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absinthejack

Euro Jades vs. US Jades

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I've been a big fan of the Jades since the begining. I recently purchased the Edouard, PF 1901 and the VS 1898 from LDF. These are the versions of the Jades that will be released in the US. I had the chance to do a side by side comparison of the two and I find that the US releases don't quite have the flavor of the Euro ones. There are certain herbs like calamus that are used in the Euro ones that are not allowed to be used in the US versions. I think this affects the flavor. The US versions are still top notch, but I don't think they compare to the Euro ones. Has anyone else had this experience, or am I just full of shit ( which, I admit, is a possibility)? :laugh:

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Brian, absinthejack clearly stated that the Euro Jades contain calamus and the US ones don't. Instead of outright dismissing his statement shouldn't we wait to hear what evidence he has to support it?

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OK, let me clarify. My main point is that in my opinion the US jades don't taste as good as the Euro ones. I know that most Euro absinthes use calamus root. It's not allowed in US absinthes. I believe it is an important flavoring ingrediant. I'm not saying that I know Euro jades have calamus and the US ones don't, my point is that there are herbs commonly used in Euro absinthes that aren't allowed in US ones. Wouldnt't this affect the taste? That's my only point.

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Taste is a funny thing. Sometimes we look to taste a difference and find it, even when it's not there. Brian linked his older post, which contained the quote directly from Ted which said there was no reformulation for the US releases, and that all are the same. Having said that, there have been notable differences between batches of the same Jade products (which Ted also mentions in the quote pasted by Brian), so it's possible that your comparison reflected two batches that suffered this variation.

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I know that most Euro absinthes use calamus root.

Most or some?

 

I'm not saying that I know Euro jades have calamus and the US ones don't,
Well, that actually was what you said. ;) Maybe not intentionally though.

 

my point is that there are herbs commonly used in Euro absinthes that aren't allowed in US ones. Wouldnt't this affect the taste?

That's a different point than what you originally posted, but yes. If a brand uses two different recipes, one for the EU and one for the US, then they most definitely would be different in some ways.

 

Do you know of any specific brands that have stated that they have two different recipes? It would be an interesting comparison.

 

Sometimes we look to taste a difference and find it, even when it's not there.
That could be the case (I've seen it happen first hand in some of my group tastings), but I think it's much more likely that Jack might be experiencing the batch differential that you mentioned, as there were a couple of batches that seemed like completely different products.

 

Jack, do your bottles have a date on them?

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does anyome else notice the difference in taste from the Euro jades to the US ones?

Since there hasn't been a change in recipe, the only difference that should be perceptable would be that of batch variation. I can't say for sure, but my guess would be that now that Ted apparently has the QC issue taken care of, we shouldn't see as much variation between batches in the future.

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The last Euro bottles I had are from 2009, the US bottles I have are from 2010. And of course producers are going claim it's the same recipe in both countries as they don't want to let the US consumers know they're not getting the same product. Do I have proof? No. Brian, do you have proof they're the same, other than someone said they are/

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Someone? You mean the producer of the Jades? Yeah, he's probably lying just to fool us.

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Brian, do you have proof they're the same, other than someone said they are/

I didn't mean for this to get contentious. I can see why you'd think that some producers might not want it to be known.

 

But unless you want to do some analyses on the two of them, I'm content to trust the guy who actually produces the product. Not simply because it's Ted (there are plenty of untrustworthy people in the absinthe business), but because Ted is a good friend, and he's always been very forthcoming and trustworthy with me when the issue of absinthe has come up.

 

I was serious about doing a side by side of products that admit to having two recipes.

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Interesting fascination with calamus though.

 

FYI: the compound β-asarone found within calamus is potentially carcinogenic and genotoxic, and is therefore disallowed both in the US and EU. There, however, they make an exception for alcoholic beverages to the tune of 1mg/1kg (of β-asarone). It isn't so much that you're lacking in flavor by not having the old sweet flag added to your recipe in amounts greater than law permits. It's just that you're just lacking in potential cancer. Also, I know there are a lot of websites which would tell you that sweet flag (calamus) is a hallucinogen, and may lead some people to seek out absinthe with the good stuff in it. But just like thujone in wormwood, it's narcotic effects are bogus.

