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Myths vs. Mass Spectrometry.


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#31 Evan Camomile

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:54 PM

So that degree in a science did teach me something...

Exactly Abs. Which is one more reason why thujone doesn't really matter.

Speaking of such, a definition of absinthe is under consideration for the EU. I've seen some suggested amendments from the Czechs.

One of them explains that thujone has hallucinogenic properties.

One of them suggests a reduction in anise to avoid the "ouzo effect" (louche).

Another asks for a rainbow of colors, because that's the way they roll.

... all transparent attempts to highjack the definition to favor crapsinthe.

Sure the ad man can twist numbers no one has any relevance towards, and people eat that shit up.

Does this mean that I have the accept the fact the politicians are people too?

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#32 jcbphd

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 03:40 PM

You don't have to accept it. No one can force you to do that. :)
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#33 Père Ubu

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:19 PM

Of course, one must remember that apparent wormwood flavor intensity in an absinthe, and residual thujone, can be two different animals.

We had some that didn't quite agree with that. I have no issues if that is their experience, since I don't know shit about booze making. But any profiteer that makes marketing hay out of the thujones=Aa flavor BS, will get banned from my credit card.

#34 Brian Robinson

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:50 PM

Is this in reference to how the U.S. limit on the amount of thujone is lower than that of Europe, and as such absinthes marketed on both continents have to be tweaked to be under the 10 ppm to be sold in the U.S.? If so, I think that's a conversation worth having (in a different thread).

That's a discussion that has been had over and over and over again. Some say they have made minor tweaks and others maintain that they haven't needed to tweak anything, which tends to back up the data that shows that a good percentage of historic brands would pass current regulations.
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#35 Artemis

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:01 AM

The proposal on the table is between five and 35 milligrams per liter, alpha and beta.

#36 Père Ubu

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 08:22 AM

Why should there be a mandated minimum? A max for health reasons is understandable, but if we agree that thujone is of no consequence to absinthe, there should not be a minimum, unless you are try to screw those in a market with a 10mg/liter cap.

#37 Artemis

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 08:44 AM

Good question. That puzzled me as well, not to mention the fact that the Czechs, if I understood correctly, supposedly asked for a lower minimum rather than a lower maximum while claiming that thujone is a hallucinogen.

#38 Père Ubu

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:54 PM

Maybe traditional distillers wanting to put the squeeze on other traditional distillers? If so, I would be very curious as to whom is behind that.

#39 Père Ubu

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:54 PM

Maybe CLOWNS wanting to put the squeeze on other CLOWNS? If so, I would be very curious as to whom is behind that ORGY OF CLOWNS.

Edited by Miguel, 17 March 2012 - 04:52 PM.


#40 Absomphe

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:30 PM

I'm sorry, I wasn't paying close enough attention, would you mind repeating that? :cheers:

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#41 Père Ubu

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:52 PM

Fixed. Happy? :tongue:

#42 Absomphe

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 06:52 PM

Don't I look happy?

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#43 Jay

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 04:52 PM

Is this in reference to how the U.S. limit on the amount of thujone is lower than that of Europe, and as such absinthes marketed on both continents have to be tweaked to be under the 10 ppm to be sold in the U.S.? If so, I think that's a conversation worth having (in a different thread).

That's a discussion that has been had over and over and over again. Some say they have made minor tweaks and others maintain that they haven't needed to tweak anything, which tends to back up the data that shows that a good percentage of historic brands would pass current regulations.

It makes sense that the discussion would come up several times, considering it's the nature of online forums dedicated to one hyper-specific subject (in this case, absinthe). As far as the validity of this particular debate, I'd say that in terms of thujone, the difference between 5 ppm or 50 ppm is negligible in almost every way (save that of legality, depending on the country).

That being said, I can only hope and assume that a good absinthe distiller is able to keep all of their botanicals in good balance while making sure to meet the letter of the law. Obviously, it's in no distiller's best interest to come out and say, "well, my absinthe is still pretty good, but it would have been a little better if I didn't have to jump through TTB hoops over thujone level." But I do have to wonder, and the very possibility just makes me sigh.

#44 Père Ubu

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

This thread needs to go behind the green door and blended with the most recent one where this dead horse took a thorough beating.
Jay, I suggest you find and read it. Among the usual derailments there are some SERIOUS EYE OPENERS.

#45 Evan Camomile

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

My only problem is with how small the window is.

Keep the recipe and distilling methods the same for each batch, and you could very well vary in thujone by 10ppm. All due to the effects a change in climate terroir has on the botanicals, or so I hear.

The same thing would apply to a range of 20-35ppm. That window is only 15ppm and quite possibly just as restrictive to the distiller.

