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Vintage absinthe

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I won't pretend to know much about vintage (no matter how recent) absinthe, but I was perusing ebay earlier and came across this item:

 

eBay lising for Suntory Hermes Absinthe

 

In the time it took to ask the seller a question and get the reply, the starting price and "Buy it Now" price doubled! Seems the seller realized the bottle was much older than originally thought.

 

Too pricey for my wallet, but I thought I'd ask the venerable WS members if this bottle is likely to be worth the asking/selling price? Did the Suntory absinthe have a decent reputation (especially if from the '40s)? Most importantly, would it be a gustatory treasure or just an historical find?

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Here's a quote I remembered from Arty where Hermes was mentioned... I hope I'm not taking it out of context but...

 

"I can assure you, there was NO absinthe on Okinawa in NINETEEN eighty-one, unless it was bootleg. If you're talking about that Hermes crap, it's not absinthe, nor is any of that other dayglo-colored swill they sell in the bars outside the gates of Kadena."

"There is some crap named Hermes, sold in Japan - it is a sort of pastis - it contains no wormwood."

 

I know there was some discussion about it in the old forum...

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Hermes is no longer in production, which would probably be the only reason to buy it, for novelty of it being the only Japanese "absinthe" and now no longer available.

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The bottle does have a totally different labeling and shape than the modern Hermes did... Don't know if it's actually from the 40's but I guess it could be. I'd say it's probably more of a nice historical find than a revolutionary sensation in regards of its taste. I'd enjoy tasting it though.

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Q: My understanding is that some of the older Suntory product have labels that indicate anis has been substituted for the wormwood (absinthium). Does any disclaimer like this show on this bottle? Thanks! 

  A: Hello, This label says in Japanese that the absinthium content is 2-21%, so it definitely contains wormwood. Thanks for your interest.

 

:laf:

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And it had wormwood in it. Although by all appearances, it was more like absinth.

 

Also:

Q:how did the heat shrink get on the top they did not have heat shrink back then? or twist caps.

 

A:Hello. The saran wrap (not heat shrink) was applied much more recently, and I believe it's a cork top, not a twist cap. The also had another kind of cap back, a tin cap with a little latch lever that I've seen on old whiskey bottles, but this doesn't have that. If you'd like to see a more detailed picture of the cap and writing, I could send it to you, but it ebay doesn't permit adding images to an auction once it has started. The item is 100% authentic. Thanks for your interest.

He still didn't explain the heat-shrink seal.

4a_12_sb.jpg

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It is no heat-shrink thingy. It is saran wrap. Put there recently to protect labelling et.c He removed it to take photos of the cap and bottle for me. I have contacted Suntory to see if they can give more answers.

 

As far as I know Suntory probably quit making their absinthe maybe some time around the 60's or so, as did many others. Then started making it again in late 80's or mid 90's or something, like everybody else... The "modern" one was more or less a pastis and is no longer in production.

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what a load of crap. i'm sure many didn't get to use their gift certificates for absinthe after the A-bombs dropped...

 

>EMS shipping from Japan will be $50 for the first bottle, and $35 for the second, and $25 for the third and fourth bottles for combined shipping. By sea, $30 for the first, $20 for the second, and $15 for each additional bottle up to four. I will limit shipments to four bottles per package for ease of handling and safety considerations.<

 

http://www.absinthe.jp/a-list.htm

post-49-1112216044.jpg

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I was told it was Absinthe.

It looked like Bourbon.

It smelled tasted like Anis and made me trip balls.

 

It was not any of the Neo-Glow crap that has been discussed in the past.

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I asked the question about the anis and wormwood. The reason was because of the following quote I stumbled upon while searching for info on Suntory Hermes:

 

JAPAN:

 

Hermes Absinthe -- 58% alcohol. Very Pernod like. The bottle used to

read, "Suntory has substituted Anis for Wormwood, a poison, for the

drinker's safety." Though it no longer does. Recently, they changed

their recipe, now it's very brown and gritty tasting, oversaturated with

herbs. So much anis that it'll numb your tongue. Louches very well.

Tastes great. Comes in a pretty green bottle that reads "absinthe" on

the front.

 

 

I found it on the following page:

 

Hermes reference quoted above

 

I can see why the question seemed like a joke, but I was just trying to figure out if the seller had a wormwood-free version (recent production) or if it was really old like the seller claimed. Had I scrutinized the "shrink-wrap" cap, I'd have come to the same conclusion that it couldn't be from the '40s.

 

pierreverte: Great find. The seller should bring his price back down to earth...

 

Back to my earlier question: Is this brand supposed to be any good? Old versus new production?

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Yeah. Can you imagine the amount of sugar it would take to blunt the bitterness of 2 - 21% absinthium?

 

I've no yardstick by which to guestimate the corresponding amount of thujone, but I'd wager it would knock you down...

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Hartsmar,

 

What do you think a bottle like this ought to sell for? The seller makes it sound like there are several to be had...

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No, I believe he has only one. However he sells other "vintage" bottles as well. He sells a load of Scotch Malts as well. That's probably what he means with the "combined shipping on several bottles".

 

I don't know, I wouldn't pay the $299 Buy it now...

 

$199 might be ok I guess, but mainly for novelty value. I have never tried either this one or the "modern" Hermes so I can't tell about the taste. I'd much rather have a bottle of the 68% version that Pierreverte shows in that photo. Then again, $199 would buy you 2 bottles of Jade... So, unless you're planning on collecting it, I don't know. If you're just after something good to drink, I wouldn't bother with this one.

 

I'd enjoy having it in my collectoin, and I'd enjoy tasting it. I just don't have the money to spend on this right now. I am sure it's nothing great at all, so it would probably not be money "well spent" any way...

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No, $265.00 will buy two bottles of Jade.

 

That shit is too expensive with the current exchange.

 

Hell, maybe even without it.

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He's in denial:

Hiram:

I'm still curious about the heat-shrink seal UNDER the saran wrap. To the best of my knowledge, that type of seal wasn't in use until the late 60's at the earliest; probably closer to the late 70's, early 80's.

 

Darren:

Hello, It appears to bea type of metalic foil, not heat shrink. Check out the images.

 

This was accompanied by four obscenely huge close-up photos proving that it is in fact PVC heat-shrink.

IMGP2441.JPG

IMGP2440.JPG

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Saw those as well. Considering the bottle is from 1973, it's no wonder if it's PVC shrink plastic, eh.

 

Though I have some bottles where that actually looks and feels like metallic foil, only thicker.

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I totally agree... But I can see how some one can believe it might be metallic. Only, someone who obviously sells a lot of vintage or semi-rare bottles ought to know better.

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It's an interesting artifact, but you'd really have to be a compulsive collector to want it.

 

I already have too many obsessions as it is.

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:laf:

 

The note on the cap reads "2-21% ad valorem tax may apply"

 

That's "2% ijou 21% miman juukazei ritsu tekiyou" for anyone who cares.

 

---

 

Oh, and the quotes from absinthe.jp read as-

 

Hermes Absinthe 58:

This is the reputedly "untasty" bottle, but lately it's been very hard to come by...

 

Hermes D'Absinthe 58 (Old bottle):

These can be found on Yahoo Auctions from time to time. The taste is much better than the final release Hermes bottles. These were on the market until the 80s.

 

Hermes D'Absinthe 68:

I've only found these on auctions. The taste is more like absinthe than the 58% with a discernable wormwood flavor. The anise style absinthe (?) was on the market until the latter half of the 70s. I wonder if it has more thujone than current EU standards!? ( <_< )

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