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Gwydion Stone

Kallnacher Absinth

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From everything I've been able to gather in the little snippets regarding the manufacture of UE, am I correct in assuming that they use a process in which a relatively small amount of highly scented spirit is diluted to final volume with neutral alcohol, in the manner of some of the absinthe ordinaire procedures?

 

As for HG, I suspect it definitely falls into the category of being a higher art in most cases, despite not being able to speak from experience. Looking back over my own relatively few purchases during the past year I suppose I would say I'd probably spend the same again.

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You are correct about how the UE is made. It's known as the semi-fine method.

 

Now that I have had the Ballknocker, I can post here. It tastes like Kübler and UE had a child. Not as good as Kübler, but not as bland as the UE68. I did not sink it, but wouldn't buy it either.

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I once had a glass of Un Emile just off the still, before it was diluted, coloured, anything. UE high-proof, crystal clear still piss.

 

That was very tasty.

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Those ain't SWISS LBs. Those crafty marketers are claiming that: " ...it is impossible to distinguish from many local clandestine 'La Bleue' absinthes..." I'm not thinkin' so.

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>Those ain't SWISS LBs. Those crafty marketers are claiming that: " ...it is impossible to distinguish from many local clandestine 'La Blue' absinthes..." I'm not thinkin' so.

 

of course you aren't 'thinkin' so', because you love the idea of being openly against virtually all that is commercial, whether the efforts are honest or not...it gives you a cool 'on-line' personality and helps to blur the image that some of those who are involved in commercial absinthe production might be interested in the same thing you are as opposed to collecting the imaginary tons of undeserved cash.

 

i wrote that which you quoted, because it is true, nothing crafty about it.

especially true after tasting around 6 post-clandestine la bleues just last saturday, in boveresse.

not the very best, but a good distilled blanche absinthe, from a small, artisanal distillery with lots of promise and run by very nice people, that has every right to be called a 'la bleue', even if it is technically not.

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the news wasn't about Kübler, but i did find out from yves Kübler that his 53% absinthe is not legal in france because it has too much fennel. (insert ironic fennel-whore joke here)

 

as far as arak, that news may come shortly...

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I once had a glass of Un Emile just off the still, before it was diluted, coloured, anything. UE high-proof, crystal clear still piss.

 

That was very tasty.

 

I second that. Still weak in louche, but a lot tastier than regular UE.

 

HG's or not, things are happening at the CO end of production. Wether you know it or not...

 

After reading through this thread I am happy to see that Hiram does what many other should. HG is not comparable to CO absinthe, end of story.

 

Which is the sole reason for me not adding HGs to my reviews on my site. Only two HGs are there and those are Swiss LBs which for a long time was more or less CO-available anyway over the net.

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In Switzerland, anyway, the line between HG and CO is somehow blurred now. The new wave of swiss CO La Bleues are all made by distillers that until three months ago were clandestine HGers. With the legalization, it seems to be pretty easy for them to get a permit to do what they've actually been doing for years. As it is now, they can have someone's private stovetop still up and running on the street in downtown Boveresse for the fête.

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HG's or not, things are happening at the CO end of production. Wether you know it or not...

That's great. Most of us would love for there to be more high quality CO Absinthe available. If CO were at the price point of brandy, as grim suggested, I bet there'd be a lot less people making it at home.

After reading through this thread I am happy to see that Hiram does what many other should. HG is not comparable to CO absinthe, end of story.

Out of curiosity, what's so bad or unfair about comparing the two? Why shouldn't some guy with a big still be compared to some guy with a little still? I've had plenty of HGs that are inferior to Jade, BDF and even Kübler, so why put "HG" on a pedestal?

 

I don't understand what makes HG the default heavyweight and CO the lightweight. If anything, CO should be considered the heavyweight and held to high standards since they have access to authentic vintage equipment, herb sources and money. It may be possible to produce something of high quality faster on a small scale because the experimentation costs to the maker are far less, but if you're CO and selling the stuff, I'd assume you'd at least break even and could afford to make something of quality and improve it as you go, which Ted is doing. As a matter of fact, most CO makers have small scale test alambics which they use to try out new things to keep the cost of experimentation down. You'd think that would level the playing field between CO and HG.

 

I have no problem with anybody making money selling absinthe, whether (legal) HG or CO. In fact, I'd love to see that happen across the board. I'd be curious to learn of the attitudes in Switzerland between those who are selling their homemade absinthes and those who are doing it on a large scale, like Kübler. Does he see LB as a threat, and do LB makers see him as inferior?

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All excellent points, Donnie!

 

As a matter of fact, most CO makers have small scale test alambics which they use to try out new things to keep the cost of experimentation down.

And I imagine more than a few of the makers, unlike Pernot, have one at home. Would only make sense if the distillery were outside of your native country.

:devil:

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I promised not to let the cat out of the bag but wait to you see his 4th commercial absinthe...... mucho tasty........ mucho expensive..name is Absinthe Mathis .....

 

The Suisse he brought was mighty tasty. Best I've had, by far.

