Many Absinthe aficionados want to know more about
the drink of the Green Fairy as well as its history. So, let’s determine where is the birthplace of Absinthe.
Legend has it that Absinthe was made by Dr Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor within the Swiss Val de Travers area of Couvet. Ordinaire created Absinthe being an elixir or tonic for his patients and it was said to have incredible results on his patients.
The important ingredient of Ordinaire’s elixir was the plant worwmood, artemisia absinthium, a plant named after the goddess Artemis. Wormwood has been used for thousands of years in medicine so it was obviously a good choice for Ordinaire’s tonic. Wormwood contains a substance called thujone and it was this chemical that brought on the banning of Absinthe in early 1900s. Thujone was reported to be psychoactive also to lead to psychedelic effecs similar to THC in cannabis. We now know that thujone is not like THC and, even though it can effect the GABA receptors within the brain, a person needs to ingest considerable amounts of thujone for this to happen and Absinthe only is made up of very small amounts.
Couvet is in the Swiss canton of Neuchatel in the Val de Travers region. It is noted for being the homeland of Absinthe and also for being home to the distillery of bootleg Absinthe distiller as well as artisan, Claude-Alain Bugnon. Bugnon was presented with an Absinthe recipe by a friend that his aunt, distiller Charlotte Vaucher, has been using since 1935. Bugnon decided to make use of the recipe to distill his personal bootleg clandestine Absinthe in the Absinthe ban. He was the first Absinthe distiller to ask the Swiss government to get a license to distill Absinthe in 2004. In March 2005, the Absinthe ban was raised and Bugnon could legally distill his Absinthes and La Clandestine was put on sale.
Bugnon’s distillery “C A Bugnon Artemisia Distillerie Artisanale” now distills his highest rated range of Absinthes using the best traditional Absinthe herbs and alpine plants. His variety includes:-
La Clandestine Originale – This was the first Absinthe to be distilled by the Artemisia distillery in 2005. It is actually produced from 10 different herbs, including wormwood and anise (or anisÃ©) and is also a winner of a gold medal in the Concours Nationale des Spiritueux Suisses. La Clandestine is 53% abv or 106 proof. La Clandestine is actually a classic Swiss La Bleue (clear) Absinthe.
La Clandestine with wine alcohol base – This is simply similar to La Clandestine but is created using wine alcohol which has been used by Pernod in the 19th century but is not a conventional base for Swiss clandestine Absinthes. Bugnon describes this Absinthe as providing a “roundness inside the mouth”.
La Capricieuse – This Absinthe is a tougher Absinthe with a higher alcohol content (72% abv, 144 proof). It is based on the recipe for La Clandestine but with a greater alcohol content.
Recette Marianne – Bugnon produced this absinthe because he wished to take part in the Absinthiades in Pontarlier, France. France still have strict rules governing Absinthe – Absinthe drinks can not be labeled Absinthe and as well as complying to EU legislation relating to thujone, they also have to obtain low fenchone levels. Fenchone is the substance present in fennel, a classic Absinthe ingredient. Bugnon produced this low fenchone Absinthe particularly for the French market plus it won the Golden Spoon award at the Absinthiades in 2005, 2006 and 2007. It features an abv of 55% (110 proof).
Angelique Verte Suisse – This is a classic Swiss verte, or green, style Absinthe and it is produced using 12 herbs including wormwood and angelica. It has got an abv of 72% (144 proof) and was released by Bugnon in 2007.
Bugnon’s Absinthes are obtainable to buy on many sites including his personal absinthe-suisse.com.
You can create your personal Swiss style La Bleue by utilizing the Absinthe Clear essence coming from AbsintheKit.com. This essence can be ordered online for $3.95 for 20ml that makes one 750ml bottle of Absinthe or as part of a kit to create 14 bottle of Absinthe for $29. AbsintheKit’s essences are created by distilling natural Absinthe herbs and you just ought to mix the essence with vodka or everclear to manufacture a genuine wormwood Absinthe.
So, where is the birthplace of Absinthe? Couvet is the birthplace of Absinthe and is particularly home to some very nice modern day Absinthes.