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Auguru

Distillation question

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True.  Fortunately meth doesn't smell like licorice.  At least I assume it doesn't.

No, it smells strongly like cat piss. I mean strongly. Ask me how I know this.

 

*grumble*fuckingcrackheadneighbors*grumble*

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I know, this is probably as dumb a question as it gets, but...

 

If one started with an ethanol base (one that has already had liquor tax collected), where is the harm in distilling a "home-made" absinthe?  Especially for personal/non-commercial purposes?  Excepting safety issues, of course...  Yes, I know it is illegal to distill alcohol without a permit, but I'm not talking about producing "de novo" alcohol for consumption.

 

After all, it is entirely legal in the U.S. to distill other products (lavendar oil, for example).  And safety would be a primary concern there as well.

 

(Hiram, if this hews too closely to taboo territory, feel free to delete).

 

 

Hey Auguru,

 

The question which I believe you are asking is whether or not one may legally take one drink and turn it into another, through "distilling". Is this correct?

 

As far as I can tell, by starting out with a product that's already legal, you aren't really producing an alcohol, but altering one to suit your tastes. Is this legally correct, anyone?

 

sandpedlar

Edited by Hiram

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I addressed this earlier in the thread.

It's perfectly legal to make alcohol: home brew beer and wine are legal.  It's when you turn that alcohol into higher proof—and higher tax bracket—spirits that it becomes a problem.

No form of alcohol distillation is legal without both state and federal permits.  If you do anything, with any apparatus, the aim of which is to extract ethanol from any other fluid, it's illegal.  Even those little one-shot, glass, desktop brandy stills are illegal.

 

Trust me, I've been researching the hell out of this.  If there were a loophole, I'd have found it.

 

Please be judicious about the topic of distillation. Have a look at this.

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sandpedlar,

 

Yeah, that was the jist of it. 'Just seems odd that a person could take a legal alcohol base (from a passable vodka to something of higher quality), mix in whatever extract you preferred, or soaked a bag of herbs and it would bring down no wrath from the authorities (personal consumption, granted). But you consider "re-distilling" and it crosses that dad gum legal boundary. Take home message: macerate, safe. Distill at your own risk.

 

I suppose the follow-up question is whether a macerate-only approach ever yields a worthwhile HG?

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Doubs is supposed to be a reasonably good economy absinthe, and it's the product of maceration...

 

Why couldn't someone create an HG scale model that would be tasty?

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Could be, prairie oyster.

 

Anyway, that's equivocating, which you really excel at...

 

If an oil mix is the result of distillation, and doesn't fall under the category of a macerate, then why differentiate between the two, at all...and what about the assemblage of singly distilled herbs executed by the DeVoille Distillery...does that method result in an oil mix...by your logic, it does.

 

It seems like all these alleged classifications are not much more than semantic horseshit...what matters is how the product tastes.

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No. It's not semantics.

 

Perfumed spirits/essences, "oils" and alcoolats (like those employed in either a compound or simple form -- take, for instance, Hugues Miscault of VdF/BdF fame) all require distillation to extract the odorous principles of a substance. Which is exactly why the majority of essential oils were not held in high esteem in the past; they tended, in most instances, to be empyreumatic. You can't burn a cold macerate.

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And by the way, this isn't FV where you can shy away your stupidity by sucking on Heady P or throwin' out a "Chicka-Wow," "LARS!," or "harhar" emoticon.

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Oil mixed absinthes are made this way--

Crap herbs are powdered, added to hot water, and distilled immediately. That's not maceration. Maceration is soaking herbs in liquid for a period of time in order to infuse that liquid with flavour (like tea). There is no soaking period in essential oil manufacture. Also, no attention is paid to empyreuma or tails, which is why all essential oils taste astringent. This process is usually done by a 3rd party.

Those extracted oils are then purchased in bulk by an "absinthe manufacturer" and they mix those oils with alcohol and artificially colour it.

 

There's a reason why wormwood extract tastes like total shit and that's because it's macerated, not distilled, and macerating leaves in the nasties while distillation removes them.

 

If Doubs doesn't taste like shit, it's probably because the manufacturer makes the essences themselves and pays careful attention to the quality of what they're extracting and they use good herbs.

 

Again though, none of that involves maceration.

