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Neuron

San Francisco East Bay

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Hello to all. I look forward to learning more about absinthe from folks on this site. I became interested in absinthe for two reasons: 1) I've always liked the taste of liqueurs like Pernod and anisette (especially in "corrected" espresso; and 2) I studied literature in college, with an emphasis on the 19th and early 20th Century, and absinthe figured in a lot of the writing from that period.

 

I'm a complete novice re absinthe, but I do have functional taste buds and am able to describe what I do and don't like when I imbibe the stuff.

 

So far I've tried only 3 brands: Absente ("newer" version), Pernod Superieure, and St. George Verte. IMHO Absente tastes bad, almost like some sort of industrial mix of aromatic licorice-smelling hydrocarbons. It's color just doesn't seem natural...way too "day-glo" greenish. Worst of all, it gave me a migrainous hangover. Unfortunately I have migraine, and there is a lot of stuff I cannot drink because it triggers headaches. That includes a lot of stuff I really like the taste of, like good Scots Whiskey and fine aged red wines. The Pernod and St. George did not trigger migraines, so I assume they are free of whatever migraine-provoking cogeners are in the Absente.

 

I liked the nose and taste of both the Pernod and St. George. I know the Pernod is artificially colored, but it looks fairly natural. The St. George doesn't really look "verte" so much as the yellowish-green brown of turning autumn leaves. The St. George has a more complex aroma and taste, due I guess to the more complex combination of botanicals in its recipe, and I think it is a bit more astringent on the tongue. I really like the taste. After reading the WS brand reviews I take it that SG is an "idiosyncratic," "oddball, or just "non-traditional" absinthe, due to its use of "unusual" herbs, like basil and stinging nettle. My taste buds don't care! It has a good mix of the "trinity" and the other ingredients make it very enjoyable to drink. In fact, I would imagine that in the early days of absinthe many artisanal distillers experimented with their recipes, adding this and that herbs into the mix. For all I know, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Poe, Wilde, and other famous absinthe drinkers would have welcomed, and might have actually tasted in some local bar an absinthe much like St. George's...

 

Best of all, neither the Pernod nor SG provoke migraine headaches...

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Hey - welcome!

 

Out of those 3 - I've only ever had a few glasses of Saint George and found it tasty. It is "different" but no so much so that it is by any means an awful absinthe. I'd happily drink Saint George again if I had those 3 to choose from.

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Hello and Welcome! I just noticed last night that St George makes whiskey and gin. I'm going to have to ask if my local liquor merchant carries their absinthe as well. So far I've seen Leopold's, Lucid, and Trinity.

 

St George was my introduction into the wonderful world of absinthe. It would have been La Fee had I not first stumbled across The Wormwood Society. Since then I've been spoiled thanks to this amazing group. Enjoy! :cheers:​

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Hi and welcome! :cheers:

 

For you next step in exploring absinthe, I would recommend checking out the more traditional brands so you have a baseline for comparison.

 

As to how much variety your typical absinthe drinker wanted back in the 19th c., that is tough to say, The primary sources don't say much about that. But this is now, so explore your tastes!

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Hello! Welcome!

 

Some years ago I tried Absente and Pernod's attempt at recreating absinthe. At the time, I made myself think I liked them. In retrospect, I think they were just awful now.

 

If you like pastis I can highly recommend Ricard (instead of Pernod & when absinthe isn't available). I had some at a high end resto last month and it was delicious.

 

Cheers

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Welcome and cheers Neuron! :cheers: The bay area has a place called Absinthe Brasserie and Bar in Hayes Valley. i'm not sure about the selection but am wondering if you have been there? Seems like a neat joint and I'm curious.

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This is interesting. I remember spending some time with Dave Smith of St. George... and talking with Lance Winters. St. George has an interesting habit (or had an interesting habit) of stopping the run as soon as the tails cut is made. They also had an interesting take on plate management, I think. It's been a while. But Dave, last I knew, made most of the distillations for absinthe.

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My taste buds don't care! ..

And that's all that really matters.

