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Hill's Czech style Absinth


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#31 Ari (Eric Litton)

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:21 PM

We are not trying to be a traditional French or Swiss Absinthe. We use references to the older era of Absinthe

But again, why use the history of the 19th century era anise-based product to market your product?

I also think it is fair for our drink to be at least called Bohemian or Czech Style Absinth and not reduced to some backyard made swill.

I agree (perhaps wormwood bitters).
Quality is a different discussion entirely. Good or bad, it's nice to be in the right ballpark (Good or bad a Whiskey taster is expecting whiskey, not Rum). Many here like all sorts of liquor including different types of bitters. Not being "Absinthe" doesn't make it bad, only not absinthe. If your drink has a different recipe and history, what is wrong in promoting that different and interesting history under an accurate name?
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#32 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:24 PM

Believe me we have alot of people that love Hill's and Green Tree Absinth and we have done some good things for Absinthe.


I would agree with the first part of your statement. Your business could never stay afloat if it relied only on the partygoing crowd that buy it to hallucinate, as most probably don't come back to it. But I'm sure there are others who appreciate bitters that have become loyal to the product.

The second part, yes and no. You may have helped bring the IDEA of the drink back from relative obscurity, but many Czech brands also created much hype that has required a lot of effort to debunk. I would venture to say that the Czech industry has done as much to hurt as to help. Just look at all of the movies out there that still use Czech absinth and imply that it either makes you go crazy or at the very least, see things.
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#33 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:24 PM

Shabba, even very old Absinthe used artificial coloring, sorry.
Grey boy, no the communists didn't destroy all the info we do have some but very little, the family saw no need to keep most of it.
Ari, if Absinthe is anise based liquor than a long tiime ago they made a mistake and should of called it something else no? Why do they call it Absinthe then? They just decided to pick one of the ingredients in it and name it after that?

#34 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:29 PM

Shabba, even very old Absinthe used artificial coloring, sorry.

Absinthes of inferior quality did, sure. That was exactly my point.

To my knowledge, none of the pre-ban samples I've ever tasted were artifically colored. Of course, I made sure I was acquiring samples of well known, high quality pre-ban.
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#35 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:33 PM

Ari you ask:"But again, why use the history of the 19th century era anise-based product to market your product?"

Because our product is made the same way as old Absinthe was just with less anise. The effect is still very similar and in fact enhanced in many ways. That is why. And no we can not show you our recipe.

#36 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:34 PM

But bourbon made with a different ratio of grains would not a bourbon make. No?
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#37 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:38 PM


Shabba, even very old Absinthe used artificial coloring, sorry.

Absinthes of inferior quality did, sure. That was exactly my point.

To my knowledge, none of the pre-ban samples I've ever tasted were artifically colored. Of course, I made sure I was acquiring samples of well known, high quality pre-ban.


That's only your opnion. Then I guess lots of them were of inferior quality for you, great, who are you again?

#38 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:45 PM

Why don't you name a few brands back in the day that WERE artificially colored? Then we can talk about their quality compared to the top of the line back then.

Wouldn't you call something that has to rely on artifical ingredients in order to reproduce an original product inferior to said original product? It stands to reason that anyone would.

I would consider a McDonalds Cheeseburger an inferior product compared to one made on a grill with USDA prime beef and a good cheddar.

I would consider 'juice drinks' made with 15% juice an inferior reproduction of 100% juice.

I would consider Budweiser an inferior reproduction of an original recipe.

I could go on if you like.

I'm just an avid absintheur, nothing more. I don't sell or distill it. I just enjoy it, and enjoy studying its history.
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#39 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:50 PM


Believe me we have alot of people that love Hill's and Green Tree Absinth and we have done some good things for Absinthe.


I would agree with the first part of your statement. Your business could never stay afloat if it relied only on the partygoing crowd that buy it to hallucinate, as most probably don't come back to it. But I'm sure there are others who appreciate bitters that have become loyal to the product.

The second part, yes and no. You may have helped bring the IDEA of the drink back from relative obscurity, but many Czech brands also created much hype that has required a lot of effort to debunk. I would venture to say that the Czech industry has done as much to hurt as to help. Just look at all of the movies out there that still use Czech absinth and infer that it either makes you go crazy or at the very least, see things.


What do you know about our business friend? That's exactly what happened to LaFee. Why do you think they made Bohemian style Absinth? Because no one was buying their French stuff. They quickly must of realized that Bohemian Absinth was what people wanted.

