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I worked as a consultant to Hiram Walker, and Bacardi, largely in developing concepts for new products and new positions for small failing brands. Legends, such as the one that surround Absinthe were the stuff of legend in making a brand successful. Schnapps was turned into a mass product by clever marketers who put gold flecks in the bottle and promoted it as a product to be drunk whilst upside down. Jack Daniels image as a quasi-bootleg booze from a backwater Tenn. village was no small part of its success.

I recall some of that (and business articles about billions made marketing high-end vodka, a beverage traditionally considered flavorless).

 

Accusations now on Wikipedia may bear (excerpt below). feeverte.net (established late 2001; claims "site established 1997" but that was an incarnation hosted on another site, under different owner, whom I corresponded with; "feeverte.net" literally appeared December 2001) and wormwoodsociety.org (2004) are absinthe hobbyist sites with tutorial information. thujone.info (August 2006), identifying itself with a UK-based commercial firm, shows papers on thujone chemistry and pharmacology. Domain-name registration for feeverte.net formerly showed "Administrative & Technical Contact: David Nathan-Maister," more recently that information was hidden. thujone.info contact page gives David Nathan-Maister. thujone.info's content resembles the decade-earlier pioneering online absinthe-science summary by Matthew Baggott. (Baggott's 1997 compendium was the main online technical information source on "absinthe" when I searched in 2000-2001, and it predated the recent growth of US absinthe hobby interest and the sites mentioned above. I did not find a reference to it, in searching thujone.info.) thujone.info presents impressive-looking scientific minutiae but fails to direct readers' attention to the basic demystifying thujone dose and context story I summarized upthread, or the fact that this information is in far more common authoritative sources (texts and library reference books, not research papers) and is mostly many decades old, or that chemical analysis showing thujone-free absinthes is documented as an early-1900s result. The site reproduces a feeverte.net FAQ summary combining standard public pre-2000 information with unsupported assertions, opinions, and characterizations of the kinds detailed in the full text of the wikipedia complaint excerpted below.

 

(By the way I have no connection whatsoever with any of these organizations, any competitors, or anything related to absinthe or the liquor industry.)

 

 

--

[From the "discussion" page associated with Wikipedia's "absinthe" entry]

 

 

Page is controlled by a minority

 

 

Many multiple links from this Wikipedia page go to a small handful of absinthe retailers:

 

1. Liquers de France 2. FeeVerte 3. Thujone.info (same as 2.) 4. The Wormwood Society - of which the main writer of this page is a senior member - ... the owner writes highly biased articles without regard for fairness or balance ...The Wormwood Society has also created categories which have no legal basis called "Faux Absinthe and Novelties". The same thinking has now been extended to the Wikipedia ... 5. Absinthe.se ... owner also is the reviewer of 2 ... he is firmly part of a small and highly organised group.

 

The whole absinthe page on wikipedia is littered with links and opinions intended to promote the interests of a small tightly knit group. There are also many "mistakes" in the definition section as well.

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I've always been curious ... love Pernod and Ricard. Is this new stuff worth it?

But I thought you didn't want stuff, once you could get it! :)

 

My terse impression is a few posts back but if you like other herbal liquors you may well like the newer ones, and they move in different directions flavorwise, less dominance by anises. The relaxed marketing restrictions allow wider expression of the herbal-liquor concept now. (They're also extremely useful ingredients in cooking, a well-kept secret unless, ahem, you read older cookbooks. Think about it: these liquors are basically mixed spice extracts in alcoholic tincture. They'd be at home next to the little bottles of almond extracts, vanilla extracts, and sometimes spice extracts sold in supermarkets. Also, the spices used in absinthes tend to be useful food seasonings anyway A whole repertoire of older dishes with absinthe is sure to return, be overplayed for a while, and engender articles in newspaper food sections, as the products become more common.)

 

I also am not sure similar products weren't already available minus the "A" word -- Versinthe cited earlier, though it comes pre-sweetened (unlike classic and more recent products that are dry, often sweetened by the user). The Dr. Roux (sp?) Elixir from France is another very herbal liquor -- available for some years in US, intense, seemed to be slightly physioactive, maybe just some aromatherapy effect (remember, coffee is strongly physioactive, it's just more familiar). The "Elixir Dr. Roux" also was kind of expensive in a thick-walled bottle (less than 750ml as I recall), it came with an insert detailing the various herbs in it. If it means anything, although most spirits bottles remain in my household for years before being used up (when properly safeguarded against spongelike guests, naturally), that one didn't last long.

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I don't really believe in all the fetishism.

 

I take my absinthe with water. I don't even think it particularly needs sugar (although that might be the brand I use). But if it did, I can't imagine that it would make much of a difference how you got the sugar in there, as long as you didn't overdo it.

