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#1 Erik

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:36 AM

I've been reading a bit about the manufacture of fine absinthe and I've found references to aging in some places. Does anyone out there know how the aging of absinthe was carried out? Was this done in oak barrels? If so, what degree of char or toast in the barrels was typical? How long was the absinthe aged? I've seen six months to one year mentioned, does anyone have any other information?
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#2 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:43 AM

There's a thread on this somewhere here recently, it'll probably pop right up in a search.

I removed your email address from your post to protect you from being harvested for spambots. You can add it to your user profile if you haven't already.

Why don't you have a stroll over to the Newcomer Introductions forum and introduce yourself?

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#3 American Jambo

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 05:34 PM

i have seen refrences to aged absinthe and all of them have stated the use of neutral un-burnt barrels. i think any type of oak or burnt barrel would completely destroy the taste of the absinthe. and that's about all i know on that.

#4 Absomphe

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 07:25 PM

Sorry, Jambo, but as I said earlier about narrowing my choice down to only one absinthe...

Possibly the Mystery Verte I've been relishing for the past few days, although the Mystery Rouge is gaining on it rapidly....I did a side-by-side tasting with a small glass of 1914, and it's far closer in flavor to that elixir than the Belle Amie

The thing about this Mystery Rouge is that I was informed today that it's not a rouge at all, but rather the same absinthe as the Mystery Verte, except aged only about a month in a charred oak barrel.

Yuppers, an absinthe briefly aged like a bourbon.

All I can say, given its soft finesse after such a ridiculously short time is that its creator is onto something that could prove important.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

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#5 dakini_painter

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 05:13 AM

From the TTB:

Whisky produced in the U.S. at not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn and stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers.


Italics mine. For it to be straight bourbon whiskey it has to be aged for at least two years.



Maybe that's the secret dude, corn base.

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#6 peridot

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 08:00 AM

100% corn! Yum!

Glad you made it back alive, dakini.

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#7 Absomphe

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 08:32 AM

By the way, Jambo, I'd actually read that aging absinthe in charred barrels was a no-no, as well, probably because the herbal flavors would be overwhelmed by the oak...I think the secret here was the extremely short aging period, which imparted a surprising amount of toasted oak character, and a beautiful peachy color while still allowing almost all of the herbal flavor to come through cleanly, if just a tad muted.

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#8 dakini_painter

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 10:16 AM

Thanks peridot. Say hi to Alyssa for me. I'm now being hugged to death by the pets.


So Mr. Mystery Verte and Rouge Slow-Louching Bastard™, when do these pre-Ban clones hit the shelves? Or will they only be available through delivery by your personal shopping monkey? Distilled at a distillery we already know, or someone new? Domestic or European?

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#9 Absomphe

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 06:39 PM

If I didn't plead the fifth, they wouldn't be much of a mystery anymore, now would they?

Okay, I'll fes up to personal shipping monkey, and some new domestic...but not actually a maid. :devil:

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#10 Joe Legate

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 08:34 PM

i have seen refrences to aged absinthe and all of them have stated the use of neutral un-burnt barrels. i think any type of oak or burnt barrel would completely destroy the taste of the absinthe. and that's about all i know on that.

My understanding (note: not worth a nickel and likely not accurate) is that Segarra is the only modern absinthe that is aged in wooden barrels. Personally, I'm not overly mad for oak aging flavor in my absinthe although the Segarra 45 is far, far from the worse absinthe I've drank.
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I think Dakini's post was quite informative.

#11 Absomphe

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 08:00 AM

I found out last night that the oak aged portion of the Mystery Verte wasn't aged in a charred barrel, but rather with the addition of toasted oak chips, whiuch explains why the oakiness isn't overpowering at all, but there's more than a hint of that "Rolls Royce leather" thing, which gives this one month old absinthe a vintage-like quality.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#12 cowbwoy

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 09:30 AM

Wood chips have a greater surface-to-volume ratio that is greater than a full barrel.
Gren mwe fret!

#13 peridot

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 11:52 AM

It's all totally variable. Toasted oak chips are not the same as charred oak inside a barrel, for one. There will be a difference in flavour and intensity there. But also aging in smaller casks give more character more quickly, as does adding more chips instead of less.

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#14 Le Gimp

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 12:17 PM

Alligator char (the type on the inside of most whiskey casks) would be undesirable for Absinthe since it would absorb a lot of the oils that give absinthe it's flavor.

Considering the size of the Tuns used for bulk storage I coubt they were even toasted (which develops the sugar, vanilla, and other flavors in toasted/charred oak).

So while Absinthe flavored with toasted oak might be interesting, I feel the process will have no historical significance.

#15 dakini_painter

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 12:27 PM

Is it only Absomphe that thinks it's a positive thing that a young absinthe is given qualities of a pre-Ban through means other than 100 years of aging?





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#16 speedle

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 12:35 PM

Not to ignore your point, DP, but I think it's also worth keeping in mind that historically speaking, absinthe is NOT 100 years old. In other words, while some aging is no doubt necessary to the flavor and character of a good absinthe, 100 year old absinthe shouldn't be the standard for new absinthe.
- cogito ergo louche

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#17 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:05 PM

Considering the description of the color, they were most likely French Oak chips and not too terribly toasted, if at all.

given its soft finesse after such a ridiculously short time is that its creator is onto something that could prove important.