I'm sure all the movies based their Absinthe history on what Czechs were saying. How about the fact that it was banned in France? I gess that had nothing to do withit? French were the ones claiming it causes you to go crazy. They started that not Czechs. Don't blame us balme them. The fact is nobody really cares just you Americans because you haven oppressive government. It's not even illegal in France anymore for christ's sake!

#40 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:56 PM

They started that not Czechs. Don't blame us balme them.


So, just because someone else started it, means that you should continue with it? Two wrongs don't make a right.

The fact is nobody really cares just you Americans because you haven oppressive government.


I honestly don't care about the ban our government has on Absinthe. It's easier to buy online than European Cheese.
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#41 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:56 PM

Why don't you name a few brands back in the day that WERE artificially colored? Then we can talk about their quality compared to the top of the line back then.

Wouldn't you call something that has to rely on artifical ingredients in order to reproduce an original product inferior to said original product? It stands to reason that anyone would.

I would consider a McDonalds Cheeseburger an inferior product compared to one made on a grill with USDA prime beef and a good cheddar.

I would consider 'juice drinks' made with 15% juice an inferior reproduction of 100% juice.

I would consider Budweiser an inferior reproduction of an original recipe.

I could go on if you like.

I'm just an avid absintheur, nothing more. I don't sell or distill it. I just enjoy it, and enjoy studying its history.


Again we do not use artificial ingredients just a coloring which was used in making traditional Absinthe, except back then they used copper oxide. Almost all Absinthe used some coloring. Why do you think they used the term green fairy, if they didn't use coloring they would have called her the yellowy brown fairy!

#42 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:59 PM

Again we do not use artificial ingredients

Never said you did. I was referring to your comment on historic absinthes. But, your own statement shows you DO add in a coloring agent. I don't think that was part of an 'original recipe'.

if they didn't use coloring they would have called her the yellowy brown fairy!

I would disagree with that. Many commercially available absinthes nowadays that don't use artifical coloring have a wonderful green color. It depends on what quality and type of herbs you use in the coloration step. Eich, Jades, 1797, L'Artisanale, Duplais, etc etc.
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#43 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:19 PM


They started that not Czechs. Don't blame us balme them.


So, just because someone else started it, means that you should continue with it? Two wrongs don't make a right.

The fact is nobody really cares just you Americans because you haven goverdo it nment.


I honestly don't care about the ban our government has on Absinthe. It's easier to buy online than European Cheese.


Yeah why not it? And we never claim for it to make you hallucinate. Don't mix all Czech Absinth producers in what pile. You don't it with the French companies do you?

#44 Grey Boy

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:21 PM

Grey boy, no the communists didn't destroy all the info we do have some but very little, the family saw no need to keep most of it.

Again, how convenient.
But if that's the case shouldn't there be at least one other person in your whole country who kept a single bottle as a keepsake? Just one?

Also, what did you keep, we'd love to see it.
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#45 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:22 PM


Again we do not use artificial ingredients

Never said you did. I was referring to your comment on historic absinthes. But, your own statement shows you DO add in a coloring agent. I don't think that was part of an 'original recipe'.

if they didn't use coloring they would have called her the yellowy brown fairy!

I would disagree with that. Many commercially available absinthes nowadays that don't use artifical coloring have a wonderful green color. It depends on what quality and type of herbs you use in the coloration step. Eich, Jades, 1797, L'Artisanale, Duplais, etc etc.


What you say is absolute nonsense. Yes it was an original recipe, again you are not a distiller and do not even know an Absinthe distiller so what you "think" doesn't really hold any water.

#46 Grey Boy

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:23 PM

Now you are full of it.

Duplais, green, all herbs,
l"artisinal, green, all herbs.
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#47 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:25 PM

Yeah why not?

Well, if you're telling us to blame the French, then you're implying the French did something bad. By doing the same thing, we should in turn blame the Czech Absinth industry as well. If not, it would be hypocritical.

And we never claim for it to make you hallucinate. Don't mix all Czech Absinth producers in what pile

I don't. You seem to be thinking that I'm attacking your specific brand. I'm not. Please refer to my first post in this thread. I said that I don't have a problem with all Czech brands. Then I go on to list the issues I DO have a problem with. If you don't do any of those things, then I have no problem with your brand.

I've even got a bottle of your brand.

In fact, if you showed up at my doorstep tomorrow, I'd gladly sit you down and invite you to a nice meal followed by a tasting of many absinthes, good and bad. I'm sure we'd get along wonderfully, and have a 'spirited' debate. :cheers:
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#48 Grey Boy

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:25 PM

No artificial colourings.
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#49 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:30 PM

again you are not a distiller and do not even know an Absinthe distiller so what you "think" doesn't really hold any water.

