Month: August 2012

Absinthe Politics: Swiss IGP Passes.

Well damn. Just when I was thinking that the Swiss IGP was dead per the last few posts on the European definition of absinthe (here and here), it sneaks in under the radar and blooms into full idiocy.

What this means is that the terms “Absinthe”, “Fee Verte”, and “La Blue” are protected in Switzerland as having origin in the Val-deTavers (VdT) region, the birthplace of absinthe.

It seems odd that the country that banned absinthe in 1910, paving the way for others, takes such nationalistic pride in it now.

Swiss Absinthe Ban Poster
You stabbed her, but now you want her back?

One news article states that the EU will back this as well, so this might effect all of the European Union. Meaning that absinthe made in France, the historically popular center of absinthe, can’t be labeled as such. An industry insider I know claims that this is false and the geographical protection will only effect Switzerland pointing to the term “En Suisse” used in this article. Time will bear the ultimate truth out.

With option number one, absinthe made all around the world would be banned from being labeled as such. Even if it was made in the epicenter of absinthe; Pontarlier, France. Absinthefiend’s post on the subject highlights this matter succinctly (Please read. The Fiend brings up a few things I was going to, especially about Spain. No sense in repeating).

Option number two, any absinthe made in Switzerland outside of the Val-de-Tavers regions could not bear the designation. There are many producers outside of the VdT that this could effect. One of note is Oliver Matter, who distills a plethora of absinthe including Marylin Manson’s brand of Mansinthe.

The supposed intention is to act against fake absinthe coming from other countries. Yet, Switzerland already does that by being the only country with a definition of absinthe (must be distilled and contain no artificial colors) in the first place! Obviously this bill was passed with other intentions than what its promoters have claimed, especially if it only effects Switzerland.

I really don’t like the way this played out. Essentially, either option is a mess and as far as the ‘protecting against fauxsinthe’ argument goes, I don’t buy it.

So let me tell you a few others things I don’t buy since I first learned of this IGP while it was in progress. Any products from the following:

Distillerie Artemisia
Claude-Alain Bugnon
1er Mars 10 – 2108 COUVET
Tél. +41 32 863 36 46
This includes the phenomenal “La Clandestine” and the recreation of pre-ban American absinthe “Butterfly”.

Absinthe Kübler SA
Yves Kübler
Rue du Château 7 – 2112 MÔTIERS
Tél. +41 32 861 14 69
Yep, that Kubler.

Bovet Racine Sàrl
Racine Christophe
Rue du Temple 46
2114 Fleurier
Tél. +41 (0)78 662 40 63
Fax: +41(0)32 861 10 53

Absintherie Celle à Guilloud
Grand-Rue 29
2114 Fleurier
Tél. 079/568.52.35

La Valote Sàrl
Willy Bovet
Rue de la Gare 5 – 2112 MÔTIERS
Tél. +41 32 861 10 82

Distab Sàrl
Pierre-André Stauffer
Grand’Rue 9 – 2108 COUVET
Tél. +41 32 863 20 36

Distival Sàrl
Thierry Guizzardi
La Raisse – 2114 FLEURIER
Tél. +41 32 861 46 47

Absinthes Alain Rey
Alain Rey
Rue de Buttes 9 – 2114 Fleurier
Tél. +41 32 866 11 49

Distillerie d’Absinthe la P’tite
Gaudentia et Jean-Michel Persoz
Rue Fontenelle 9
2108 Couvet
Tél. +41 (0)32 863 30 88
Fax: +41 (0)32 863 30 88

Absintherie du Père François
François Bezençon
Ruelle Rousseau 5 – 2114 Fleurier
Tél. +41 32 861 23 18

Association des cultivateurs d’absinthe
Yves Currit
Le Montsegand – 2105 TRAVERS
Tél. +41 79 217 50 58

I suggest you do the same.

The one person this screws over, no matter what, is Oliver Matter. The timing of this is odd since I just drank the last bit from my bottle of his absinthe made in protest about this issue over the weekend. I will continue to support this Swiss distiller and I highly recommend his A. O. Spare absinthe. Fans of Marilyn Manson might want to get a hold of some Mansinthe while they still can as well.

If you want to read more about this issue I recommend this thread from the Wormwood Society.


Absinthe Crash Course: Part 4, Further Education.

That’s it! You’re done with the Crash Course. You know enough now to have a basic grasp of what absinthe is, isn’t, and why. But, don’t let that fool you. This course hasn’t even done so much as touch the tip of the iceberg. There’s plenty more absinthe knowledge out there, and not nearly enough time to present even half of it on this blog. Thankfully, other people also love absinthe and have assembled websites full of information for those interested in delving deeper.

If you just wish to get your absinthe on with some good stuff, then I highly recommend checking out consumer based reviews. There are two sites, that I know of, that have such reviews and these are The Wormwood Society and Fee Verte. Checking out those reviews can help you navigate the green seas quite well. While you’re at it, check out my reviews over at The Wormwood Society. If you feel like becoming a reviewer, The Wormwood Society has a Review Guide that breaks down the categories into an easy to understand, yet detailed, description. I highly recommend their review system for it’s ability to take a subjective experience and make it as objective as possible. For further inquiry both sites feature forums, with some well educated and seasoned members.

For those interested in the science and history of absinthe, there’s a resource of peer-reviewed scientific papers that you may have seen me link to once or twice called The information on that website is a treasure trove for those who like to dig through academic journal articles. The Wormwood Society also has a History and a Science section worth checking out with a few items unique to them as well.

While you are searching it might be worth your while to know some of the American distillers of absinthe that are around; Gnostalgic Spirits, Pacific Distillery, Ridge Distillery, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Leopold Bros., Overland Distillery, North Shore Distillery, Old World Spirits, Great Lakes Distillery, St. George Spirits, Philadelphia Distilling, and Corsair Artisan. There are a few other American distilleries but I have yet to verify whether or not some products labeled absinthe, actually are. Plus, I may have completely missed one. Artisan distilling is experiencing a boom in America right now, so I’ll do my best to keep this list updated, but it is by no means complete.

There are also other blogs and websites worth checking out such as Alan Moss’s Real Absinthe Blog, The Absinthe Fiend, Confessions of an Absinthiste, The Slow Death in the Afternoon Podcast, and yours! If you promote real absinthe let me know and I will add you to this list!

At this point I would like to thank my wonderful editor and girlfriend, Amber. She has patiently helped me edit this Crash Course and without her help the Grammar Nazis would’ve crucified me by now.

Stay tuned to my blog for further posts of a more specific and detailed manner. Until next time, Sante!

The Absinthe Crash Course:
Part 1: Your First Glass.
Part 2: Styles.
Part 3: Myths.
Part 4: Further Education.