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Absinthe: The Topic


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#451 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:59 PM

So you're telling me I have to spring for the Marteau. It's a rough life.
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#452 bmdaniel

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:09 PM

So you're telling me I have to spring for the Marteau. It's a rough life.

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My problem is finding the Marteau - nowhere locally seems to stock it (at least based on their online inventory), and my go-to internet distributors either don't have it or are out.

#453 Wild Bill Turkey

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:31 PM

Marteau was formulated with strong notes of key flavors specifically with cocktail-mixing in mind. But if you can't find it, don't let that stop you. There are other verte absinthes on the US market that would be fine for cocktails. Vieux Pontarlier, Vieux Carré and Leopold are all pretty easy to find. Even Marilyn Manson's "Mansinthe" is pretty decent, hard as that is to believe, and you can find it on a lot of shelves.

Jade's Nouvelle Orleans is starting to show up around town, and online vendors like Drink Up New York are also offering craft-distillery products like Pacifique and the products of Delaware Phoenix. Sadly, Pernod's new absinthe is to be avoided, as is La Fée, Mata Hari, Le Tourment Verte and both products by Absente.

#454 eje

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:39 PM

[...]Sadly, Pernod's new absinthe is to be avoided, as is La Fée, Mata Hari, Le Tourment Verte and both products by Absente.

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Dear god, is Le Tournment Verte ever to be avoided!

A friend had me try a drink he'd made, and my immediate response was, "What the hell is this?" When he told me it was a Sazerac, I nearly hit him. Until I noticed it had been made with Le Tourment Verte. Then I just felt sad.

Shudder!

Edited by eje, 07 July 2009 - 01:41 PM.

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#455 jmfangio

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:41 PM

Dear god, is Le Tournment Verte ever to be avoided!

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I believe the technical term is 'Crapsinthe.'

I have St. George, Kubler, and Verte de Fougerolles. The Fougerolles is my favorite of the three, and always the first one I reach for when making a cocktail. However, I do think the Kubler, being slightly sweeter and more anise forward, works very well in a Corpse Reviver #2. I really want to try the Marteau or one of the Jades, but I just can't rationalize the purchase until I run out of at least one of the bottles I have on hand.

On a non cocktail note, I've now made David Lebovitz's Absinthe Ice Cream recipe, first with St. George, and then with Kubler, and preferred the St. George.

Oh, I also have a bottle of Absente, purchased long before I knew better, but I try to ignore that fact.
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#456 shantytownbrown

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:03 PM

Has anyone tried Obsello?

#457 eje

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:11 PM

Has anyone tried Obsello?

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To me obsello is kind of in the same vicinity of Lucid. Decent and well priced traditional style absinthe. Not outstanding, but quite good for the price. You can definitely spend more for much worse absinthe. Actually, Obsello is usually priced a bit better than Lucid, so it kind of gives it the leg up there.
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#458 shantytownbrown

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:59 PM

Has anyone tried Obsello?

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To me obsello is kind of in the same vicinity of Lucid. Decent and well priced traditional style absinthe. Not outstanding, but quite good for the price. You can definitely spend more for much worse absinthe. Actually, Obsello is usually priced a bit better than Lucid, so it kind of gives it the leg up there.

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thats good to know, Lucid and St George and occasionally kubler I have seen in my loacal shops...unfortunately, by the time St Geoge's gets to the east coast and sits on the shelf, the bright green has gone off as the chlorophyll browns from light exposure....does this affect the taste profile...?

Obsello i'd have to mail order, so which of the other three I have available would you rec. first for an absinthe neophyte...?

#459 eje

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:56 PM

thats good to know, Lucid and St George and occasionally kubler I have seen in my loacal shops...unfortunately, by the time St Geoge's gets to the east coast and sits on the shelf, the bright green has gone off as the chlorophyll browns from light exposure....does this affect the taste profile...?

Obsello i'd have to mail order, so which of the other three  I have available would you rec. first for an absinthe neophyte...?

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Kubler or Lucid.

St. George is just a bit too far outside of "normal" for me to recommend as a first Absinthe.