Heh heh, you'd be surprised who I know. ;) Why do you presume I DON'T know any?

And just because I don't sell or distill doesn't mean I don't have a working knowledge of the process, or the history of absinthe distillation. It just means I have a job I like, and I don't want to risk going to jail for a hobby.
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#50 peridot

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:32 PM

French were the ones claiming it causes you to go crazy. They started that not Czechs. Don't blame us balme them. The fact is nobody really cares just you Americans because you haven oppressive government. It's not even illegal in France anymore for christ's sake!

Nobody's even talking about that. We're not blaming you for absinthe being prohibited in the US. But you know this and I've already said it, so you're only repeating it to create a straw man argument. It doesn't gain you any leverage.

You ignored the last post I made.

Why doesn't your absinth louche?

How do you know who here is a distiller and who knows distillers? You should be aware that some members here have made some of the great absinthes on the market. Some live overseas and some live in the US and make products overseas.

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#51 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:35 PM

If any Czech absinth was sold as something else, do you think anyone would buy it? No. It's all about marketing. The only reason that Hill's and other Czech-type products sell is because they are called "absinth" and because the ignorant masses are misled into thinking they'll get high from it.

Czech absinth is marketed on the history and reputation of a product from another region with which it has nothing in common but one particular ingredient—giving the benefit of the doubt, possibly other traditional absinthe ingredients, but you couldn't prove it by the taste. And if Hill's had any appreciable amount of anise in it at all, it would get at least a little hazy when water is added.

As God is my witness, I'm sitting here right this moment drinking a glass of Hill's, watered at a ratio of 1:3, sugared. It is crystal clear except for the turquoise color. It is bitter, more bitter than absinthe, but not unpleasantly so. It's not bitter from wormwood though, it seems to be bitter from quinine. I wish I had a blacklight handy. Ari?

I'm not sure what to make of the unusual aroma. It's not anise, that's for sure. It's not wormwood either. It has the same type of candy-like smell as artficial fruit flavorings like strawberry, banana, grape and so on. It may have some use as a cocktail bitters, but it has nothing about it which suggests absinthe.

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#52 peridot

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:43 PM

And another thing, going back to an earlier point. You mentioned Spanish Absentas and wondered why those didn't spark an absinthe revival. Hiram's reply spells out some of the reason but I'd also like to mention that Spanish brands tend to be ridiculously anisey to the point that barely anything else is detectable. A person who doesn't like anise or licorice is going to hate that.

A good Swiss or French absinthe (not Pernod 68, La Fee, etc) should have a balance. People I know who don't like anise tend to develop a taste for Suisse quality absinthe because the anise is well balanced. It's present but not overwhelming. These historically correct absinthes were not being produced when Hill's became popular.

And still to this day almost everyone I know who says they hate absinthe have either had a Bohemian-style absinth or a star anise-dominated, Spanish-style (that includes brands from France and other countries that taste similar) absinthe.

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#53 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:47 PM

... again you are not a distiller and do not even know an Absinthe distiller so what you "think" doesn't really hold any water.

I'm pretty sure he does know a distiller or two, as a fair number of them frequent this board.

In fact, if you showed up at my doorstep tomorrow, I'd gladly sit you down and invite you to a nice meal followed by a tasting of many absinthes, good and bad. I'm sure we'd get along wonderfully, and have a 'spirited' debate. :cheers:

I'll go one better and I'm 100% sincere: since you're in Canada (Vancouver, BC I believe), stop down to Seattle next weekend. We're having a big absinthe event with a BBQ and lots of great food and absinthe (we even have a selection of absinth). You may be my guest. Bring Dan, maybe we can figure out a way to get you guys making some real Belle Époque style absinthe.

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#54 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:51 PM

Well, I can't really top that. :cheers:
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#55 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:56 PM


French were the ones claiming it causes you to go crazy. They started that not Czechs. Don't blame us balme them. The fact is nobody really cares just you Americans because you haven oppressive government. It's not even illegal in France anymore for christ's sake!

Nobody's even talking about that. We're not blaming you for absinthe being prohibited in the US. But you know this and I've already said it, so you're only repeating it to create a straw man argument. It doesn't gain you any leverage.

You ignored the last post I made.

Why doesn't your absinth louche?

How do you know who here is a distiller and who knows distillers? You should be aware that some members here have made some of the great absinthes on the market. Some live overseas and some live in the US and make products overseas.


