Review: Koruna Absinthe

I pity the bartender that sells both Koruna and Corona, but after a glass or two of this top-notch absinthe, I expect the drinker won’t have much of a problem making his requests known.

Koruna, a “bohemian absinth” — using the alternate spelling — from the Czech Republic, makes its intentions well-known from the label, which bears a fierce gargoyle and a 146-proof notice staring out at you. Immediately you’ll notice two things about Koruna: It’s very pale in color, a light greenish-yellow, lighter even than yellow Chartreuse, and it has a good layer of solid sediment at the bottom of the bottle. That sediment is some of the wormwood and herbs used in the preparation of the spirit, and while it doesn’t likely do much for the flavor, it really gives this absinthe a unique look. It’s a gimmick, for sure, but as gimmicks go (and these days, every new spirit has one) it’s not a bad one.

Koruna (the name comes from the term for Czech currency) is made with all-natural ingredients and no artificial colors. The spirit base is distilled, surprisingly, from molasses — which I guess technically makes this a sort of flavored rum.

Sure enough, Koruna is rum-sweet (and quite pleasant), both straight (only try that once, seriously) and in the traditional preparation with sugar and cold water. The herbal character here is very sedate compared to most absinthes, with a comparably mild licorice note, backed by some slightly bitter orange peel character. For something with herbs in the bottle and 73% alcohol, the easygoing nature came as a bit of a surprise.

One other note: It’s not a blanche absinthe (and though it’s light, it’s not totally transparent) either. In fact, in one way it doesn’t behave like absinthe at all: Koruna does not louche, and with water added it looks a lot like a glass of sauvignon blanc. (I believe this is because of the way the herbs are utilized in large pieces instead of being mashed during the production process, so particles do not suspend in the liquid after water is added.) Whether that detracts from the absinthe “experience” is a question better left to the individual, but I found it a little surprising and disconcerting. Either way, considering the alcohol content and smoothness of this absinthe, tread with caution.

A- / $79 / admiralimports.com

koruna absinthe Review: Koruna Absinthe

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48 Responses to Review: Koruna Absinthe

  1. The Absinthe Review Network

    It doesn’t behave like a blanche because it is not absinthe. This is phoney absinthe through and through.

    For future reference, anything spelled “absinth” is not absinthe. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be reviewed; by all means, people need to know the quality of these faux absinthe brands, it should just be scored in direct comparison to genuine absinthe.

    Taste it again and then taste a glass of La Clandestine. Can you honestly say it deserves the same score?

  2. TARN – Will try it vs. La Clandestine as suggested — but I’ll add that ratings here are pretty loose, which is why I use letter grades, not numerical ratings or the 100-point scale. But to your point: If it is flavored with anise and wormwood, why is NOT an absinthe? My understanding — admittedly more limited than your experience, I’m sure — is that officially if a spirit (of pretty much any origin) is flavored with wormwood it can be called absinthe, louche or no. In fact, unlike, say Cognac or Champagne, there’s nobody who can really restrict the use of the term absinthe or absinth — louche or no louche.

  3. The Absinthe Review Network

    Christopher, thanks for replying. I am glad you’re willing to hear advice and take a logical approach to improving future reviews. Reading some of your non-absinthe reviews I do think you have a good tongue, and once you try some more brands and learn the ins-and-outs of gauging an absinthe’s quality I think you will make a fine judge of absinthe. Remember to experiment with water levels and both with/without sugar! :)

    There are many reasons, but the most glaring being that it does not contain the “holy trinity” of absinthe herbs, hence the lack of a louche. That is, wormwood, fennel, and anise. The herbs are also macerated, not distilled. I’ll try to get WS’s own “Boggy” to post here; he can explain some of the finer points better than I can, as he literally researches absinthe production methods!

    I can’t argue with you about restricting the use of the words “absinthe/absinth”, though. Technically, there is no official standard on certain characteristics defining what is absinthe, so until this happens they are still allowed to label their products as such. Though historically what I’ve just explained holds true as the original definition.

    I can’t promise I’ll remember to check back here, but you can always e-mail me if you need.

    -Ben

  4. Warden Fils

    “My understanding — admittedly more limited than your experience, I’m sure — is that officially if a spirit (of pretty much any origin) is flavored with wormwood it can be called absinthe, louche or no.”

