I'm very surprised that many of my peers have ignored the statement:
"Finally, TTB proposes to supersede Industry Circular 2007-5 in its entirety, without incorporating the requirement that all wormwood-containing products undergo analysis by TTB's laboratory before approval. TTB will verify compliance with FDA limitations on thujone through marketplace review and distilled spirits plant investigations, where necessary."
Also, there is finally a suggested standard of identity. There are pluses and minuses to this - where things have come up short, I absolutely echo Gwydion's statements above.
Though the TTB acknowledges a broad enough consumer awareness of absinthe/absinth (sic) that warrants a SOI, the published proposal for § 5.149 e reflects more their need to conform things under a broad labeling umbrella. For example, you see the same hearkening back to 30% abv for flavored spirits/liqueurs as a means to relegate what they don't entirely know into a heap, and less because they misunderstand the subject - they have NO understanding of it! But make no mistake, about 90% of the content in this revision to the CFR is associated with labeling... absinthe is not and never was the focus. However, we have until March to provide comment... technically. If you attempt to do so now, under an "appropriations lapse" it... well, wait until the shutdown is over. Overall, in the immediate, the definition is neither assisting the effort of absintheurs nor truly hindering them in a tangible way. Once it's exited the review period, we'll have a marker in the Code of Federal Regulations that can be referred to, legislated upon and referenced... therein lies a substantial consideration. In terms of regulatory substance, absinthe has not existed. Being a beast of a piecemeal driver is nothing new in the regulatory realm... I would just encourage others to take advantage of that period before April of each year when Title 27 is reissued. One bite at a time, my friends... one bite at a time.