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This is all very interesting, but please eschew the epithets and insults, gentlemen.

 

To summarize:

 

Maceration:

1. Soak raw herbs in alcohol.

2. Filter

3. Drink

4. Barf

 

Oil Mix:

1. Soak raw herbs in water

2. Distill, collecting the oil which floats on the surface of the distilled water because oil and water don't mix.

3. Mix various oils with alcohol to approximate absinthe.

4. Drink

5. Sometimes barf, sometimes not.

 

Distillation:

1. Soak raw herbs in alcohol.

2. Distill. Distilled oils are dissolved in alcohol

3. If blanche, drink, enjoy. If verte, go to step 4.

4. Macerate with additional raw herbs

5. Filter

6. Drink, enjoy.

 

As Gatsby pointed out, the makers of oil mixes generally buy pre-made oils and just throw the stuff together. If you went to the herb store and bought a bunch of essential oils: anise, fennel, wormwood, etc., and then mixed them with high-proof neutral grain spirits, you'd be making an oil mix.

I suppose the follow-up question is whether a macerate-only approach ever yields a worthwhile HG?

As G&C said: NO. Not for absinthe, anyway. Wormwood is way too bitter; it simply doesn't work, it's all the wrong flavor, etc., etc. There are however some nice herbal tonics and liqueurs that can be made that way. None of them are anywhere similar to absinthe.

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Thanks for the clarification. I assumed it was made like all other herbal extracts, when in fact it isn't an extract, it's a tincture. I edited my post to fix that.

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Oil Mix:

1. Soak raw herbs in water

2. Distill, collecting the oil which floats on the surface of the distilled water because oil and water don't mix.

3. Mix various oils with alcohol to approximate absinthe.

4. Drink

5. Sometimes barf, sometimes not.

I believe, especially in the case of the Doubs, that by "oil mix" they intend to convey that the product is an assemblage of what would traditionally be understood as an "essence," and, like an essence, be derived from an alcoholic base.

 

I'm sure Oxy will clarify things, either way.

 

The wormwood extracts are nasty and probably not good for ya neither.

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Well, technically it is an extract, just not an essential oil. Most of the "herbal extracts" one gets are tinctures. Vanilla extract is a simple tincture. Essential oils are a whole different ballpark.

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The oils would be trés-nasty if they made it (absinthe like the Doubs or La Fée) from the distillation of a water-steep, but they don't even nearly taste as bad as that.

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As Hiram stated, tinctures are traditionally understood in the manufacture of liquors to be obtained from the maceration of aromatic plants in alcohol. Tinctures required digestors or extractors to increase the assumption of a plant's principles. This does not involve the distillative extraction of those principles.

post-14-1133895274.jpg

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Which would'nt work if one was trying to make something like Doubs...sorry, I'm a visual learner so I need to twist words around until they make sense.

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There is a style of beer known as Ice beer (e.g. Eis Bock). It is made by brewing a normal beer and once fermentation is complete, partially freezing it and removing part of the ice. The beer it then allowed to stabilize above freezing and finished.

 

Aventinus Eis Bock

 

According to US law, this is illegal as it concentrates alcohol.

 

 

Any method of concentrating alcohol is considered 'Distillation' under federal law, whether it involves heat or not.

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I know the anise extract they sell in grocery stores is at least made by distillation. It's perfectly clear, 120 proof, and louches pretty thick. Most other extracts I've seen are also relatively high in alcohol, and I assume they're either distilled or tinctures. While I'm sure these aren't the highest quality sources of herbal flavors, it seems like they would at least make a drinkable absinthe.

 

I'm not familiar with steam distilled or water distilled products, though. They don't sound too appetizing.

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If one could source decent wormwood oil, anise oil and fennel oil, one could legally make an oil mix for their own consumption, i.e., not for sale. It would most likely be horrible. I have no idea where one could get such oils, aside from the anise, in small enough quantities to afford. Everything I've seen is sold in at least one to five gallon units.

 

Hey! Maybe WS should sell "Legal Make It At Home Oil Mix Absinthe Kits" based on a turn of the century recipe, of course. Just add vodka!

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I believe in at least one case, there was a clueless one out there, that did manage to get a bottle of wormwood oil and ingest it, causing near death from renal failure.

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