 

 

Previous evaluations

 

The Scientific Committee for Food considered β-asarone in 1979 (SCF, 1979) and recommended limits of 0.1 mg/kg for foods and beverages with exceptional limits of 1 mg/kg for alcoholic beverages and seasonings used in snack foods (EEC, 1988).

 

The Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Flavouring Substances (CEFS) evaluated β-asarone as an active principle in food flavourings in 1981. The recommended limits for β-asarone were 0.1 mg/kg for foods and beverages with exceptional limits of 1 mg/kg for alcoholic beverages and foods containing Acorus calamus L. or Asarum europaeum L. (CoE, 1981). In 1998, the data were reviewed. The CEFS concluded that β;-asarone was clearly carcinogenic in rodents and potentially genotoxic and that it would be prudent to reduce the level of β-asarone as far as possible, but there may be a need for specific exceptions for alcoholic beverages. CEFS encouraged the use of Acorus calamus varieties with low contents or free of β-asarone and proposed limits of 0.05 mg/kg for foods and beverages and 0.5 mg/kg for alcoholic beverages traditionally flavoured with calamus. The tetraploid form of Acorus calamus should be placed in category 6, i.e. the plant is considered as unfit for human consumption in any amounts. It was further concluded that the exceptional limit of 1 mg/kg for food containing Acorus calamus or Asarum europaeum could be removed. In vivo mutagenicity studies and DNA binding studies were requested in order to clarify whether β-asarone is genotoxic or not (CEFS, 1998).

 

JECFA has not established an ADI for β-asarone but recommended that the oil of calamus used in foods should have the lowest practicable levels of β-asarone (JECFA, 1981).

 

Current Regulations

 

Annex II of Directive 88/388/EEC on flavourings sets the following maximum levels for β-asarone in foodstuffs and beverages to which flavourings or other food ingredients with flavouring properties have been added: 0.1 mg/kg in foodstuffs and beverages, with the exception of 1 mg/kg in alcoholic beverages and seasonings used in snack foods. β-Asarone as such may not be added to foodstuffs (EEC, 1988).

 

In the US, calamus oil and its extracts are prohibited from use in food (Federal Register, 1968).

 

 

Read the full white paper for yourself here.

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To answer your question directly, yes I have noticed a difference between EU and US Jades but nothing that I would attribute to recipe. As been already noted, the differences I've noticed would be much more akin to batch or herb variances such as age or source.

 

I also notice a difference between Ridge batches. As we all know, one month or six months or a year will make a huge difference in the flavor. To compare two batches will always reveal differences no matter how exact the recipe is.

 

Regarding calamus, it is generally a herb used in such tiny amounts that 99% of us wouldn't know if it was used or was not and that is assuming we actually know what calamus tastes like.

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I've certainly tasted differences between bottles. But that's regardless of where they were sold. Each batch I've tasted has been different in some way while still retaining the main characteristics of the brand.

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If you really want to get your cancer on, try this recipe from Harry Johnson’s 1882 ‘Bartenders’ Manual’:

 

Gin and Calamus (this would have been a Genever gin and not a London dry)

(Use a Whiskey Glass)

 

In preparing this drink, take 3 or 4 long pieces of calamus root, cut it into small pieces and put into an empty bottle; fill up the bottle with gin, and let it draw sufficiently to get all the essence of the calamus into the gin.

In serving this drink, hand out the whiskey glass, and the bottle with the gin and calamus mixture, to let the customer help himself.

If the mixture in the bottle should be too strong for the customer, let him add plain gin to suit his tastes.

 

 

 

FYI, I am aware of two modern absinthes (one EU and the other domestic US) that were tested positive by the TTB for calamus, when neither used calamus in their recipes...

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I have noticed that there is a substantial softening and rounding with the Jades if left for a year or so before opening. I had 2 bottles each of VS1898 and 1901, opened 1 of each right away, and left the others for nearly a year after Ted suggested to me they would do well this way. All were from the same batch. The aged bottles were much more enjoyable, and I still had an ounce or so in the 1st bottles for comparison, so I had some form of control in the test. I enjoyed ALL the bottles, but the year of aging did mature the flavors.