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I don't really believe in all the fetishism.

 

I take my absinthe with water. I don't even think it particularly needs sugar (although that might be the brand I use). But if it did, I can't imagine that it would make much of a difference how you got the sugar in there, as long as you didn't overdo it.

 

I don't take sugar in mine but we did have it for those who wanted it. Just louched with water is good for me.

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I don't really believe in all the fetishism.

 

I take my absinthe with water. I don't even think it particularly needs sugar (although that might be the brand I use). But if it did, I can't imagine that it would make much of a difference how you got the sugar in there, as long as you didn't overdo it.

 

The only advantage I can see is that sugar dissolves more readily in water than in alcohol. But then, a simple syrup would work fine.

 

We bought the glasses and spoons for some friends last year, and considered getting some for ourselves but we just couldn't see ever bothering with them. We're an arak household anyway. :rolleyes:

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I've purchased a pretty wide variety and prefer the Swiss and French products immensely. I have found them to be far more elegant and refined than a mere herbal liquor and when starting off with no previous buzz, do find a slight artistic buzz seems to occur. Maybe that is psychosomatic, but what-the-hey, I'm easily entertained.

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Taking absinthe with just water seems to be a current taste, in regions discovering absinthe for the first time in modern memory, and appreciating its herbal subtleties.

 

In its original vogue (a century and more ago), as a popular daily drink, absinthe came unsweetened, but sugar was added in the process of diluting with water. That's why the perforated spoon, which held a standard (flat) European sugar cube that dissolved under the slow stream of cold water passing through it into the absinthe glass (a type of glass that, by the way, in old versions, was being almost given away in the US, until about 2002). Much more and many photos of this in Barnaby Conrad's 1988 book (reproduced also in later writings and Web sites). The Marseillaise, who took to absinthe, in the local dialect dubbed the resulting cloudy mixture a "Pastis" -- a word later broadened to embrace non-absinthe anise-flavored herbal liquors too.

 

(N.B., In writing "herbal liquor" in this thread, I meant it generically, as any liquor flavored with herbs. Embracing all absinthes and absinthe substitutes, Amer piçon, Bénédictine, Chartreuse, Damiana, Enzian, Fernet Branca, Galliano -- you get the idea.)

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I think the point is that we have to demystify absinthe. If you want get rid of Fear Of Thujone, you have to get rid of all the other mumbo-jumbo, too.

 

Why?

Why not keep the ritual and romanticism attached? Must everything be explained? There is a new bar in LA called the Green Door, complete with ice wells and spoons for each table, so that the young and dumb can get as walleyed as from drinking shots of Jager or Tequila, other great alcohols with ritual attached.

Are they going to understand Rimbaud and Verlaine any better? Or does this mean when they puke from their search for that gnarly thujone high, it's just going to taste better?

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I think the point is that we have to demystify absinthe. If you want get rid of Fear Of Thujone, you have to get rid of all the other mumbo-jumbo, too.

 

Why?

Why not keep the ritual and romanticism attached? Must everything be explained? There is a new bar in LA called the Green Door, complete with ice wells and spoons for each table, so that the young and dumb can get as walleyed as from drinking shots of Jager or Tequila, other great alcohols with ritual attached.

Are they going to understand Rimbaud and Verlaine any better? Or does this mean when they puke from their search for that gnarly thujone high, it's just going to taste better?

 

Amen, sistah!

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And I'm gonna put on powdered wig and dress up as Thomas Jefferson whenever I drink Bordeaux?

 

This is food (and drink) we're talking about, not some cult object.

 

To me (my own personal opinion, nonbinding on anyone else), that stuff is all Amateur Night.

 

If you can appreciate absinthe, then fine. If you have to go through some masquerade where you're pretending to be Arthur Rimbaud "to get the experience", then I can't help but wonder if you can really appreciate it.

 

All that's fine for "ordinary" people, but we're (I hate this word) foodies! We're supposed to like food for food.

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And I'm gonna put on powdered wig and dress up as Thomas Jefferson whenever I drink Bordeaux?

 

This is food (and drink) we're talking about, not some cult object.

 

To me (my own personal opinion, nonbinding on anyone else), that stuff is all Amateur Night.

 

If you can appreciate absinthe, then fine. If you have to go through some masquerade where you're pretending to be Arthur Rimbaud "to get the experience", then I can't help but wonder if you can really appreciate it.

 

All that's fine for "ordinary" people, but we're (I hate this word) foodies! We're supposed to like food for food.

 

 

I dare say that most of us here on MF treat food as a cult object. And with great gusto.

 

Ritual can be such fun.

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