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Brian Robinson

WS 2009 Blind Tasting Results

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I would really like to make a Verte. the question is how can I color Absinthe with Roman Wormwood and let it sit in a purified spirit and still get approved?

Marteau

Pacifique

Leopold

VC

WW & MoL

as will Ridge Verte. Count on it. ;)

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Seriously. Naturally coloured vertes are being produced and sold in the US right now. And vertes made overseas are being approved for sale here.

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I would really like to make a Verte. the question is how can I color Absinthe with Roman Wormwood and let it sit in a purified spirit and still get approved?

Marteau

Pacifique

Leopold

VC

WW & MoL

as will Ridge Verte. Count on it. ;)

 

Marteau is hands down the best Verte I have tasted in my opinion for my palate.

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I would really like to make a Verte. the question is how can I color Absinthe with Roman Wormwood and let it sit in a purified spirit and still get approved?

Marteau

Pacifique

Leopold

VC

WW & MoL

as will Ridge Verte. Count on it. ;)

:)

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I'm not certain about this, but does pontica have any appreciable amount of thujone? I didn't think that it did. I've never heard of any controversy about colouring resulting in a product having too much thujone in it to be approved.

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does pontica have any appreciable amount of thujone?

It does, however to a lower extent than A. absinthium (some studies say 35-55 % of the amount of A. absinthium).

 

I'm a bit puzzled too why Mark sees this as a problem (as said, none of the approved brands have had issues with it). After all, what is the essential oils yield of A. pontica? Around 0.3 % at best - for fresh herb; the drying results in a loss of volatile oils (from what I've read it's approximately 40 % lower than the yield from the fresh herb). And of this oil, only 1/5-1/4 is thujone.

 

It's all about the amounts of herbs used and their contact time with the alcohol in the colouration process.

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we thought a more friendly Absinthe could give people the realization that Absinthe could be a strong alternative to Vodka.

IMHO, this is a major mistake. Absinthe will never be an alternative to vodka, or even gin. Vodka is meant to lend no flavor to whatever cocktail you add it to. Gin has plenty of flavor, but it's not an alien one to the American palate. Absinthe, on the other hand, is meant to have a strong flavor. After all, it IS an extract. Plus, it's not necessarily a flavor that the American palate is that familiar with.

 

Can absinthe become a popular and successful spirit? Absolutely. But not as an alternative to vodka. They are two different worlds.

 

Just as a point (not to call into question your intentions by any means), but the idea of making absinthe an alternative to vodka is one that we've heard in the past from some of those who were/are strictly in the market as profiteers, like LTV. Having tasted your product, it's obvious that you seem to care a great deal about quality, but those statements get a lot of absintheurs' hackles up. ;)

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I don't mean to pile on, Mark but you seem to be a little behind on your knowledge of coloring technique.

Maybe Melissa Root? Maybe color it with Chlorophyll extracts of Wormwood. The only reason major brands put artificial dye is for the cheap cost, need for a strong color, or because they simply are not permitted to age wormwood into a purified product.

Melissa root? I don't think so. Pontica, Hyssop, Melissa and to a much lesser degree, mint are common coloring herbs for absinthe (although not exclusively because there were other odd choices including spinach, rosemary, artichoke, etc...). I'm not aware of any herbal use for Melissa Root.

 

Age wormwood in a purified product? You must mean pontica but still, we're talking hours of "aging" at the most to get a nice pretty green not days or weeks. And forget the Chlorophyll extracts.

Any legitimate verte absinthe uses traditional coloring herbs and techniques. No weird shit. No aging. Check out the WS library's online copy of Duplais' and DeBrevan's manuals. They do a pretty good job of telling you how to color absinthe. :cheers:

Maybe I have it wrong all together. In my experience of tasting many brands, I tend to appreciate the strong wormwood flavor in Verte Absinthes a lot. It seems to have a salty bitterness that seems to lock my jaw in a way. Although I have only have had some physical body side effects from the Verte's.

I have had some great wormwood forward blanches. Blanchette would be a very good example. The wormwood is not shy in Clandestine, either. There are others, too.

 

Physical body side effects? Whatever could you mean? :devil:

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... The problem with organic coloring is the Fed. From my knowledge you cannot add organic matter to a distilled "purified" product then bottle it and sell it.

Where did you get this idea? There's nothing in the law that prohibits it.

 

I would really like to make a Verte. the question is how can I color Absinthe with Roman Wormwood and let it sit in a purified spirit and still get approved?

 

If anyone has an inkling I am all ears?

You just do. At least I do. Why would there be a problem?

 

Maybe Melissa Root? Maybe color it with Chlorophyll extracts of Wormwood. The only reason major brands put artificial dye is for the cheap cost, need for a strong color, or because they simply are not permitted to age wormwood into a purified product.

There's nothing anywhere in any of our laws that addresses aging wormwood in spirits except that the finished product must be "thujone free", i.e.,

 

You must be allowed to pass organic material through a distillate in the coloring stage the question is for how long, and what method to use, and will it affect a lab test. I have studied many methods of completing this step but am not positive which method is correct. I am speaking of my own knowledge and not Edwards for the record.

