Boozepost: For The Love Of…

From my local Craig’s List:

Selling St. George Spirits’ recently released absinthe verte now, even for $150-200/bottle, is foolish. I have 4 bottles I purchased on Friday (12/21), all signed by the master distiller and I wouldn’t sell them now for $500 each! 10 or 20 years from now they’re going to be worth a fortune! Not for the liquor, but for their historical significance and what they’ll command from collectors.

Yes, people are, indeed, offering bottles of the 12/21 Absinthe Vert (some signed by Lance, some not) for $150 – $200.

What a gyp!

And I don’t have the heart to break it to the optimist quoted above that he sounds an awful lot like those folks who bought “The Death of Superman” comic figuring that it would pay for their kid’s college education ten years down the road.

Granted, there’s a difference between a 3600 bottle run of absinthe and DC’s vast overprinting of TDoS (four or five times the usual run, wasn’t it?), but still… If everyone’s buying it expecting it to become a collectible, that’s not going to happen. Although I will agree that a signed bottle of Absinthe Verte will probably have appreciated more in 2030 than the aforementioned comic… Should this blog still be extant, come 2030, I’ll be sure to make a follow-up post, I promise.

FWIW, I’ve already opened my one bottle. I know, I know, it’s silly of me to want to actually drink the absinthe I’ve bought but that’s me for you: silly.

Boozepost: All Gone!

St. George Spirits has sold out of Absinthe Verte. There will be more available in February, and they’ve promised to double the production run.

There are a few places that apparently have a bottle or three left, but it’s very much a scavenger hunt, at this point.

Meanwhile, it seems that there are two more US legal absinthes hitting the shelves – or are about to: La Fee and Le Tourment Vert. Unfortunately, La Fee is an oil mix, which makes is a faux-sinthe, in my opinion, and the reviews I’ve seen on Le Tourment Vert are lackluster, to say the least. Actually, lackluster is a kind way of putting it. Damningly savage might be more accurate. It’s nothing I’m going to rush out and buy, that’s certain.

Confession time: I’ve tried La Fee and, er, sort-of liked it. Well, I liked it for an oil mix, with a sufficient amount of sugar. However, the price seems to have gone up by a significant whack since I ordered that sample bottle, long ago, and if I can get something like Jade for a mere $10 more… then I’m going to buy Jade. So my foolish flirtation with La Fee is a closed chapter.

Us US-based absinthe fanciers have been lucky in that the very first brands to hit the shelves (and grab a big chunk of the press coverage) have been good ones. The arrival of lower quality product was inevitable, but I’m glad that it’s coming out after Kubler, Lucid and Absinthe Vert.

And, speaking of press coverage….Today, St. George’s, tomorrow, the world! Good thing it’s legal, else the INS would probably be demanding my green card back…

Boozepost: Blink and You Miss It.

My burblings about the St. G’s absinthe release-day madness may be found here. Long story short: it was a great day, but quite, quite crazy.

If my assessment of the craziness is correct, the tasting room was out of stock by 7PM. In fact, I believe they ran out before closing time, today. Given that there were 1800 bottles in stock, and approximately 300 people lined up at the door first thing in the morning and that number stayed constant until 2PM or so – whereupon it dropped to a mere 150 or so – and those folks were walking away with, on average, three bottles each… well, you do the math…

However, 1800 bottles were shipped out to distributors, so try your luck with places such as K&L Wines or I’ve shopped with the latter, and found them very reliable.

Boozepost: Star Vs. Green Anise

It seems that, in certain circles, there’s no small amount of outrage re: recently released North American absinthes (St. George’s Absinthe Verte, Okenagon’s Taboo) using star anise, rather than green anise.

On one side, are the Franco/Suisse purists who maintain that if it doesn’t have green anise, fennel and grande wormwood, then it’s not absinthe.

On the other side, are… well, everyone else who, for one reason or another, doesn’t give a damn. This group, admittedly, ranges from moronic fratboys to folks like, well, me.

Why the decision to go with star anise? Flavor? Price? Who knows? One suspects it’s probably a combination of the two – one is a realist, after all and distilleries are out to make a profit.

But, despite the fact that I’m generally a Franco/Suisse purist, I’m not going to give a damn.

Is it distilled? Does it have fennel, grande wormwood and anise? Then I’m not going to lie awake at night, worrying about it. Yes, there is a perceptible difference between the flavor of green and star anise – at least, so the experts tell me – but my palette is not finely-tuned enough to detect it. Maybe one day it will be, but, remember, I’ve only been serious about absinthe for a couple of years, which is no time at all, given how often I can afford to buy the good stuff. I don’t buy the cheap stuff.

Honestly, I’m still too busy doing the Hooray! It’s US-legal! dance (okay, Taboo isn’t, gimme a break) to pay too much to some frightfully overwrought fussings by some extremists.

Absinthe Verte and Taboo (despite the latter’s silly name) are not crapsinthes (by which I mean oil-mixes and/or brands that hype up their thujone content) and, with that in mind, I’m quite happy to give them a go. And, who knows? If enough purists (politely!) make their point then maybe the future will bring the change they desire.

Boozepost: Blimey!

It seems that the media hooraw over absinthe’s availability in the US – fueled more by a memo from the US government than anything else – has reached some sort of fungi-like growth phase. One can’t swing a cat without hitting some new article online about absinthe’s “new” (ie, not new at all) status.

The chaps at The Wormwood Society have a pretty comprehensive news aggregation going on – well worth stopping by and taking a look.

I’m silly enough to find this all rather exciting, of course. Now, if some of my favorite European brands would just jump through the hoops required for distribution in the USA, my day would be set!

St. George Spirits – Absinthe Verte Limited Release

At last!

St. George Spirits’ absinthe – Absinthe Verte – will be available in a limited release, starting 12/21/07.

Now that the news is official, I can talk about what it’s like!

I was lucky enough to be given a taste of a pre-release proof (being a regular at the tasting room and all-around nice gal has its advantages) and I assure you, dear reader, that it’s a winner. Indeed, the flavor is very reminiscent of the one pre-ban absinthe I’ve been fortunate enough to try. That pre-ban feel is enhanced by the fact that St. G’s recipe does not use any artificial preservatives, which means that the absinthe acquires the ‘feuille mort’ effect almost immediately after production.

It’s not a blanche, though, so the name “Absinthe Verte” is still appropriate. It also meets the US government rules for labeling absinthe, but that’s a long, torturous process that I’ll let the St. G’s staff tell you about when you visit their tasting room. You are going to visit, aren’t you? 😉

The overall flavor is subtle but complex and sweeter than many other CO’s – the producer’s German roots are showing through on this absinthe, I think – and it’s not one that I would drink with sugar. To keep it short, I thought it was delicious.

Further reviews to come when I’ve got my hands on a bottle (or two!) of the official release.

Congrats to Jorg and Lance at St. George’s! This is the first American produced absinthe since 1912!