I had hoped to make the online announcement as simultaneously as possible as the one at Tales of the Cocktail, but I didn't have the easy internet access, or time, that I thought I might. I also didn't realize that it would hit the internet literally moments after the words escaped my lips.
As is often the case with absinthe news, particularly of this magnitude, there's so much information to assimilate and so much excitement that's it's easy to misunderstand small but important details. After this goes through several re-tellings and successive entropic approximations, it can get pretty distorted. I take responsibility for any misunderstandings in Jamie Boudreau's post, as I could've probably made myself more clear when I talked with him and the folks at Tales of the Cocktail.
Caveat: I intend to honor all of the established rules of this forum out of respect and fairness for my colleagues and won't entertain discussion which infringes them.
Here's the straight scoop:
I developed the recipe for Marteau over the last several years and then commissioned a distillery to make it, strictly according to my recipe and protocols.
My intent is to eventually establish my own distillery and take over production personally. To that end, I'm forming a company, Gnostalgic Spirits, which will specialize in designing 19th century style spirits and cocktail ingredients such as bitters and liqueurs. I'm working with an American distillery to begin production myself, stateside. No idea yet on time-frame, but I'll probably start production on some products by the end of the year.
Marteau Verte Classique will be distilled in Switzerland at the Matter-Luginbühl Distillery by Oliver Matter who, as most of you know, is the award-winning distiller of Markus' Duplais line of absinthes as well as Marilyn Mason's Mansinthe, Giger's Brevans and the Brut d'alambic. While I'm very proud of my creation, I don't feel a particular need to say that I personally distilled it, as long as the person running the still is committed to following my instructions, and is qualified and skilled; and Oliver is definitely that. As we well know, Pernod Fils got on fairly well without Henri-Louis at the controls of each alembic.
The Marteau absinthes are soundly based on the usual traditional recipes from the 19th century: Duplais, De Brevans, Fritsch etc. By "based on" I mean traditional ingredients and their relative amounts as well as strict adherence to the Duplais Suisse Protocol.
This is the first authentic absinthe—since the 1912 ban—that was developed specifically for use in classic cocktails.
It's very good as a drink on its own, but I chose the particular botanicals and used them in proportions that lend a more savory and aromatic component than other traditional absinthes, which can often be too candy-like. Rather than cut back on the anise, I've worked with the other botanicals and brought them forward to compliment it rather than push it into the background.
The sample which Jamie, Shabba, Nymph and all the WSers at TOC, as well as the 150 people at the Forgotten Ingredients panel discussion, were from prototypes, since the end commercial product has not yet been released.
As we all know, artisanal products, particularly new ones, are subject to change. I don't expect Marteau will be any different. Different apparatus, different regional herb sources, different water, these are the variables we have to work with. The first release of Marteau Verte Classique will possibly be slightly different in character than the samples, but every effort is being made to bring it as close as possible given the conditions. Future batches will be adjusted if necessary to achieve the desired profile.
For now, starting probably in early October, it will be available exclusively from Markus at absinthe-distribution.com; it might be picked up by the other vendors later.
We'll start out with small batches, so grab it fast. We'll increase production according to demand.
It should fit into roughly the same price range as the other Matter absinthes, but the final estimate is not in yet. The process is a little more complicated and there are a number more botanicals in it than a lot of other absinthes, so the cost rises proportionally.
No samples or labels have been submitted to the TTB yet, although this is in the works for the future. Again, no time frame yet.
THE IMPACT ON WS
My business as a spirits developer and my role here are completely separate. I stated earlier that when I went pro I would take on an advisory board to help in the decision-making and to assure that the administration of the Wormwood Society was open to outside input and increased objectivity. The advisory board was selected months ago and has been actively contributing to the further growth and development of WS.
The Wormwood Society is quickly becoming the most active, user-friendly and accessible absinthe resource on the web. My visit to New Orleans, the most absinthe-conscious population in the country, highlighted the great need for further education and outreach if we're going to clean up absinthe's reputation. In order to achieve this, there is also a need for increased professionalism (note: professionalism ≠ commercialism) or the public has no reason to take us seriously. Instead of merely sitting at our keyboards ridiculing people for not knowing any better, those of us who give a damn need to go out and do something. More on this later.