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L0j1k

Help with antique glasses?

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Aloha everyone!


Let me preface this thread by apologizing ahead of time for any mistakes I've made, and thank you for taking the time to read this whole post.


As discussed in my introduction thread, I de-lurked myself in order to gather more information about antique hardware for our favorite hobby. That's why this post is here: I need a second (third, fourth, ... nth) opinion about three glasses I've recently bought. I bought these from a reputable antiques dealer in France who genuinely believes these are the real deal. This antiques dealer mostly deals in a big variety of general antiques, but has previously sold absinthe hardware including spoons and glasses. My first purchase from this dealer some time ago was a spoon, which I'm confident is genuine. I've been in the mood for some antique glasses, and had been keeping an eye on three of these for a couple of months before taking the dive and buying them. I bought the "set" of three for a little over a hundred US dollars (total, not each).


EsST6Jl.jpg


The dosing is just about perfect. This was something I'd initially had doubts about, because it seemed to be quite a large amount of absinthe for the amount of water that would go into it afterwards, which made me think they might be antique post-ban glasses that were used for something like pastis. However, the glasses are quite thick around the bottom of the glass, which means that the amount of absinthe that fills to the dose line is much less than it appears, and makes a nearly perfect amount of absinthe and water for me. I like about a 1:2 mix of absinthe and water, but that varies wildly depending on a huge variety of factors.


ShGGqgn.jpg


Anyways, the dose mark appears not to be machined. I am reticent to use the word "hand made" here because it appears to be a very precise line, but whatever method was used to make it, it looks like it wasn't simply machined on there like you'd expect to see nowadays.


X9kVylW.jpg


It weighs as much as a heavy glass tumbler in which you would get a finger of scotch on rocks at the bar down the street: These aren't delicate things. They feel distinctly like barware, with a nice heft and a low center of gravity. The glass itself has bubbles and small flaws.


UNxst74.jpg


Finally, the bottom of the glass does not have the small circular cut where a hand-blown glass would, indicating that these might have been molded. I have experience blowing glass, however, and there are small, circular rings -- most prominently around the base -- which indicate to me that these are not molded but blown glasses. I've tried to capture what I am talking about with the "rings" around the base of the glass (along the outer edge, which is distorting the black background in three different spots if you look closely).


yWPBbJj.jpg


The very bottom of the glass as I've said does not have the cut impression which is often mentioned as a very good sign the glass has been hand-blown. Looking closely at all three of the glasses, there is a fine line going across the middle of each. This "line" looks like it might be a glass fiber which dropped onto the bottom after a mould being poured. That being said, each of the glasses has one of these lines, which makes me think it might be a "cut" instead of a mould fiber, though I've never seen anyone cut a glass after blowing it. I've only ever seen a glass broken at the end where its attached to the tube used to blow it. I have only made a few small items at a friend's glassworks, so please don't interpret my limited glass-blowing experience as anything but.


PeyPPNk.jpg


What is my instinct about these glasses? I think they're certainly antique. Of that I have no question. There are scratches on the inside of the glass where you'd expect to see them after having been stirred with something. The bottom of the glasses do not appear to be very scratched, but it's also pretty hard to get a good look at the contact surface of the glasses, because the edges are "rounded" instead of flat and therefore don't take well to scrutiny by reflection of bright light to look for scratches. I trust that the dealer I bought them from genuinely believes they're antique absinthe glasses. However I'd like to get the opinions of an expert community before I make my final judgment call.


So there you have it. I apologize for the long-winded post, but I hope a few of you have something good to say about my recent purchase. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post below. Thanks!
Edited by L0j1k

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My guess would be antique picon glasses. Picon in many situations was diluted with seltzer at about a 2:1 ratio. Might also be a liqueur d'anise glass. You wouldn't see an absinthe glass made to fit a 2:1 ratio, as it was historically drank at about the strength of a glass of wine, which would be anywhere between 3:1 - 5:1 depending on the quality.

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I'm a serious collector of absinthe antiques but I do not by any means profess to be expert. I will be interested to see Scott M. chime in here. But I have several antique absinthe glasses, and have studied pictures of both survivors and catalogs of the era.

 

I don't doubt those are old, but I do doubt they are for absinthe. As Brian correctly states, 2:1 is not a normal ratio. I have a few glasses which have amazingly misleading appearance in terms of the dose line, meaning that the taper is so extreme that 30ml or about 1 oz. appears to fill the glass nearly halfway. But in each case, with a 3:1 mix the glass still has a respectable headspace. They could easily handle 5:1 without topping out. It never comes close to the rim. I attach a picture of just one example, an Yvonne. This has a meager 20ml dose, I fill it well above the line, where it appears to be almost half-full -- though it is not in reality because of the very narrow lower portion.

