Month: September 2012

Czech Prohibition (Seriously)

After a string of deaths involving methanol heavy bootleg booze, the Czech Republic has stated that it is entering a temporary prohibition.

Because prohibition totally kept unsafe bootleg stuff out of people’s hands in America, right?

The prohibition only effects the sale of liquor over 20% alcohol so don’t worry beer lovers, you can still get your Czech beer.

It also doesn’t stop the sale of exports. So while many are hailing this as the death of fake Czech absinthe, it will probably do no such thing. In fact, without being able to fleece ignorant tourists in their homeland, the fauxsinthe producers are probably going to step up their international marketing and sales efforts. So prepare for an onslaught of fake Czech crap.

While this is certainly strange keep in mind that it is supposed to be temporary.

At this time I would like to point out once again that I know of only one distillery in the Czech Republic making true absinthe: Zufanek. Not only that but they make pretty damn good, true absinthe. I wish Martin & Co. the best of luck in these trying times.

Update (9.24.12): Suspects caught. Prohibition set to end soon.

Update (10.2.12): Ban halfway lifted. Local sales regulated by strip stamps. Exports to the EU still banned.

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All The Pretty Bottles

Being somewhat interested in Absinthe, I have set up a Google ticker for any mention of the word on the web. One of the things blowing up on this ticker right now is a limited edition bottle designed by Maison Kitsune for Pernod. This is to be followed up with a slew of other marketing promotions for the new bottle as well.

Maison Kistune Pernod Fashion
Pernod Pajamas?

While I am a big fan of Kitsune foxes and the bottle painting is indeed a big departure from the usual, I feel compelled to remind people that Absinthe is more about what is inside the bottle. For a detailed review of the inside of a modern Pernod Absinthe bottle see this post.

Did you read that post? You’re missing out if you didn’t, but I’ll sum it up. The modern Pernod is nothing like their product of the Belle Epoque and is a sad attempt at Absinthe. It’s a cheap oil-mix blanche with green dye squirted into it, much like the “Kings of Crapsinthe” La Fee Absinthes. La Fee also have pretty bottles and lots of marketing. In fact La Fee’s heavily awarded portfolio is almost all for the bottle design and not for Absinthe. See what I’m getting at here.

Please don’t see this as me trying to lord over anyone silly enough to buy an overpriced bottle of oil mix. I made the same mistake myself. My first bottle of Absinthe wasn’t actually Absinthe. With the word Absinthe not being defined in the United States a company can pretty much slap the word on a bottle of whatever and sell it using the myths. They can even stage events where a group of tattooed and pierced models pose around the pretty bottle and add to the “bad” reputation of Absinthe. Le Tourment Vert did this to me, I got suckered, and at first I thought that Absinthe was nasty because LTV was.

Later on I found out that LTV wasn’t really Absinthe, it was just a pretty bottle. Don’t be a sucker, don’t fall prey to the pretty bottles.

That doesn’t mean that every pretty bottle is fake. Marteau has an amazing label and that stuff is not only real but a wonderfully complex and delicious Absinthe. The entire line of highly respected Jade Absinthes have some killer design as well. Just don’t let “pretty” be your sole decision when buying a bottle.