No matter what coast it's on, the St. George loses its color quite quickly. Since the color in Absinthe only comes from the last coloration step where herbs are briefly steeped in the distilled product, I believe it is mostly a cosmetic issue. But I haven't done a side by side with fresh green and faded st. george bottles.
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#460 Mike S.

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 11:58 PM

St. George is just a bit too far outside of "normal" for me to recommend as a first Absinthe.


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I suppose I have to agree with this; however, I absolutely love St. George for all its "abnormality" and find myself reaching for it more than any other absinthe in my collection.
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#461 MaxH

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 02:04 PM

... by the time St Geoge's gets to the east coast and sits on the shelf, the bright green has gone off as the chlorophyll browns from light exposure....

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No matter what coast it's on, the St. George loses its color quite quickly...

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When shanty and I exchanged about this subect a few months back, I mentioned that, notwithstanding chlorophyll, and other absinthes conceivably fading under light, I've always seen St. George with a pale green color and notable brown. In the region of its production. Including the bottles I got from the very first batch of it, soon after bottling, and with no notable light exposure. Even a pre-release sample that I was furtunate to be asked by the distiller to taste was not especially green as far as I can remember. Mentioned also here that I've seen other herb extracts with similar color when made. I suppose that the St. George might have faded slightly since (though I normally keep it in the dark) but I never saw anything like what I'd call a bright green. Does it really come to market sometimes with such a color?

#462 Mike S.

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:01 PM

I've always thought of the color of St. George as "olive drab". I've never seen a bottle, from any release including the first, have what I would describe as a bright green color. I would say the second release (from early Feb. 2008) came the closest -- it was much lighter in color than the initial releast from Dec. 2007. I still have a few bottles of both.
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#463 haresfur

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 05:18 PM

Anyone tried the new Pacifique absenthe from Woodenville distillary? I heard about it from Murray at Zig-zag and have been watching for it. It seems to be on the WA state store price list now but hasn't shown up in my area, yet.

Since I'm an absenthe newbie and finding it hard to justify the price, I'd like to get some opinions before I spring for a bottle. On a related note, why do so few expensive spirits come in small bottles? Especially something like absenthe where many recipies only call for dashes.
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#464 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:02 PM

On a related note, why do so few expensive spirits come in small bottles?  Especially something like absenthe where many recipies only call for dashes.

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My guess is that it has to do with the fact that many of the available absinthes are produced on a smaller, "artisinal" scale, and with the already limited demand for the product (in the grand scheme of liquor marketing) it's hard to justify the expense of a separate bottling apparatus that would likely be required to do a different size bottle. It would probably require getting a new label approved (with the different quantity listed), which I would bet is the least fun thing anyone making or importing Absinthe has to go through.

It would be nice though, I agree. Good approach might be to go to a bar with different labels available and try them in a single serving before buying a whole bottle. Big markup of course but still cheaper than spending $60-$150 on something you don't particularly care for.
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#465 Wild Bill Turkey

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 03:59 AM

What's sad is that in Europe, many of the good absinthes are available in 500ml bottles, but even those brands only show up here in the 750s. Which is too bad, because there, they only drink it as a stand-alone drink, and here it's only used by the dash in cocktails.

#466 MaxH

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 11:43 AM

There's actually a market for limited-production spirits in small sample bottles, like 50ml. They are like the US single-serving bottles of mass-market liquors, sold at some retailers and used on airlines, but what I refer to are rarer, artisanal spirits.

The place I saw them regularly was the small luxury-food retailers, especially Caviar House, in Heathrow Airport's long-haul terminal (terminal 4) generally used for long international flights. These shops have sold a unique range of food delicacies in small packaging. (Smoked fish, ocean or freshwater: plain, with dill, with black pepper; foie gras, goose or duck, with or without truffles; all in refrigerated blister packs just like Oscar Meyer sliced bologna in US.) Along with teas, wines, fancy cookies, etc., there was a section with 20 or 30 small-production malt whiskys, and I think other specialty spirits, in tiny bottles. With the rise in absinthe interest in recent years, I would not be surprised to see some of them too.

