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23 November 2005

Absinthe: Reverse Engineered

Absinthe_robetteI've fed my Absinthe semi-obsession with this month's Wired Magazine (13.11)The Mystery of the Green Menace details young turk chemist, Ted Breaux's quest to identify all the components in the original Absinthe recipe.  Mr. Breaux originally located a French-language history book with "pre Absinthe ban protocols."  He followed the recipe and the result was, "Not very good."

The article continues with Breaux catching a break and scoring an old (pre-ban) bottle of Spanish Absinthe at an estate sale.  It's flavor was completely different from the new Absinthe bottles cropping up now across Europe (he describes these new spirits as, "mouthwash and vodka in a Antiabsinthebottle, with some aromatherapy oil.").  Breaux analyzed his ancient Absinthe and discovered that the concentration of Thujone (allegedly Absinthe's crazy behavior culprit) was an order of magnitude smaller than commonly believed.

Breaux has gone on to produce Nouvelle-Orléans in France (in the Loire valley village of Saumur).

The article is quite interesting - and the complete print version is available on-line at Wired's site.

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Comments

bill

Absynthe is a wonderful thing... it's all over the place in Morocco.. a little absynthe tea in Marakesh, my 3 year old daughter (juliet) being attacked by monkeys, and lots and lots of burniong sheep heads.. that's all i remember....my post was the latest menu that i put together and i have taken over writing the introduction... a bit too obtuse d'ya think?
Talk to you later
Bill

beau

Bill you should be Morocco's travel marketer:

Come to Morocco! Drink Absinthe, get attacked by marauding monkeys! see burning sheep heads!

Then ask yourself: Were there really monkeys and heads, or was it the Absinthe?..

What's the tea like? Is it just spiked with absinthe or is it used in making the tea blend?

Rod

I was on the waiting list for years waiting to get the Absinthe talked about in the article. The pre-release bottles came out a couple years ago. It's so far beyond the normal junk sold in France and other places (including Morocco -- at least in Marrakesh this Spring). It's absolutely worth making the effort to get some. I'm just about to order some of the newest release that just came out last month.

beau

Great tip Rod. I've sampled a few of the 'nouveau' absinthes and found them to be as described in the article (mouthwash + vodka + aromatherapy oil).

I'm going to do some digging to see how one acquires N.Orlean Absinthe.

Cheers,
beau

Lorena

Me and some friends are gonna try doing the original, or so called, first recipe "pre ban" as you said. If you want it to try some experimenting by yourslef let me now. Anyway I'll tell you later how the thing goes... If it turns out really good, we might start the renewal of "Wilde's Times Absinthe"!! Keep you posted, Bye bye.
P.S. Very good blog!

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