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#46 Artemis

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:11 PM

Obviously, it's in no distiller's best interest to come out and say, "well, my absinthe is still pretty good, but it would have been a little better if I didn't have to jump through TTB hoops over thujone level."


There could be any number of reasons it wouldn't be in his best interest to make that statement from the standpoint of the reactionary responses he might get, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be correct.

#47 Jay

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:15 AM

This thread needs to go behind the green door and blended with the most recent one where this dead horse took a thorough beating.
Jay, I suggest you find and read it. Among the usual derailments there are some SERIOUS EYE OPENERS.

I haven't been keeping up with the WS as often as I had a couple of years ago, so I'll try to go back and suss out the particular thread you're referencing, Miguel. Thanks for the tip.

My only problem is with how small the window is.
[snip]
The same thing would apply to a range of 20-35ppm. That window is only 15ppm and quite possibly just as restrictive to the distiller.

Wait - are you saying that there's a 20ppm MINIMUM amount of thujone required? That's news to me. To my knowledge, the maximum allowed in Europe is 35ppm, and there's no minimum, so the window for them is more than three times bigger for them than U.S. distillers.

Obviously, it's in no distiller's best interest to come out and say, "well, my absinthe is still pretty good, but it would have been a little better if I didn't have to jump through TTB hoops over thujone level."


There could be any number of reasons it wouldn't be in his best interest to make that statement from the standpoint of the reactionary responses he might get, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be correct.

Agreed, on both counts.

My tendency is to approach situations like this from a purely objective standpoint and to want to have all the facts laid out in plain site so folks can hash it out reasonably, and I sometimes forget the human element and variables which make such a bare discussion about sensitive issues practically impossible on the forums. In any case, I meant no offense to absinthe distillers of any location, and I hope none was taken.

#48 Evan Camomile

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

The 20 ppm minimum is discussed here. I don't think it is actually law yet. It is also just as ridiculous as most things involving the word thujone.

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#49 TheLoucheyMonster!

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:20 AM

Wait - are you saying that there's a 20ppm MINIMUM amount of thujone required?


Check out the "Absinthe de Pontarlier" thread here.

#50 Artemis

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:48 AM

Seems that discussion was in the context of an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée?

The proposal for between five and 35 milligrams per liter, alpha and beta that I previously mentioned is under consideration for the EU as a whole, as part of a definition of absinthe itself.

Peter provides some interesting remarks in that other thread that go to why distillers would argue about these essentially meaningless numbers, though.

#51 Jay

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:35 PM

Thank you all for pointing out that "IGP Pontarlier" thread (one for which I somehow missed those mid-page posts). I'm sad to see that the absinthe politics have degraded into some folks practically getting into bed with the crapsinthe folks and their thujone hype. Having folks who actually know a thing or twelve about genuine absinthe take up this banner, even in the most oblique way, could cause more harm to absinthe than all of the Czech-centered misinformation that's been floating around for 15 years.

#52 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:36 PM

This will be part of my Great American Absinthe Festival presentation on Absinthe, Sex, and Psychology.

I should be clear that I am providing none of the above at the presentation.

Ah, more like a potluck then. ;)

Pete, FTW!

It goes both ways...No scientific analysis can be absolutely sure to detect all ingredients in a spirit/liqueur, but someone with a scientific or historical reputation and a few degrees can be just as wrong or intent on marketing profits as those who just work off the myths, and be even more convincing to the public of his certainty...
The safest bet: Taste, compare and choose what YOU enjoy, after all, what's the point?

Pierreverte, I can't entirely disagree with your somewhat jaded assessment about how everyone and everything can be susceptible to the marketing bug.

It's not jaded, it's just an informed observation of an old phenomena. It happens in liquor, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, culinary arts, you name it.

Why should there be a mandated minimum? A max for health reasons is understandable, but if we agree that thujone is of no consequence to absinthe, there should not be a minimum, unless you are try to screw those in a market with a 10mg/liter cap.

Yes: IF we agree. But "we" don't. Someone has made the error of believing (or asserting) that thujone content is sufficient evidence of absinthium content. Of course most of us here know that thujone can be added artificially or through the use of other plants such as sage, tansy, tarragon, or white cedar.

It's completely absurd to require a minimum amount of a compound that's being regulated because it's a toxin. Hopefully common sense will prevail among the EU regulators, but you might not want to bet against profound effect of lobbyists and corruption.

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#53 Hedonmonkey

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:06 PM

Hopefully common sense will prevail ...


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#54 Absomphe

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

That's not what she said. :laugh:

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#55 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:37 PM

Oh, that reminds me: time for my coulromisitis vaccine.

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