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Archive for the ‘absinthe’ Category

Absinthe in a Can?

It looks a fair amount like Tourment Absinthe, but this time around it’s beer. Or, more specifically, Tourment “Absine Refresher” Gargoyle Citrus is a malt beverage with wormwood and other flavors. The product is made by City Brewing Company of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and it has also been approved in a Bohemian Berry version.

From time to time, TTB explains that there is no specific US standard for “absinthe,” so we wonder if it was really necessary to drop the TH out of ABSINE.

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absinthe, flavored malt beverage


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Amerique Absinthe

This absinthe label does a good job explaining the recent history about absinthe. It explains that absinthe was banned from 1912 until almost 100 years later. More of the story about legalization is here, and the the first 20 or so products approved for US sale are listed here.

Amerique 1912 is distilled by Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is also one of the few absinthes that states “thujone free” on the bottle.

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Pernod Absinthe

Click for Pernod Absinthe COLA

Here (above) is the COLA for Pernod Absinthe, at long last. It was extremely difficult to find, in TTB records, and a lot of absinthe enthusiasts have been looking for the COLA for upwards of a year. For example, Alan Moss’ Real Absinthe Blog does a great job tracking all the US-approved absinthes, but he too was not finding the approval. As of today his blog says “Pernod Aux Extraits de l’Absinthe: announced … for July 2008 launch. … Where is the label approval?”

We think it’s fairly interesting that the Pernod label, for some reason, lists CERTIFIED COLORS AND FD&C YELLOW #5 in big text on the front label. But the comparable La Fee absinthe shows “caramel color & certified colors FD&C Blue #1 & FD&C Yellow #5″ in much smaller text, on the back label.

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To Flame or Not: Czech Absinthe Hits the US

During the past 20 months TTB has approved several dozen absinthe brands. Almost all are produced in Switzerland, France, and the US — points west of the Czech Republic. Above shows two of the earliest-approved products made in the Czech Republic, approved a few days ago. This is significant due to a long rivalry between Czech and non-Czech absinthes. The Czech products are somewhat different, and these Stromu products show it well:  they have added flavors rather than herbs added before the final distillation; the proof is somewhat higher; Djabel suggests lighting the product on fire (back label). The latter is frowned upon by most other producers, to put it mildly. We would also expect many absinthe brands to fight over the trademark rights to the Green Fairy name; this term has long been applied to numerous absinthes all over the world. Here is a list of the first 20 or so absinthe products approved for US sale.

This also shows the massive leadtime sometimes required to bring an alcohol beverage product to market in the US. For Djabel: the importer got formula approval on July 11, 2008 (see item 11 on Djabel COLA); the importer probably applied for formula approval 1-2 months earlier, in May or June of 2008; TTB rejected a label submitted on August 8, 2008 (see item 18.d.); the importer resubmitted the label on September 3, 2008 (see item 20); and TTB finally approved the label on October 23, 2008 (see item 23). This is 5-6 months of hard work with many opportunities for missteps.

Finally, this well demonstrates the recurring trend, to portray alcohol beverages and especially asbinthe as sinful. Djabel’s back label says:

Djabel means “devil” in Czech. … During the dark-ages Bohemian “witches” and pagan worshipers used potions distilled from local herbs including wormwood (artemisa absinthium) as healing tonics and for social rituals. … please serve responsibly the traditional way by flambeing sugar in a spoon …

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absinthe


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