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Trouble in Czech: Hill's Called "Nasty"

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This article in The Prague Post Online calls Hill's that "nasty Scope substitute."

 

Reproduced here because these links tend to get broken after a year or so.

 

Absinthe makes hearts grow fonder

Going over the Hill's in Prague and other culinary excursions

 

By Dave Faries

Staff Writer, The Prague Post

June 20th, 2007

 

3763-JP_ABSINTHE_8090.jpg Call it what you will: Absinthe Time stocks a better selection than most. enlarge There are many who disparage “Bohemian-style” absinthe, the kind produced in the Czech Republic.And that’s not just because they tried a swig of Hill’s.No, aficionados of the infamous spirit refer to Czech absinthe as a bitter spirit. Sure it’s green, sometimes alarmingly so, which is usually an indication of artificial coloring in some form or other. But local brands tend to use anise sparingly, if at all.While traditional French absinthe does have a sharp, bitter jab from wormwood, the herbal notes and strong licorice flavor of anise, fennel and the like add pleasant warmth. Anise not only cools the sting of alcohol, it also causes the drink to louche, or turn milky when mixed with water. Hence, these same aficionados complain about Czech brands’ refusal to change hues.Fortunately, louching (or the lack thereof) doesn’t affect taste. During the 19th-century heyday of absinthe, when Parisians referred to that lengthy stop at the pub after work as “the green hour,” fans of “the green fairy” would drip water through a sugar cube — flaming, absinthe-soaked sugar is a trendy but unnecessary affectation — to sweeten its bitter edges and cut the alcohol content, generally to around 70 percent. The transition from pale green to off-white was just a magical extra.Unfortunately, shoddy distilling and disreputable dealers allowed bottles containing harmful levels of methanol and other chemicals onto the market. Resulting cases of convulsions, illness and other side effects — along with turn-of-the-century temperance ire — led most nations to ban absinthe. The blacklisting lasted until the 1990s across much of Europe, and continues in the United States.Thujone, a chemical substance found in wormwood, took the blame for the erratic behavior of absinthe drinkers. The EU now limits absinthe to 10 milligrams of thujone content per liter. Bitter liqueurs are allowed much higher levels.I mention all of this because summer brings waves of tourists who expect some kind of clandestine pleasure from the wicked green fairy. Perhaps not realizing that the very good brands are to be found on shelves in France, Spain, Germany and England, they point with cautious anticipation at that nasty Scope substitute called Hill’s. Here’s a tip: When the tour bus drops you off at U Fleků, slip away from the crowd and step into Absinthe Time, a few meters down Křemencova. Order one of the better Czech bitter liqueurs — Absinthe 35 or b for example — and settle in for a soothing night.Oh, and then tell the trendy amateurs to put away their matches.

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Maybe, just maybe, a step in the right direction anyway.

 

 

Maybe I'm an optimist but I think the guy is trying. He made several good points without being nasty.

 

:)

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"Fortunately, louching (or the lack thereof) doesn't affect taste."

 

 

 

Ooh, I'm sorry, that answer is incorrect, but thanks for playing!

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I thought it was a fairly decent article for the most part—until he recommended the Absinth 35. My feeling is that this was more of a jab at Hill's from the L'Or camp.

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My wife handed me that article to read last night. It really pissed me off. I was surprised how much he got right. Curious where the good information came from. Pissed that he would still tell readers to drink crapola. I agree, seems to be taking a swing at Hill's, but L'Or, for the most part, is even worse. And I've looked in the window of the joint he recommends. Shivers. Why?

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While it might be crap, I'm glad someone is finally suggesting that products stealing absinthe's history could actually make a reasonable drink on their own merits (now if only the bohemian-style companies cared enough about their product and heritage to make something good).

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"...some kind of clandestine pleasure..." Indeed! <--Lopan-Style. Now I know what I'm having tonight.

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Interesting article. I wonder if it is possible that some people (Czechs) could actually acquire a taste for the "bohemian style" over real absinthe? I say this having never tasted any.

 

But local brands tend to use anise sparingly, if at all.

Ok, so it does not taste like what is historically known as absinthe...

Sure it’s green, sometimes alarmingly so, which is usually an indication of artificial coloring in some form or other.

Ok, so it does not look like what is historically known as absinthe...

While traditional French absinthe does have a sharp, bitter jab from wormwood, the herbal notes and strong licorice flavor of anise...

Ok, so it does not have the ingredients of what is historically known as absinthe...

Anise not only cools the sting of alcohol, it also causes the drink to louche, or turn milky when mixed with water.

Ok, so it does not behave like what is historically known as absinthe...

