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#1 Brian Robinson

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 09:24 AM

The Czech thujone mafia has done it again.

It was the babickas who freely used wormwood and its extraction thujone in their potions and charms, as much for its mildly hallucinatory effect as for its much valued digestive properties...


A green 'thujone-ometer' down one side of the next marks the level of thujone allowed by law in each bottle, 1 ml per liter or a perfect 30 ml shot


To be honest, I'd be all for this product as a start to truthful branding, if it weren't for the thujone marketing. I'd prefer to see most of that 'Bohemian style absinthe' to be called Wormwood Vodka or Wormwood Schnaaps.

What's funny is that it's going by the US thujone limit, but it's also talking about hallucinatory effects. I don't think they are going to be able to get approval if they keep with that strategy.
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#2 Brian Robinson

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 09:35 AM

I just realized this is offered by the same people who are behind Green Fairy, Koruna, Djabel, and my favorite, Fairy Bomb energy drink.

I talked with the Global Brand Ambassador for South Trade several months ago, and he was talking about how absinthe was misunderstood, and how thujone was overblown, and how we really need to do good things for absinthe in order for it to be a success. And now we see how much of a thujone whore the guy really is. In it just to make a buck? I think yes.
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#3 oglala56

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 09:36 AM

:thumbdown:
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#4 Brian Robinson

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 09:37 AM

I really need to send the podcast interview I did with this guy to Gwydion so we can publish what he had to say about thujone.
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#5 baubel

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 12:23 PM

:poop:







What the hell was this "beverage" doing at the Australian Food Challenge anyway? Isn't that kind of like the sleazy moustached film crew guy poking his head into the frame during a money shot, looking perplexed as to how he got there in the first place?

A little technological fix to a spiritual problem.


#6 dakini_painter

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 03:19 PM

But their Master Distiller comes from a long line of Moravian master distillers and he's eccentric.

Shouldn't that count for something?

And the secret herbs, shouldn't they count for something?

:dev-cheers: :dev-cheers:

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#7 Marrow

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:36 PM

I've heard this is actually pretty good. They've basically created a blanche absinthe (it doesn't mention if the anise is star or green...), and watered it down to 40%. This means it can't legally be called absinthe (if my understanding is correct it has to be over 55% and contain green anise) but it is damn close to one. I'm guessing their profit margins are larger because they dilute it down and use much less of the herb distillate than would be used in a blended absinthe --- I can't remember the term for an absinthe made from numerous mixed distillates -- but it could be a good thing to introduce people to the flavours of absinthe without them having to shell out as much cash for a bottle, and this will be more popular in bars as it's a vodka.

Has anyone tried it?

Our Master Distiller plays an integral role in the creation of Babička vodka and is from the historic region of Moravia in the east of the Czech Republic.
Coming from a long line of Moravian spirit distillers dating back to 1518, our Master Distiller and his predecessors spent years perfecting the centuries-old wormwood recipes of the Czechoslovakian babičkas, overseeing every step of the 6 step distillation process to ensure the quality and taste of today's original wormwood vodka, Babička.
Once harvested, the Moravian corn is fermented to create the vodka, before being triple distilled. Separately, the signature wormwood is macerated along with other key herbs and spices, including fennel and anise, to make a herb distillate. The wormwood extract, thujone, is then added before the distillate is twice distilled.
The vodka is then combined with the herb distillate before being distilled one last time, the sixth step in our distillation process before finally being coal filtered to ensure the renowned smooth texture of Babička vodka.
Our vodka is then left to rest for around 2 months where the flavours and aromas of the herbs and spices become more pronounced to create our final liquid, Babička.



#8 Père Ubu

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:13 PM

Sounds perfectly horrible to me.



#9 TheLoucheyMonster!

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:06 PM

Here is the link to the product page:

http://babickavodka.com/home/

I will give them credit for not calling it an absinthe, or pretending to be an absinthe.

Once dried, thujone, a property of wormwood, is extracted from the plant and used to infuse the vodka to create the original wormwood vodka, Babička.


Wha? :blink:




I would not think of it as a substitute for a blanche absinthe in any way. I would not substitute it for absinthe in any cocktail.

It is what it is, a flavored vodka. So it might substitute for other vodkas in a cocktail.

I'll pass on this one.

#10 Evan Camomile

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

Our Master Distiller plays an integral role in the creation of Babička vodka and is from the historic region of Moravia in the east of the Czech Republic. [...] Separately, the signature wormwood is macerated along with other key herbs and spices, including fennel and anise, to make a herb distillate. The wormwood extract, thujone, is then added before the distillate is twice distilled.

First, wormwood extract contains thujone but is not thujone, and it's still thujone hype. :thumbdown:

I've tasted distilled wormwood and even a liqueur variation, it can be really good.

