Every year on the first weekend of October, absinthe lovers, distillers, sellers, authors, historians and collectors from all over the world come together in Pontarlier, France, for the Absinthiades.
These were already the 3rd Absinthiades that I attended, together with our team from Absinthes.com. Almost our whole team went to Pontarlier this year. Of course, I cannot compare 3 times with the number of times Andrew already attended 🙂
Every year, the Absinthiades are a very special event for us. It is not only about tasting new absinthes and judging them, but rather about meeting old friends from all over the world and talking about our common passion, absinthe.
In the past years, we always talked about each day separately, but this year I prefer to present you some highlights of the 16th Absinthiades. I’ve also selected a couple of nice photos for you (actually it was Andrew who took the photos and chose the best ones).
This year was one of the best Absinthiades ever. Here is a brief summary of the whole weekend: we drunk a lot of different absinthes, met old friends and made new friends, had one of the best cheese fondues, admired some absinthe antiques, discovered some new absinthes (amongst others from Martin Zufanek and from a brand new German distillery) and bought the new absinthe from the Guy distillery for you. We’ll tell you more about the new absinthes very soon.
Reunion of friends from all over the world
We only see most of our friends from the absinthe world twice a year: at the Fête de l’Absinthe in Boveresse and at the Absinthiades in Pontarlier. Some of them travel really large distances in order to attend the festival. They come from the US, Japan, Sweden, Finland and a couple of other countries.
One of them is Scott Macdonald, author of the book Absinthe Antiques who travels every year from the US to Pontarlier. This year, he came together with a friend, Hector Peña, who is also very passionate about absinthe.
The distillers of the absinthes Grön Opal and Vit Opal, Mikael Norell and Tomas Runquist came from Sweden. Marie-Claude Delhaye, world renowned collector and one of the main people responsible for sparking off the renaissance of absinthe, with her books about absinthe spoons and the history of absinthe such as „L’Absinthe – Son Histoire“. Marie Claude had her own stand at the Absinthiades. Right next to her was the ever charming Benoît Noël, respected author of books on absinthe and Calvados. Benoît presented his book Nouvelles Confidences sur L’Absinthe, among others.
A special thank goes to Marc Thuillier who organized a great program for all of us. He was awarded the title Absinthe Ambassador (Ambassadeur de l’Absinthe) at the formal opening of the Absinthiades on Friday evening. Along with him, 10 other people received this award, including Benoît Noël, and Dominique Rousselet, distiller and manager at Emile Pernot.
In the theatre there was a display of historical objects from the Emile Pernot distillery along with fantastic 1920s delivery van which they used to deliver anise back in the day.
Visit of the distilleries Emile Pernot and Pierre Guy
On Saturday afternoon, we visited the Guy distillery in Pontarlier, in order to try the latest absinthe, distilled especially to celebrate the 16th Absinthiades, in cooperation with the friends of the museum in Pontarlier. The Absinthe Magie Verte was aged for one year in oak barrels and is only available in a limited edition. We were of course able to secure a few bottles for you that you can now purchase on our website.
Along with the Guy distillery, the Emile Pernot distillery also opened their doors at the weekend. The visitors could mix their own cocktails and drink them afterwards of course.
One of the best cheese fondues at the restaurant La Petite Echelle
On Saturday evening, we went to La Petite Echelle, a restaurant in the heart of the Jura mountains. Surrounded by a beautiful landscape, this old alpine chalet is isolated, very peaceful (until we got there), and only a few meters away from the Swiss border.
There is no electricity at La Petite Echelle, and so dinner is eaten by candlelight, and the delicious cheese fondue we ate was cooked over a wood-fired stove.
Before we could devote ourselves to the cheese fondue, several absinthes had to be tried first. There was almost not enough space on the table for all those bottles. On this occasion, Martin Zufanek presented his new absinthe, the Justifiée & Ancienne, that will be available very soon on Absinthes.com. This absinthe will follow up the famous Absinthe L’Ancienne.
We also enjoyed a new German absinthe, which we’ll tell you more about soon.
The results of the Absinthiades 2016
The results of the 3 jury tastings (Professional, Popular and VIP) were eagerly awaited by everybody in the Théâtre Bernard Blier on Sunday.
This year, the highest scoring absinthe from both blanche and verte categories was the Absinthe Grand from Patrick Grand and obtained the gold medal (Grand Or). La Pontissalienne won the Gold medal in the verte category, followed closely by Opaline. A new absinthe from the Marguet-Champreux distillery was awarded bronze.
In the category Blanche, the La Maison Fontaine Blanche won the Gold medal. The Absinthe Blanche from Bourgeois (also a new absinthe) and the Sans-Frontières from Aymonier followed on the places 2 and 3.
In total, there were 21 absinthes participating in the competition this year (5 less than last year).
On the Absinthes.com Facebook page, you can discover even more photos of our weekend at the Absinthiades.
We are already looking forward to the Absinthiades 2017! We would be delighted to meet you at the Absinthiades someday. If you’ve any questions of if you want to write a comment, you’re welcome to contact us.
Santé from Stefanie, Andrew and the whole team at Absinthes.com