I found this forum by chance when looking for a website that posted a small piece about absinthe by me (which I later found - it's here:
To answer the original question by poor but curious, save your money. Absente is not absinthe, not very much like absinthe, and tastes like hell according to every absintheur I know who's tasted it, and I know a lot of them.
Real absinthe has been available all along in Spain and Portugal, albeit the quality is suspect and it also isn't much like the stuff of old.
Real absinthe is again available today (still banned in the U.S. due to FDA regulations), but difficult to find among an ever-increasing number of faux products, shoddy products, and pretenders that have been rushed to a market born with the fall of the Berlin wall. Absinthe had never disappeared from Czechoslovakia, either, and a Czech distiller named Radomil Hill introduced his product to London in 1998 - that was the real start of the modern absinthe market. FWIW, to say that Hill's is not good absinthe is a very charitable statement.
Absinthe from the 19th century has survived in the hands of private individuals - I know of many such bottles, and I personally know several people who own some. I have tasted such absinthe myself. Needless to say, if this is something you want to pursue, you're going to need connections and/or a very fat wallet and some expert help to ensure you don't get ripped off.
Now comes the disclaimer - I know both IHutton (check the second disc of the "From Hell" DVD for an interview with him) and Pierre Verte. I am not connected with the commercial venture mentioned by Pierre. I knew them both for quite some time before that started. Both of these people have forgotten more about absinthe than almost anybody in the world knows today - those who consider themselves informed because they've read Dr. Arnold's article in Scientific American should know, that in discussion with these two, they're bringing a knife to a gun fight.
As to whether old absinthe has been scientifically tested, etc., yes it has, by the Harvard-trained organic chemist quoted at the top of the article, written by me with his input, on the website I mentioned earlier. I won't speak for him; maybe he'll speak for himself here if he sees fit. He has tested not only a variety of old absinthes, but a lot of modern ones as well.
Personally, I haven't much interest in the thujone controversy because I don't give a damn what made Van Gogh crazy (he was born that way as far as I'm concerned), and all the "science" I've seen with regard to that is frankly, second-rate. It's much ado about nothing. It's been hashed to death on other forums and I'm not going to go into it here. If you're interested, seek and you might find.
I do know that the absinthe now being made by the Pernot distillery in France, going under various permutations of the name "Emile" is the best commercial absinthe that can be obtained today, and anyone who is interested in the stuff, and not afraid of the big bad thujone (what a joke!) would be well served to try some of that brand.
For a website created and frequented by people knowledgable and passionate about absinthe, see
Be aware that flaming is an art form there, and you won't necessarily be treated gently, especially if you want to talk about thujone.
Thank you for your time,
Edited by Artemis, 31 August 2003 - 08:31 AM.