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Any herbs NOT allowed in a proper absinthe?

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I agree in principle that a proper absinthe should probably contain the Holy Trinity of botanicals, but I'd venture that any non-sugared, high-proof, distilled liquor which contained at least wormwood and anise in sufficient quantity that it was the principle flavor, could "technically" be considered an absinthe. But it might be crap, too.

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It is actually made in Croatia, it is named "Pelinkovac"

 

Wormwood, aniseed, hyssop and fennel I believe in you, but tansy, veronica or coriander, they are here, too :cheers:

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I agree in principle that a proper absinthe should probably contain the Holy Trinity of botanicals, but I'd venture that any non-sugared, high-proof, distilled liquor which contained at least wormwood and anise in sufficient quantity that it was the principle flavor, could "technically" be considered an absinthe. But it might be crap, too.

 

François Guy falls into your definition. No fennel in that one.

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Guy is good to me (rhyme intended) and no, not a creme d'absinthe.

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even earlier 'near-abinthes' contain ingredients like honey, wine, cocaine, dill, nutmeg, and bay

 

If you mixed all of those ingredients together it would be a ballz trippin' day for sure!

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And for those who miss it, here it is :)

 

To the discussion I would also add the following characterstics:

 

Absinthe:

 

1) method: maceration and/or distillation (depending on the producer)

2) three colours obtained naturally: verte, blanche/la bleue and rouge

3) at least 50%-75%

4) at least 200 mg/l - 1500 mg/l of anethole

5) at least 5 mg/l - 35 mg/l of thujone

6) must contain: wormwood, aniseed, fennel and hyssop; ratio of wormwood to aniseed at maximum 1:1

7) maximum content of licorice root (if any) 5 g/l

 

DISQUALIFIED if:

1) exceeds or does not approximate any of previous regulations

2) contains any spices or herbs never mentioned in historical recipes

3) if sugared - creme d'absinthe

4) instead of wormwood - mugwort is used - liqueur d'armoise

5) artificial colouring

post-1144-1171359400.jpg

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Looks like the wrong fennel in that pic.

 

contains any spices or herbs never mentioned in historical recipes

 

Not necessarily, I think any spice or herb used would not disqualify it as an absinthe. What qualifies additional herbs has more to do with flavor profile,if it tastes bad, it shouldn't be used. One of the fascinating things about absinthe is the variety.

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Actually, that fennel' s quality would be 2nd class, I have the photo of 1st class one as well, but you have to figure it out since there is aniseed, star anise et al.

All in all, it is still Florence fennel, not the other variety.

I would not be so liberal as far as variety is taken into consideration, though ;)

post-1144-1171368630.jpg

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And for those who miss it, here it is :)

 

To the discussion I would also add the following characterstics:

 

Absinthe:

 

1) method: maceration and/or distillation (depending on the producer)

2) three colours obtained naturally: verte, blanche/la bleue and rouge

3) at least 50%-75%

4) at least 200 mg/l - 1500 mg/l of anethole

5) at least 5 mg/l - 35 mg/l of thujone

6) must contain: wormwood, aniseed, fennel and hyssop; ratio of wormwood to aniseed at maximum 1:1

7) maximum content of licorice root (if any) 5 g/l

 

DISQUALIFIED if:

1) exceeds or does not approximate any of previous regulations

2) contains any spices or herbs never mentioned in historical recipes

3) if sugared - creme d'absinthe

4) instead of wormwood - mugwort is used - liqueur d'armoise

5) artificial colouring

 

 

Resulted analysis FAROM OLD BLANCHE

 

th_70942_analisi_123_105lo.jpg

 

Ciao a tutti.

Edited by FAROM

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While a natural coloring is definitely preferred, Duplais mentions many "recipes" where the coloring was accomplished with indigo and caramel, the "artificial" colors of their day. Yes, these colors were used in the inferior distinctions for absinthe, yet nevertheless, they were legitimately considered such.

 

While your definition is certainly fine – and of excellent merit – I would suggest it be limited to the top quality designation for absinthe.

 

 

absinthist, you are starting to sound like the EU. :D

 

:cheers:

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absinthist is my neighbor with authorization :D we must celebrate :drunk:

Edited by Hiram

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Thanks DP, I agree with indigo and caramel, but they are actually natural colouring agents if considered artificial in the pre-ban era.

Still they are not TOXIC like vert Paolo Veronese [(CuO)3As2O3.Cu(C2H3O2)2] or vert de Grece (verdigris) that were used as well. Not counting excessive amount of licorice = arrhythmia or aniline and antimony chloride = :reaper:

Unlike UE, I am not ignorant :) and yes these norms would apply only to top quality. They would remove inferieures from the market.

