Author: Marc

Absinthe Angélique Verte Suisse tasting notes by Marc Thuillier

Angéliquebuy_absinthe_angelique_online is the “green” big sister of the Clandestine from Claude-Alain Bugnon (68% versus 53%). Produced in the Artemisia distillery in the Val-de-Travers, its recipe includes 12 different herbs, with of course, as the name itself indicates: angelica (Angélique in French).

It is supposedly rebel and wild, let’s see what Marc Thuillier thinks of this Verte:

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The different ways of preparing a glass of absinthe

Here are the different ways of preparing an absinthe glass using antique – or modern – accoutrements:

1 – Carafes and Pitchers

Of course, the use of a carafe filled with ice-cold water was the most common and the very first known method for preparing an absinthe glass back in the 19th century; there are dozens of period photos and sketches showing this.

Pitchers were less widely used, especially in bustling bistros and cafés because of their fragility. Having said that, we have found numerous types of pitchers which were dedicated to the absinthe ritual and advertised as such in 1900’s catalogues.

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Absinthe Day – Auvers sur Oise – May 20th 2012

Every year, the Absinthe Day is taking place at the absinthe museum in Auvers sur Oise, the famous town near Paris where Vincent Van Gogh spent the last days of his life painting numerous masterpieces. Marie-Claude Delahaye – curator of the absinthe museum and writer of numerous books on absinthe history and antiques – organizes an absinthe-related second-hand market each year in the museum garden and bistro.

Here are a few pictures (click to enlarge) from the last one which took place on May 20th 2012. A very convivial event where absinthe antiques collectors meet, talk, buy, sell and also drink a few absinthes around an absinthe fountain

click to enlarge
Museum garden and entrance. Some wormwood – artemisia absinthium – right in the middle.

 

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The truth about absinthe glasses

Absinthe Glass Bubble ReservoirI love antique absinthe glasses. To me, each glass from the Belle Époque is a unique piece of art, with which you can feel and see the skills of the glassblower. The bubbles, inclusions, irregularities, colours, thicknesses, cuts and overall designs testify that absinthe glasses from the 19th and early 20th century are not really reproducible. Don’t get me wrong, I too have modern absinthe glasses at home for my tastings evenings, my favorites are the Pontarlier glass and the Bubble glass, they are great value for money, nicely handblown from original period glasses and they do the job perfectly, even though they’re just missing a soul from the past but I’m being a bit nitpicker here…

I’m not writing here to cry over past times anyway, but to make a bit of clarification on absinthe glasses: What is an absinthe glass? Who really used them? Why there were so many different designs?
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The origins of absinthe spoons

I thought you would enjoy reading about what kind of utensil was used by absinthe drinkers before the appearance of perforated spoons that we all know, and also when and why those absinthe-dedicated spoons appeared in the 19th bistro scene.

Absinthe was already drunk since decades when perforated absinthe spoon appeared in 1875-1880. What was commonly used by absintheurs back in 1840 or 1850 then?
The answer is shown in this sketch from Marie-Claude Delahaye’s book “L’Absinthe – Ses dessinateurs de presse”:

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The Sauvage 1804 Distillation @ Emile Pernot

An absinthe is never produced in one go, it is a long and complex process over 3 steps: the maceration, the distillation and the coloration. It’s impossible to obtain a fine Fée Verte in one day; all 3 steps are achieved over 3 days, not counting the wormwood stripping, the bottling and labelling of course.

Day 1 – The maceration

A distillation naturally starts with the herbs themselves. Each dried herb has to be carefully weighed following a precise recipe, a recipe dating to 1804 in the case of Absinthe Sauvage.
No big secret here, small quantities of herbs are weighed on a precision scales using a bowl, whereas big quantities – such as green anise, wormwood and fennel – are weighed with a professional electronic scales.

Herbs storage room. Dominique Rousselet (Emile Pernot's master distiller) is using a bowl and a measure to collect small quantities of herbs.

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