Of course this retail source is in Britain, again inconvenient from North America (but worth remembering if you happen to be there), but it demonstrates that even small labels are bottled that way. I'd guess the individual absinthe firms would respond to emailed or telephoned query regarding availability of their products in such packaging.

#467 KD1191

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 01:17 PM

There's actually a market for limited-production spirits in small sample bottles, like 50ml.  They are like the US single-serving bottles of mass-market liquors, sold at some retailers and used on airlines, but what I refer to are rarer, artisanal spirits.

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The proprietress of a liquor store on Rue Mouffetard in Paris put two 'airline' sized bottles of Green Chartreuse (one regular, one VEP!) in the bag when I purchased a bottle of VEP Yellow from her back in November...certainly a nice surprise.

Edited by KD1191, 16 July 2009 - 01:41 PM.

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#468 BrooksNYC

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 04:23 PM

Anyone tried the new Pacifique absenthe from Woodenville distillary?

I have, and it's excellent. I believe DrinkUpNY carries it if you can't find it locally.

#469 Steve Sokoloff

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 09:30 PM

There is no way you can get enough thujone from drinking absinthe to experience any of its mind-altering effects.  You would be unconscious from alcohol poisoning before that happened.  Any such perceived effects are purely psychological...  much like such canards as "the mellow buzz you get from wine as opposed to the hard buzz from bourbon" or the often observed phenomenon whereby someone gets "high" smoking something they think is marijuana but in fact is not.

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Agreed. As most educated study indicated, the reputation of Absinthe for heavy intoxication and hallucinations can be traced to its customary high (60-70% abv) proof. drink any significant amout of, say, 151 rum and you'll get the same sort of effect. That said, some of the Nouveau(Nouvelle? I cant remember the case) Absinthe is delightful. I ordered a bottle of Nouvelle Orleans fromLa Fee Verte and have enjoyed it. Bottled at 136 proof, it'll do the job if a dreamy drunk is your objective.

#470 Chris Amirault

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:07 PM

So you're telling me I have to spring for the Marteau. It's a rough life.

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My problem is finding the Marteau - nowhere locally seems to stock it (at least based on their online inventory), and my go-to internet distributors either don't have it or are out.


I was in NYC recently and stopped at Astor to load up. The moment of truth -- into the cart; out of the cart; repeat -- was the Marteau, which was around $80 retail. I decided to grab it and wince at the register, in the hopes of never wincing when I dashed it into a few hundred Improved Cocktails and their ilk.

I haven't been disappointed. Just made Harry Johnson's Turf Cocktail as detailed by Paul Clarke in this month's Imbibe:

2 oz gin (Plymouth)
3/4 oz dry vermouth (NP old)
1/4 Maraschino (Luxardo)
dash orange bitters (Regan's)
dash absinthe (Marteau)

Stir, strain, lemon twist.

It's perfect, and a showcase for the Marteau. I mean, wow.
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#471 philadining

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 07:13 PM

I was recently on vacation with some friends, and I wanted to make Sazeracs for them, and was intending on getting a bottle of Herbsaint for that purpose, but I was having trouble finding it, and the good old Pennsylvania State Stores happened to be offering a (small) discount on Kubler. And it occurred to me that among this crowd, eventually somebody was going to want to just drink the Absinthe, so I might as well have something decent.

I don't happen to have any of the correct equipment to do a proper drip, and couldn't quite justify investing in all of that for what was likely going to be a one-off curiosity among these friends. I actually like absinthe, especially the St George, but I don't crave it often enough to need a home rig, there are bars I can go to and scratch that itch.

I figured I'd improvise something if the request arose. And sure enough... it started with a guy who'd just done straight shots of some rotgut while in Europe, and was surprised to hear that it could actually be palatable, then spread to a few others who were at least curious.

So we rummaged around, and found some glasses that were just about perfect, a slotted serving spoon that we could balance on the glass, and, well, it's not as pretty as those glass fountains, but hey, it got the job done!

AbsintheImprovW.jpg

AbsintheImprov2W.jpg

I think there may be a couple more absinthe fans now. But I converted many more folks to the cult of the Sazerac...