 

Nice analysis you have, Farom :cheers:

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To the discussion I would also add the following characterstics:

 

Absinthe:

 

1) method: maceration and/or distillation (depending on the producer)

2) three colours obtained naturally: verte, blanche/la bleue and rouge

3) at least 50%-75%

4) at least 200 mg/l - 1500 mg/l of anethole

5) at least 5 mg/l - 35 mg/l of thujone

6) must contain: wormwood, aniseed, fennel and hyssop; ratio of wormwood to aniseed at maximum 1:1

7) maximum content of licorice root (if any) 5 g/l

 

DISQUALIFIED if:

1) exceeds or does not approximate any of previous regulations

2) contains any spices or herbs never mentioned in historical recipes

3) if sugared - creme d'absinthe

4) instead of wormwood - mugwort is used - liqueur d'armoise

5) artificial colouring

That would never fly as a legal definition in the US. And 1:1 wormwood/anise? Wow! Wormwood bomb!

 

I have concerns with the part about "historical recipes". While Duplais et al have been incalculably helpful to us all in determining the basic recipes and methods, I'd stop short of declaring them gospel. There are hundreds of recipes we'll never see.

 

I think of it sort of like cola drinks. There are a minority of "definitive" brands (two, IMHO), but many perfectly decent knock offs that inarguably qualify as cola. The purist will sneer at cherry and vanilla flavored colas, but are they not cola? They have their place.

 

I don't recall seeing cinnamon in any of the published historic recipes, but Montmartre is pretty well accepted. If all absinthe tasted like a classic Pontarlier, it would be boring.

Looks like the wrong fennel in that pic.
Don't be too sure. I've seen some FF that looks like that. There are a lot of varieties.
Thanks DP, I agree with indigo and caramel, but they are actually natural colouring agents if considered artificial in the pre-ban era.
They're perfectly natural, just not customary. Indigo is a botanical coloring; last I checked though, it's not permitted as a coloring in the US.

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Wormwood bomb as opposed to anise bomb :cheers: Some balance must be needed.

Thanks for the support on FF :cheers:

Indigo http://www.kremer-pigmente.de/foto36000.htm is in fact too expensive to be used so often in food & beverages industry and yes, it has been considered for a while toxic, so you in the US should do something to amend it.

On the other hand, looking at modern brands, we are getting: E102 - considered harmful, E131 - considered carcinogenic.

 

Coming back to ingredients I would say that:

 

wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L., hence the name: absinthe together with artemisia pontica L.,– used for colouration ), aniseed (Pimpinella anisum L.,), star anise (Illicium verum L.,), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Miller) (all three correct the taste of one another and are responsible for the louching effect and pleasant scent).

Apart from them, there is angelica (Angelica archangelica L., adds the flavour to wormwood’s bitter note), calamus (Acorus calamus L., of historical value, nowadays used by for example Pernot) melissa (Melissa officinalis L., second after hyssop, main colouring agent), tansy (Tanacetum vulgare L., very rarely mentioned in recipes if in the oldest ones; perfectly hides wormwood bitter notes increasing beta thujone content), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis L., adds to the taste and one of the colouring agents) and coriander (Coriandrum sativum L., the same purpose as aniseed et al).

 

The last group could be veronica (Veronica officinalis L., adds little spiciness and deepens the colour), mint (Mentha piperita L., the same), oregano (Origanum vulgare L., the same), Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis L., smoothens the taste), génépi (Artemisia spicata or mutellina or glacialis L. , common in les Bleues), juniper (Juniperus communis L., the same as chamomile plus adds a bit of thujone), elecampane (Inula Helenium L., increases the angelica’s part) and licorice (Glycirrhiza glabra L., rarely used in superior brands, though adds its properties to these of aniseed and makes absinthe taste like an aged one ) and many others depending on the taste and clientele it is/was served to.

 

Just a little contribution from the other side of the Atlantic :cheers:

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"1) method: maceration and/or distillation (depending on the producer)"

Maceration is not absinthe. I would adjust this to must be distilled (whether alcohol or steam).

 

"2) three colours obtained naturally: verte, blanche/la bleue and rouge"

I would consider artificial coloring acceptable although not encouraged.

 

"3) at least 50%-75%"

45% seems valid based on historic recipes.

