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10mg/kg ≥ 10ppm / 35mg/kg ≥ 10ppm, recipe / distillation alterations


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#31 dakini_painter

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 03:55 PM

With two approved absinthes using the old testing protocols, does this mean that they must be re-tested and re-approved using the new protocol? Will they be removed from the market by the FDA as dangerous?

Does this mean that with every scientific advance giving greater precision in detection methods every existing product must be re-evaluated? (And perhaps be found in violation by newer, more stringent detection methods?)

Don't peppermint and/or spearmint contain menthol as a component of their oil?

The TTB seems to be hedging their bets. There's no reason to test for more than 10 ppm thujone if your limit is 1 ppm.


It's been demonstrated that thujone tends to come over later in the process and that the timing and concentration of it can be manipulated to an extent.


imho, a better solution is to seek out naturally occuring thujone-free (or even low thujone) A.a. chemotypes having a quality flavor profile. That way you start with t-free or at a value so low that whatever comes over falls below the limit of detection. Until the next great scientific advance, that is. Hopefully, by then they (TTB and FDA) will have drank enough absinthe to their senses.

"Good is the only investment that never fails." Thoreau.
"Don't you push me baby cause I'm holdin' low / and you know I'm only in it for the gold" Grateful Dead
Distiller and Proprietor, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY. DSP-NY-15019. www.delawarephoenix.com


#32 Grim

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:12 PM

Who said the method changed? Even prior to the release of Lucid, the TTB chemists charged with testing for thujone described the method this way. I think it's interesting the TTB's gone so far as to make a public comment on the screening method… that means questions are really being asked.

In my opinion, producers should seek out fragrant, well-cultivated A.a. that has the best possible profile in the finished product - thujone be damned. Then pray like hell they can maintain their source of decent A.a..

The other alternative is to commit to cultivating absinthe months ago, so that atleast by next season you've got decent absinthium to play with… in a quantity more or less sufficient for blending. You gotta start cultivating sometime.

Quality in equals quality out. I think most producers will have the will, even the way, but little or no decent herb to use, whether they realize it or not.
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#33 Grim

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:15 PM

When's your first US-legal absinthe coming out, Pete?
Leave it to me as I find a way to be,
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#34 pierreverte

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:19 PM

who's pete?
Absinthe is always greener in the other glass.™

#35 Grim

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:21 PM

…… r ……
Leave it to me as I find a way to be,
Consider me a satellite forever orbiting,
I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me...
Guaranteed...

#36 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:39 PM

No time for sparring, fellas. And let's not ask questions you'd not be happy to answer.

In my opinion, producers should seek out fragrant, well-cultivated A.a. that has the best possible profile in the finished product - thujone be damned. Then pray like hell they can maintain their source of decent A.a..

I was just saying this the other day: "I foresee wormwood evolving over the next decade along similar lines as grapes: terroir, cultivars, etc. That means producers are going to want to secure unique sources and probably create blends in order to create unique products."

Maker of Marteau Absinthe
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Confessions of an Absinthiste


#37 pierreverte

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:58 PM

sparring?
Absinthe is always greener in the other glass.™

#38 Grim

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:59 PM

What?! I thought we were being nice for a change.
Leave it to me as I find a way to be,
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#39 pierreverte

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 05:03 PM

true...but I never stopped being nice...
Absinthe is always greener in the other glass.™

#40 eric

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 05:12 PM

:cheers:
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#41 Grim

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 05:16 PM

I'm bad, P-V.

You don't want to get mixed up with a guy like me.

I'm a loner. A rebel.
Leave it to me as I find a way to be,
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#42 Dr. Verte

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 05:30 PM

...and you don't know how to use the teleyphoney.
License means I decide what is right and wrong and I do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it, because I have the ability to.
Freedom is knowing the difference between right and wrong and, thus, choosing to do the right thing because it is what I should do.

#43 Grim

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 05:32 PM

And I can fix that.
Leave it to me as I find a way to be,
Consider me a satellite forever orbiting,
I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me...
Guaranteed...

