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  1. >I know of at least one family that has been distilling Arak since 1890, and they are not considered that unusual. anise has been used to flavor distilled alcohols in many countries since at least the 17th century. pastis was created mostly as a substitute for absinthe, but appears to have existed in france as a regional home-made southern drink at the same time as absinthe. >Now suppose or argument's sake they were distilling with wormwood rather than anis. not very likely as there is no commonly known tradition of absinthe manufacture/drinking in lebanon >I have no idea whether absinthe was ever formally banned in Lebanon, (let's say it was by french mandate...) it was not. the french took control of lebanon well after absinthe was banned in france and its colonies and a ban does not appear to have been needed. there are no laws against it in lebanon now.
  2. >Most of absinthe's bad rep stemmed from the fact that prior to its wide popularity (following its use as a curative during war time), most of France prefered to drink wine. Absinthe marked the first time that large numbers of people switched to cheap--and higher alcohol spirits. In cold, mostly unheated Paris, people preferred spending large amounts of time in relatively warm cafes--and unsurprisingly--now that they were drinking liquor--got noticably drunker faster. And began to enjoy staying that way. Absinthe was the focus of a concerted smear campaign by the French wine industry who were alarmed by the growing popularity, affordability (and brand loyalty) of the competition. Did absinthe deserve its notoriety? Frankly, no. < what he said... congrats on the first episode!...hope to see it sometime soon...no travel channel on my french cable...
  3. pierreverte

    rotllan torra priorat balandra 97 5 euros/bottle?

    thanks! made my first gift to a french friend this evening...he told me that it had an 'unexpected' taste...when pressed to elaborate, he said that was a good thing...
  4. pierreverte

    rotllan torra priorat balandra 97 5 euros/bottle?

    nope, and mystery solved...seems that during one of the recent holiday wine salons here in paris the reps from the winery in spain (or a spanish distributor, maybe?) decided to try their luck with the french market. bringing much more 'foreign' wine than was wise, and even after these wines had been well-reviewed by the rest of the civilized world, they couldn't sell enough, and didn't want to haul it back to spain. they drove around paris until they found someone to take it off their hands, and for what must have been, almost nothing. for it to have ended up in my neighborhood (lower montmarte, mostly north african immigrants) in an arab mini-mart, these guys must have been desperate. i bought 3 more cases (four was too many for my wife to accept), with much less guilt, previously thinking it might have gotten there by less than correct means, and look forward to having it has a great 5 euro (my french father-in-law will only buy wines over 5 euros as a rare extravagance, so i won't catch crap from him) winter dinner wine, while giving some nice (but not very expensive) educational presents to my french friends. the french often frustrate me with their almost complete lack of wine knowledge when it comes to anything that wasn't produced within 10 kilometers of where they or their family lives, and their slowness to accept that there are other places in the world that also make good wine. this time, i'm happy about it... i took a 6-month french wine course that included an english overview, and foreign wines (about 2 weeks out of the 6 months). on the day that we were to taste some italian wines, i noticed a bottle of vega sicilia 'valbuena' 1990. the instructor was american, but had lived in france for over ten years and had a boyfriend that was french and both taught wine courses. - wow! i've always wanted to try this! -i told her- it's one of the best wines in spain! - spain? i just pulled it out of my boyfriend's cellar because i saw 'sicilia' and thought it was from italy! do you think he'll be upset i took it? - yes, and tell him thank you! it was like a glass of truffles, damn nice...only about half of the all-french class liked it. one has to be careful here in france because the mind-set can rub off on you...
  5. pierreverte

    Wine and bioterrorism?!

    >bio-terroirism that was excellent! unfortunately, the only funny thing that i have seen associated with the situation...
  6. my local mini-mart (in paris) has around 10 cases (of 6 each, each carefully wrapped in paper and then placed in individual flex-carton protection tubes) in original, sealed 6-bottle flat carton cases of this well-regarded priorat. the guy said 'it's a good wine and not expensive.' as far as i can research, this is quite an understatement. i picked up one bottle, opened it and then went back and bought a case (30 euros for 6). should i just say 'what the hell?' and buy the rest (or at least several cases more)? i can't find any kind of fault with the wine itself, just the surprising price. it seems to be drinking quite well, leather, tar, licorice, macerated black fruits, with alcohol and some wood tannins that dry it out just a bit on the finish... but still has that great grenache chewiness. and the thick aromas really float out of the glass...
  7. pierreverte

    Pinot Noir in Alsace

    i have never found a very good alsacian pinot noir, they tend to be very light and usually too acidic, and do not seem to age well at all...they should be only bought young and cheaply, but do go well with indian food...however, alsacian sparkling 'cremant', blanc de noir (from pinot noir) can be a great bargain against champagne and is an excellent food wine...
  8. pierreverte

