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Jack B

Commercial Absinthe

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You'll often hear me saying this. This is why I say this:

 

Most Commercial Absinthe producers cut corners in order to make a big profit. Oil mixes are extremely cheap to produce, in fact you can probably get pretty good results at home experimenting with essential oils, liquor essences and Vodka. Even with Washington State Liquor Board's exorbitant markup and taxes on liquor, you could probably produce an oil mix rivaling some of the best oil mixes for under $20 per bottle. I'm not going to tell you how to do this here, you'll have to ask me in person. Why is an oil mix inferior? Well - because of the way the oils are extracted, they are much less delicate and refined when mixed with alcohol. The oils are almost always "burnt" to some degree. Quite simply, oil mixes will be much more harsh.

 

What about the many distilled Absinthes that are on the market? Basically, most of them use an alcohol base that you would never drink normally. They use inferior "neutral spirits" because they are cheap to produce, therefore cheaper for the Absinthe producer to buy. You might want to compare these "neutral spirits" to the cheapest and the harshest of the Vodkas. Most Absinthe distillieries use stale or inferior herbs, or even the wrong part of the herb - or even the wrong type of herb. Often the recipes seem quite off. They use a higher ratio of cheaper herbs and cut out the more expensive herbs. They do this because they either don't know better, or because they are trying to increase profits. To be fair, it is not easy to find quality herbs that have been dried and stored properly, although if you are trying to produce a quality Absinthe you will find ways of obtaining quality herbs.

 

The best method for producing Absinthe is what is known as "Swiss." All of the herbs are macerated in high proof alcohol, water is added then distilled. At the end of the distillation run, the tails are collected to be recycled. The tails are high in essential oils and lower in alcohol. If you left the tails in your distillate, some of the flavours you may taste might be: burnt, overly bitter, or rancid. You'll have to ask me in person why these oils don't come over until the end. After collecting the tails, you put them in your next batch of Absinthe before that batch is distilled. Why is the recycling of tails important? The tails are loaded with oils and flavour. That extra flavour is carried from batch to batch. You'll notice that the flavour of Absinthes produced using the Swiss method will linger rather than quickly fade from the tongue. Absinthes using this method will also taste more complex and seem more delicate and refined. Very few Commercial Absinthes use this method.

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I'll be working on making it up there, hopefully someone can shelter a strange drunk in a strange land - or atleast point the way to a hotel with a cozy wet bar.

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Wow. :no: With friends like these...

 

 

To be honest, conju, I haven't even thought of driving up there. Just to meet up with the Tuscon crew would be a 10 hour trip driving, but hey, I'm not ruling anything out yet. Looks like a flight up their would be $350... then renting a car... then a hotel room... then a hooker... (Miss Grim says nix the hooker)... I don't think food is much of an issue, as my appetite is inversely proportional to my drunkenness. The weekend of February the 19th and March 5th, I'm free.

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Thanks Jack.

 

And I couldn't agree more. The higher end of the commercial scale is to me, a good example of good absinthe. The non-co's that I've had have been of diverse quality some good, some really good and some plain awful.

 

Oil mixes will never cut it.

 

I did an experiment myself once, with the infamous Gert Strand essence. 1 part absinthe essence and 2.5 parts pastis essence in a 55-60% alcohol produces a mix that was way better (and cheaper) than many commercial oil mixes available. Not saying it was worth drinking, though.

 

Either way, thanks for lay out.

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Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Must know what going on... And... Once I finally get my friggin arse over, I must make sure it's when there's a WS gathering.

 

:drunk:

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On a related note... those were some interesting pics you shared at FV, Hiram. Quite the multiple man - who'd a thunk you'd look so good in full Mardi Gras regalia. I'd hit it.

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On a related note... those were some interesting pics you shared at FV, Hiram.  Quite the multiple man - who'd a thunk you'd look so good in full Mardi Gras regalia.  I'd hit it.

 

Um . . . I thought Mrs. Grimm said NO to the hooker.

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Maybe, but this hit is personal. And besides, I'll keep it on the shoosh so none of the lodge has to know about it. :ninja:

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