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Not sure who all is still interested in this thread or any of the continuing research I am doing, but what I have found includes tariff reports from Japan, where I. verum is not native, shipping out star anise; botanical differentiation did not occur until 1881, but star anise was still referred to as I. anisatum in the literature for years to follow; aniseed oil was actually mostly made from star anise (a paper from 1903); another 19th century paper stating that of all the essential oils that go into absinthe, aniseed oil is the one that causes symptoms most closely resembling absinthism. Also, I am tracking down a source that states that during distillation of absinthe a scent like cinnamon or cloves wafts thought the air (distillers, feel free to chime in) which might seem irrelevant but one way to theoretically differentiate between I. verum and I. anisatum is that I. anisatum smells faintly of cloves.

All together it is enough for me to go into the lab and distill some absinthe for science! But before I do that, I need the appropriate verification materials so that if I publish a paper it holds up to scrutiny. Also, I need a good source for Illicium anisatum, but that's a different can of worms. Therefore, if anyone can help, or knows someone who can help, please pass this along: www.gofundme.com/olqivk

Thank you all!

Edited by herbgirl

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Does that 19th century source use essential oils as a substitute for actual absinthe analysis? One of the biggest problems with Magnan is that he tested straight wormwood oil and not actually absinthe when he demonized our beloved spirit.


The differences between beverage distillation and essential oil extraction in terms of what volatile oils will pass through can be huge in some cases. So the question concerning the validity of measuring even anise oils versus what could be found in absinthe of the day and area is one that needs to be addressed.


Also, the statement that essential oils go into absinthe, instead of found in, makes me wonder if the author was also not aware of compound versus distilled versions of the spirit, which raises plenty of questions on my end about absinthe manufacturing during that time period.


Basically, test the oils that actually come through proper food-grade ethanol distillation, not what is assumed to be.

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This thread on the French forum discusses one example of compounding absinthe from "essence"

Granted, that one example is an anecdote, but it suggests that the amount of essential oils in the final product was very dilute.



This product was not a 'home kit', it was made to be used by the commercial liqouriste, or mixed in the back room of a saloon to make bulk swill. And it was also likely the tool of the counterfeiters of the day.

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