    Absinthe–the drink against which an enormous amount of propaganda was used during Belle Epoque France and beyond–had anise and louched. The anise is the primary herb that makes absinthe louche. It is true there have been wormwood-based medicinal tonics as far back as the ancient Greeks, though not only were these medicinal, they had no anise, weren’t distilled (which makes the wormwood bitterness quite pleasant, like hops) were never the target of a campaign of propaganda like the one from the late 1800s to the early 1900s to ban them, and weren’t called “absinth(e)” until the 1990s. So for a drink to call itself absinth(e), to utilize outdated and incorrect anti-absinthe propaganda, and to have little to no resemblance to the drink against which that propaganda was used is disingenuous at best, and willfully exploitative at worst.

    Apologies for the info overload and long sentences! I hope makes sense to some degree.

    “In fact, unlike, say Cognac or Champagne, there’s nobody who can really restrict the use of the term absinthe or absinth — louche or no louche.”

    It is true there is no official definition of absinthe–and I and I presume most absinthe geeks would not want a geographical restriction on the name–but the pre-ban absinthe, distillers’ manuals, and recipes that have been found are historical evidence of what absinthe has been and can be. oxygenee.com has the “Virtual Absinthe Museum” if you scroll down the page a little. Its FAQ is exhaustive, but also can be exhausting! :)

  5. Warden Fils

    Crap–sorry! The spaces I put in the comment box didn’t carry over into the comment post. :oops:

  6. Warden Fils

    Sorry–one more thing–a correction/addition: “to utilize outdated and incorrect anti-absinthe propaganda” should be followed by “as its sales pitch.”

  7. Todd Jackson

    “Can you honestly say it deserves the same score?”

    Depends on your individual taste I suppose? Or are there rules on that now that I am not aware of? Louching is caused by anethole in anise. I am interested in the proposed comparison between La Clan and Koruna. La Clan is rather too sweet for my taste, although it is very highly praised.

  8. Brian Robinson

    I don’t want to add too much to this conversation other than these two points:

    1) I was confused when you said this absinthe acts like a blanche. Blanches do indeed louche. In fact, they louche up to be quite thick. What exactly did you mean?

    2) While it is true that there is not a current legal definition of absinthe, all of the brands you see out there that call themselves ‘absinth’, like the one above, have based their marketing on a comparison between their product and what was consumed in France during the Belle Epoque. If a producer compares their brand to a Belle Epoque absinthe, then their product should be judged based on the characteristics of said absinthe. i.e.- it’s predominantly flavored by anise and wormwood, it louches, and if it’s to be considered high quality it is distilled and is naturally colored.

    For more information about this brand and its two cousins, please feel free to read my commentary on its press release: http://realabsinthe.blogspot.com/2009/03/press-release-pointcounterpoint.html

    Cheers!

    Brian Robinson
    Review Editor
    The Wormwood Society

  9. Todd Jackson

    The label says Bohemian Absinth I think. That is another class which is not predominantly flavoured by anise:

    http://www.absinthematahari.com/?q=content/absinthe-mata-hari-bohemian

    “In the case of Mata Hari absinthe, this bohemian recipe comes from Austria and has been in the Fischer family since 1881″

    1881 = Belle Epoque doesn’t it?

  10. Brian – In re: the blanche comment, mainly just referring to its generally pale (though not clear) color. You are right that blanche louches and I shouldn’t have put those two comments together. That was sloppy writing, and I have corrected it.

  11. Also Warden – All spirits makers put out press releases touting their superiority to other spirits, and many utilize hyperbole and hype liberally. That is part of the business, sadly. I try to look past all that and consider the product for itself. That said I appreciate your dedication to analysis!

  12. Todd Jackson

    “I am told this is because of the way the herbs are utilized and large chunks instead of mashed up, thus making it so no particles suspend in the liquid after water is added”

    Chrisopher, who told you this? The producer or someone else? I think it has more to do with your “comparably mild licorice note” description, i.e those absinthes that have less licorice (i.e anise) in their recipe do not louche well to water. Was the water iced? I find the colour attractive and really I am more interested in the taste which sounds good from your description. There are of course French recipes from the 1830s that use just wormwood, mace, cinnamon etc and no anise at all, known as “Creme d”Absinthe”

  13. Brian Robinson

    “Todd Jackson Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 4:29 am
    The label says Bohemian Absinth I think. That is another class which is not predominantly flavoured by anise:”

    Yes, the label says Bohemian absinth. But if you do some research on where that term came from, you’d see that the same producers began their brands by advertising that is was the same ‘absinth’ that was consumed by Van Gough, Rimbaud, etc during the Belle Epoque.

    Koruna is just the US version of King of Spirits Gold, which even has a picture of Van Gough on the label.

    You can’t have it both ways. Is it the same absinthe that was consumed in France during the Belle Epoque (in which case it should be reviewed as a Franco Suisse absinthe flavor profile), or is it a different type of product (in which case it shouldn’t associate itself with what is known as the Absinthe of the Belle Epoque)?

