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Your first experiences with absinthe?


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#1 Wormwoad

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 02:35 AM

Alright, so I want to learn about you all, and see how you all came to love our green friend in common. Maybe we can even tell stories we can laugh at each other for.

So I wanted to ask how you were introduced to absinthe, and how it all developed for you?

Discuss!

 

Regarding my own personal story, I had always heard about this stuff from the rather gothy crowds in my music circles (as they had been themselves introduced by it via their common love of horror films and certain musicians). I didn't know anything about it, though.

So, my first experience was shortly after I moved to Belgium. I was brought out on the town and they gave me a flaming shot (yeeeep).

I think the reason I wasn't completely turned off is because whoever poured the glass used a shot of something which was actually decent, and through the caramelized and bitter taste I noted hints of something I liked in it.

 

A week later, I did my research and found, to my delight, that the traditional serving method included water dilution. I went out and tried some with this method and was instantly hooked, because now I could actually taste the stuff that I had liked in that bizarre experiment the week before. Between the herbal taste and the never-ending amount of historical quirks about this drink, it eventually became 'my go-to drink'. Within the same month I ended up ordering 'supplies' online and finding old absinthe spoons in clueless antique stores and resale shops who had no idea what it was for.

 

All I have to say is I am thankful that whoever poured that initial glass gave me something which, at its base, tasted decent.

Otherwise I would have missed out.



#2 greytail

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:48 AM

I am Immortal. I was there at the beginning. Taste just sort of grew on me you could say.

Edited by greytail, 04 February 2014 - 09:49 AM.

Nos adepto quis nos mereo. Nos mereo quis nos adepto.

#3 Evan Camomile

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:06 AM

I tried an infused-vodka style fauxsinthe a friend of mine "made" in 05 and I hated it. Then I tried a fauxsinthe a girlfriend wanted to try since it was recently legalized and it reinforced the idea that absinthe was gross.

 

Then I started dating a new girl who saw that I had the fauxsinthe still and we got to talking about absinthe. She said I should try some of her Lucid. I figured I could choke down another absinthe because I really wanted to get in her pants. I actually liked Lucid though. So I asked this girl what the hell was up with the stuff I had tried previously. She educated me real quick. We tried drinking the fauxsinthe again (to her credit she swallowed it down like a champ) but I couldn't do it anymore so I used the fauxsinthe as drain cleaner.

 

Then I started to drink because I finally found a drink that I liked. Leopold Bros. Verte was next and I was in love. All because of this really awesome girl I am dating. So it's all Amber's fault.

 

:dev-cheers:  


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#4 ripper911

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:11 AM

My first experience with absinthe was in Amsterdam. I was there for the 2006 Cannabis Cup. One night I stumbled upon a bar named "absinthe", I walked inside and proceeded to get about as wasted as I have ever been. I had tried absente before then, so I couldn't resist trying the real thing. The bartender lit the sugar, and didn't use what I would now recognise as an absinthe glass, but I enjoyed it enough that I went back every night for the rest of the week. After getting back home I did some research and began a buying frenzy from eabsinthe.com, trying many different brands...

#5 Wormwoad

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 12:00 PM

Haha, awesome story, Evan. She sounds like a keeper.

I was wondering what to use faux absinthe for. Maybe a makeshift Listerine?

 

Ripper, your story seems a little similar to mine - you tasted something you liked in it, even if it was served unorthodox.



#6 Absomphe

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

I am Immortal. I was there at the beginning.

Yeah, I remember that. :wheelchair:


Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#7 ilion

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 04:03 PM

I forget where I first heard abot it, but I suspect from some goth friends of mine. I did see Bram Stoker's Dracula the night it opened in the theatres, so there's that too.

I remember being at a goth party where this guy was passing around a flask. I think it was actually chartreuse, but I remembered liking it and at some point connected it to absinthe. Years later I went to another party and took a bottle of Hill's crapsinthe. At this point I either knew nothing or had forgetting anything I had learned about the absinthe ritual and simply went around that party taking sips from the bottle and coaxing others to try. As you can imagine, it was not the most pleasant drink, but the experience matched the mood I was in that night.

 

Later I looked into it further because I'd gotten curious and many people had asked me about the drink. Then I started to learn. Finally I eventually found something to use as a spoon, then managed to get a bottle of Taboo. That's when I realized it was actually a very pleasant drink that you could sip easily!



#8 Bob Tessier

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 06:11 PM

I am Immortal. I was there at the beginning.

