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Duplais & De Brevans - 19th Century Distiller's Manuals

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A note and question regarding the Duplais/McKennie and DeBrevans books. This came up previous in the Any herbs NOT allowed in a proper absinthe? thread, so might be better asked there, but since this new thread remarks directly on the texts Hiram graciously made available here goes...

 

I was wondering about one of the ingredients in the "Absinthe of Nimes" recipes. There is a discrepancy that may be a matter of translation in the English versions, but then again, maybe I just don't "get" the ingredient's identity. The following three images reflect excerpts from the 1882 French edition of the Duplais book, the 1871 Duplais/McKennie English translation, and the 1893 English version of the DeBrevans book. Note the ingredient identified by the green arrows. This appears to reference the same ingredient in all three recipes (yes, the quantities in the DeBrevans looks different, but it is just a scaled down version if I am not mistaken). However, the Duplais lists "aunée" while the other two list "Roots of the black alder" or "Roots black alder". As far as I can determine, "aunée" is the same thing as elecampane, also known as "horse-heal", but cannot figure where the "Roots of the black alder" came from. An error? Is there evidence that the alder was actually used?

 

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A google search of aunée leads to pages referring to Elecampene (Inula helenium).

 

Elecampene has been noted for its medicinal uses back into Antiquity. Black alder much less so. I suspect that McKinney was wrong on this point.

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AFAIK, de Nimes is/was/will be the only absinthe style where Inula helenium is used in 1:1 ratio to angelica (as they are quite similar in taste). Black alder might be a mistake.

 

I might be wrong but it seems to have an astringent taste, if I do not mistake it for some other "black alder".

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From the Le Petit Robert

 

AUNÉE n.f. 1547 BOT. Plante (composées) des lieux humides, à fleurs jaunes. Grande aunée ou aunée officinale : variété dont la racine est tonique et aromatique.

 

Plant (Compositae) of damp places, with yellow flowers. Grande aunée or aunée officinale : variety whose root is tonic and aromatic.

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OK, kudos. I should have known you'd be able to source that. Identifiable is what I was going for. Let me make a couple requests, by far less common. Obviously, nothing to do with the topic, and I'll stop after this, but....

"The Lost Elixir" by George Griffith. Whatever you find by T. L. Sherred. Find them online, downloadable, and you'll be a SciFi god.

 

By the way, read Sherred, and you'll be changed, I think. I was. Sound & the Fury did it to me too. As did Flannery O'Connor, as did Doris Lessing. Just a few. I love lit.

If you want to imply an obscure source of Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, go for the adventure game by that name.

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