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#472 slkinsey

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 06:36 AM

Has anyone seen any of the Emil Pernot Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe Française Supérieure 65° for sale? It seems to have disappeared.
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#473 KD1191

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 06:55 AM

Has anyone seen any of the Emil Pernot Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe Française Supérieure 65° for sale? It seems to have disappeared.

Drink Up NY tweeted on the 24th:

"One of the most sought-after absinthes, Emile Pernot "Vieux Pontarlier" Absinthe Francais Superieure is finally back in stock!"


It seems they do still have some.

Edited by KD1191, 02 October 2009 - 06:56 AM.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#474 KD1191

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 10:41 AM

I'm not entirely fond of absinthe, but my wife loves it, and so for her birthday we decided we would sample several. Last night, via various drip preparations (including the quite novel Cusenier 'see-saw' courtesy of Stephen Cole at The Violet Hour), we had the Marteau, Vieux Pontarlier and St. George. Each was unique. Though I found it exceptionally dry, the Marteau really spoke to me. It is certainly my favorite absinthe to date, with an amazing bouquet. The Vieux Pontarlier I found to be too funky, it had many of the same notes as some unpleasant Farmhouse Ales I've encountered in the past. I can only describe it as musty, perhaps "horse blanket". The St. George will most likely remain my go to for garnishing and 'improving' certain drinks, but I didn't enjoy it all that much by itself. My wife loved the Vieux Pontarlier (good thing, because she was gifted a bottle), thought the Marteau was most approachable and concluded that the St. George was too one-note for her tastes.

Edited by KD1191, 16 October 2009 - 10:42 AM.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#475 Mike S.

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 07:00 PM

For those in the SF Bay Area, K&L Wines now stocks Marteau and often has several bottles on the shelves at $80/750ml; I bought one about a week ago at the Redwood City location. Can't wait to try it, especially to see if it tastes any different from the original Swiss Marteau Verte Classique bottling (I still have most of a 500ml bottle of the initial 2007 issue of that stuff).
Cheers,

Mike

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#476 Wild Bill Turkey

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 06:45 PM

Different, yes. Like apples & fish. I think the new one is much, much better, but they're so different that they're hard to compare as though they were from the same family. They're made by different hands, with different ingredients. Both distillers are skilled, all the herbs carefully chosen from good local sources on opposite sides of the ocean. The recipes may have been similar, but they're really completely different animals.

Edited by Wild Bill Turkey, 17 October 2009 - 06:56 PM.


#477 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 08:30 AM

Has anyone else had North Shore Sirene Verte? I tried it in Chicago side by side with Kubler (in a drip) and liked it better than the Kubler, but these are the only two absinthes I've tried -- so I don't know where it stands next to many of the others.

Thanks,
Dan

#478 Peter Green

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 08:29 AM

Good news for Singapore. It seems that the AVA (Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority) removed absinthe from the banned list in November.

There are some restrictions on the thujone levels (check them out here.

#479 John Rosevear

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 11:28 AM

Has anyone else had North Shore Sirene Verte? I tried it in Chicago side by side with Kubler (in a drip) and liked it better than the Kubler, but these are the only two absinthes I've tried -- so I don't know where it stands next to many of the others.


I haven't had the North Shore, but if the US market Kubler is anything like the original US-ban-era Swiss variant of a few years ago, I think you'll find that nearly all absinthes are less anise-y and more nuanced. I found the older stuff nigh undrinkable, which is a shame as I've still got nearly a liter of it sitting around.
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#480 Chris Amirault

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 09:33 AM

So I just got an absinthe fountain as a gift, and I have no idea what to do with it. Well, I have an idea: cold water with ice, spoon with sugar, drippy drippy, etc.

Can someone give me some step-by-step instructions including amounts? Do you chill the glasses prior to dripping? These glasses are huge: I don't want to fill them at a 4:1 ratio, do I? Appropriate food, rituals, expressions, and so on are also welcome.

Edited by Chris Amirault, 20 August 2010 - 09:35 AM.
ratio query

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