    The term ‘Bohemian style absinth’ only came about after those brands started catching flak for making products that said they were absinthe, but which didn’t taste like what absinthes of the period that they were referencing tasted like.

    I’ve been following the progression of brands and marketing strategies of many ‘Bohemian style absinths’ for several years now. It’s very interesting to see how they continue to evolve to try to fit within the current public paradigm of what absinthe actually is. If you take a look at the advertising of some of the brands now, and compare them to 3 or 4 years ago, you’d think they are completely different products. Many of them used to claim that they would make you hallucinate. Others claimed to have huge amounts of thujone. However, ‘coincidentally’, when the ban in the US was lifted, those same products completely removed all references to hallucinations and said their thujone content was much lower. Yet they still contend that thujone is a major factor in absinthe.

    The entire backstory that is now located on the webpages for Green Fairy and Djabel is completely new. They are now trying to distance themselves from the Franco-Suisse distinction. Will this lead to more of a delineation of absinthe categories, and more education of the American consumer? I certainly hope so. The more information the consumer has in order to make an informed decision about which type they want to buy.

  14. Todd Jackson

    “Koruna is just the US version of King of Spirits Gold, which even has a picture of Van Gough on the label”

    Oh right, it is made by L’Or Special Drinks in the Czech Republic, is it? I have read some of the reviews about King of Spirits and it seems to make people really angry for some reason. I was not aware that Koruna was a L’Or product, but I guess you know. Thanks. Did Admiral confirm this to you?

    “The term ‘Bohemian style absinth’ only came about after those brands started catching flak”

    Are you sure? I understand that Hill Absinth and Mata Hari have always described themselves as “Bohemian” so that does not really fit with what you are alleging here.

    “Absinthe of the Belle Epoque”

    Like I said already Mata Hari uses a recipe from 1881, so that is Belle Epoque, isn’t it?

    You seem to be a real expert on the subject and able to comment on products with authority so please answer my questions.

  15. augustgarage

    Mata Hari distinguishes between Bohemian style absinthe and Czech style absinthe. To my understanding, the latter is a modern (popularized in the 1990’s) creation, where as the former has some shared commonality (at least in terms of ingredients) with the French/Swiss “Belle Epoque” style.

    Mata Hari claims to use a recipe derived from the one used by Fischer distillery, an Austrian producer that has been around since 1875. Now was Fischer’s product called an “absinthe” by people drinking it at the time? Was it produced similarly to French absinthe? How was it served? Are there any remaining bottles of this product around? When and why did production cease?

    Even giving Mata Hari the benefit of the doubt regarding their history, I am still uncertain whether to think of their product as an “absinthe” when it seems to have more in common with “Bohemian” products of similar provenance like Karlsbader Becherbitter (aka Becherovka).

  16. Todd Jackson

    “Koruna is just the US version of King of Spirits Gold, which even has a picture of Van Gough on the label” I have found out that this is a completely false statement. Koruna is made by another distiller called “Green Tree”. Makes me wonder about the accuracy of, and motivation behind, your other comments.

  17. Brian Robinson

    And what possible motivation do you think I might have, considering I get absolutely no remuneration for any of the work I do in regards to absinthe education?

    I will most certainly answer your questions:

    1) I never said they were made by the same company. I don’t know if the two are related or not. They might be, they might not. What I said was that it was the US version, meaning they are almost identical, except one is available in the US, another is not. They both have the same color. They both have the same louche (or last thereof). They taste very similar. They both have the absinthe flakes at the bottom of the bottle. Strikingly similar. I don’t think you can disagree.

    2) Yes I’m sure. You are completely wrong when you say Mata Hari and Hills have ALWAYS claimed to be Bohemian style absinths. Want proof? Here are pictures of my own bottle of Mata Hari, which is approximately 10 years old. Nowhere on the bottle does it mention Bohemian style. In fact, on the back, it talks about all of the French folk who drank it (therefore likening it to Franco-Suisse styles), and it also talks about its hallucinogenic effects.

    Front label: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9534655@N05/3427837992
    Back label: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9534655@N05/3427838054

    Regarding Hills, I don’t even know if I would classify it as Bohemian style absinth. It’s kind of in a class of its own due to its color and flavor. It also is available in Canada, which means its thujone content falls below even the US standards.

    3) I believe I am quite knowledgeable on the subject. Especially since I’ve talked at length with multiple members of several non-traditional (i.e. non-Franco-Suisse) brands who asked my opinion to help them publicly distinguish between Bohemian style absinth and Czech absinth.