 

Yours have a Est shape but look a bit too wide. I have to believe they were bistro glasses but used for some other liquor than absinthe. They're lovely, however.

post-4189-0-33641600-1390025220_thumb.jpg

Edited by Georges Meliès

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Here's an 'Oeuf' glass without etched line, but the dose is where the inner taper expands. That's about 25ml, I pour slightly more so it's just above the shoulder. With a 3:1 ratio, which I normally use, the fill reaches the lower edge of the line below the top decorations, with still lots of headspace.

post-4189-0-61886600-1390025592_thumb.jpg

Edited by Georges Meliès

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I appreciate the input! Thanks so much for including some pictures. I think I should correct myself here to say that the ratio is more than 1:2. It's not as much as my regular, modern creations (which are something like 1:5ish and like you say, with plenty of headroom), but it's closer to 1:3 than 1:2. I know it's very hard to tell, but the dose portion of the glass is very thick, like your example there, and holds about an ounce.

 

I'll go measure exactly what the ratio is ... Yeah, it's closer to 1:3 than 1:2, so I apologize for the rough estimate earlier. It's not enough I think to justify saying it's approaching a more correct ratio, however. This is exactly why I'm asking.

 

Thanks for your input!

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Yes, I agree with Brian and René, they're certainly bistro glasses of some kind, but certainly not absinthe glasses. Marc or Peter would likely know precisely what these were used for, I'd bet. I have seen pastis glasses in this shape with a short stem. This could be what they are for. Some of you have likely seen these, with a screw-on plastic or Bakelite base.

 

Also, 2:1 is really hot for absinthe... At this ratio, you're likely missing many of the nuances of good absinthe that the distillers work so hard to impart, not to suggest it's wrong, if you like it best this way! There are a couple 45 ABV absinthes that are OK at this low ratio, but man, that's a low ratio for higher ABV absinthes. Nice meeting you!

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Here is an example of the glass I mentioned above, with "Pernod 45" clearly molded into the base. The dose line is also high up, at about the same volume as your glasses. I believe Pernod 45 was released in 1938, 6 years after Pastis was first created.

 

pernod45.jpg

Edited by Scott M.

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Hey Bill! It's not mine, it's just a photo I found on the web! I thought it might help ID the glasses L0j1k shared above. I'd seen these a few times on-line over the past few years, and the shape reminded me of his glasses. Does anyone else think his are for pastis? It's my best guess, but I've never really explored pastis or the glasses folks used for it back in the day.

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Yes, I agree with Brian and René, they're certainly bistro glasses of some kind, but certainly not absinthe glasses. Marc or Peter would likely know precisely what these were used for, I'd bet. I have seen pastis glasses in this shape with a short stem. This could be what they are for. Some of you have likely seen these, with a screw-on plastic or Bakelite base.

 

Also, 2:1 is really hot for absinthe... At this ratio, you're likely missing many of the nuances of good absinthe that the distillers work so hard to impart, not to suggest it's wrong, if you like it best this way! There are a couple 45 ABV absinthes that are OK at this low ratio, but man, that's a low ratio for higher ABV absinthes. Nice meeting you!

 

Well like I've said it depends on a huge variety of factors (if you look at the Duplais Balance in my profile pic, that's pretty clearly a lot more than 1:3), and those factors really come down to which absinthe I'm enjoying. One I can think of off-hand (Lucid) to me tastes disgusting at like 1:5, but tastes just fine at 1:3ish.

 

Before I go on, I need to say here that I've never been very scientific about the amount I mix. I play it by sight and taste, never measuring exactly how much I add. I tested one of the glasses I mentioned here with Lucid (because of the high dose line I knew I wouldn't want to use one of my finer brands), and it turned out just perfect, with the I suppose nearly 1:3 or 1:2.75 (not 1:2 like I originally mentioned).

 

Usually I add water until well after the louche. There's a fine line for me which makes an absinthe "delicious" and it's never been a scientific thing, so I had trouble putting it into words. I'm not big into editing things I've already written (i.e. changing history) so I just left it as is, otherwise I'd correct it to 1:3ish. :)

 

Thanks for your input! It's much-appreciated. :)

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Hey there... For the record, I was only sharing a common view; I was not suggesting that your preferences are wrong! It was meant more in the spirit of experimenting with more water, if you haven't yet... That's all. I actually went the other way this week, by finding that I enjoy a particular absinthe at a lower ratio than I had before. It's a big world. Do what makes you happy.

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I haven't seen any size mentioned in your posts L0j1k. Size does matter... well with absinthe glasses at least.

They were used for aperitif, that's for sure, but not absinthe, that's for sure too, they are from the 20's or 30's from what I see.

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