Cool! This new oak-aging thing just might catch on.

Look what I invented the other day:

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This could revolutionize the way we travel!

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#18 Pan Buh

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:09 PM

Isn't that a millstone? You trying to say this is going nowhere, fast?

#19 dakini_painter

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:36 PM

100 year old absinthe shouldn't be the standard for new absinthe.


I've never said it should be. In fact, I don't even consider pre-Ban a suitable model for what absinthe should be. But that won't stop the Waggin-master from trying to tell people that it should be that way because that's what he likes. But I'd rather not have all the new people indoctrinated with this view, especially since pre-Ban is something they'll probably never have.


1914 (93 years ago), 1910 (97 years ago). I'm sure some of the pre-Ban Oxy has sold was older than this.

So I stand by my 100 year old statement. No one knows what an absinthe tasted like in 1914. But you can be certain it didn't taste or have the color that it does now.

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"Don't you push me baby cause I'm holdin' low / and you know I'm only in it for the gold" Grateful Dead
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#20 speedle

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:43 PM

Aren't one of us trying to agree with either of us? :twitchsmile:

So, while I had no answer to your query about Abs, and I had no reaction to your TV advert script, I thought I was expanding on your underlying point.

Coulda been wrong though.
- cogito ergo louche

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#21 Brian Robinson

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:20 PM

No one knows what an absinthe tasted like in 1914. But you can be certain it didn't taste or have the color that it does now.

I think with the efforts of some distillers to replicate old recipes with as close to identical distillation procedures gives us a pretty good idea of what it tastes like. Obviously it isn't exact, but I'm content with it being close enough. :cheers:
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#22 Joe Legate

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:39 PM

Yes, I'm pretty damn content with much of the stuff I've drank, too.

I don't even consider pre-Ban a suitable model for what absinthe should be.

Excellent point and I agree.

Aren't one of us trying to agree with either of us? :twitchsmile: Coulda been wrong though.

No, I think you are quite right.

Whew. This Moderatin' is some tough work. I think I better ask the Boss for a raise.

#23 Absomphe

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 03:59 PM

Is it only Absomphe that thinks it's a positive thing that a young absinthe is given qualities of a pre-Ban through means other than 100 years of aging?


Sometimes I think you confuse history, and scholarly pursuit with taste, Dakini.

Either that, or you just like being argumentative for argument's sake.

I'm not Gert friggin' Strand, and I'm certainly not suggesting that the incredible thrill, and desirability of savoring an ethereal glass of Pernod Fils can, in any way, be supplanted by tossing some toated oak chips into a bottle of really young HG...all I said was that it did a remarkable job of mimicking some of that aged flavor that quality pre-bans tend to exhibit, which I find to be a very interesting phenomenon.

End of story™.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#24 Absomphe

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 04:01 PM

Considering the description of the color, they were most likely French Oak chips and not too terribly toasted, if at all.


Prezactly!

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

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#25 Absomphe

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 04:06 PM

But that won't stop the Waggin-master from trying to tell people that it should be that way because that's what he likes.


Yes, I happen to like it, but I also like fresh, young absinthe, and in-between age absinthe, and I'm the last person to attempt to influence anyone's drinking preference to align with my tastes...you seem to conveniently forget what a misanthrope I really am. :tongue:

I only used the term "important", because I do think that used sparingly, and for a relatively short time, toasted oak chips do seem (to me) to add a hitherto relatively unexplored flavor dimension to absinthe without stifling the wonderful herbal nuamces that are the mainstay of this marvelous liquor.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#26 Zman (Marc Bernhard)

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:13 PM

Yes, I'm pretty damn content with much of the stuff I've drank, too.

I don't even consider pre-Ban a suitable model for what absinthe should be.

Excellent point and I agree.


Nope, you're both wrong IMHO. Using the quality absinthes of the Pre-ban period, and the processes outlined in historic distiller's manuals as a template to absinthe prodution, should be the preferred benchmark. I'm not saying there is no room for innovation. You have to ask how far innovation will go until you have a completely different product that is no longer absinthe?

If you don't like anise at all, you're not likely to care for any decent absinthe, as absinthe is an anise flavored drink. It's kind of like asking if there are any good beers that don't taste like hops or malt.----Hiram

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#27 Brian Robinson

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:33 PM

Zman's signature says it all for me.
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#28 dakini_painter

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 02:36 PM

Only way to know how far you can go, is to go as far as you can without being limited by a 19th century mindset.

And by Duplais, are you referring to distillation in general or a specific distillation protocol as described in Duplais?

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#29 Pan Buh

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 02:49 PM

What do you mean by as far as you can go? In Europe there is a deep and broad tradition of herbally flavored spirits. Very few of them are absinthe. Please, where do you draw the line?

#30 peridot

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 02:53 PM

I'm going to brew what you all would call beer but I'm going to call it gin. Don't restrict my creativity.

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