 

Seems like a stretch to call it a "style" of absinthe. The only thing they both have in common is alcohol and that you can consume them. Listerine or Nyquil could be considered a "style" of absinthe using this logic.

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"Fortunately, louching (or the lack thereof) doesn't affect taste."

 

 

 

Ooh, I'm sorry, that answer is incorrect, but thanks for playing!

That was my first thought too but I suppose he is "technically" right in a way if we clarify by saying that it is the dilution and release of oils that changes the taste and that the louche is the visual aspect of that process. I suppose a beverage could release oils/change taste via dilution and not cloud.

 

That said, it is confusing and much easier to point people in the direction of an Absinthe that louches well. One rarely sees it written that thoujone was not to blame for hallucinations and convulsions. Put that with a recommendation to put away the matches and I like it.

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"Fortunately, louching (or the lack thereof) doesn't affect taste."

 

 

 

Ooh, I'm sorry, that answer is incorrect, but thanks for playing!

That was my first thought too but I suppose he is "technically" right in a way if we clarify by saying that it is the dilution and release of oils that changes the taste and that the louche is the visual aspect of that process. I suppose a beverage could release oils/change taste via dilution and not cloud.

 

 

Technically, I suppose you're right, although if a beverage released essential oils upon the addition of water, but did not louche (even marginally), I seriously doubt that the flavor profile of said beverage would change perceptibly, except for becoming a watered down version of its neat incarnation.

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Well that's so much bullshit and doesn't even qualify for an argument of semantics. As Absomphe and ShaiHulud know, the louche may not cause the taste but is certainly an indicator of what does. An absinthe that does not louche will taste totally different from one that does. No louche? No, thanks.

 

"Ooh, I'm sorry, that answer is incorrect, but thanks for playing!" is indeed the correct answer! :devil:

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Problem too is that the primary readership of this article has never seen a louche nor have any of them ever met Sixela to get a lesson in critical semantics. It's misleading, to put it mildly. And was edited by an incompetent, sociopathic jerk to be exact. The author's agenda will need to be followed up on. Finally, tourists should never be directed to U Fleku or Assbinth Crime.

 

If any of you ever visit Prague I would be happy to be your tour guide and welcome you to the only place in the country to find a fine selection of real absinthe: my home.

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PB, it was great to meet you and your family at the distillery last week, although I should cast a veil (or whatever) over the activities of your children with the wormwood!

 

I'm tempted to edit my blog to add your address to the list of places in Europe where one can get real absinthe. Unfortunately you may get a call from our "friends" if I do.

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Oh, great, "MySpace party at Pan Buh's! Anything goes! Well, he doesn't allow you to light the sugar but you can torch the furniture. Everyone welcome."

 

Oh, and my kids know better than to mess with wormwood, except to enjoy the aroma. Sorry that they mistook the sacks of anise and fennel for feedbags, though. B)

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Problem too is that the primary readership of this article has never seen a louche nor have any of them ever met Sixela to get a lesson in critical semantics. It's misleading, to put it mildly. And was edited by an incompetent, sociopathic jerk to be exact. The author's agenda will need to be followed up on. Finally, tourists should never be directed to U Fleku or Assbinth Crime.

And ShaiHulud called me a tyrant. ;)

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My guess is there are no authentic Czechs named Dave.

David is a perfectly common Czech name. Could be easily Amerikanified at an English-language newspaper. His last name is a different matter entirely. Anyway, I believe he was shipped over from Amerika just to cover the food beat.

 

Assbinth 35. What an asshole. :twitchsmile:

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My guess is there are no authentic Czechs named Dave.

 

Nope, only the world's strongest beer from Hair of the Dog, and that's not Czech either.

 

The Czechs may know good beer, but they never brewed anything that good.

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Not to repeat my question above, but are there people who might be only familiar with the Bohemian "style" absinth, and might not like real absinthe at all, since they are used to the Czech stuff? Like I said above, I have never tasted any Bohemian stuff, and, thankfully the worst absinthe I have had at this point would be Le Fee Parisian. But I wonder if it could be an acquired taste, and, if so, are there actually "better" bohemians than others to these people. And by better, I would have no idea what criteria that would be based on.

 

Maybe it would be similar to someone asking me if I preferred the taste and color of Scope over Listerine. "Gee, I never thought about it, I just squint my eyes, swirl it around in my mouth and try not to swallow."

 

(Insert Absomphe snappy comeback line here)

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Not to repeat my question above, but are there people who might be only familiar with the Bohemian "style" absinth, and might not like real absinthe at all, since they are used to the Czech stuff?

 

Yes, but they're completely irrelevant life forms.

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What is the Bohemian style per se, btw? Looks strange. Beer=o.k. assinth=not o.k. (so as not to be over-derogatory).

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