Many Absinthe aficionados want to know a little more about the drink of the Green Fairy and its particular 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 in the Swiss Val de Travers town of Couvet. Ordinaire made Absinthe as an elixir or tonic for his patients and it was believed to have extraordinary effects on his patients.
The essential ingredient of Ordinaire’s elixir was the botanical herb worwmood, artemisia absinthium, a plant named after the goddess Artemis. Wormwood had been used since ancient times in medicine so it was a good choice for Ordinaire’s tonic. Wormwood has a compound referred to as thujone and it was this compound that brought on the banning of Absinthe during the early 1900s. Thujone was believed to be psychoactive and also to cause psychedelic effecs similar to THC in cannabis. We now know that thujone is just not like THC and, although it can effect the GABA receptors in the brain, one needs to ingest large amounts of thujone to do this and Absinthe only consists of very small amounts.
Couvet is within the Swiss canton of Neuchatel within the Val de Travers region. It’s renowned for being the homeland of Absinthe as well as 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 during 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 lifted and Bugnon can legally distill his Absinthes as well as La Clandestine was put on sale.
Bugnon’s distillery “C A Bugnon Artemisia Distillerie Artisanale” now distills his best rated array of Absinthes utilizing the best standard Absinthe herbs as well as alpine plants. His selection includes:-
La Clandestine Originale – This was the very first Absinthe to get distilled by the Artemisia distillery in 2005. It is actually made from 10 various herbs, such as wormwood and anise (or anisÃ©) and is also a winner of a gold medal while 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 just like La Clandestine but is manufactured using wine alcohol which has been made use of by Pernod in the nineteenth century but is not a traditional base for Swiss clandestine Absinthes. Bugnon explains this Absinthe as giving a “roundness in the mouth”.
La Capricieuse – This Absinthe is a stronger Absinthe with a higher alcohol content (72% abv, 144 proof). It is based on the recipe for La Clandestine however with a greater alcohol content.
Recette Marianne – Bugnon made this absinthe because he wished to be in the Absinthiades in Pontarlier, France. France continue to have strict rules regulating Absinthe – Absinthe drinks can’t be labeled Absinthe as well as complying to EU regulation relating to thujone, they also have to have low fenchone levels. Fenchone is definitely the substance present in fennel, a classic Absinthe ingredient. Bugnon developed this low fenchone Absinthe especially for the French market also 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 – It is a classic Swiss verte, or green, style Absinthe and it is made using 12 herbs which includes wormwood and angelica. It has got an abv of 72% (144 proof) and was launched by Bugnon in 2007.
Bugnon’s Absinthes are available to buy on many websites including his personal absinthe-suisse.com.
You can make your own personal Swiss style La Bleue by utilizing the Absinthe Clear essence from AbsintheKit.com. This essence may be ordered online for $3.95 for 20ml that makes one 750ml bottle of Absinthe or as part of a kit to produce 14 bottle of Absinthe for $29. AbsintheKit’s essences are made by distilling natural Absinthe herbs and you just need to mix the essence with vodka or everclear to produce a real wormwood Absinthe.
So, where is the birthplace of Absinthe? Couvet is definitely the birthplace of Absinthe as well as being the place to find some very nice modern day Absinthes.