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Did Le Tourment Vert go out of business?

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For a while in Los Angeles, most bars that carried "absinthe" on their menu carried Le Tourment Vert. It was pretty much ubiquitous in Liquor stores for most of 2008 and 2009. Now, the bars that used to have it have stopped carrying it, and I don't see it anymore in the liquor and wine shops I frequent.

 

Did it finally go out of business? Anyone have any info on this?

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Can't say for sure, as the producers will no longer speak to me, but I think they stopped production about a year or so ago and have simply been working through their old inventory ever since. I think they redirected their efforts into the 'absine refresher' drinks. I also think those have since stopped selling as well.

 

I can say for sure that they originally dominated the West Coast market through a huge marketing and money push and through their personal relationships that they had with others in the bar business when absinthe in the US was still in its infancy. But other products began to push it out after some major mistakes were made on their part. A grass roots movement in Las Vegas all but eliminated it from that market in 2009 after practically being the exclusive absinthe for a while, then its demise kind of spread from there.

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Hmm, that's very interesting. I remember a bartender telling me that they would give complimentary cases of LTV to bars to promote their product.

 

I guess I should hold onto my remaining mini bottle as a collection piece.

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So, a sub standard brand has come an gone.

 

Damage assessment question, what did it mean for the goal of putting quality absinthe on the shelves?

Was LTV a minor bump in the road, or did it do major damage to the reputation of absinthe?

 

Did the damage caused set things back slightly, or was it years?

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I don't really think there's any way to tell if it will have long term impacts, but I actually think that in the short term, it helped to spur on producers of real absinthe to begin educating West Coasters on what real absinthe is. That's how Las Vegas was taken back. So, maybe it had a good impact.

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So, a sub standard brand has come an gone.

 

Damage assessment question, what did it mean for the goal of putting quality absinthe on the shelves?

Was LTV a minor bump in the road, or did it do major damage to the reputation of absinthe?

 

Did the damage caused set things back slightly, or was it years?

 

In my opinion, I have to do a lot of education to let folks know that traditional absinthe does NOT taste like LTV. I encounter folks who have sworn off absinthe after tasting LTV as their first absinthe. Real damage was done in the Washington State market. Just my .02

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Couldn't happen to a nicer more deserving group of people.

Fixed.

I don't believe they gave a rat's ass about absinthe. I suspect they were just trying to jump on the tiny absinthe bandwagon and and make as much money as possible before they broke it all to shit. As Z said, they only made our education job more difficult. Good riddance. :thumbdown:

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Did it finally go out of business? Anyone have any info on this?

1) It has lost a lot of its retail distribution in the last year, maybe 50% of what it used to have.

2) Several States have announced they have de-listed it.

3) Their Facebook and Twitter accounts have not been updated for over a year.

4) The Kübler importer wrote on Facebook about LTV: "Most of their distributors in the US announced their white flag about 6 months ago." Since Kübler and LTV are/were distributed by the same wholesaler in several States, Kübler's importer would probably be well-informed.

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Still listed here in CT, at $24.99 wholesale, $30.99 retail. The same outfit carries Green Moon. Amazing, since they are the distributor of the Sazerac, Handy, Blanton's, Eagle, B Trace, Redemption etc.. You'd think they would know better.

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So, a sub standard brand has come an gone.

 

Damage assessment question, what did it mean for the goal of putting quality absinthe on the shelves?

Was LTV a minor bump in the road, or did it do major damage to the reputation of absinthe?

 

Did the damage caused set things back slightly, or was it years?

 

I don't think that real damage was done, to be honest.

 

Here's my absinthe story. I've wanted to try absinthe ever since I read stories about it causing hallucinations and seeing it consumed in my favorite scene in Bram Stoker's Dracula. When I heard that it was finally legalized in the US in December 2007, I asked around to see who had it. A bartender friend of mine said she carried absinthe. So I went to her venue and tried what she had, which happened to be Absente (not the Grand Absente, but the substitute stuff).

 

Everyone told me I would hate it because it tastes like black licorice, and I hate black licorice. But I had it and really liked the experience. The intoxication was much different than anything I'd experienced when drinking a vodka or whiskey based drink; I felt a more focused buzz. It didn't weigh down on my head and make me feel stupid. I went to her bar frequently to have more Absente, and for my birthday she gave me my own bottle.

 

Around the corner from my house, there was another bar called Liquid Kitty. They served absinthe there, too - a different brand called Le Tourment Vert. It was the same brand carried at the Edison, but they charged only $8 a glass instead of $15. I'd say that for the first six months of absinthe drinking, the two products I consumed on a regular basis were Absente and Le Tourment Vert. It was only after discovering the WS and reading the reviews that I ventured out and bought a bottle of Lucid, and then Kübler, and then St. George, and then Leopold Bros., and then Marteau, and then Vieux Pontarlier, and then Mansinthe, and then Vieux Carre, and then Walton Waters...