Yeah, I remember that. :wheelchair:

Abs, you ARE time! :worshippy:


"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

#9 peridot

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:36 PM

In late '04 I did some (poor) research and ordered some Absente. To my uneducated palate it was pretty good. When I realized you could order proper absinthe I did (this was in '05). Again, I didn't know much yet so most of what I got was pretty bad, mostly oil mixes. None of it was Czechsinth but it wasn't much better than Absente. Still thought it was pretty good. Next order a month or so later I got some Swiss blanches and Jade NO and realized just how shit the earlier stuff was. Within two months I had bought nine bottles, four of which were good.

 

Not really any cool stories involved, but I have some fun memories going through all of it from the terrible to the excellent with my friends.

 

In '06 I joined here and then really started learning.


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#10 Wormwoad

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 03:40 AM

Heh. To me it seems as if Absente is to absinthe as modern sugar-added pastis is to the early pastis brands.
I had the same type of experience - I liked it to start with, but knew it wasn't 'all-there' because it looked so artificial and tasted too sweet.

And now my wallet hates me for the developed palate I have. Haha.

 

Ilion, I think now that I recall, I remember the first time my goth friends and I heard about absinthe. We were watching that gimmicky Val Helsing movie that came out a few years ago where Kate Beckinsale swigs a fluorescent-green bottle straight, much to Hugh Jackman's surprise.

Being that Kate Beckinsale certainly was engrained in my psyche, so absinthe did as well. Little did I know I had much to learn and experience, but at least I knew getting absinthe in the future was a lot more realistic than obtaining Kate Beckinsale.



#11 baubel

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 06:05 AM

I messed around with Pernod's star anise swill for a while, thinking that was what Hemingway was referencing for a while.  I was taking a break from alcohol when one of my brother's friends suggested a night of "absinthe and ping pong."  As a kind of joke.  My brother researched it, and found the Wormwood Society.  I had seen references to absente and wormwood kits on a few websites that sold alcohol, but I hadn't looked into them.  My brother and I decided to throw down the dinero for three bottles of CLB and three sample bottles of the Jades, NO, Edouard, and 1901 if memory serves me correctly.  We expected them to taste like French meadows...and as far as we could tell they did.  That was April/May/Summer of 2007.  The next thing I knew I was up in Montana talking with Joe and Jules in Montana for some reason or another, B)  , learning as much as I could about absinthe (and pyment) as possible at the time.  


A little technological fix to a spiritual problem.


#12 Absomphe

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 07:05 AM

My quest begins...

 

1976- Made my own vile, macerated, swill from high proof vodka and herbs I picked up at a very old pharmacy/herb shop in Greenwich Village.

 

Even back then, I knew the distilled, real deal must have tasted far more palatable, but having no access to said (or even knowledge of clandestine la bleues), I put away all thoughts of absinthe. That is, until...

 

1998- I happened upon an internet site offering Czech absinths, and made the mistake of ordering a couple. Naturally, they tasted like little more than badly flavored industrial alcohol, and those bottles were mostly sinked.

 

1999- Undeterred by my first two miscues, I found the Fee Verte forum, and ordered a couple of Spanish absentas (Deva and Segarra, the former being tongue numbing, and the latter also being anise heavy, but with a slight butterscotch/vanilla ester, probably imparted by the oak ageing. Segarra was, by a stretch, the best absinthe to be had at the time, However, one year later...

 

2000- I tried my first clandestine la bleue (from the long ago defunct BEI imports). It tasted like the proverbial alpine meadow to me, and I was hooked.


Edited by Absomphe, 05 February 2014 - 07:10 AM.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#13 Joe Legate

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:24 AM

Same ol' story.  Ordered swill czechsinthe online.  Ordered good stuff online.  Drank a lot more good stuff and ample bad stuff.  Opened a distillery.  Elected to the US Senate.  Caught in a sex sting operation.  Resigned in disgrace and decided to write a tell-all of my exploits in the gub'mint-sponsored sex trade industry.  Moved to Montana to hide from the hit men hired by the Bush Administration to exact revenge.  Like I said, same ol' story.



#14 redwun

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:30 AM

Absomphe: "herbs I picked up at a very old pharmacy/herb shop in Greenwich Village".                                                   Would that be the place on Bleeker near Jones & Cornelia St?                                                                                        In 2006,Lucid was my first.I didn't like it at all.It made me think of flavored paint thinner.Tried some others and I liked them much better,but Absinthe wasn't Love at first sight for me.It took me a while to acquire a taste for it. 


Edited by redwun, 05 February 2014 - 08:36 AM.

You Know there ain't no Devil that's just God when he's drunk"...Tom Waits

#15 Absomphe

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:36 AM

Could've been Cornelia St., but it was almost 38 years ago, I honestly don't recall, Redwun.