I'm not sure how you could do enough research to actually make a blanche ("bleue" was reserved for bootleg absinthe, much the same as "white lightning" is here) and not run across very clear instructions for making a verte.

 

I'm not certain about this, but does pontica have any appreciable amount of thujone?

Not much, but it hardly matters. There are spirits in the US that have absinthium macerated in them and still don't push the thujone meter.

 

If you don't mind me asking, when you say "my absinthe brand" do you mean that you're the brand owner/manager or the distiller?

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You must be allowed to pass organic material through a distillate in the coloring stage the question is for how long, and what method to use, and will it affect a lab test. I have studied many methods of completing this step but am not positive which method is correct.

You have studied many methods? 12? 6? 37? I'm guessing that's not quite accurate. :laugh:

I don't want to seem mean but I'm guessing, you must handle the marketing?

Is Edward the distiller or does he have a different role, too?

 

Fortunately, you have landed at The Wormwood Society. We specialize in absinthe education and we're here to help.

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Wow I’m really late to chime in here. Apologies! To quickly shift from the distilling bit and back to the results for a moment.

If there would have been 15 tasters and 10 different absinthes, the scores may/would have been different. JMO

More to the point, I think the tasting flies in the face of what we expect from a glass of absinthe: Slow, savoring of the herbs as they play on the taste buds during a lazy evening.

Both very valid points gentlemen. We certainly are trying to produce a result here (the score of a blind brand) as opposed to enjoy methodically the beverage as it is. To find a balance… see below.

I'd REALLY like to hold two or three tastings throughout the year…that would give us the potential to have a much larger pool of tasters without having to worry about so many people making one single event.

Brian - first off Thanks to you and Kamal for setting this event up and making it possible! I really think that blind tastings, though results vary or fly in the face of some brands, are productive and informative. I for one really enjoyed looking over these results.

 

I think at this particular tasting we reached “absinthe burnout” so to speak. So many samples – I mean at the TOTC tasting we went though 11 and I was about tasted-out. I think that multiple tastings to get tabulated results over time would be great. I may also propose that as a control group, there be some type of blind tasting home version, like the exchange thread. That way an enthusiast regardless of developed taste or not could prepare it in their way, to their ratio and with their own materials. Same WS Score sheet, same sterile decanted blind sample. Might be a good way to measure feedback other than just what is obtained from a group tasting.

 

Thoughts or suggestions by any and all?

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I find it hard to explain what I am trying to say. I do have to knowledge, I was trying to ask all of your opinions to see what you all like..

 

Obviously Herb coloration comes from the Chlorophyll in the plant. I have seen Absinthe colored with Roman Wormwood, Melissa Root, Mint's and Hysopp. Its tough to say which is the best method since the first Absinthe's were clear.

Edited by Mark ALeister M

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You must be allowed to pass organic material through a distillate in the coloring stage the question is for how long, and what method to use, and will it affect a lab test. I have studied many methods of completing this step but am not positive which method is correct.

You have studied many methods? 12? 6? 37? I'm guessing that's not quite accurate. :laugh:

I don't want to seem mean but I'm guessing, you must handle the marketing?

Is Edward the distiller or does he have a different role, too?

 

Fortunately, you have landed at The Wormwood Society. We specialize in absinthe education and we're here to help.

 

I have studied what methods other brands have used in Verts as well as archives from France and Swiss region. If your intention is to find out how much we really know, or I know for that matter, it sounds like you want to stir the pot and not to give your taste and methods as a contributor to the conversation. =p

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it sounds like you want to stir the pot and not to give your taste and methods as a contributor to the conversation. =p

No, I doubt that was his intention. Joe runs a distillery as well as being on the Advisory Board, so he's a pretty good example of someone who would be a good resource. His contributions to absinthe discussions are very valuable.

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we thought a more friendly Absinthe could give people the realization that Absinthe could be a strong alternative to Vodka.

IMHO, this is a major mistake. Absinthe will never be an alternative to vodka, or even gin. Vodka is meant to lend no flavor to whatever cocktail you add it to. Gin has plenty of flavor, but it's not an alien one to the American palate. Absinthe, on the other hand, is meant to have a strong flavor. After all, it IS an extract. Plus, it's not necessarily a flavor that the American palate is that familiar with.

 

Can absinthe become a popular and successful spirit? Absolutely. But not as an alternative to vodka. They are two different worlds.

 

Just as a point (not to call into question your intentions by any means), but the idea of making absinthe an alternative to vodka is one that we've heard in the past from some of those who were/are strictly in the market as profiteers, like LTV. Having tasted your product, it's obvious that you seem to care a great deal about quality, but those statements get a lot of absintheurs' hackles up. ;)

 

Hey I am a Creative Marketer. I like to think of myself as a purist, however you will find that our product is authentic and is not a cookie cutter product for the masses.

 

We are not interested in making Bohemian Absinthe.

