Talk:Absinthe

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Republic of Georgia REGULATIONS?[edit]

Moved below.

Alcohol content in traditional absinthe[edit]

Absinthes dont need to be "traditional" to be considered absinthe. By half the arguements on here, we should also add "absinthe MUST be made with poisionous dyes and metals to be considered absinthe". Light beer is ~2% ABV. This does not stop it from being beer. Some whiskeys are cut to 50% ABV. This is less than traditional amounts, but do they stop being whiskeys? NO! 80-90% ABV absinthes give a light and subtle taste, as you use less of the spirit. The LOWEST percentage absinthe I have ever encountered is 60%, and the lowest I can normally find is 78%. (203.97.97.188 (talk) 09:43, 18 October 2008 (UTC))

Please read Wikipedia's definition of Absinthe as this is the definition we are using. Hapsburg uses artificial dyes so it is not a genuine Absinthe. Jenever Spirit (talk) 11:23, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Old, cheaper absinthes used dyes. Dyes were half the cause of hallucinations. And "artificial" is hard to define in terms of dyes, especially when they are the result of cooking/brewing. Remember that absinthe doesn't have a legal definition in many countries. Hapsburg still uses wormwood, aniseed, star anise and fennel as per other recipes. The dyes mean nothing. (203.97.97.188 (talk) 12:08, 18 October 2008 (UTC))
I would question that dyes were "half the cause of hallucinations" as there is little evidence absinthe caused any more hallucinations than plain alcohol, but that aside I do agree with 203.97 that artificial dyed liquor can still be absinthe. The more important part would be if it was an alcohol soak or a distillation(I believe the Wiki definition per the manuals absinthe as being distilled either with steam or alcohol and not soaked, but correct me if I'm wrong). Traditional manuals put the numbers from 45% - 74% or 75%, although I think we should include modern products that fall into the wikipedia absinthe classification, thus the number should be at least 81% because of the Blanche traditionelle. Perhaps with an added note that it was traditionally watered down to a lower percentage. -- Ari (talk) 18:21, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
The toxic dyes used are the supposed only cause of hallucinations - thujone has never found to produce any hallucinigenic effects. Absinthe can be made both with cold infusion and distillation. Distillation is of course higher end and more expensive. A few 19th century absinthes used cold infusion (do not tell me to cite this. It's getting annoying). I am not using the word "traditional" as it isnt well defined. I do not think anyone should be using the word "traditional" due to its huge skepticism... Which is basically what causes this debate (203.97.97.188 (talk) 11:56, 19 October 2008 (UTC))
The existence of any hallucinations from absinthe not caused by the alcohol is questionable. If you can't provide evidence to support yourself, no one here has a reason to believe you over the cited wikipedia definition. -- Ari (talk) 01:47, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
This is getting off-topic. The point I was making is that artificial dyes were definately used in old absinthes, yet they were still absinthes. I referenced it back to hallucinations to back up the point that some old absinthes still used artificial dyes. The main point I was making is that dyed absinthe is still absinthe, and that we shouldn't use the word "traditional" as it isnt well-defined. I am not citing anything as I don't need to. You dont need 'proof' for this discussion. (203.97.97.188 (talk) 08:40, 20 October 2008 (UTC))
Why shouldn't we use the word "traditional?" Several of the other drinks articles (gin, tequila, vodka) refer to "traditionally," "normally," "usually" etc in the first section to establish for the reader what is the norm. Then (e.g. see Tequila), the articles go on to mention exceptions. In addition I think traditional absinthe IS very well defined by the historic texts of Duplais etc. The near 100 hiatus in production has meant that there are no more recent reliable definitions (as might have happened in a category with a more continuous production history). Alanmoss (talk) 08:55, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I realize this discussion has now gone cold, but wanted to comment on the use of the term "traditional" here. I think the difference between the use of "tradition" when used in relation to tequila or vodka is that there is no current debate as to what "traditional" means for those liquors, so saying that this or that quality or process is "traditional" for them causes no stir and is therefore acceptable and doesn't even seem to necessarily require a citation in order to be relevant and useful for a Wikipedia article. However, is seems abundantly clear that when it comes (or came) to the production and definition of "absinthe", the word "traditional" cannot be used because there never was a single, established, widely-accepted modality of either production or final product. When we talk about absinthe, we should be clear in the article that while there was apparently a point of origin for a thing that people first called "absinthe", there were subsequently several divergent evolutions of the application of the term to describe a drink which did not even consistently appear green and which may only have had the presence of high concentrations of alcohol and perhaps the flavor of anise in common. If true, "traditional" in such a context is then completely inappropriate as it suggests the predominance of a norm which seems not to have ever really existed. Unlike tequila. Or vodka. Those, as I understand it, have "traditions." KDS4444Talk 04:56, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
The discussion has gone cold because there remains little to discuss. The opinion that "the predominance of a norm ... seems not to have ever really existed" is overwhelmingly contradicted by numerous historical references on the subject published from the early 19th to mid 20th centuries, the written works of independent journalists of the period, and the printed literature of the most prevalent producers themselves. One such independent publication (Couleru, 1908) compiles details on producers who collectively accounted for greater than 90% of total absinthe production by volume, specifically denoting their methods and style as conforming to the standard model that had persisted from the earliest known descriptions (1797) until at least the time of the ban. That many bottles of vintage absinthe representing these producers and others have surfaced in recent times, their contents having predictably corroborated these written works (both through organoleptic and published scientific analysis) makes a prima facie case for all of the above. That modern perceptions are often obscured by more recent misinformation has no bearing on documented historical fact, leaving any notions to the contrary unsupported.. Vapeur (talk) 13:43, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