Edited by Absomphe, 05 February 2014 - 08:40 AM.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#16 baubel

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:15 AM

Caught in a sex sting operation.

 

I'm still sore.


Edited by baubel, 05 February 2014 - 11:16 AM.

A little technological fix to a spiritual problem.


#17 Wormwoad

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:39 AM

Absomphe, I still haven't had any Spanish Absenta. Would you personally recommend it? I'd trust your judgment due to my love for La Clandestine.



#18 peridot

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:36 PM

Modern ones tend to be heavy with star anise and most of them are oil mixes.

 

Obsello is good, though. Easily the best one I've had by a mile.


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#19 Absomphe

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:43 PM

As I mentioned, they tend to be anise heavy, and, therefore, less herbally complex in flavor than today's better commercial offerings.

 

Absentas taste more like arak than they do absinthe, as I recall, but it's been many years since I've tasted one, and I doubt I will again, since there are more than a few top shelf absinthes to choose from these days.


Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#20 OMG_Bill

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 02:05 PM

Pernod Fils, 1930 Tarragona.

 

Mid 1980's. Been stupid ever since. ;)

 

I have pics. ;)


Some folks may cringe each time I use the term "Booze" regarding these high quality drinks.
I mean no offense. There are bottles of extraordinary booze out there. I've tasted a few. Relax.

#21 Wormwoad

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:42 PM

Pernod Fils, 1930 Tarragona.

 

Mid 1980's. Been stupid ever since. ;)

 

I have pics. ;)

You should scan/post them. That would be awesome.
 

And yeah, I've definitely heard Obsello is the best example of a good absenta. I'll give it a shot!



#22 Bob Tessier

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 07:08 PM

Late last decade, I blundered onto absinth websites on the net, and I mistakenly thought that it was the same as absinthe. Went to my local bottle shop, bought Czech swill, and was rather disappointed. Fortunately, Taboo was also on the shelf, made right here in the Great White whatever. Sipping the one real absinthe I could get, I got edumacated, on this here forum. La Clandestine, Lucid and the Jades soon made it onto my shelf. A few days ago, it was a tiny bottle of St George.

 

I got a wonderful "teaser" sample from a generous forum member a few years ago, and it remains one of the most wonderful and evocative beverages I have ever had. The creator and the benefactor are both well known here, and I thank, and salute, them both. :cheers:


"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

#23 Absomphe

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 07:12 PM

I got a wonderful "Tessier" sample from a generous forum member a few years ago

Damn, I knew you Canadians were into human cloning, but in your case, I won't complain. :laugh:  :cheers: 


Edited by Absomphe, 05 February 2014 - 07:14 PM.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#24 Mork

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 12:58 PM

This is fun:) 

I heard all the strange myths when I was very young, so naturally I was keen to try.

I think I was about 16 when I tried Pere Kermanns horrible stuff (this is 12 years ago)
I didn't know much, but I did know it was supposed to louche when you put out the flame with a bunch of water(flame, yes).
So I knew I hadn't really tried it, but I few years later I stumbled upon Tabu at the Airport in Amsterdam. Smugling it was great fun. And this time it louched! But the taste wasn't anything like I'd hoped, so we just got drunk and forgot about it.
 
All the way through this I was primarily drinking whisky, and later I was searching for some vintage stuff when I suddenly stumbled into the "Finest and Rarest" shop. I was so thrilled, it had never occured to me that there still existed unopened bottles from before the ban.
This changed everything to me, and from there I found the Jade's, and I've been happy ever since.
-A few years later I've also secured myself some preban stuff too..
 
Go internet! -And a big thanks to all you guys making sure people can actually find useful info out there:)


#25 Wormwoad

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:18 PM

^ That Amsterdam airport story is great. They seriously sold it at the airport?

 

Speaking of Pere Kerrman's, I saw that stuff on a shelf the other day for the first time. It looks like blue candy.

I love how it's a painting of a mystical old man, with 'le secret de la fabrication d'absinthe' or whatever Photoshopped in Papyrus font on his piece of paper. Hahaha.



#26 Mork

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:04 PM

Haha yes, the irony is strong with that one:)

I tried a sip over at a friends house a few months ago, its actually a great accomplishment to make something that horrible.

It's really in a league of its own, even compared to other fauxinthes.

 

They did have Tabu at the airport, complete with a big sticker with the word "ILLEGAL?" on it. 



#27 Wormwoad

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 03:46 AM

Haha yes, the irony is strong with that one:)

I tried a sip over at a friends house a few months ago, its actually a great accomplishment to make something that horrible.

