Jump to content
Jack Griffin

Topettes

Recommended Posts

I thought it might be nice to have a general thread on topettes. I searched, and couldn't find one.

The only thread I could find about topettes was Aggelos' "Monster Topettes".

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoys topettes, so please post pics and details of what you have!

 

Here's one I just found; it's an 8 dose faceted carafe style with etched dose lines and numbers. It has the same kind of glass ring slipped over the neck that the old Pernod Fils bottles had, and no trace of ever having a stopper (No scuffs). I suspect that this style used a cork, not a blown-glass bouchon to seal the top. It is 16 cm tall, handblown, and has a distinct pontil indent on the bottom. I'd GUESS that it is 1870-1890s... Anyone with insight into this, I'm happy to hear from you!

 

 

8DoseFacet2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That’s a really neat, perhaps unique topette SB; by no means am I a topette connoisseur or expert, but I have never seen a topette in that shape. I have seen them with that chiseled-bottom like this from Oxy's page

Topette-6-1797-24KB.jpg

(not sure of the proper name for it, to me it reminds me of the base of a tumbler) but never in that particular, sweeping style. The etching seems right on the money as far as style; all in all I think that’s a great piece! I’d also love to hear the opinion of someone with authority on the subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mat, I've done more research, and it seems these were not used with bouchons, but rather corks or nothing at all.

 

 

Here's an authentic Belle Epoque cell phone signal strength indicator:

The one on the left is the giant one I got from Aggelos. The 10 doses are exactly double the normal dose.

Draining this in one sitting would kill you!

 

TopettesInArow.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have a topette but no place for it. I'm thinking of using it as a wind chime for the back porch. :devil:

 

 

I've seen that big ol topette Bill...Have you tried one of the double-sized doses yet? You need a big glass!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My big glass shattered a few weeks ago. :(

 

I haven't used the topette. I reckon I could make a hummingbird feeder out of it. Hmmmm.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So while working on research for the ‘brown absinthe’ thread, I noticed a practically dead-on match for your topette SB; it’s in the Absinthe Encyclopedia, p. 285-86, and only in drawing form on period catalogues. Either way, might help narrow down your knowledge quest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even though it's listed as a lemonade carafe in The Absinthe Encyclopedia, I don't think anyone would fault you if you advertised it as an absinthe piece. As Mat pointed out in his second post, the style of the etching matches up very well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Phoenix, but there won't be any advertising. I'd NEVER sell a lemonade carafe...they're simply too rare! :tongue: It seems it was only used for BROWN lemonade by the way... :devil:

 

Oh, and thanks BTW Mat!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@#**@# Phoenix... Here I think he's just being a wise-ass, and it turns out he's right! A FREAKING LEMONADE topette. These rotten kids charged me 40 cents for the four doses I drank! :angry2:

 

 

lemonade.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the time, topettes were used mainly for absinthe, since absinthe was the most consumed beverage.

 

That's being said, having a topette with a "kirsch" painted and etched label on it (very fine piece, would be perfect but for a tiny bump), I can pretty surely say that not all topettes have contained absinthe.

 

Pretty much the same old debate as the one with glasses : do you want something VERY specific to absinthe, or do you want something that served a purpose around absinthe (eg. bistrot glasses, etc)

 

All things considered, a beautiful topette is a thing of beauty

mg8532.jpg

img4cu.jpg

 

I juste have nearly to much of these :) (don't jump the trigger, not selling)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would tend to think that the dose itself is an important factor. When the doses pour out in the 18-25 ml range as most do, it at least to me, would indicate a strong alcohol was inside. I would imagine if one were drinking shots of something other than absinthe neat, a topette might also serve the same function for the bartender and customer. Any insight into this anyone?

 

Regarding the carafe style topette in the first post above, I am fairly certain it was made for absinthe as the doses are perfect for my antique true absinthe glasses with etched dose lines or reservoirs.. It is quite small at only 5.75" tall by 2.75" at its widest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your statements and questions make it seem like you keep missing the point Aggelos has been trying to get across about absintheware vs. bistroware, or maybe I'm just not understanding your request for more info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your statements and questions make it seem like you keep missing the point Aggelos has been trying to get across about absintheware vs. bistroware, or maybe I'm just not understanding your request for more info.

 

I'm curious about specifics regarding topette shape and usage in general, BECAUSE of Aggelos' reply.

Aggelos' reply says "At the time, topettes were used mainly for absinthe".

I'd like to know if there is clear evidence about which topettes were used for other things, if they all were multi-use, and/or if some were exclusively for absinthe. With glasses, we have these guidelines. I have not seen any such guideline for topettes anywhere in print or the web. I have been told by others that topettes were strictly for absinthe...Conflicting info. This is why I'd like to know for certain.

 

While helpful, my pal Aggelos' reply wasn't very specific. Such documentation may not exist, and may be an educated guess, or there may be clear documentation regarding this. This is what I was asking. I do not yet own the encyclopedia, and have not seen the reference that Mat Bocian spoke of.

 

Thanks BTW Aggelos!

 

Here's Marc's very helpful reply to my query which goes along with Clement's general take on things. (his use of cheap refers to the $25 I paid for it) Oddly, he doesn't mention lemonade! ;)

 

"As for the topette, this is a nice one, and cheap! You're correct those were used with corks, not bouchons. They could be used for Rhum and other liquors too, but mostly absinthe, the most popular drink at the time."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can say that I've never heard of topettes being used only for absinthe. From everything I've heard they were general use pieces. Absinthe being the most common drink pretty almost insures that absinthe was in them at some point in time back in the Belle Epoque.