 

This is likely part of what you are sensing, or as suggested, different batches, or a combo of both!

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I have noticed that there is a substantial softening and rounding with the Jades if left for a year or so before opening.

 

Agreed.

 

I think the strong (almost musky) character of the marc base definitely tends to become more subdued, allowing the herbal flavorto shine through in a more harmonious way.

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I think you can count on that with any absinthe. I am very excited about trying

a few bottles I have "resting" in five or ten years. ;)

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If you really want to get your cancer on, try this recipe from Harry Johnson’s 1882 ‘Bartenders’ Manual’:

:laf:

 

FYI, I am aware of two modern absinthes (one EU and the other domestic US) that were tested positive by the TTB for calamus, when neither used calamus in their recipes...

I think there are a few producers who have had some pretty strange and surprising results from those TTB dingleberries.

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FYI, I am aware of two modern absinthes (one EU and the other domestic US) that were tested positive by the TTB for calamus, when neither used calamus in their recipes...

 

That was us, pierrverte. Orris Root can trigger their test for beta aserone. Found that out the hard way. We would've been the 1st absinthe released in the US if it weren't for that silly test.

 

Ah, well. It was good to see Lance release his first. He was in a much better position to handle that surge in demand. There's no way that we could've done that.

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I think you can count on that with any absinthe.

 

Not necessarily.

 

I've rested a few under ideal conditions that did not rest well.

 

Maybe they needed to lie down on one of those Swedish therapeutic beds, and receive a little counselling. :laugh:

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FYI, I am aware of two modern absinthes (one EU and the other domestic US) that were tested positive by the TTB for calamus, when neither used calamus in their recipes...

 

That was us, pierrverte. Orris Root can trigger their test for beta aserone. Found that out the hard way. We would've been the 1st absinthe released in the US if it weren't for that silly test.

 

Ah, well. It was good to see Lance release his first. He was in a much better position to handle that surge in demand. There's no way that we could've done that.

 

You never cease to surprise me at what a humble gentleman you remain as, in this business. I guess you just haven't lived through enough absinthe politics...and are, of course, a great distiller :cheers:

Actually, it wasn't you to whom I refer to, so that makes 2 domestics...

 

Quite frankly, anyone who makes real absinthe commercially today has to have nerves of steel and somehow retain a fraction of a sense of humor - there just is no way that other distillers go through the government scrutiny (down even to product names and label images that are NOT restricted for any other spirit, beer or wine), and then, when you finally have something, you have to convince distributors that there ARE actually customers that will buy it from them, even after they overstocked on another 'absinthe' that had lots of marketing money because the money wasn't used in production, and then you are forced to explain to potential consumers how your product is actually 'real' compared to that other 'absinthe' that they drank the whole bottle of in shots in one night and didn't get high but had the worst hangover of their life...(wait a minute, isn't that tequila's story?? - no, pretty much no one asks if your tequila is real no matter how crappy it is or how stupid looking the bottle is - and no problem to have skeletons all over your label and most everyone expects to drink tequila in shots and do something stupid, but there's no weird psycho-active chemical in tequila, it's just alcohol, right?)

Oh, and the taste? Once you've tried one absinthe, they're all the same, right? You know, like wine and whiskey?

 

Good thing absinthe is SO profitable... :laf:

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About Leopold:

You never cease to surprise me at what a humble gentleman you remain.

I couldn't agree more.

 

 

Thank you Pierreverte for your sense of humor and, well, just being here for this stuff. Cheers!

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Quite frankly, anyone who makes real absinthe commercially today has to have nerves of steel and somehow retain a fraction of a sense of humor

 

Yep. That's why I have so much respect for those who do it, and for those who pioneered the efforts to revive the style. It's much, much harder than it looks. We're competing with some of the largest corporations the world has ever seen, and they don't take prisoners. I'm lucky in that I've been around the block a few times (no with absinthe per se, but I've been in the alcohol biz since 95) so none of the hijinks surprise me anymore.

 

And those little guys who can figure out how to dodge the minefields just amaze me. I'm very proud of my peers.

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Good thing absinthe is SO profitable... :laf:

 

Totally! We're all just so rich! I just love my open top jeep in the winter, the invigorating subzero windchills really toughens one up! :laf:

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