Introductions are sometimes awkward for me, but here goes...this could be a bit long.
I'm a young chap who lives in Australia, currently doing a postgraduate.
Australia has a pretty funny absinthe scene, at least from my point of view. People scull shots, set them aflame (usually in an ABC cocktail), think it has strange and mysterious powers...in short, it has quite a reputation. I would not say that the average bloke drinks absinthe for the sake of getting drunk, as there's always cheap, poor quality wine over here. The main draw is probably a combination of both sheer novelty as well as its potency, leading the imbiber to make erroneous conclusions.
Leading the charge are our beloved brands, Green Fairy and La Fee (#1 and #2 respectively, if you include Dabel, Koruna etc. as part of the GF range), their reputation naturally synonymous with the spirit itself. As with most young Australians, my experience started with a challenge to scull a shot of Green Fairy with the mates, great stuff!
Ok, I kid. It was like drinking a bottle of eau de toilette left in a public toilet for a couple decades. Terrible, rough grain alcohol goes straight to your head, may have damaged my kidneys. Sadly, the first part is true - it's pretty much an quality absinth[e] wasteland over here. To date, I've tried, with appended ratings:
Green Fairy F
La Fee Bohemien F
La Fee Parisienne C-
Un Emile B
I think that's it - have decided not to waste money on the Jacques Seneauxes, Koruna and so on, but for the sake of completeness I shall possibly decide to branch out in the future. I should try my hand at writing reviews, although I'm no connoisseur of liquor.
Anyway, one sunny, 36 degree celsius afternoon, I decided to pop down to a bar all by myself. And by sheer luck, there was something expensive called Jade PF 1901 on the menu. I got a glass, got a fountain, got a louche going, and sat there sipping, all alone, in quiet solitude...I still think that moment was an epiphany. And from then on I refused to settle for anything less (unless reviewing).
Australia has a clearly defined cultural (some say class) gap, but most of the upper classes seem to prefer wine. Admittedy we do have many wine experts over here, but as for absinthe, time will tell. On the other hand, most of the middle and working class college guys seem to like Green Fairy a lot, and really, who am I to tell them they're drinking the wrong stuff. So what's a person to do?
I'm just gonna list my thoughts on the industry next, as I have done some reading. So if TLDR, consider this the end of my introduction, have a great day.
Green Fairy & Distributors
Without a doubt they have been successful. Every bottle shop chain, dan murphy's, duncans, liquorland etc. carries them. Sometimes you can find LaFee, Mythe, Pernod, Teichenne, Jekyll, but Green Fairy is the market leader, and is promoted from time to time. If it's any consolation at all, their site actually provides accurate information regarding thujone: http://www.greenfair...les/Thujone/11. The bad news is that their drink still sucks.
Rowley is second in line and frankly better poised to expand the market. On one hand, I think he's shady, even shadier than I am. On the other, I haven't gotten round to sampling his new product (not the xs range but the parisienne natural verte) - anyone got any reviews? If it's genuine absinthe, which I suspect it is, then it's not too bad an idea, is it? My standards are rather low in view of the situation; I consider Pernod to be a decent real iteration of the drink. Of course I do not expect to see Jade everywhere and part of the fun is in the exclusivity. And as for the XS range I need more reviews as well, but judging by the horrendous price point I do not expect it to sell well.
La Fee is a very confused entity. It's like a vineyard that produces both swill and drinkable stuff, but aspires to a vintage grand cru. Quite absurd. Also their XS range, which I take to be quite good, is really quite difficult to call as their 'original' product moreso than a rebranded, slightly tweaked Clandestine. I have frankly no idea what crafting input Rowley, that french lady and their marketing team could possibly make. I'm not a business student but in my opinion La Fee should concentrate on churning out a decent, mass market, affordable product.
Speaking of affordable, it just doesn't go very well with Australia. A bottle of Jade costs 200 bucks (110 GBP)! Jesus christ. I know it's no fault of theirs, and there's always business overheads, but say, can't anything be done about it? I don't see why prestigious cellars would not carry it in small quantities. I would buy more often if not for the staggering cost.
I don't know if Ted is listening, but I do like his website. None of the marketing BS, it honestly looks like an amateur job but that means that he's concentrating on the absinthe. I'm very suspicious of sites with lots of fancy flash graphics nowadays. Two things though, with such prestige already being accorded to the label, there's probably space for more subtle indicators of quality than the site shoving a banner "CLICK HERE TO BUY THE WORLD'S FINEST ABSINTHE!!!", and the address being bestabsinthe.com. Secondly, distribution could be a teeny bit better, although I'm sure it's already being worked on. Also please improve your corks!!!
That's it from me, signing off.