 

I can't stomach Le Tourment Vert even remotely anymore, and only have a glass of Absente when it's a choice between that and cheap tequila. But, they didn't drive away my interest. They introduced me to a world that got better with each new glass.

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I'm glad to hear that your experience with LTV led you to the path of good absinthe. I can say, from my experience as a producer, that the vast majority of folks I've met who have tried LTV as their first absinthe, did not have a positive experience and formed a negative opinion regarding absinthe as a result. IMHO, real and lasting damage was done.

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I can't stomach Le Tourment Vert even remotely anymore...

 

I couldn't stomach it the first try. I threw 2/3 of the first glass, I tried to louche, down the drain. Then I gave the rest of the mini bottle I bought to an interested retailer, just so he would know how bad it could get in our state.

 

... I can say, from my experience as a producer, that the vast majority of folks I've met who have tried LTV as their first absinthe, did not have a positive experience and formed a negative opinion regarding absinthe as a result. IMHO, real and lasting damage was done.

 

I would have, as well (had a negative experience). My first absinthe was the new Mata Hari, and, in retrospect, it's amazing that I went any further with absinthe. And I know that many here have suffered far worse incarnations.

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There's a photo from RMGH 2009 that depicts my reaction to LTV, in summation: :puke:

 

There's an even better one of Joe giving it a proper burial. Dozens of leaves of grass were innocently murdered in that spot though.

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... Dozens of leaves of grass were innocently murdered in that spot though.

 

I think I just saw that episode on "Criminal Minds... Absinthe". Or maybe I was just hallucinating.

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What really happened is only one blade of grass took the full amount of LTV, then went around on a murderous absinthism-induced rampage.

 

Grass Lanfray.

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Its death screams were contagious. Anyone joining us at RMGH this year can visit the memorial, near the firepit.

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IMHO, real and lasting damage was done.

Agreed. In this respect, the USA is not too different from other markets which have had to suffer imposter "absinthes." The main difference is that "real absinthe" was and continues to be the major part of what is drunk in the USA, while it's much more of an uphill struggle against low quality in Europe, Canada, etc.

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Maybe distilled absinthe makers should make it more obvious that they make 'Distilled Absinthe', to distinguish it from the other macereted, or 'flavored' crap.

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It would be really nice if one particular word on the label could help as a guide to quality. It's a question that we mull over quite a bit (and producers struggle with when it comes what words/wording that the TTB will authorize), but there are some things to keep in mind:

 

- The general public knowledge of the difference between distilled, cold oil mixed, (and macerated steepsinthe) seems extremely limited. From what I understand, many other spirits on the market (bourbon, gin, etc) are actually oil mixes (many even with artificial coloring), but that doesn't stop them from being popluar prodcuts with a low production cost and high profit margin.

 

- Under the most general historically based definition of absinthe, an artificially colored oil mix can indeed qualify as a true absinthe (check the Duplais manual). It's just almost all of the artificially colored oil mixes on the market are NOT authentic (contain pre-added sugar, the wrong flavors, and/or wrong color) and are way overpriced for what they are. However, that doesn't mean it isn't possible to create a passable, lower priced oil mix absinthe.

 

"Superieure" or "Suisse" were indicators of the quality and manufacture method used in the pre-ban days, but have no meaningful definition in modern times. "Superieure"is currently used by everyone and their mother, while (I'm taking an educated guess) "Suisse" probably can't be used these days unless the product was actually made in Switzerland per international trade law.

 

I think these are some of the major reasons why many here at the WS are in favor of getting a reasonable legal definition of "absinthe" instituted as a recognized spirits category in the U.S.

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The general public knowledge of the difference between distilled, cold oil mixed, (and macerated steepsinthe) seems extremely limited.

 

 

I've run into a few people who didn't know and just plain didn't care about the difference between fermentation, distillation, brewery and distillery. :thumbdown:

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Yup. I had a client yesterday who had REAL absinthe, that his best friend makes from kits.

If he hadn't been such a dick about it, I would have poured him some of the good stuff, but he wasn't worth wasting it, and likely would not have appreciated it anyway. Sometimes it's worth the time to tell folks what's up, other times it's a losing battle.

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"Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig." -- Lazarus Long

 

I agree that real damage has been done by LTV. It's not permanent, but it's going to take a good amount of time to regain the ground that was lost.

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