It doesn't louche because it doesn't have as much anise, which is what makes Absinthe louche. Stop comparing us to French syle Absinth. We are not trying to be a traditional French Absinthe, we are a traditional Czech Absinth. Period. Yes you are balming Czechs for lots of things, read some of the posts in here. You ignored lots of my points in my posts too. Sorry can't respond to everyone. I'm just one against many here. We make a Czech Absinth. we are not trying to be a traditional French Style Absinthe. We call our drink Absinth and refer to old different tasting Absinthe because ours believe it or not is an Absinth. Just because you distill Absinth does not say much. Hill's makes every drink you can think of. Can you make so many different types of drinks? Do you know the theories behind distilling? I guess these schools in Europe where they taught distilling were pointless then right?

#56 Brian Robinson

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:59 PM

Do we need to know how to make EVERY recipe we can think of in order to understand absinthe and absinth? I don't think so. Kinda getting away from the point of this discussion I think.
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#57 Auguru

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 06:08 PM

Wormwood however is a trickier process to use to make alcohol from.


I would venture to say that nary a person in the world can make alcohol from wormwood. It is a flavoring ingredient only. To make alcohol from it would require the conversion of the cellulose into a carbohydrate fermentable into alcohol. I doubt the leaves and flowers of A. absinthium have enough carbohydrate/sugar to be directly fermented into any sort of alcohol. I suspect this comment was simply a slip of the tongue. A sort of verbal typographic error.

I will defer to others more knowledgeable than myself, but since absinthe was produced continuously through the 20th century in Spain and other countries while banned in other parts of Europe, it certainly wasn't "rediscovered" in the the 1990s. It was "re-marketed" in the 1990s. I suspect there are a few of the "clandestine" distillers in Switzerland who produced absinthe throughout much of the same period (though it was apparently not openly available as a commercial product) who would contend they helped keep the historical process alive.

Of the historical recipes I've read (including scanned images of the originally published books), all of the recipes prominently featured anise. It would seem to me that anise, next to the lesser relative quantity of wormwood, is a key ingredient and should be obvious in the taste.

I am likewise ignorant of exactly when the water dilution/louche effect became part of the historical approach to consuming absinthe, but since the flavor is so significantly enhanced by this dilution with water, I suspect it was part of the appreciation of this high proof liquor from its inception. To my understanding, it is almost a given that a product that doesn't have an appreciable louche effect does not contain enough of the key/historical ingredients to meet the definition of "absinthe". Otherwise, such products should probably be called "wormwood flavored" liquors.
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#58 Hill

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 06:11 PM

Do we need to know how to make EVERY recipe we can think of in order to understand absinthe and absinth? I don't think so. Kinda getting away from the point of this discussion I think.

No it is exatly to the point. You and the your gang here critisize Hill's now and in the past as being a low quality drink. You try to convince people that we make an awful drink that people should stay away from. My point is that Hill's Czech style Absinth was invented by a master distiller who is known throughout Czech for making high quality spirits. It doesn't taste like French Absinth because it was invented in Czech for Czechs. French Absinth was invented in France for French. We changed the taste big deal. This doesn't make it a low quality drink. You people are confusing quality with your own personal tastes. This is all I'm trying to prove here: Hill's Absinth and Green Tree Absinth are high quality Czech Absinth's.

#59 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 06:13 PM

Stop comparing us to French syle Absinth. We are not trying to be a traditional French Absinthe, we are a traditional Czech Absinth. Period.

Where is this Czech absinth tradition? When did it start? Why is there NO historical record of it?

We call our drink Absinth and refer to old different tasting Absinthe because ours believe it or not is an Absinth.

Why not refer to the Czech history and tradition?

Just because you distill Absinth does not say much. Hill's makes every drink you can think of. Can you make so many different types of drinks? Do you know the theories behind distilling?

YES, I do. Do you? How much do you know about distilling? How much do you know about absinthe history?

You have responded only with emotional rhetoric, repetition of various unrelated tangents and rarely directly answered a question with a relevant fact in this discussion.

I said in the beginning that I hoped we could have a productive, civil discussion, but if you can't answer some of these basic questions there really is no point. Please calm down or things will begin to escalate into a flamewar. And we don't want that, do we?

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#60 Grey Boy

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 06:17 PM

I still want proof that your absinth existed before 1990 (like Hiram before me ;))
That "commies destroyed it" crap won't work, why?
Because from 1920 to 1933 the USA suffered through an alcohol prohibition, and guess what after those 13 years a ton of evidence of beer-making from before then exists. I myself have a few bottle labels from a Boston brewery and some pre-prohibition serving trays as well.
Here's one I own from the early 1900's (mine's better though, no rust spots and no dent at 2 o'clock)
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