dahmy SI, Constituents of the Essential Oil of Artemisia Absinthium Grown in Egypt. J Essent Oil Bear Plants 1:82-86 (1998)

 

Arino A, Arberas I, Renobales G, Arriaga S and Dominguez JB, Essential Oil of Artemisia Absinthium L. From the Spanish Pyrenees. J Essent Oil Res 11:182-184 (1999)

 

Juteau F, Jerkovic I, Masotti V, Milos M, Mastelic J, re JM and Viano J, Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oil of Artemisia Absinthium From Croatia and France. Planta Med 69:158289 161 (2003)

 

Judzentiene A and Mockute D, Chemical Composition of Essential Oils of Artemisia Absinthium L.(Wormwood) Growing Wild in Vilnius. Chemija 15:64-68 (2004)

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I don't think we need the AA to lack thujone to lack it in the drink. Estimates by Arnold if all the thujone from the plant went into the drink are easily 26x higher than what ends up in drinks, I get the feeling something between the field and the bottle really effects the levels.

 

I do worry that the continual focus on thujone (in the general world outside of this thread) could lead to a definition that includes thujone which could force producers to change how they do things (possibly hurting flavor) just to match what an ignorant government calls 'absinthe'.

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This article, is generally available to everyone.

 

It is titled General misconceptions about the wormwood-flavoured spirit absinthe by someone named Dirk W Lachenmeier. This author makes several statements:

The first and foremost mistake regarding absinthe is the theory that there is a significant thujone content in the spirit.
The most elegant way to totally avoid thujone is to use the thujone-free wormwood herb, which is available in certain cultivation areas and appears to be perfect for use in the spirits industry.

Martin, I am merely a well-read lay person. I am not a scientist. I am not a historian. Simply because I quote from a readily available English translation of one of the "distiller's manuals" doesn't make me an expert.

 

On the subject of fennel in absinthe there are recipes in these texts that do not include fennel. But even the Absinthe Ordinaire recipes even if they exclude fennel they do include hyssop, even when colored artificially.

 

Now, how one wishes to interpret this information is a matter of opinion. absinthist's view is that these texts are of such importance that any modern definition of absinthe should fall within these definitions as well. Others do not or feel that we should not be constrained except loosely to proper distillation protocols with a minimum of ingredient specifications.

 

The problem, AFAIK, is that no one knows whether these recipes would really produce the products we know as pre-Ban. At least no one who's going to talk on these forums.

 

Personally, and this is merely my opinion, we need to be flexible. I'm not against non-traditional colors. If someone (a CO) is able to make a nice distilled absinthe and use black food coloring in order to attract the Goth crowd to try and get them off that Czech sh*t, I'm not going to laugh at them or ridicule them.

 

My guess is that an absinthe with just A.a. and anise would probably be too simple. But that's an opinion.

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This cultivation areas all can be found in these articles I have posted.

I agree completely, I have not said that my definition is a must - that was my opinion, someone is for, someone is against, no problem (hopefully).

And because just as DP points it clearly, anise and wormwood only is too simple, henceforth my definition.

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Don't see why not.

 

Trying to absorb it all myself.

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Maybe I'm wrong but I would really question a product with an A.A. maceration-only being good and containing a significant amount of AA.

 

In almost all cases, I'd say you weren't wrong, but I recall one instance of a macerated absinthe containing a reasonable dose of AA, and actually being pretty tasty...it was a recipe which was created by a Czech acquaitance, (believe it, or not) in Buffalo, back in 1995...and, yes, it contained a generous helping of anise, and fennel, and it louched prodigiously. The guy's name was Danko something or other, and I only wish he'd gone to work for Radomil Hill.

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No, go away. :P

 

I don't know exactly what's in Wormwood Blanche but I would bet some of them master distiller guys could take good anise and good wormwood and blow away many others that use the trinity or 12 or 24 different herbs.

 

Why yes, I would be interested in what the docs think.

 

Edit #1: As a general note, while I'm one of the "it doesn't need fennel to be absinthe, I don't have much of an issue with the idea that it does.

 

Edit #2:

I recall one instance of a macerated absinthe containing a reasonable dose of AA, and actually being pretty tasty

Interesting. I guess with the right flavors (cultivar maybe?) anything is possible.

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I would certainly hope the good Doctors would join in.

 

Though I found it interesting in the abstract for one of the papers referenced by absinthist that an analysis of French A.a. revealed low levels of thujone.

 

And of course you're quite right Ari, it's not in having a dozen herbs and spices in the absinthe, it's the quality of those herbs and the skill of the distiller.

 

:cheers:

 

Hi Doc.

 

 

Edit: And as Hiram mentioned much of the fennel in many CO's is sweet fennel, not florence fennel.

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Blanche de Fougerolles contains something like 10-12 herbs, and is an interesting, but somewhat unbalanced, disparate flavored assemblage of distillates.

 

On the other hand, Pernot Fils contains only six herbs, and puts almost all other absinthes to shame.

 

It truly is the skill of the distiller that counts the most when it comes to absinthe.

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Just so folks understand my position: I personally feel that a good, quality absinthe should have wormwood, anise and fennel as a minimum, with a predominant flavor of anise and wormwood, and that the inclusion of other traditional ingredients such as hyssop, petite wormwood and melissa are desirable to achieve a traditional flavor. That doesn't mean I think it's a good idea to enforce that criteria on every absinthe which aspires to the name. I look forward to many years of discovering new flavor profiles that fit within the genre. If all I have to look forward to is more black licorice tasting crap, I'll walk away right now.

 

We're talking about two different topics:

1. What does it take at a minimum for a liquor to be considered an absinthe?

2. What does it take to make an absinthe, once established to be such, a good one?

 

On the science and chemistry angle: making absinthe is not rocket science. Perrenoud, Dubied, and all those guys managed to make it just fine long before anyone knew what thujone was or had GC/MS instruments. Absinthe is a beverage, a foodstuff, not a damned pharmaceutical. Approach it as a culinary pursuit!

 

My grandma made some kick-ass chicken soup, but I'd defy anyone to clone it by analysing it via GC/MS.

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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.

 

1. What does it take at a minimum for a liquor to be considered an absinthe?

2. What does it take to make an absinthe, once established to be such, a good one?

Everything else you've said, I'll say amen to... but I see no point in shining turds.

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