Whilst the US is being flooded with thujone free absinthe pastis (and associated hype in the media) there are a few quiet little corners of the world where the real Fee Verte flowers like a flower in a field of wheat. I've been tasting a few recently.
One that I stumbled across is an artisnal verte called Century Absinthe which has a thujone level of 100mg.
According to Dr Niels Arnold the thujone level in old absinthe was about 260mg and so this is about as close as it gets I guess. I was reading about the effects of this verte on various websites and found it very difficult to find any. It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
The taste is very pleasing with a complex wormwood bitterness and a back note of anise, it is really smooth and not at all astringent. The secondaries are pronounced and the effects of drinking such an absinthe are well known from the days of the Belle Epoque. Do I need to say more?
Whether this is a speedball of herbs or not, the high thujone level definitely plays a part. Why do some absinthes have pronounced secondaries and some don't?
I also tried a couple of others on subsequent nights. They were Absente (made with Southern Wormwood), King of Spirits Gold, Francois Guy. Both the Century Absinthe and the King of Spirits were expensive on account of their thujone content I guess. The others really didn't compare to this verte Century. Absente was tasty enough I guess and the Guy was what it is nothing special...I believe the French restrict the use of fennel for some reason and do not even allow absinthe to be called absinthe! I wasn't that pleased with the King of Spirits at all.
My tasting left me with a clear favourite and that was Century. I bought it after I read this guy
"I drank about 4 shots worth the first time and just remember sitting there and my wife just laughed and asked if I was alright. She said she asked that because I had a constant smile on my face. (Honestly wasn’t aware at the time till I stood up and looked in the mirror.)
Overall a strong sense of well being and clarity.. The best part was that the next morning I woke up 10 mins before the alarm went off and literally hopped out of bed. I felt outstanding.. It was the exact opposite of a hangover"
I know what he means.
http://www.centuryabsinthe.com has further info. Absesnte can be bought in many stores if you want a non thujone pastis.