This just sounds like trying ride on absinthe's thujone myth without offending those who know what real absinthe is. Plus using an extract and not the herb is gross, I doubt the nice floral flavors of wormwood come through at all.

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#11 Absomphe

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:40 PM

Sounds perfectly horrible to me.


What he said.

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

You got a problem with that?


#12 Marrow

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 06:51 AM

I wasn't claiming it could be a substitute. I was claiming it could well be like mixing a few dashes of a wormwood heavy blanche with vodka....to me that sounds good. The only problem is the only wormwood heavy blanche I have is the limited distillation of Wormwood Blanche that's so damn delicious I don't want to mix it with anything.

Anyway. I was convinced this vodka would have a horribly bitter after taste to it, but apparently it doesn't. Adding thujone to the stuff before it is distilled really shouldn't make much of a difference at all, right? Because almost all of it is just going to be left behind. They macerate the wormwood and distill it along with anise, fennel and other herbs, so what sounds so awful?

My knee jerk reaction to the thujone marketing was the same as yours, but I'm not going to claim a product is bound to be disgusting just because they're using whatever myths they can to turn a profit. Disgusting marketing is a different matter...

They claim:

Babička has a distinctive and unique floral bouquet with a creamy flavour.


And a lot of the reviews I've found on the net pretty much say the same thing like "creamy texture providing subtle notes of vanilla, caramel, aniseed and citrus." I had completely dismissed this too, but some reputable bars use it, like Nightjar (voted 3rd best in the world 2012), who also serve a wide variety of good absinthes (mainly I think the Jade and Pernot range from what I remember), so I'd trust them not to use czechsinthe crap, or anything resembling it.

I'll try it when I get the chance and post back here.

#13 TheLoucheyMonster!

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:59 AM

Indeed, let us know how it tastes. It might be an interesting flavored vodka., As Evan said above, I don't think the better flavors of wormwood will come through.

I am not against this product, per say, since it does not claim to be absinthe, or directly associate itself with the name absinthe.

#14 Brian Robinson

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:51 PM

But it furthers the misinformation about thujone, which is offense enough for me.

I was at Nightjar in October and didn't see this product. But even if it's there, it's tough to trust the judgement of any cocktail bar just because of their reputation. Up until a few months ago, the Columbia Room (voted multiple times as one of America's best bars) was using Pernod. That is, until I held an informational session with them. ;)/>

The Doheny, when it was open, was considered one of the best bars on the West Coast, and was using LTV for most of its absinthe cocktails. They were getting paid to do so, but alas...

Bottom line, just because a bar has a reputation for using only the finest ingredients, and for having top talent, much of the personnel's education on the ingredients themselves is centered around their own creations (infusions, tonics, juices, etc). As for the liquor, most of them go by what the reps tell them until someone else who is deemed to have more knowledge tells them otherwise. That's the reason Ted has been so instrumental in getting Pernod pulled off of the backbars in so many London establishments. Bartenders were led to believe (by the reps) that Pernod was all natural, and top quality. And they didn't know any better because UK labeling laws are different than the US.
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#15 fingerpickinblue

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:20 PM

Yep, the other night I stopped by one of the most outstanding cocktail bars here in CT. The back bar contained one of the most impressively chosen inventories I've seen here yet. And then, the absinthe... Grand Absente and St. Hor-Hay.

As for the reps knowledge, they sometimes only know what they are being fed from elsewhere in the food chain. Very few have the time to become an expert on everything they sell, and they are always partially reliant on others in the trade for the "Cliff's Notes" education, adequate enough to peddle their wares. In 2008 I was selling Mata Hari for 2 or 3 months before I tasted truly authentic absinthe, and at first I bought their "supplier pitch" hook, line, and sinker. Later, I found The WS and embarked on my own exhaustive research, but only because of my personal interest in the subject. This isn't typical, though, since many of the niche types of products are so meaningless, in terms of income for the salesmen, that they simply can't justify the time and energy to get the education, so they have to rely on others for their information.

My point is that most times the misinformation when doled out by reps has no nefarious intent, and is more a result of their trust and sometimes being sent out on a fools errand.
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#16 Marrow

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 06:11 AM

Hm, I know what you mean. I was in Hawmsmoor at Seven Dials a few months ago and experienced pretty much the same thing. They claim on the website they are trying to build London's best cocktail bars and they do some really good drinks (and fantastic food). But behind their bar was a bottle of Pernod for use in the Manhattan. I spent a good twenty minutes talking to the bartender about it, and found out he was drinking La Fee XS, so I named a few brands for him to try (and stock) and directed him here. Out of curiosity, has anyone heard from him?


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