#44 dakini_painter

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 04:10 AM

Practice, practice, practice. :)

"Good is the only investment that never fails." Thoreau.
"Don't you push me baby cause I'm holdin' low / and you know I'm only in it for the gold" Grateful Dead
Distiller and Proprietor, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY. DSP-NY-15019. www.delawarephoenix.com


#45 precenphix

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 07:55 AM

Thanks for all the feedback! This was the kind of discussion I was looking for.
Those with knowledge easily sense the truth of things. Those with egos built up on rumor and fancy, tend to maintain a hard line. - Tatan (Evan Camomile)

#46 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 08:59 AM

A class and type designation may be beneficial for keeping the imposters out, but no where it ties the hands of those who still are just stabbin' at what they think is the right way of going about it. No rush.

I agree, but I am concerned about what can happen in the meantime, and not so much with intentional impostors as I am with distillers who are ignorant about absinthe putting their stab in the dark on the market and confusing the consumers.

The meat of Class and Type have to do with appropriate proof, taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to a particular spirit. I'm less concerned about process and more about protecting the general character of absinthe, within reason. As it stands, strawberry snapps could theoretically be labeled "absinthe."

Since we have evidence of the historic character of belle époque absinthes—a number of European and at least one American—a strong case can be made for identity.

Just so long as there's room for a reasonable amount of evolution and innovation to provide variety, as there is with most Class and Type designations. Both Serpis and Montmartre stepped well away from the historic profile as most of us know it, but not so far that they're not considered absinthe.

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Master Distiller, Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery
www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#47 dakini_painter

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 09:30 AM

Since we have evidence of the historic character of belle époque absinthes—a number of European and at least one American—a strong case can be made for identity.


Are you arguing that all absinthes should resemble pre-Ban in their flavor profiles? (I'm not including the aging here.)

imho, this would be a huge mistake.

One of absinthe's great wonders is the variation available through varying quantities of distilled AA, anise, and fennel, plus other optional herbs and spices combined with any number of (optional) natural coloring herbs.

Anyone who has attended an event and had the pleasure of sampling what might be knows this.

distillers who are ignorant about absinthe putting their stab in the dark on the market and confusing the consumers


If they produce something that louches, tastes really great, uses the proper herbs, etc. does that matter so much?

And if it sux, then it'll be pretty apparent quite quickly and that product will disappear from the market.

If it ever gets that far.


Just my opinion as of today from the exalted position of this soapbox. Getting dizzy now. Better step down.

:cheers:

"Good is the only investment that never fails." Thoreau.
"Don't you push me baby cause I'm holdin' low / and you know I'm only in it for the gold" Grateful Dead
Distiller and Proprietor, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY. DSP-NY-15019. www.delawarephoenix.com


#48 Absomphe

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 09:48 AM

...and you don't know how to use the teleyphoney.


Horrible, invasive critters, those.

Who can blame him? ;)

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#49 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 10:14 AM

Are you arguing that all absinthes should resemble pre-Ban in their flavor profiles? (I'm not including the aging here.)

Absolutely not:

Just so long as there's room for a reasonable amount of evolution and innovation to provide variety, as there is with most Class and Type designations. Both Serpis and Montmartre stepped well away from the historic profile as most of us know it, but not so far that they're not considered absinthe.

If they produce something that louches, tastes really great, uses the proper herbs, etc. does that matter so much?

That's my point. Right now, there are no criteria for what the proper herbs are. Or even that it should be herbal. Or taste like anise. Or even contain wormwood. Right now, it's possible for someone to market an artificially-colored, bright purple, durian-flavored, sweetened, non-louching, mess as "Absinthe Superieur". There are there are no criteria for what absinthe is.

"Aging" opens a whole new can of worms and makes another case for establishing Class and Type.

Volume 2 of the Beverage Alcohol Manual, Chap. 8:

DEFINITION OF “AGE”
• Age is the period during which, after distillation and before bottling, distilled spirits have been stored in oak containers

Emphasis mine.

Absinthe, being currently classed as a distilled spirits specialty, is not permitted to bear a specific statement of age, a miscellaneous age reference, a vintage date or a distillation date. When I offer my aged absinthe, I'd like to be able to tell people about it, and choose whether I want to age it in oak or not.

Edited by Hiram, 14 October 2007 - 10:38 AM.

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www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#50 Grim

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 11:50 AM

There are there are no criteria for what absinthe is.