 

Brian I think I do not express myself clearly enough at times. It seems the more I intend to join the conversation, I have members holding me under a microscope (who are sitting behind a computer desk) trying to disect my knowledge of absinthe as to judge the quality of our product.

 

The idea of making it a mixable drink is only a marketing idea. It has nothing to do with my partner Edward nor does it have to do with the knowledge of Absinthe. I am fine you think its not a proper way to market, I will note that, and I appreciate your opinion.

 

We are artists. We are interested in making the best Artisonal product. We are not interested in being a profiteer. We are not a hedge fund. We are hardworking far from rich artisans. We will stay that way for the integrity of our brand.

 

When you all try it, perhaps at one of my parties, you can make your own assessment.

Edited by Mark ALeister M

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I don't think I personally care what you know but you've made a few statements that suggest your information is faulty. My intention is to be certain absinthe information is accurate. Nothing more.

 

My coloring technique comes from the Duplais & DeBrevans resources. It's not a secret.

I have seen Absinthe colored with Roman Wormwood, Melissa Root, Mint's and Hysopp. Its tough to say which is the best method since the first Absinthe's were clear.

Documentation, please?

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It seems the more I intend to join the conversation, I have a bunhc of blow hards behing a computer desk trying to disect my knowledge of absinthe as to judge the quality of our product.
I don't think anyone is trying to 'dissect' your knowledge of absinthe, but some of the things you have said are just downright wrong and are common knowledge in this circle. So it stands to reason that it would then lead some people to question your knowledge a bit further.

 

No one here is an adversary, unless you choose to make them one. As Joe said in his original post, we're here to HELP, not create conflict.

 

The idea of making it a mixable drink is only a marketing idea.
Absinthe has always been mixable. There are hundreds of absinthe cocktail recipes named in some of the oldest and most respected cocktail books of the early 1900s.

 

When you all try it, perhaps at one of my parties, you can make your own assessment.

As you know, I HAVE tried it. And I liked it. As I mentioned before, I'm not trying to attack the quality of your brand in any way. I can't wait to try the final product!

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I have members holding me under a microscope (who are sitting behind a computer desk) trying to disect my knowledge of absinthe as to judge the quality of our product.

Remember, many of the members here who are 'sitting behind a computer desk' are also integral members of the absinthe community. Many are producers themselves. Others were instrumental in paving the way for absinthe to come back to the US. Many more have made significant contributions towards helping educate the American public (and aspiring absinthe producers as well) on the truths and myths surrounding absinthe.

 

As far as I've seen, no one is judging the quality of your product. In fact, all I've seen so far is a bunch of people saying they are excited to try it. Can you point to anything to the contrary?

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I don't think I personally care what you know but you've made a few statements that suggest your information is faulty. My intention is to be certain absinthe information is accurate. Nothing more.

 

My coloring technique comes from the Duplais & DeBrevans resources. It's not a secret.

I have seen Absinthe colored with Roman Wormwood, Melissa Root, Mint's and Hysopp. Its tough to say which is the best method since the first Absinthe's were clear.

Documentation, please?

 

Petit Roman Ww, Lemon B, and Hysopp are soaked and heated in the coloring phase.

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I have members holding me under a microscope (who are sitting behind a computer desk) trying to disect my knowledge of absinthe as to judge the quality of our product.

Remember, many of the members here who are 'sitting behind a computer desk' are also integral members of the absinthe community. Many are producers themselves.

 

As far as I've seen, no one is judging the quality of your product. In fact, all I've seen so far is a bunch of people saying they are excited to try it. Can you point to anything to the contrary?

 

No you are right. I am somewhat sensitive since I want to be reveared as a hardworking artisan. Noone has said anything negative to me. I do respect the membership.

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EDITED TO REFER TO BRIAN'S COMMENT, NOT JOE'S!

 

Its tough to say which is the best method since the first Absinthe's were clear.

Interesting. Do tell.

 

Interesting ... and of course there is not much documentation around from the 1700's. Logically I think someone MUST have made a clear product before deciding to make a coloured product. Benoit Noel, in writing about the first Henriod product, says:

 

"Que faut-il entendre par “extrait d’absinthe” ? Certainement pas la recette de l’absinthe apéritive qui n’a assurément pas été élaborée en un jour, mais plus sûrement de l’absinthe blanche."

Via Google Translate ..

"What do we mean by "extract of absinthe? Certainly not the recipe for absinthe aperitif that has certainly not been developed in a day, but most surely absinthe blanche"

 

Of course this is far from the documentation that Joe would like, and I'm certainly not stating it as fact ...

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Well, we know that Pernod Fils made a blanche, but was far overshadowed by the much more popular and successful verte.

 

But I guess the question is, do we go back to the origins of absinthe, (of course the first distilled product was more or less clear, unless they had the amazing foresight to make it colored from the get-go) or are we talking about when absinthe became a popular spirit? I think if we examine old manuals and taste vintage samples from that period, it seems pretty straightforward that several well known producers found their own 'right' way of coloring absinthe.

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