    I’ve also talked at length with Gerry Fischer from the distillery that produces Mata Hari as well as one of my personal favorites, Montmartre. I won’t betray his confidence by revealing all that we talked about, but I am very appreciative of the time we spent talking/emailing, as well as the time I spent talking with his US marketting arm.

    Regarding the recipe from 1881, it very well might be the case that there is a recipe from back then. However, the existence of a recipe, and the existence of proof of production on a large commercial scale are two very different points. Also, since the original Mata Hari from a decade ago is not the same as the one being sold now, there have obviously been several major changes, which indicate that the current product is probably loosely based on said recipe. In fact, we can sit here and argue that all absinthe is based on recipes from the middle ages, if you want to nitpick.

    Although I’d still prefer there to be more delineation between Franco-Suisse style absinthe and ‘Bohemian/Czech style’ absinth, I do applaud Steve Raye and company who are trying to make the differences known. I don’t like their tactic in trying to undermine Franco Suisse absinthe by saying it doesn’t mix well in cocktails (which isn’t true), but their efforts to educate on the differences, AND to try to distance themselves from the negative connotation of ‘Czech style’ absinthe is good to see.

    Any more questions?

  18. Brian Robinson

    “There are of course French recipes from the 1830s that use just wormwood, mace, cinnamon etc and no anise at all, known as “Creme d”Absinthe””
    ===
    This statement is also incorrect.
    First, Cremes are not recipes for the Aperitif we know as absinthe. They are liqueurs (containing sugar). Creme d’Absinthe is a Creme of Wormwood. In many distillation manuals those two words were used interchangeably, so you need to make sure you differentiate between the product Absinthe, and the herb Absinthe. You’ll notice in both the Duplais and De Brevans Treatises on Distillation, they will usually say Wormwood, then in parenthesis, Absinthe, when they are talking about the herb.
    Second, taking recipes from the aforementioned treatises, which are widely considered to be the most detailed resources for absinthe (the liquor) production, the recipes for Creme d’absinthe includes: absinthe (the herb), peppermint, anise, fennel and lemon, with anise and lemon being the largest amount by far.

  19. Todd Jackson

    Wow! thanks, Brian, So what is the legal definition of the product absinthe? I would say that many absinthes contain a lot of sugar and I am not fond of that. The old label of Mata Hari, that you kindly photographed and uploaded, does seem to prove your point as the new label says: “Absinthe Bohemian Mata Hari Original Belle Epoque recipe from 1881…Archived in the authentic historical Absinthe distillery – the Old Vienna Schapsmuseum” Odd, isn’t it?

    ===

    Google is your friend…

    “This whole “Bohemian” designation regarding absinthe/absinth is nothing but a scam dreamed up in the late 1990’s to sell crapsinthe (or more accurately “crapsinth”

    http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=4113&st=30

    Not sure who this guy is but a search of the website seems to suggest that it is Marc Bernhard, the distiller of Pacifique Absinthe. Is that correct what this guy is saying?

  20. Brian Robinson

    Take a look at the aforementioned point/counterpoint link I posted for more information about the production of Bohemian style absinth prior to the 1990s.

  21. Brian Robinson

    ____
    “Regarding the recipe from 1881, it very well might be the case that there is a recipe from back then. However, the existence of a recipe, and the existence of proof of production on a large commercial scale are two very different points. ”
    ____
    “However, to date, there has been no evidence that Absinthe (or Absinth) was produced on a large scale in the Czech Republic until Rodomil Hill’s company began operations in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. If this evidence does exist, it has not yet been made public.”
    _____

    I don’t think anyone is denying the existence of recipes of ‘absinthe hybrids’ in Eastern Europe prior to the Bohemian absinthe movement in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s. The point of contention is:
    1) whether it was ever sold on a large scale like Franco Suisse absinthe
    2) whether it was marketed as the same type of liquor being consumed in France, or whether it was being sold as a Wormwood tonic/tincture/bitters.

    As mentioned before, in many recipes, Wormwood and Absinthe are interchangeable, so you need to use some logical deduction to figure out if they mean the herb or the liquor.

    As I’ve already previously shown, Bohemian style brands originally were marketing themselves as the ‘real’ absinthe, the same stuff that was consumed by French artists during the Belle Epoque. It was heavily marketed to tourists in Eastern Europe, focussing on a demographic that found the ‘forbidden fruit’ and taboo nature of it appealing. They didn’t know whether it was the ‘real’ stuff or not. It is a recent trend to try to differentiate themselves in the market place. I am in favor of doing so.

