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greytail

Pre-ban's original's taste

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Ha, I just posted something similar in the stupid thread about "no real absinthe in US"]

good to see you found this. No need for me to post a link in the other thread. :)

 

I believe Clem has addressed everything you had concerns about in his posts.

 

I see what you were saying in the other thread and I think we are agreeing.

 

What I was saying is that today's stuff is probably pretty darn close to what was available back then. The "beauty" or "amazing" nature of the pre-ban stuff is more due to its aging than its original profile.

 

Just a guess of course because I doubt anybody who had a 1901 in 1901 is talking much about it today.

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It's a combination of the two, although I think the quality of the original components tends to play a more significant role than 100 years of aging, and that quality was, in general, higher (particularly when it comes to grape based absinthes) than it is today.

 

A crapsinthe distilled today probably won't taste much better after a century of aging.

Edited by Absomphe

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Only if he shows up. That alone would be worth celebrating.

Which brings to point, has anyone actually met Abs? I've inquired when I met many of you along the way, and so far those I've asked have never seen him. :wheelchair:

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He is a myth, much like bigfoot. Has anyone ever truly seen a bigfoot? Back when the worlds were created and the boards came to life, a consciousness was born. Sort of a "ghost in the machine" if you will.

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A crapsinthe distilled today probably won't taste much better after a century of aging.

 

Something about silk purses?

 

Who knows what the effects of reverse engineering, organic herbs, wildcrafted herbs or GMFs will have on absinthe in 100 years? It's a safe bet to assume the better ingredients going in will result in a better absinthe no matter how much times passes.

 

Still, it's damn fun to imagine. :cheers:

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He is a myth, much like bigfoot.

 

Except I'm shorter, somewhat less hairy, slightly more articulate, and I probably smell a little better. :laugh:

 

 

 

Which brings to point, has anyone actually met Abs?

 

Aside from Gwydion and Marc, most of the others who have met me have either earned bannings, indefinite suspensions, or simply moved on from our fair kingdom, whereas I, on the hand, endure, if only because I have always considered Monsieur Tallyrand to be a worthy role model. :devil:

Edited by Absomphe

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I prefer Absomphe "as is".

 

Absomphe knows stuff or is good at really dazzling folks with other stuff.

 

My derailment, I apologize.

 

Old booze, when it was new, was probably just fresher. <shrug>

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Call me anything you want.....please. My Precious has called me worse names than anyone here even dare.

 

I like her. She calls it as she sees it. :heart:

 

Ask Joe.

 

 

 

Dammit another derailment.

 

Yes, pre-ban tasted yummy and as you can see by the old pictures, they used lots of sugar.

 

Not a single sugar cube was on fire in any of those. It may have had a youthful harshness about it.

 

Just speculating. ;)

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What I was saying is that today's stuff is probably pretty darn close to what was available back then.

 

Um, no.

 

The "beauty" or "amazing" nature of the pre-ban stuff is more due to its aging than its original profile.

 

Not. "Aged" absinthe, if the aging is a hundred years or more, is deteriorated absinthe. Although we may have learned to discuss and even appreciate the nuances of such absinthe, it's nothing that the original makers envisioned, planned, or even could have imagined. I've had Pernod absinthe almost a hundred years old that was still green. It was the best absinthe I've ever had. No commercial absinthe produced today even remotely comes close.

 

It's not true that we have "no clue" what absinthe was like back then. We have more than clues. Some of the things we don't have are an enormous agriculture dedicated to absinthe production, and distillers with generations of experience and accomplishment with absinthe, to say nothing of access to the same quality of materials. The asinine thujone regulations in force today aren't exactly a blessing, either.

Edited by Artemis

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I've had Pernod absinthe almost a hundred years old that was still green. It was the best absinthe I've ever had. No commercial absinthe produced today even remotely comes close.

 

 

What the Pape de Absinthe said.

Edited by Absomphe

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It's not true that we have "no clue" what absinthe was like back then. We have more than clues.

Kinda-sorta.

 

We have samples but no matter how well they were aged, preserved or tossed into carbonite, they still have the effects of aging. Some have suffered tremendous deterioration and some less so but whether you interpret that as a detriment or an improvement is still so much speculation and opinion. I think aging for one year, three years and probably 100+ years affects quality absinthe for the better.

 

We have reviews and written reports but they are still merely clues because language continues to change as does the people that use it and those that interpret it. What might mean heavily floral to one person might mean something very different to another especially given the distance of 100 years. Language remains very fluid, describing not only things and feelings but eras and generations.

 

My respect for Artemis is both profound and sincere but I still believe it is quite impossible to know what absinthe tasted like 100 years ago while "fresh" except that it was probably very similar to today's absinthe. I agree there could be some changes in the plants but to assume they have changed not for the better is also speculation. Farming at every level in our world has improved (genetic modification not included) not only in production but in quality. In the last 100 years, every herb used in absinthe production has remained in production, dedicated farms growing high quality herbs and while they may have changed, it is just as possible the change has been for the better.

 

Meet me in Montana in 2112, Artemis and we will open a dozen or so bottles I have stashed back to see which of us is more correct. ;) :cheers:

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Thanks Joe. I see it your way.

 

Unless someone has a stargate or transportation telephone booth...

 

In that case I completely recant.

 

Maybe a hot-tub time machine? :yahoo:

Edited by billnchristy

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I'm only speculating and tossing out ideas as food for thought. Artemis is an absinthe scholar and historian and I'm always curious about his thoughts and opinions. My queries seem obvious to me but in the interest of learning more, I can't wait to get his thoughts.

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To me it is like saying the fruit was tastier because there weren't any chemicals.

 

It's a great theory but unless you can capture that moment in time and repeat it then it is only speculation.

