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18 October 2005

An Absinthe Question

Lately I've noticed this Blogad for Absinthe:

Absinthe

Historically, Absinthe was banned in Europe and continues to be banned in the U.S.  Apparently this is due to its magic mystical component, Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).

Antiantiabsinthe"It was thought that excessive absinthe-drinking led to effects which were specifically worse than those associated with over-indulgence in other forms of alcohol — which is bound to have been true for some of the less scrupulously adulterated products, creating the condition absinthism. Undistilled wormwood essential oil contains a substance called thujone, which is an epileptic (and can cause renal failure) in extremely high doses, and the supposed ill effects of the drink were blamed on that substance in 19th century studies.

More recent studies have shown that very little of the thujone present in absinthe actually makes it into a properly distilled absinthe, even one re-created using historical recipes and methods, so much so that a recent French distiller has had to add pure essential oil of wormwood to make a "high-thujone" variant of his product. It can remain in higher amounts in oils produced by other methods than distillation, or when wormwood is macerated and the macerate not distilled, especially when the plant stems are used, where thujone content is the highest."

Apparently the "Thujone Affect" seems to be overstated.  My question is this:  Have you tried Absinthe?  Did you notice any peculiar affects?

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Comments

Andrew

Nah, nothing. Not banned in the UK though. I have a little sample bottle I could send you - its been opened but should be ok.

Lenn

Never had it...but if it's true...sign me up ;)

Greg

I've had it before. Can't say I like the taste. The high I got from it was... interesting. The effect was quite different than anything else I've ingested.
I'd suggest drinking it in moderation :)

beau

Interesting. When I talk to people about Absinthe, roughly 50% claim it was 'different' and 50% claim it was 'no different' from any other distilled spirit..

Carry

I suspect the 50% who claim they "experienced something different," feel the difference b/c they expect to. That is to say, the effect of expectation is what creates the feeling, not the absinthe itself.

Why? Because all absinthe for sale in the European Union (which is where most absinthe comes from) must have less than 10mg/L of thujone to be legal for sale. At that level, a drinker will get alcohol poisoning before experiencing any hallucenations or mysterious green fairy effects.

If you can get a real bottle, I'd highly recommend it. The taste is far superior to the immitation varieties available in the US. It is much more complex and herbal. It's not legal for distributors to sell it in the US, but I believe it's still legal to bring back up to two bottles of it for personal consumption.

If you don't like the taste of straight absinthe (drunk Czech or French style), pick up a small bottle of Peychaud's bitters and make a REAL Sazarac cocktail. Or drink it Hemmingway style - a shot topped with champaigne. Yum!

beau

Thanks for the info Carry. I am interested in trying it - if only to taste real Absinthe. Don't plan on seeing any green fairies though..

Tommy Woods

Put me on I'm curious!!!

Pik

The Absinth plant is quite common here in Italy, is there any receipt for the plant ? I heard that (some) old people here make a sort of mohito (I don't know the exact word in english for "pestato", something done with a masher) with wine and absinth leaves for Eastern, before going to church ;-).
I wonder also when the plant should be collected.

David

Hi, Beau-- for an overproof distillate, Absinthe has surprisingly little 'heat' on the palate-- maybe all the other herbs macerated with the wormwood help-- but the alcohol will hit you in ways that feel more 'body-centered', creating an illusion of clear-headedness while your mouth goes a little numb and your limbs loosen up.
Get some of the good stuff-- in Barcelona, I always had a pint of common stuff made in Mallorca. My favorite method of imbibing was to pour a generous shot into the espresso from the machine in my pension's lobby...
Owe you some more news and contact...I'll see how soon i can post somethin' to ya.

filippo bonato

What is the white thing people burn upon the glass before drinking??

AL

It's a sugarcube.

Kioko

Hi. In the future I'm going to keep here links to their sites. But I do not worry about the sites where my link is removed. So if you do not want to see a mountain of links, simply delete this message. After 2 weeks, I will come back and check.

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