    All About Gin, Generally

    http://www.spiritscorner.com/scriptsing/bu...IdProducto=3304 segarra gin is as excellent as it is hard to come by...
  9. pierreverte

    Absinthe: The Topic

    you can buy the 45° la feé verte from madame delahaye at the museum in auvers, but not the 68°, which is not sold in france...
  10. pierreverte

    Absinthe: The Topic

    >Thanks, pierre, I live in Paris, and have yet to obtain "vintage" absinthe myself.. what brands have you tasted in france? FYI, there will be an absinthe 'festival' (absinthiades) on october 4-5 in pontarlier, near the swiss border (though still small and mostly for antique collectors, it is now attracting more local and international absintheurs) 3 hours TGV direct from paris.
  11. pierreverte

    Absinthe: The Topic

    >I'd be very interested in your recommendations as to the best modern absinthes to try. Especially any that you think might be or become available in the US. *disclaimer* i am associated with liqueurs de france ltd. located in england, which is directly responsible for the development and exclusive distribution of 'un émile 68°' absinthe, made by the 'distillerie les fils d'émile pernot' in ponarlier, france. :www.absintheonline.com *feel free to interpret everything i state afterwards based on this admission* based on taste, production methods, and current commercial availability in the EU - best distilled french absinthe and closest to original style: un émile (68°) traditional and 'absinthe blanche' (68°). (if anyone wants me to back up why i say this, i will on request, so as not to appear to go immediately into an advertising rant) also very good: françois guy (45°) lemercier (72°) decent, but artificially colored and not distilled: le fée (68°) and pernod-ricard absinthe (68°) (nothing like its ancestor) best (the only?) distilled spanish absenta: segarra (45°) most amusing (not distilled): serpis (65°)-red color! czech-none however they do have the most foul product ever bottled: zelena muza ('green muse' in czech) (72°) one taste and you'll want to scrape the bitterness off your tongue with a straight razor... i would also suggest checking the more detailed list of independant reviews at: http://www.feeverte.net/absinthe-guide.html none of these products in their current form will become commerically available for distribution within the usa any time soon, but can be ordered over the internet.
  12. pierreverte

    TDG: Spanish Brandy

    here is an extremely reliable on-line source for spanish brandies and other alcohols...they ship to the usa will respond to e-mails in english: http://www.spiritscorner.com
  13. pierreverte

    Absinthe: The Topic

    >I asked where you found these 100-year old absinthes, not how. And I still have no answer to my question. Do you reside in a country where it is possible to obtain vintage absinthe?? Details, please! sorry, i was being cagey as sources are hard to come by... i live in france. i am a collector of absinthe-related antiques. i love fine wine, spirits and great food. the french, ditto. when they know that, and that you like their life-style, you're in, especially if you speak the language. i have made contacts via friends and the internet, and occationally stumble on someone who has found an old bottle. my first vintage absinthe was purchased from a corsican who moved to aix-en-provence, and, during the course of emptying his family's house in corsica, stumbled upon full bottles of absinthe, which he started to drink with his friends...i ended up buying two full bottles from him. my other bottle was purchased from an absinthe/pastis antique collector in provence who found a cache of bottles in an old cellar. i have also purchased a bottle on the internet that was full, but turned out to be full of wine, it being used to rebottle bulk wine in an old café. recently old bottles have been refilled and pawned off as being original. that being said, it must be noted that full bottles of absinthe have been found in the usa, as it was a popular drink in new orleans, new york and san francisco. there were also several makers of absinthe located in the united states, mostly in new orleans ('legendre' absinthe, for one, now the pastis 'herbsaint') and even in boston and cleveland... it is my personal theory that absinthe was never as popular in the usa as in france because america already had its own herbal drink at the same time, 'bitters', (a high-alcohol 'remedy' labeled as a cure for kidney, liver and other malidies, which was just booze in a puritan disguise). it has a story in the usa amusingly parallel to the once-medicinal, then aperitif, absinthe.
  14. pierreverte

    Absinthe: The Topic

    > to my knowledge there are no bottles left in existence from that time period. yes, there are >However, the recipes do exist and based on the recipes, we can ascertain that absinthes in the "Salon" time period had roughly 90 mg thujone per liter. no, we can't, especially not as an overall generalization. properly distilled absinthes contain(ed) far less thujone than macerated or essence-oil mixed products. see above comparison...
  15. pierreverte

    Absinthe: The Topic

    >I can believe that grain alcohol with 'additives' would be sold unscrupulously to those who only had the few pennies or francs for drink. this is what helped to kill absinthe...absinthe was grouped by the anti-alcohol league and the wine maker's lobby (wine was not considered an alcohol, but food, at the time) as one product with no regard to better makers...it would be the same if MD 20/20 was considered an equal product to petrus...