 

The only topettes that I'd imagine can be confirmed as being specifically for absinthe and nothing else would be the ones with absinthe advertising etched on to them.

 

My 2 cents until Marc gets back to you (if you care).

Edited by Phoenix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your input Phoenix, Marc did get back to me, as you can see in the post above your last, and he agreed with what Aggelos was saying. This is exactly why I started this thread; information! I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't know some of this. Any thread that informs and educates about absinthe is what we are all about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how I missed that. In fact, I could of sworn that wasn't their initially, but there's no "This post has been edited by" tag on it. Looking back through the thread, I'm not even sure how I assumed you were waiting for Marc to reply to a message at all. I must be going insane. It's the only logical explanation.

 

Oh look at that, it's time for my medication.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd like to know if there is clear evidence about which topettes were used for other things, if they all were multi-use, and/or if some were exclusively for absinthe. With glasses, we have these guidelines. I have not seen any such guideline for topettes anywhere in print or the web. I have been told by others that topettes were strictly for absinthe...Conflicting info. This is why I'd like to know for certain.

Hum, clear guidelines on whether glasses are absinthe glasses or not... Sorry Scott, I won't be this definitive. There are glasses we know for sure they were absinthe glasses, but they were scarce, truth be told.

People used to drink absinthe in any kind of glass. And there also are "dosed" glasses which are not absinthe. The truth is, the only glasses we can tell for certain that they are absinthe glasses are those marked as such in the old manufactures pamphlets. (and still in that case, some of their products have been relabeled as "absinthe related" among the years)

 

Topettes... Let's cut to the chase

mg9770.jpg

The word in the label is "Kirsch". Would have it been "absinthe", this topette would have been a killer, but well... Proof that anyone who told you that topettes were only for absinthe was wrong.

 

Alcool doses such as this one

anciennebouledoseurapas.jpg

have been emerging at the start of the XXth century, but as far as I know, AFTER the ban.

 

And as I said above, absinthe glasses (so glasses with dose) were scarce, more so in bistrots and bars.

 

Topettes are, once again from all I have gathered, so talking my opinion here, multi purpose tools to store and serve dosed beverage.

Main use case : a man goes at the counter, and asks for absinthe for his table. The barman offers a topette, and when the topette is brought back, the barman charges for the number of doses consumed. Meanwhile, each dose was poured in a different glass.

 

Rule of thumb : unless clearly specified (for example with branded topettes, or my "kirsch" one), topettes were designed to be used with any kind of alcohol.

The reason why we associate them with absinthe is obvious : the most consumed beverage which would associate with a topette at that time was absinthe.

Oh, that and the fact that in some trade catalogues, there are indeed "vermouth" topettes and "absinthe" topettes.

 

And yes, I do have some

mg940202.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Aggelos! That is very helpful. Nice stuff BTW! Thanks for taking the time to share!

 

Part of the reason this is a good thing to discuss here, is that on every website I've been to nothing has been said about their use with other drinks. La Maison D'Absinthe for instance says right at the top of their antique topette page: "Topettes were used as a vessel to serve absinthe in bistros and bars". Certainly true, but if you don't know the subtle history, or are a beginner to collecting, this could easily be interpreted as an exclusive use to absinthe. The same is true on Alandia's site, which has many "absinthe topettes". Further, the well-distributed book (which has several errors in it) Absinthe Sip of Seduction, has a section on topettes, only mentioning absinthe in their use. This book also states they ALL used stoppers (bouchons), and that they are not complete without them, which is not true. In fact, the first two topettes seen in this thread used corks. (Mine actually has the cork!)

 

It is easy to see why I among others, did not know about the multi-use of these topettes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're very welcome Scott.

 

I'm always very cautious when I talk about the non specificity of topettes to absinthe, as it could seem that a well versed collector does not consider they have value as absinthe related paraphernalia.

 

Let's consider various things :

- For absinthe related antiques, they're very cheap compared to spoons or glasses, while still beautiful stuff, and I definitely think a topette should be part of any "budget" collection

- A very fine topette (think branded, ouraline, rare shape) will still sell as high as a good glass

- Corkscrew... Not absinthe related, right ? Not much more than topettes any

way. Still, highly collectible, more so if it's one of the very scarce "absinthe branded" corckscrews (last one I've seen sold for several hundreds)

And that's only a few things to ponder.

 

Conclusion : topettes definitely are part of the antique absinthe paraphenalia a collector should have and should be proud of

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love topettes.

You can see some new ones I've added to the Boutique yesterday, the first one is amazing with its stopper-phial: Musée Boutique

 

So here we go for some topettes from my collection.

 

 

Some amber/honey topettes, my favorite color, I find them really classy.

 

100829063230736526655388.jpg

 

100829063230736526655389.jpg

 

100829063231736526655390.jpg

 

 

******

A very nice topette with enamelled doses and address "Pernot - Bd Victor Hugo 129 - St Ouen"

I've seen only one other topette with the owner address on back since, it's quite rare.

 

100829063230736526655385.jpg

 

100829063230736526655386.jpg

 

 

******

 

Talking about topettes specifically for absinthe.

No dose etched on the first two, at the time you could order topettes with or without stoppers, and with or without doses etched.

100829063230736526655387.jpg

 

100829062332736526655188.jpg

(Unfortunately the gilding around has disappeared over time, but you can still perceive it)

 

 

100829062331736526655185.jpg

(The color is more gold than orange in reality)

 

 

A 18 doses absinthe topette:

 

100829062331736526655186.jpg

 

100829062331736526655187.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×