The alcohol content of two traditional absinthes is higher than 75% ABV. The Blanche Traditionelle from Switzerland contains more than 81% alcohol and the Eichelberger 78 from Germany contains 78% alcohol. Jenever Spirit (talk) 17:06, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Then those need to be sourced for the number and we should get less editing of it :) -- Ari (talk) 17:12, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Are these really traditional to the Franco-Swiss method of making absinthe? I believe vapeur has previously stated that there is no traditional absinthe over 75%. Alanmoss (talk) 17:32, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

I have looked at Fée Verte and even the complete 19th Century distillers' manuals at the Wormwood Society. I can't find any 19th century reference to absinthe over 74%. Assuming that Traditional means "handed down from generation to generation," I don't believe it is right to link "traditional" with anything over 75%.

As absinth is a mixture of several ingridients including ethanol (clean alcohol) it is very well possible to find genuine, traditional absinths with an alcohol percentage well above 75%. the highest I've ever seen was a german 90%er!! (Lucky Gamling (talk) 18:45, 3 January 2009 (UTC))

---> FYI: There is nothing historically representative or traditional about a bottle of 90% ABV alcohol that has been tainted with commercial flavorings and green dye that features the word "absinth" printed on the label. Vapeur (talk) 05:48, 4 January 2009 (UTC)vapeur

What does seem to be traditional about the Blanche Traditionelle is its characteristic uncoloured nature - not its strength.

Perhaps it would be more relevant to write something about traditional absinthes being up to 75%, but newer absinthes sometimes exceeding this figure? Alanmoss (talk) 16:59, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

I think traditional absinthe can have an alcohol content higher than 75%, however the higher alcohol content may not be a traditional feature. That will be hard to explain, so your suggestion is good. Jenever Spirit (talk) 18:16, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

The purpose of the introductory paragraph is to describe absinthe in its original incarnation, which is at the root of interest for the vast majority of readers who research the subject. What constitutes "traditional" is that which is historically representative and true to tradition. In this context, the cornerstone of the market at the time of the ban (some 110 years after initial commercialization of absinthe) consisted of brands representative of the method of production and flavor profile associated with the earliest origins of the spirit. This is likewise supported by the most credible distillation treatises from the period. This observation is uncolored by market perceptions (old or new), and is simply a matter of fact.

The original texts describe preparations ranging from 45-74% ABV. A few bottles of the earliest versions of popular brands are clearly labeled at 75%. Unless a historical exception can be demonstrated, traditional absinthes always fell within this range.

Artifically colored absinthes and/or those macerated from industrial essences were descibed in credible texts, and were regarded as untraditional and 'ordinary' at the time. They were still regarded as "absinthe" in the marketplace, just as a certain class of inferior, industrial products qualify as "wine" today. As for how prevalent any of these products were in the market is unclear, but if it serves as an indicator, no surviving examples (none of which I am aware) are known to exist.

There is no historical evidence, written or otherwise in my recollection that legitimizes 'cold infusion' of herbs as a means of creating absinthe. Therefore, any product made in this fashion does not fit any historically accepted definition of absinthe, and it could be reasonably argued on those grounds that such products do not qualify as absinthe by any credible standard. Vapeur (talk) 16:10, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Absinthe as I understand it must be distilled in Alembics which would limit the alcohol percentage to 72%??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nightcafe1 (talkcontribs) 21:31, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Some contradictions in the Wiki Page on Absinthe[edit]

In one of the opening lines the following is stated: "Although absinthe was vilified, it has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Any psychoactive properties attributed to absinthe, apart from that of the alcohol, have been much exaggerated."

As one continues to read towards the end, it is clear that one of the properties used in the distillation process of absinthe is 'wormwood' or scientifically, Artemisia species.

The wormwood leaves (used in the distillation process to create absinthe), are considered to be part of the reason why Absinthe was banned from mostly commercial production during the 20th century world-wide, (which is in complete contradiction to the opening statement referenced above).

The article goes on to state the following regarding 'thujone', one of the properties of 'wormwood - Artemisia species'................."thujone content regulations, which specify that finished food and beverages that contain Artemisia species must be “thujone free”. In this context, the TTB considers a product to be thujone-free if the thujone content is less than 10 ppm (equal to 10 mg/kg). This is verified through the use of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry."

