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The Traveller

A portuguese new member

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Well, hello, I must say I still am pleasantly surprised at this relatively new american interest for absinthe...I'm from Portugal, a country where absinthe was introduced when Napoleon's troops invaded the country in the beginning of the XIX century. It was never banned here and it's still produced by several traditional distilleries, the oldest of which is from the 1860's. Portuguese absinthe distinguishes itself for the high quality of the ethanol, that is, the grape alcohol, produced from specifi and unique portuguese grapes, the same used to make Port wine. Also, many absinthes are traditionally strong in wormwood content (usually the clear ones, but there are also green, more weak), although a correct measurement of it is impossible, it varies naturally from batch to batch, from better or worse years for the arthemisia absintium plant growth. Another curiosity, the plant, arthemisia, is widely used over here in public gardens for decorative purposes and also grown side by side with cabbages and leduce and several other "greens" by producers to keep the insects away from the crops...

 

Absinthe in Portugal, historically, was consumed by all classes but the ritual was only performed by the intellectuals, the "common" people drank it straight in small glasses (not like you would drink a shot nowadays though). Today, absinthe is widely and commonly used in clubs and bars for cocktails but in some selected places and among artistic circles, especially writers, the ritual is still performed, exactly the same for more than 140 years, almost frozen water droped slowly in a measured glass, many times with the help of a glass apparatus that allows the absinthe to sip in drop by drop, with no sugar added since portuguese absinthe has a high green anis content. As for myself, I drink absinthe the traditional way, performing the ritual, taught by my father, since I was 14 and I'm now 28.

 

I hope I have contributed something to widen the knowledge about this drink that is so much more than just that, absinthe is history and it's Culture.

 

Cheers

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Welcome Traveler.

 

Good to see someone from another country that has not been represented previously. Especially someone with familiarity with absinthe and it's traditions.

 

:cheers:

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Welcome to the forum! I must admit that I'm a big fan of Portuguese language and culture, although I'm not very good at the language yet. Most of what I know I learned from Fado, which I'm also a big fan of. I'm glad to see more international members here, I get a bit tired of American culture after a while (nothing personal to all yous guys of course!).

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Portuguese absinthe distinguishes itself for the high quality of the ethanol, that is, the grape alcohol, produced from specifi and unique portuguese grapes, the same used to make Port wine. Also, many absinthes are traditionally strong in wormwood content (usually the clear ones, but there are also green, more weak), although a correct measurement of it is impossible, it varies naturally from batch to batch, from better or worse years for the arthemisia absintium plant growth.

 

Hi Traveller,

 

Welcome from another newcomer!

 

Two quick questions for you:

 

1. What are the best known Portugese absinthes? (just the top 2/3)?

2. What are the best Portugese absinthes (again 2/3)?

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It's a joke, right? There are no good Portugese absinthes.

 

Edit: or.... have something happened to the Portugese absinthe market recently?!

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Greetings, Traveler!

 

When I visited Portugal, many years ago, I was delighted to find that fennel was featured in many of it's local dishes...you folks must be doing something right! :cheers:

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It's a joke, right? There are no good Portugese absinthes.

 

Edit: or.... have something happened to the Portugese absinthe market recently?!

 

Or ... there is some good stuff that noone outside the country has ever heard of. It wouldn't surprise me, if that was the case.

 

The only portuguese "absinthe" I know of is Neto Costa, which is rather crappy and has little to do with absinthe. I'm curious to hear more about what they could be making down there. Welcome, Traveller - don't hesitate to enlighten us.

 

I don't know much about Portugal (never been there), but a country that spawned the Fado and Fernando Pessoa can't be half bad. :cheers:

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Aloha from the middle of the sea!

 

Many of us here are part Portuguese. While we do not have the absinthe, we still go to church, make our soups, sausages and bread and still whine about our fates.

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When I was in the NAVY, I was stationed at Lages (Terceira Island) in the Azores.

 

I fondly remember eating goat cheese and steak sandwiches and drinking Maetus Rose Sparkling wine ( the still wine sux).

 

The hookers weren't bad either. But then again, I was only 22 then so my memory may be faulty.

 

:devil:

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Welcome. Nice intro. I have been to Portugal and have a bottle of Oppidum Ginja that I bought in Obidos to prove it (I still have a bottle of Offley Porto as well but who dosen't). I knew nothing of Absinthe when I visited years ago, alas.

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Welcome, Traveler! Do tell us more about the available Portuguese absinthe. I may be making a trip there next June and would like to know what to pick up (especially if it is unavailable for export).

 

[i ought to be a teetotaler, given what my Dad taught me about drinking!]

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It's a joke, right? There are no good Portugese absinthes.

 

Edit: or.... have something happened to the Portugese absinthe market recently?!

 

 

Sorry for tooking so long to answer. The one "no good portuguese absinthe" that you must have tried was probably Neto Costa which is practically a pastis although with some ammount of arthemisia absintium (I know the distillery personally). Up to the 1960's Neto Costa produced real absinthe but in the 70's, when they expanded the business and turned professional, in order to disguise the "potentially subversive drink", since it was consumed with the ritual by the intellectualls, most of them communist or from the moderate left-wing ( Portugal was under a fascist right-wing dictatorship from the 1920's to 1974), they started to produce something many people in Portugal still call "absinthe extract" to diferentiate it from real absinthe. The best portuguese absinthe was Ancora, and an occasional bottle, from the 1980's, can still be spoted from time to time. But the real stuff is produced generally in the north of Portugal and is strictly a "handicraft" product, unchanged, each little distillery practically have it's own family recipe for decades. And it's transparent, clear absinthe and it louches very well. For most of these true absinthes is almost impossible to know the exact ammount of thujone, it varies from batch to batch. And it's obviously unavailable online, most of the producers are in their 70's and 80's, they have a hard time even with telephones, so...

Very recently, 2 years ago, Neto Costa and other 2 producers of that "absinth extract" started making some market prospections as for the possibility of producing real absinthe again. Neto Costa is the one most interested in it, probably in a year or so they will have a "true absinthe" commercially available and it can be then ordered from any portuguese vendor, like garrafeiranacional.pt (worht a peak, good and real port wine and other table wines and traditional herbal liqueurs from Portugal which is, after all, mainly a wine country). And this is the situation, and this is why all foreigners who come to Portugal always get to try the disappointing Neto Costa at some bar or club.

A tip: true absinthe and their old producers are only visible in the various "handicraft" traditional fairs that are organized to display the traditional products of the land from time to time, usually not in Lisbon or any other major cities but in the more rural areas.

 

Cheers and happy hollidays

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