Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Green Faerie

I just found out that absinthe has been legalized in America. As a student of drug history, this drink fascinates me. Despite my extreme enjoyment of various controlled substances throughout my life, I have never had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the Green Faerie. I know that various hailed artisans from the past have reveled in her flavor, but I have never taken it upon myself to indulge in the ritual of absinthe drinking. I do favor many of what I would call "man-drinks"; not the least of which, being, straight whiskey. There is, however, something from my past (whether rightly or wrongly so) that calls to me with respect to trying this relatively recent deregulated spirit.

After a little research, I have found that there is one American distiller that has worked hard at reproducing the drink, as it originally was in France - around the 1800s. The brand is Lucid, and the man behind the product is Ted Breaux. He is an engineer who has tasted some of the finest, unopened absinthe from the aforementioned period in an effort to reverse engineer the beverage in order to properly reproduce it for you and I.

The active chemical in absinthe is thujone. It is this chemical that was banned by the FDA for nearly one hundred years here in the United States, until recent deregulation. It is this chemical that is rumored to have the hallucinogenic effects enjoyed by the likes of Edgar Allen Poe and others in the past. It is also rumored to cause convulsions; however, reports indicate that one would require an un-consumable portion to effectuate such a physiological response.

The reason behind outlawing absinthe has been reported to be the early, fledgling French wine and champagne industries. Much like the assault on marijuana by alcohol manufactures here in the United States, the French wine manufactures of the time proposed that absinthe would cause insanity and various other adverse effects (See, "Reefer Madness" for similarity). And like the pleasurable use of marijuana it might, in fact, be that very same circumstance that has me eagerly awaiting my first taste of absinthe.

Bottoms up!

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