"The importation, distribution, and sale of absinthe is permitted with respect to the following restrictions: The product must be thujone-free as per TTB guidelines".

So my question to Absinthe lovers and aficionados is this: The opening line in this page states that wormwood was no more dangerous than any other spirit manufactured, as the thujoe levels were never sufficient to cause harm to an individual, and yet, countries world-wide banned Absinthe production world-wide (mostly and including the United States), due to the fear that thujone levels from wormwood could cause death. The Ban on levels of thujone today continue...............must be less than 10 ppm.

So is wormwood (Artemisia species) harmful or not when consumed in Absinthe?? Is it the way the opening sentence reads in this article (not harmful), or is it the way that the ban continues to be as read later in the page (less than 10 ppm)?

Beaconmike (talk) 21:57, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

There is no contradiction. The opening statement is absolutely accurate and correct. A. absinthium is an ingredient integral to absinthe, just as juniper is to gin. The notion that A. absinthium is harmful in this context was originally promoted to single out and vilify absinthe pursuant to economic and political interests. Modern science eventually demonstrated this position to be false. Meanwhile, even countries that banned absinthe specifically didn't necessarily ban the use of A. absinthium in finished beverages, although many countries eventually adopted regulations that placed restrictions upon thujone content applicable to all finished foods and beverages. These restrictions are not derived from modern science, and tend to be overreaching and excessive, although recent studies have proven that the most lauded preban absinthes never contained more than a trace of thujone regardless. More recently, the EU has raised its limits on thujone content from 10 to 35ppm in response to a recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO). Other countries haven't (yet) followed suit, but the EU revision makes for a good argument. See www.thujone.info for a better understanding. Vapeur (talk) 23:36, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Affordable???[edit]

I remember that an art history professor of mine in college showed a slide of "The Absinthe" to us. (Audio-Visual, how old does that make me sound?) He repeated the commonly held belief that Absinthe had narcotic properties and was highly addictive thus the copious quantities consumed by the masses. After reading this article, I am left wondering was it an affordable drink that made it so popular. An example from today is that if one goes in the average American bar, he can order to three times the numbers of draught beers than he can a shot of or a mixed drink made of several liquors. A lot of beer is consumed, especially by men, because it is cheaper. Do we know how much a glass of absinthe cost, circa 1890 for instance??? It would be interesting to know.User:JCHeverly 23:11, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

A point missed by the list maker - green-washing the 'Green Fairy'[edit]

I was bad, pardon - but not sorry. In a momentary loss of self control I found it necessary to point out the list of Absinthe aficionados in the second introductory paragraph, were with one notable exception, Picasso, poster children for addictive, self-destructive, and self-indulgent life-styles when I added:

"...a list which, incidentally, consists of individuals who, with the exceptions of Rimbaud and Picasso, consists of men who died young and fairly directly of self-destructive life-styles: alcoholism, opium addiction, and suicide."

It is an especial irony that Picasso, the one survivor, was the greatest by far of the lot - he knew how to work.

If someone is going to create a list of noted 'Absintheurs', one might be more careful not to create a list that anyone casually familiar with the fin-de-siècle Parisian art scene would know consists almost entirely of alcoholics, opium or laudenum addicts, libertines, and suicides - no matter how great they might [or really might] have been. The fact that this list attempts to put into some kind of a context the 'narrow-minded', 'tight-assed' views of contemporary "moral conservatives and abolitionist" what it actually does is show that those critics might have had a socially relevant point. Someone else might wonder what the proper context of this assemblage d'artists really is.

So, maybe the Thujone really is not the real issue for condemnation of the la fée verte, a kind of red-herring, but the extreme potency of the trixy fairy Ethanol is - and needs to be put in some proper kind of context. Even Maignan's view of the "Green Fairy" was ambivalent in the extreme, even diabolical - not a nice faerie.

It is one thing to correct an erroneous point of view about a particular molecule, it is another to wash over the real hazards of another in an [unwitting?] attempt to perpetuate the confused mythological link between being a "Bohemian", the type of boundary dissolution necessary to produce great art - and Thanatos.

Absinthe is becoming cool again. People are trying it to be fashionable and hoping there really is something to the Thujone. In an attempt to be cool, people will: do, drink, eat, smoke almost anything, even things known to be fatally poisonous. To say of Absinthe "... it has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits," isn't much consolation to people whose lives are going down the tube of Alcoholism. At least as Wikipedians we can be honest about this fact to the public.

Maybe some editor more clever than I might come up with the proper verbiage and reference to put into proper context the fact that 11 of 12 of the persons listed were seriously screwed up and self-destructive types and were destroyed by their various addictions, life-styles, and devotion to Thanatos as inspiration for Art - or remove the list. Atani (talk) 21:44, 17 June 2014 (UTC)