 

"5) at least 5 mg/l - 35 mg/l of thujone"

Which would disqualify some pre-ban absinthe. Thujone levels shouldn't matter.

 

"6) must contain: wormwood, aniseed, fennel and hyssop"

I would stick with must contain anise and wormwood, enough to be noticable/louche.

 

It's important to distinguish what makes an absinthe vs what makes a good absinthe.

I would considered a 45%abv artificially colored oil mix of anise and wormwood to be absinthe, but probably not very good absinthe.

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Yet we have macerated ones and some of them are quite good. You meet them on Absinthiades, they have existed just as distillates and assemblages of both. That is why I have pointed out "depending on the producer".

As far as artificial colouring - read what I have written about it by talking about indigo.

AS we are discussing top quality, 45% is ordinaire.

Thujone - discussion concerns modern brands, not reputable ones (they are automatically classified as absinthe since they ARE extraits d'absinthe no matter of their thujone content, they just are)

Information about noticeable louche you have in 4)

Yes, that is right about absinthe VS good absinthe, henceforth regulations would apply only to the latter.

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Yet we have macerated ones and some of them are quite good.

Thujone - discussion concerns modern brands, not reputable ones (they are automatically classified as absinthe since they ARE extraits d'absinthe no matter of their thujone content, they just are)

Maybe I'm wrong but I would really question a product with an A.A. maceration-only being good and containing a significant amount of AA.

It would also seem odd to include pre-ban absinthe but not include a hypothetical product made exactly like a pre-ban containing pre-ban thujone levels. I also don't see any reason to have any minimum thujone levels.

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It depends on the product.

Absinthe replicas could be added as well as long as they are made correctly.

Minimum level is needed to separate absinthe from other thujone-containing spirits (which would need their own regulations as well) and from pastis ancienne since it might have 4.7 mg/l so 5 mg/l would be a safe minimum and 45% of pastis would also set a rule.

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I would rather use ingredients, not an over hyped, variable, pointless chemicals to separate absinthe out. Pastis wouldn't contain A.A. for example (among other differences).

A minimum thujone requirement could force traditionally made high quality absinthe to spike their product with thujone just so they could be called "absinthe" which doesn't make sense to me.

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The ingredients I have already given. We should decide which one we discuss: Pastis de Marseille (might have up to 1.7 mg/l only) or pastis ancienne. Pastis does not have to contain wormwood to have thujone, there are other sources.

They would not have to spike it since majority of them is doing just fine in these terms. If you know some that would fail, please list them.

So no subsequent thujonization as in Lemercier Amer :) At least some rules should be set, otherwise we would wake one cloudy :cheers: day and hear "bienvenue dans le chaos"

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I disagree with macerated "absinthe." The judging at the Absinthiades is laughable, so the fact that they have a classification for macerated drinks doesn't mean much.

 

I also disagree with any thujone requirements, minimum or maximum. Ingredient and production requirements should render that moot.

 

And I disagree with requiring hyssop. I'm unconvinced by arguments both for and against requiring fennel so far, but I see no reason for hyssop to be a required ingredient, as it's a colouring herb. Perhaps I'm showing my ignorance, but I'd guess that not a lot of blanches are distilled with it and obviously they're not coloured with it.

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Pastis does not have to contain wormwood to have thujone, there are other sources.

So? Without wormwood it's not absinthe. Why should we care about it's thujone level?

They would not have to spike it

I know of one study that tested 9 traditionally produced absinthe, never breaking your 5 mg/l level.

Again a minimum tbone requirement seems to do nothing but suggest it actually matters and possibly eliminate some current and future quality absinthe.

 

To continue beyond that, I'm for a minimalistic definition to give distillers artistic license. No matter how tight the definition is, it can still produce crap in the hands of poor producers. The only use for a solid definition, IMHO, is to eliminate patently false products.

 

Edit for: Grammer

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I have read most of the studies provided to me by Dr Dirk Lachenmeier and those that would fail would be:

Un Emile, Segarra, and others which however I would not classify as absinthes. Others stood quite o.k.

Give me a link to the study, please.

Peridot, I can agree to some extent with your two disagreements :) yet hyssop as mentioned in most of the oldest recipes shall be essential. As far as fennel is regarded, it is here to balance aniseed and as of different character shall be added as well.

Blanches/les bleues always contain more herbs than vertes so hyssop is rather involved.

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That picture of fennel tha Absinthist posted does not look like Florence fennel, I agree with Prol. Sorry Hiram, I have never seen real FF that looks like that. Looks like someone mixed in some common fennel with a few seeds of FF.

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