It's really in a league of its own, even compared to other fauxinthes.

 

They did have Tabu at the airport, complete with a big sticker with the word "ILLEGAL?" on it. 

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.



#28 gee13

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 05:12 AM

First encounter was in a small darkly lit Melbourne bar circa 03-04 with my brother in law. Remember the ritual hazily.. sugar cube over spoon, glass and slow pour from carafe from.the waiter who seemed to know what they were doing.. Cant recall what brand but remember it as being expensive. Wasnt unpleasant. Fast forward to last year when my brother in law got my mum to bring some in.from czech. It was K.O.S. Got in a pontarlier glass and feuille spoon and tried to properly louche with carafe.. got my measurements wrong mixing 50ml 2:1 and got quite inebriated real quick after 4 glasses. Can remember struggling with the taste, it was so bitter I had to add loads of sugar, the next day wasnt pleasant. However it got me more curious and before long I was onto DuplaisVerte and Libertine..then all 4 Jades, the rest is history.. since then to now Ive had over 40 COs incl Pb Georges Pernod. The bank balance hasnt been great but relative to me quitting buying beer and fines wines. Been a great journey of discovery and meeting folks on.WS, some who started their journeys same time as me.

#29 Georges Meličs

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 08:56 AM

Having majored in French literature in college in the 60s I was exposed to the mythology of absinthe through various writers. Then when I got into the wine business in 1970 I had plenty of opportunity to read about old spirits, so I was certainly intrigued. When Barnaby Conrad's book came out in 1988 I read it with rapt fascination, and longed to try it.

I had one tasting experience sometime in the late 80s when winemaker Randall Graham (Bonny Doon Vineyards) brought in a bottle of a pre-Prohibition absinthe he'd found in an old cellar. I don't remember the brand, or really much of anything about the experience except that I was excited to taste it, and I enjoyed it -- though we didn't go through the full ritual, just a shot and some water.

When Lucid first hit the market with some fanfare in 2007 or so I paid $100 to get a bottle shipped from NY. Stupidly, I treated it the same way we drank Pastis in France, and occasionally at home (my wife is a big fan of Ricard): on the rocks, with a splash. Duh. I was not impressed. I tried it a few times and decided it wasn't for me. I'm embarrassed to admit how dense I was. I had read enough to know how it should be prepared but I couldn't be bothered. My bad.

But when I planned our last vacation in Paris I decided absinthe was going to be my quest. I made a short list of places to visit but before getting to them we happened upon a café on the tip of the Ile d'Orléans which listed absinthe on the board. It turned out to be Pernod, the artifically-colored dreck. But I didn't know better. They brought a small fountain to the table, with spoons and a tray of sugar, and even though it was by no means great absinthe how could I not enjoy performing "the ritual" while looking out over the Seine in the early evening? At least it was better than Czechsinthe, and they didn't flame it.

A day or two later we went to the restaurant Fée Verte where they have an extensive list of good absinthes by the glass. Taking the waitress's advice we had a little tasting, each drinking and sharing two glasses before dinner. So I tried the Jade VS 1898, Un Emile 65, PF 1901, and Muse Verte. I was well and permanently hooked.

After a visit to Vert d'Absinthe I came home with 3 bottles in my luggage. Even before returning home I had ordered glasses and a fountain online so they were awaiting my arrival.

Naturally when I got back I retasted the Lucid, this time served correctly, and my impression was obviously vastly more positive. From there I went on to joining the forums, ordering from Astor and absinthes.com, buying a half-dozen pre-ban samples, getting obsessively immersed in building a collection of antique absinthiana, and accumulating an overflowing liquor cabinet of different brands, about 20 at last count, not including the pre-bans.

It's been a very fun ride.



#30 Ambear

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 01:53 PM

I was infatuated with absinthe since I was a young teen and monitored the situation pretty closely until I at least had friends of drinking age. Once or twice some friends wanted to buy some from overseas but were deterred by the price and the vast amount of dodgy vertes on the market (I kept recommending La Clandestine as the safest bet, but no one wanted to get it because it wasn't GREEN). The launch of Lucid in the US coincided pretty closely with me being able to legally purchase alcohol (I turned 21 at the very end of 2006), and it was only a matter of time before I picked some up (with a pair of glasses, spoons, and sugar cubes). I think the first time was pretty much the only time I bothered with sugar (except for a glass of Pacifique I had a couple of years ago). I was insanely worried I would absolutely hate absinthe (after years of obsessing over it), but luckily it's totally delicious.


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