I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just suggesting that the reality of things is that there is no trade - let alone general - understanding for what the character of absinthe should be yet. There's happy little hideaways on the internet for discussing what absinthe is and isn't, but the sweep hardly exists (at this moment) that would necessitate absinthe having a clear and undisputed class of type as they have for whisk(e)y, brandies, gin, etc.

Until then, expect any absinthe product to be designated by a distinctive or fanciful name, followed by a "truthful and adequate statement of composition."

I can't speak to the tune of what TTB does or doesn't know on the subject of absinthe, but they are empowered and authorized to protect the consumer from being misled, which is probably why your strawberry schnapps would not be confused with an absinthe, but rather, would first be grouped as a Fruit & Peel Liqueur/Fruit & Peel Schnapps/Fruit Flavored Liqueur or atleast as an Other Specialty & Proprietary, but always accompanied with the distinctive or fanciful name to top it all off, and keep the mix-up from happening.

To me, the first practical hurdle, would be to get TTB comfey with allowing "Absinthe" as the sole fanciful name. Crack that nut. And do it before the durian-flavored absinthe does.

Good luck getting an age representation on your label. It might fly if you: 1) are naming your brand Uncle Hiram's Absinthe Vieille; 2) are willing to let it rest in used oak containers. The second alternative doesn't seem all that ridiculous to me. I mean, come on, you think Pernod stored and transported absinthe in steel containers when he was chuggin' out 32 liters per day?

Edited by Grim, 14 October 2007 - 12:20 PM.

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I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me...
Guaranteed...

#51 Ari (Eric Litton)

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 12:26 PM

imho, a better solution is to seek out naturally occuring thujone-free (or even low thujone) A.a. chemotypes having a quality flavor profile.

You might not need to even go that far, recent papers suggest that how AA is prepared before it's alcohol bath is a large factors in final thujone levels.


While the US is getting very lucky compared to the rest of the world, frankly I wouldn't mind it if the legal absinthe supply was cut off or reduced while the government defines an accurate and sane definition of "absinthe." Of course accurate, sane and government in the same sentence just causes laughter.
"Oscar Wilde once traveled to an all-cat dimension and appeared on the Late-Late Show with Catman O'Brien."

#52 Grim

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 12:43 PM

frankly I wouldn't mind it if the legal absinthe supply was cut off or reduced while the government defines an accurate and sane definition of "absinthe."

What would your definition be?

Edited by Grim, 14 October 2007 - 02:41 PM.

Leave it to me as I find a way to be,
Consider me a satellite forever orbiting,
I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me...
Guaranteed...

#53 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 01:05 PM

I'd be content for now just knowing that those with discretionary authority have at least a basic knowledge of what absinthe is.

which is probably why your strawberry schnapps would not be confused with an absinthe, but rather, would first be grouped as a Fruit & Peel Liqueur/Fruit & Peel Schnapps/Fruit Flavored Liqueur or at least as an Other Specialty & Proprietary,

It would get stuck in DSS. I mean a true schnapps, which isn't sweetened like the American "schnapps," which are really liqueurs.

I think we're in agreement; I just tend to be a bit more cynical with regards to what can go wrong.

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Master Distiller, Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery
www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#54 Ari (Eric Litton)

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 01:09 PM

Mine would be rather broad,
Distilled (either steam or alcohol) unsweetend green-Anise flavored/based liquor containing A.A. (defining the minimum amount is the tricky part) , bottled at 45% ABV or above, naturally or artificially colored and louches when cold water is added to it.

Obviously it leaves room for the craptacular and odd experiments along with good brands and it could be more detailed but at least it would hopefully streamline the absinthe taste to be reasonably accurate to what it was in the past, leaving out purple colored vodka "absinthe" and other obvious BSers.
"Oscar Wilde once traveled to an all-cat dimension and appeared on the Late-Late Show with Catman O'Brien."

#55 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 02:15 PM

(defining the minimum amount is the tricky part)

It is.

I'm not against compounded or even artificially colored absinthes, in principle, so long as they're very clearly designated as such. That's where Type comes in. The Class could be as simple as "spirits with a main characteristic flavor derived from anise and Artemisia absinthium wormwood, produced by distillation or mixing of spirits with anise and Artemisia absinthium wormwood and other aromatics or extracts derived from these materials and bottled at not less than 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof)." Aquavit is very loosly defined: "Caraway flavored distilled spirits product." Sufficient as class and type.