 

I totally agree that 100 years of aging is detrimental. It HAS to be and it shows that it is. Even the pros in the scotch world say don't go over 30 years, you are just paying for time after that.

 

So...with that in mind, that party should be more like 2042ish don'tcha think?

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Some of the things we don't have are an enormous agriculture dedicated to absinthe production, and distillers with generations of experience and accomplishment with absinthe, to say nothing of access to the same quality of materials.

 

The loss of the institutional knowledge at places like Pernod is simply depressing. There's a reason that the world's great distilleries are a few hundred years old... generations of work, knowledge and wisdom, and experience with specific raw materials are impossible to replicate.

 

But imho, the biggest loss is the agriculture dedicated to millions of hectoliters of absinthe production, as Artemis shrewdly points out...... You can't fake that or phone it in.

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So...with that in mind, that party should be more like 2042ish don'tcha think?

Hmmm, good point. I'll stash a few more bottles back for 2042 so we can run a real comparative study. BillnChristy, the invitation is open so keep your calendar clear. Pick your season: winter we snowboard/summer we flyfish. :cheers:

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Interesting. If I showed you a ginormous farm for...let's say corn and a backyard corn crop which would you rather have an ear from?

 

Seems a small dedicated farm would be far superior to a huge operation.

 

Loss of a century of data...that is truly heartbreaking. Not only that but I don't think people "cared" as much about documentation as they do now. Imagine all the things that have been lost to tribal knowledge simply because nobody ever thought to write it down.

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So...with that in mind, that party should be more like 2042ish don'tcha think?

Hmmm, good point. I'll stash a few more bottles back for 2042 so we can run a real comparative study. BillnChristy, the invitation is open so keep your calendar clear. Pick your season: winter we snowboard/summer we flyfish. :cheers:

 

We're there. Let's fish. The little one...hahaha, the little 39 year old (by then) likes fishing.

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So do I! And snowboarding!

 

But imho, the biggest loss is the agriculture dedicated to millions of hectoliters of absinthe production, as Artemis shrewdly points out...... You can't fake that or phone it in.
The specific varieties used? Yeah. But seriously, farming a century ago cannot touch modern farming (no praise to Monsanto).

 

What is really lost is the distillation techniques. We (collectively) are trying to re-learn what took a hundred+ years to develop in only a decade or two. Here, not herbs, are where we are real infants.

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Wonder if there was an "absinthe nazi" like the "soup nazi". You make a mistake.....NO ABSINTHE FOR YOU! COME BACK 1 YEAR!

 

The patron leaves with shoulders shrugged. Over the next 6 months, Absinthe is banned.

 

 

:blowup:

Edited by greytail

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I'm only speculating and tossing out ideas as food for thought. Artemis is an absinthe scholar and historian and I'm always curious about his thoughts and opinions. My queries seem obvious to me but in the interest of learning more, I can't wait to get his thoughts.

 

There's not much I can say that doesn't come down to opinion, but some points of clarification may be in order.

 

To make an objective comparison we have to define our terms. "Today's absinthe" - I'm not sure what that means. Absinthe is all over the place today. Most of it is crap. Even the best suffers from deficiencies for one reason or another. There was probably a lot of crap back then too, but if we put the best then against the best now, it's no contest. Of course all absinthe, if it's good to begin with, benefits from being allowed to rest before consumption. Again, here we have to define "aging" and I'm not aware of any good way to do it. Normal aging would have been and still is a year, two years, three years. Twenty years or a hundred years is also aging, but I don't think anybody did that intentionally, and I maintain that they did not foresee the consequences - those nuances we have struggled to define, inventing our own terms to pin them down: "leather", "old lady's purse", etc. You can perceive those things (or maybe it would better to say their precursors) in an absinthe that will develop them later, once you learn to do that by experience, but they aren't as pervasive in the absinthe when it's fresh. We put up with them or even like them in antique absinthe because we have no choice, but I'm no so sure anybody at a cafe in Paris in 1900 would have appreciated them.

 

The Pernod "very green" was remarkably well-preserved, for whatever reasons I don't know, and thus was not as intense in that aged flavor as any of the stuff that survived that went totally fueille morte. If you put it up against the best modern absinthes (at least, any I've had), the Pernod is better, period. It's richer, smoother, more fragrant, more balanced. If the experienced drinker takes any good antique absinthe and subtracts in his mind the more intense nuances of long aging (leather, etc.) - not that this is very objective - it still beats any modern absinthe in my opinion, and for the same reasons.

 

As to agriculture, I did not say bigger was better (although it certainly could be). What I meant was, Pernod (for example) had their choice of the best materials in the world, grown specifically to support the absinthe industry. They rejected a lot of samples (see the period descriptions of their operation at David's museum site). The financial incentive for the farmers to succeed at providing outstanding plants for absinthe was there, and thus there were thousands and thousands of acres from which to choose - the probability of a small farm vs. large of producing a good plant was not my point.

 

Absinthe production today is in its infancy. Regardless of developments in agriculture, industry, and science, we cannot expect to achieve in less than ten years what it took our ancestors 100 to achieve. It would be presumptuous to think we could. There's a pyramid still more or less standing in Egypt after thousands of years. It defies any modern team of engineers to duplicate it.

 

Now, are there a few modern absinthes that more of less give us a very good idea of what absinthe in a cafe in Paris in 1900 was like? Probably so. Does modern absinthe in general do that that? Probably so. So, "no clue" as to what absinthe tasted like back then? Nonsense.

 

And now we have the fact of the thujone regulations which force compromises when it comes to wormwood. Not that thujone is important - it's not. But wormwood is important, balance is important. For commercial absinthe to be all it can be, those stupid regulations have to go.

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