 

Although, you will notice how those taste buds change as your absinthe journey continues.

It's an intruiging process that I quite enjoy.

 

And man I used to get screaming in agony, gripping the sides of the bed, debilitating migraines since I was a kid. Luckily those faded away over the years. No, nothing is worth that.

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Welcome to the forum! As others have said, you have an interesting journey ahead.

 

I've had the St. Georges a few times and my impression is much like yours. It is a very unusual and certainly very good drink, with a color that looks 100 years old. I enjoy it, but I must say there are many I enjoy much more. I probably won't buy another once this bottle is finished, but you never know.

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I went back to BevMo yesterday and purchased a bottle of Kübler Absinthe Superieure, based on recommendations of WS reviewers. I liked it! The taste was not as complex as SG (which I still prefer of the 4 brands I've tried so far (SG, Kübler, Pernod Superieure, and Absente) and I now would rank them from best to worst in that order. The good news about Kübler is...no migraine! I tried the Absente again, and, yes, I got a headache a couple of hours later. I know that my experience with Absente is anecdotal and may be idiosyncratic, and the cephalogenic/headache inducing effects of absinthe are not part of the WS evaluation protocols, but maybe they should be. The fact that I can drink the other three brands without getting a nasty headache suggests to me that there is something in the Absente that provokes migraine, but whatever that may be SG, Pernod, and Kübler don't have it. My experience with the Absente was so negative that I'm inclined to never drink it again.

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I went ahead and purchased another BevMo absinthe, La Muse Verte traditionelle to expand my absinthe palate (and palette), after reading more WS reviews. The reviews were mixed, with some folks really liking it and others feeling it was awful. I'm beginning to appreciate and look for certain things in absinthe, and am coming to the conclusion that I want my absinthe to: 1) be made with the historically "correct" main herbal ingredients (the "trinity") +/- other herbs; and 2) not contain any added sugar or artificial colorants or flavors. My first two absinthes (Absente & Pernod Absinthe Superieure) failed on item #2. I still liked the taste of the Pernod...

 

LMV was definitely different from my first 4 absinthes (SG, Kübler, Absente, and PAS). It is more "bitter" and astringent in taste, to the point that I was prompted to try it with the sugar cube, for comparison. My tastebuds are such that so far I haven't felt a need to add sugar. I found that I actually preferred it without sugar! It's just that it seemed so much more "bitter" than what I tried before (maybe the wormwood flavor is more pronounced?) and I assumed it "needed" to be sweetened. It was just "different" in that regard, but it seems tomato be an honest difference, and that's fine with me. The color is a nice natural jade, the louche seems thick and, for lack of a better word, "muscular," and unlike the others I've tried seems to evolve in definite "stages." I noted a definite taste of licorice, which I liked.

 

WS forum posters have discussed the issue of "distilled" herbs versus "macerated" herbs...not sure I understand the distinction, but I guess it involves whether or not the herb-alcohol infusion is subsequently distilled. The consensus seems to be that LMV is a "macerated" absinthe. If so, I can imagine that maceration w/o subsequent distillation would lead to more herbal oils winding up in the final product, and that could explain the dramatic LMV louche. I would think that herbal oils would be lost (left back towards the "tails") with subsequent distillation. In any case I suspect that both processes are equally acceptable in "historically correct" absinthe. Adding herbal oils to the finished absinthe, on the other hand, would be a cheap shortcut, and a definite no-no. There is nothing untraditional or "cheap" about getting natural herbal flavors into alcohol via steeping it in macerated herbs. I have no reason to doubt that LMV is made according to the original lathe 19th C. family recipe.

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,

, but it seems tomato

, according to the original lathe

 

Wait, what? It's made with tomatoes on a lathe? :tongue:

OOPS!...typos..."it seems tomato" should have been "it seems to me" and "the original lathe" should have been "the original late"...I've got some sticky keys on my computer keyboard.

 

But now I'm wondering if any absinthe recipes could include tomatoes... And I guess that if the tomatoes are firm enough you might be able to turn them on a lathe.

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