For those who are not yet familiar with the nomencature:

CHAPTER 4 BAM Vol 2

CLASS AND TYPE DESIGNATION


GENERAL FEATURES

• Identifies the labeled distilled spirits as to its specific class and/or class and type
• Based on defined classes and types

DEFINITIONS

• CLASS
The broad category "distilled spirits" is divided, under standards of identity, into a number of general but defined classes, e.g., "Neutral Spirits or Alcohol," "Whisky"

• TYPE
Under most of the general classes are specific, defined types of distilled spirits, e.g., "Vodka" is a specific type of "Neutral Spirits or Alcohol;" "Straight Bourbon Whisky" is a specific type of "Whisky"

CLASS AND TYPE DESIGNATION
• Most TYPE names are sufficient as class and type designations
• Some CLASS names are sufficient as class and type designations

NOTE: On succeeding pages is a chart that categorizes and very broadly
defines all classes and most types of distilled spirits. Those classes and types
that are sufficient as class and type designations are notated


Here's the whole chapter, so you can see how various spirits are actually defined:
Attached File  chapter4.pdf   120.9KB   12 downloads

[Edit] Here's the scary part: "Bitters: Distilled spirits product distinguished by it bitterness produced by blending extracts of plants, seeds, herbs, barks and/or roots with any class and/or type of distilled spirits." I guess we all know what fits perfectly into this class.

Edited by Hiram, 14 October 2007 - 02:24 PM.

Maker of Marteau Absinthe
Master Distiller, Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery
www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#56 dakini_painter

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 03:25 PM

To me, the first practical hurdle, would be to get TTB comfey with allowing "Absinthe" as the sole fanciful name. Crack that nut. And do it before the durian-flavored absinthe does.


Any particular reason — that you can discuss — for such reticence? Is it simply that they perceive that the public would believe such a product would be the drink that caused Van Gogh to cut off his ear, or that they'll hallucinate?


2) are willing to let it rest in used oak containers.


Emphasis mine. Plus there are definitions for specific types of spirits where aging in something other than oak containers is allowed/required. I seem to remember reading somewhere that some spirits in Europe are aged in ash containers to avoid introduction of unwanted flavors.

you think Pernod stored and transported absinthe in steel containers when he was chuggin' out 32 liters per day?


I thought he made more than that?

"Good is the only investment that never fails." Thoreau.
"Don't you push me baby cause I'm holdin' low / and you know I'm only in it for the gold" Grateful Dead
Distiller and Proprietor, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY. DSP-NY-15019. www.delawarephoenix.com


#57 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 07:58 PM

Not at first. According to Pernod records, the first plant was producing a whopping 16 liters a day. "Plant" is probably an exaggeration, from what I hear it was more like a shed. Zman has seen it. The Pontarlier plant was only producing several hundred liters a day by the time Henri-Louis Pernod died in 1851. That was forty-six years after they opened. It was the grandsons that turned it into the huge distillery you see in the pictures.

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www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#58 Marc

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 10:54 PM

And if it sux, then it'll be pretty apparent quite quickly and that product will disappear from the market.
If it ever gets that far.

You want examples of products that sux and are still produced?
Same goes for every spirits.

#59 Jaded Prole

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 02:28 AM

As far as age labeling, one could do like Ted and rubber stamp the date of production on the label.

#60 dakini_painter

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 03:52 AM

Unfortunately not. For the way the TTB would classify absinthe, it's in a category where even doing that is verboten.


mthuili, I certainly wouldn't want to see domestically made, poor quality absinthe come to the market. And I don't think any craft distiller currently making eau-de-vie, vodka, whiskey, or other spirit would want an inferior product either.

I just re-read your post....

What do you mean????
That Bud isn't Great Beer???
That Gallo isn't Great Wine???
Or
That 100 Pipers isn't Great Whiskey?????


You're off your rocker.

I'm sure Big Liquor will easily find a way... :thumbdown:

"Good is the only investment that never fails." Thoreau.
"Don't you push me baby cause I'm holdin' low / and you know I'm only in it for the gold" Grateful Dead
Distiller and Proprietor, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY. DSP-NY-15019. www.delawarephoenix.com



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