 

Commercial release of all three current absinthes in the very near future....

 

 

You heard it here first: Absinthe Mathis ..... his best yet.

Funny thing is there's no distiller's proof for either one of these. No large quantity of leftover batch that's being offered on LdF. I wonder if he flew to Combier to throw that sample together for jmfranc.

 

Or was this "Suisse" one of the new LBs?

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...of course you aren't 'thinkin' so', because you love the idea of being openly against virtually all that is commercial, whether the efforts are honest or not...it gives you a cool 'on-line' personality and helps to blur the image that some of those who are involved in commercial (*cough* legal) absinthe production might be interested in the same thing you are as opposed to collecting the imaginary tons of undeserved cash.

 

i wrote that which you quoted, because it is true, nothing crafty about it.

especially true after tasting around 6 post-clandestine la bleues just last saturday, in boveresse.

not the very best, but a good distilled blanche absinthe, from a small, artisanal distillery with lots of promise and run by very nice people, that has every right to be called a 'la bleue', even if it is technically not.

 

Yeah, it was so grate I had to dump it out in the sink. I've had probably 7 Swiss LBs now - and it was the worst out of the 8. Sorry, this one is crap and a waste of money.

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I don't see how CO could seriously compete with HG without growers picking up the slack. I doubt top quality herbs exist in a large enough quantity for a CO to have access to only very best. Where as HGs have the ability to pick out the very best to be used in a relatively small batch.

For example, the strawberries from local growers are insanely better than most of what you can buy at the store. The local growers just can't produce enough to satisfy the large demands of stores or the travel requirements.

I'm sure there are other factors in scaling up production that have been discussed before and I wont try to repeat because I don't really know what I'm talking about.

 

I think in the future the line between HG and CO will be blurred. Especially if some online shops start to offer a larger selection of the smaller legal HGers in Swissland.

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I doubt top quality herbs exist in a large enough quantity for a CO to have access to only very best.  Where as HGs have the ability to pick out the very best to be used in a relatively small batch.

 

The only herb that applies to is florence fennel, and only last year, and that's because there was a draught in Italy the previous year which significantly reduced stocks of quality F. Fennel. There's plenty of varieties of quality F. Fennel now from many many different sources. Green anise is a HUGE crop for Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt and many other countries, and while the particular kind used in vintage absinthe is expensive and elusive, it's still attainable for large scale manufacture (ever try Jade?). If anything, most herbs are MORE expensive per bottle for small scale use because small customers are not going to get some huge bulk discount. Wholesaling exists in the herb industry just like any other...

 

You are correct to assert that the very best herbs are expensive for CO makers to acquire but if they can sell their product for more than $50 a bottle, then shouldn't we expect them to use the best herbs?

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Out of curiosity, what's so bad or unfair about comparing the two?

I don't think it's bad, just inappropriate. Until the resurgence of micro-brews, it would have been unfair to compare home-brew beer to CO because any dork who was paying attention could make better (and cheaper) beer at home than you could buy. That's still largely true. And it's because of the reasons cited by Ari: personal attention to quality ingredients and intimate involvement with every liter.

 

Somehow I'm not seeing the thousands of tons of herbs used by Pernod Fils being hand-manicured at quite the level of efficiency that your average HG'er can do.

 

It should be self-evident. No industry can crank out fine artisan-quality product in the volumes necessary to serve the public; not cheaply anyway. That's why hand-crafted stuff is always more expensive and why mass-produced stuff is cheaper and inferior. Mass producers also have commercial overhead that a private individual doesn't have: insurance; cost of commercial space; wages; social security; advertising. Then there's the distributor markup.

 

I'm not going to criticise Broyhill Furniture or say that all commercial furniture is crap, just because I can make higher quality furniture myself for cheaper. I'm a fine-woodworker, they're a factory. I make stuff for me; they make it for thousands. I spend a month making one piece; they spend 25 minutes. They use templates and machines; I use my eyes and my hands.

I don't understand what makes HG the default heavyweight and CO the lightweight.
I never said which was which, and that wasn't my point. I was just saying that they're in such different classes, it's like apples and oranges.

 

In regard to HG's competing with CO's, I want to reiterate what I've said elsewhere and most - but not all - of us here know already, that there is no economic competition between the two. It's a matter of quality and - when it comes right down to it - ego.

 

Some HG's (maybe 5 or 6) are far superior to any, and I do mean any, CO's I've had. BFD. They're in the minority. I've also had HG's that smelled like acetone and made me sick. The majority are poorly crafted or mediocre at best. Sound familiar? That's right, just like CO.

 

I don't know why this dialog even happens; what purpose does it serve? CO's are what people can get. CO's are getting better all the time. Every CO is not crap just because a handful of artisans can do better. People are still out there drinking it, genuinely liking it, and saying: "yeah, whatever." The artisans should be satisfied enough that they are helping to set the benchmark for the CO's.

 

Myself, I get enough satisfaction from simply sitting back, sipping a cool one and being happy that I can say to myself "This is better than any absinthe money can buy." That's as good as it gets.

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