Clandestine Absinthe is bootleg Absinthe that has been distributed on the Black Market in the time of Absinthe prohibition.
Absinthe was restricted and made outlawed in France, Switzerland and several other countries in th early 1900s after becoming a popular liquor since its creation at the turn of the 19th century.
Absinthe ended up being especially popular with the Bohemian art set in the Montmartre section of Paris. Artists and writers including Van Gogh, Gauguin, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway have been all enthusiasts of the Green Fairy, as Absinthe is generally known.
Anti-alcohol campaigners started to paint a bad picture of Absinthe during the late 19th century and early twentieth century, blaming it for France’s growing issues with alcoholism and proclaiming that the chemical thujone (from wormwood) was psychoactive and was having psychedelic side effects. Many stated that if Absinthe isn’t banned then France would be a nation of mad, insane people. Absinthe was even blamed for an alcoholic murdering his family even if he had been drinking other spirits right after the Absinthe. Absinthe was restricted and prohibition began.
Clandestine Absinthe in Switzerland
During prohibition, clearly there was obviously still an industry for Absinthe and in Switzerland bootleg distillers still made and sold Absinthe. Switzerland was the house of Absinthe. It’s claimed that Absinthe was developed by a doctor, Pierre Ordinaire, as a tonic for his patients in 1789 in the Swiss town of Couvet in the Val de Travers, the Swiss Jura. Soon enough, Couvet became the Swiss capital of Absinthe manufacturing and was obviously badly affected by prohibition. One distiller, Claude-Alain Bugnon, is considered to have continued distilling Absinthe and distilled it by using a recipe of another bootleg distiller Charlotte Vaucher. The Val de Travers was popular for its fantastic bootleg Absinthe.
Absinthe was legalized in several countries in the 1990s but legalisation in Switzerland did not occur until 2005. Claude-Alain Bugnon immediately requested for a license to promote Absinthe and was the first distiller to be given a license for Absinthe production in Switzerland.
Claude-Alain Bugnon’s business, Artemisia-Bugnon distilleries now produce many different types of Absinthe:-
– The well-known La Clandestine Originale – This Absinthe is an award winning premium La Bleue, 53% ABV (alcohol by volume). It is a clear Absinthe inside a blue bottle and some people claim that it took its name from the blue reflections observed when the Absinthe louches.
– La Capricieuse – This Absinthe was made to satisfy the taste for pre-prohibition stronger Absinthe and contains an ABV of 72%.
– Recette Marianne – This Absinthe was manufactured to be marketed to the French market that has strict Fenchone laws and doesn’t allow bottles labeled Absinthe to be distributed. Fenchone is the essential oil of fennel and is also considered to be psychoactive. This liquor is 55% ABV and won the renowned Golden Spoon Award in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
– La Clandestine Originale Alcool du Vin – A distillation of La Clandestine Originale utilizing a wine base.
– Angelique Verte Suisse – Produced for people who want their Absinthe to be slightly more bitter also to hold the traditional green color. The attractive label on this bottle is the same as antique labels depicting the Green Fairy.
The Artemisia-Bugnon utilizes herbs grown in your community like grande and petite Artemisia Absinthium (wormwood), hyssop and lemon balm to flavor its anise flavored liquor. No artificial colors or additives are utilized and many talk about the Absinthes possessing a “bouquet” of Alpine meadows, of honey and flowers.
The Clandestine Absinthe of the Artemisia-Bugnon distillery can be obtained to buy on their web store but if you would like to try your hand at creating your own Absinthe containing wormwood then you can use the essences from AbsintheKit.com to produce your own premium Absinthe.