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Nate Clark

Opium and absinthe

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I see the recent topic on opium with many references to entertainment mediums but with no actual links to any reliable sources. In light of that, my friend keeps on insisting that once upon a time in some far off distant land they used opium in absinthe. I refute his notions of anything that would debase my beautiful green fairy, but alas I have no proof to prove him wrong. It has come down to he said she said basically. So anybody know of proof that opium was never used or maybe it actually was I don't know. Any actual links would be helpful too, not just cut and paste. He is a sucker for the internet and believes "if it comes from the internet, it must be true". Oh wait...that's how I get all my absinthe info. j/k. Please discuss. As always any and all help is much appreciated. Thanks guys!!!

Edited by Nate Clark

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You're looking at it backwards: it's your friend who has the burden of proof, not you. Have your friend provide credible sources for his supposition. When opium was an over-the-counter drug, it certainly is possible folks put it into their: absinthe, wine, milk, sarsaparilla... but that doesn't mean it was common. Have him provide just one credible reference (that does not include Hollywood).

 

I heard Mexico lost Texas to the US because Mexican soldiers were drinking tequila steeped with peyote buttons. You read it on the internet here. FACT!

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it mixes nicely with hydrocodone, but I'd think that discussion is for another forum.

 

 

 

 

and what Joe said. Knowers of "facts" must prove said "facts" to verify their "knowledge"; if they cannot do that, well......  :poop: :paperbag3:

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There's endless amusement and/or consternation to be had with what people think they know about absinthe.

 

On the historical side, I've read* that the "bohemian" scene in Belle Epoque France (and other rebellious social movements elsewhere) had a fair amount actual drug use going on in the form of opiates and hashish. Along with many other forms of hedonism, they celebrated absinthe, though millions of everyday squares were also drinking absinthe. But of course the the shocking exploits of the bohemians were more well known; coinciding with a real epidemic of alcoholism and socially turbulent times, it became easy to perpetrate the association fallacy of absinthe with substance abuse and general overindulgence.

 

So I think the vague awareness of this myth, along with reinforcement from the movies, forms "facts" in some modern folk's minds.

 

The power of popular myth is pretty interesting. The whole thing brings to mind urban legends like "The average person swallows (x number of) spiders a year", which is of course entirely fabricated, or mass rumor e-mails that people just take at face value.

 

*reference- Absinthe: History in a Bottle by Barnaby Conrad III

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Is it just my faulty perception, or is this "opium with absinthe" myth becoming more popular as the truth about Thujone's less-than-trippy effects becomes more well-known? I heard almost nobody talking about opium-absinthe drinking months ago, but now it seems to be being thrown around by all the usual suspects.

Edited by stefan

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The thujone crap has been pretty much debunked. Now people are looking for another demon.

 

I'd share a few anecdotes but this isn't the proper venue. <shrug>

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Actually, the first time I ran into someone who thought they "knew" all about absinthe after my initial readings and tastings (this was over two years ago), brought up the opium myth (I haven't heard it since).

 

No sooner than I'd spoken the word absinthe, he interrupted in a man-of-worldly-knowledge tone with "Absinthe tastes like shit, I've had plenty of absinthe. But if you drink it while smoking opium it changes the high." I was taken aback and didn't know what to say at first, just gave an incredulous look and managed to end the conversation with "Man, whatever you're drinking that tastes like shit, it aint real absinthe".

Edited by Green Baron

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hum, interesting.... opium with absinthe, do we fry eggs with these spices ?

 

:cheers:

 

- Marcelo

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I could be completely wrong, but I would go so far as to guess it was Hollywood images like those found in the movie "From Hell" (excellent movie, don't get me wrong) that have sparked this thinking that any and everyone who has drunk or is drinking absinthe is doing so laced with opium or laudanum.

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I heard they steep laudanum in wormwood casks, or was absinthe in laudanumwood casks.....I forget.....it must be all the thujone.

 

I guess nobody just drinks booze anymore.

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I study history at the University of Arizona here in sunny old Tucson, I have learned that only believe those who are crediable and have proper crudentials to prove so. Furthermore on the subject people who study a subject can disagree w/ each other, historians tend to fist fight over trivial idea (j/k). However the idea of opium in absinthe seems to be plausible but almost anything is. The whole scene From Hell seems a bit far fetched for due to the issue of if you're in an opium den you will usually just have opium. Just remember it is up to you to research and try to hack an idea of what seems plausible and what seems to be a myth. As far as my amatuer historical opinions go it seems that it could have happened but not to the extent where it was common place.

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Ahem. ;)

 

Just for the sake of readers who will come across this page by Googling, I'd like to point out again that adding laudanum to absinthe was not customary and that there is only one historic account of it that I know of.

 

Given that literally millions of people were drinking absinthe each day, of course there must have been a few junkies who added it to their absinthe. We accept that completely. But the discussion involves whether that was a commonplace tradition throughout the absinthe drinking world. That answer seems quite obviously to be no, given the amount of research that has been done on the subject.

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Apparently, you have found yourself at the wrong forum. :laugh:

 

Well I shouldn't be surprised that forum exists,but how is it you are familiar with it Joe?

Wink..wink...Nudge..nudge. :cheers:

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