    But anytime they associate themselves with the French absinthe tradition or methods, then they must be judged on the same scale with the same criteria.

  22. Todd Jackson

    Thanks Brian. So do you share the opinion of your fellow officials at the Wormwood Society that these brands are a “scam” “huge marketing hoax” etc? Can you also clarify exactly why past large scale commercial production is of consequence as I do not understand the point you are trying to make.

    Happy Easter

  23. Brian Robinson

    I don’t really think I need to go into the scamming and hoaxes any more than has already been done. The arguments are already there. One side shows science, history, a multitude of research and documentation, and existing examples of products from the Belle Epoque. The other side says, ‘don’t believe those guys, believe us. Our stuff is the real thing. We don’t have anything to show you that will prove what we’re saying, but just trust us.’ Modern science has already proven time and time again from the 1920’s onward that properly prepared absinthe doesn’t make you go crazy. It doesn’t make you hallucinate. Common sense can lead you to the same conclusion.

    In France, Spain, and several other countries, literally millions of people were drinking absinthe on a daily basis at every cafe on every corner. Don’t you think that there would be more anecdotal evidence as well as public records of people going crazy and hallucinating, other than the studies of a scientist who worked with chronic alcoholics? Do you think that Pernod would have been allowed to move thier production to Spain if it were the case?

    There have most definitely been several brands in the past who have engaged in false advertising by claiming their brands make you hallucinate. I have screenshots of their websites, publicity material, etc. Even the most vociferous defenders of Czech/Bohemian absinth, when asked if they have ever hallucinated, have always either said no, or declined to answer the question. Further, I have in my posession, scientific analysis of many different brands of absinthe, conducted by government officials of different countries, and other studies conducted by other scientists that show that many of the absinthes that claim high thujone content don’t actually have nearly as much thujone as they market. Others have used non-traditional means of boosting thujone by adding chemicals such as cedar leaf oil (which shows up differently on GS analysis).

    I have drank more than 250 brands of absinthe, including practically all of the most popular Czech/Bohemian styles such as Century, Zele, Hills, Stromu, Strong, Original, etc. I can unequivically state that I have never once hallucinated.

    Regarding the point of commercial production: it is of consequence because these brands are trying to claim that they were the same brands that were drank in France by French artists during the Belle Epoque. They try to stake a claim in the absinthe world by equating themselves with the very popular drink that was banned near the end of the Belle Epoque. They would have you believe that these brands were producing absinthe back then, and continued to do so after the ban was in place. However, there exists no proof that this type of absinthe came into being until Rodomil Hill began operations. As I mentioned before, if there is evidence to the contrary, it has not yet been made public. I would happily ackowledge said proof if it were ever made available to me. There may very well have been small scale, family style production of variations of absinth in the Eastern European areas, but that is a far cry from a brand that was being produced there, then shipped to, and sold in, France and other Western European countries. Again, these may only have been absinth in name (referring to the herb, as opposed to the liquor). Not the same.

    If this evidence does not exist, then it leads to the conclusion that these types of absinth were created recently in an attempt to put forth a product that would piggyback on the forbidden image of a drink that it really has nothing in common with. It is trying to profit on the name of absinthe without trying to recreate the actual drink.
    -

  24. Pingback: Drinkhacker.com » Review: Djabel and Green Fairy Absinthe

  25. Todd Jackson

    “There may very well have been small scale, family style production of variations of absinth in the Eastern European areas, but that is a far cry from a brand that was being produced there, then shipped to, and sold in, France and other Western European countries”

    Why would WESTERN European countires matter? I mean if these products were not exported and consumed in WESTERN Europe they don’t count, right? From what I have read on your Wormwood website I get the impression there is something nasty about all of this. There is a lot of stuff on your web page about Eastern Europe and Czechs which is pretty vile.

  26. Brian Robinson

    Todd, don’t try to turn this into something it isn’t. This has nothing to do with Eastern Europe as a territory, or the Czechs as a people or anything ethnocentric like that at all. It is a common ploy from Bohemian absinth producers to try to turn this in to a race/culture war, which it has never been. In fact, every person on the WS who has ever bashed these products has also made it very clear that this is SOLELY about this one particular type of product. Many of us, including myself enjoy many Czech products. I myself stock Pivni Palenka, Slivovic, other Czech liquors, and dozens of Czech beers in my person bar. I love them all. I even have about 50 Czech style absinths in my bar.

    The only reason those areas are mentioned is because that’s where these products originated from. And if Western Europe doesn’t count, then why do they all use Western Europe as part of their historical background? These products never marketed themselves as a normal drink, which was never illegal. They marketed themselves as the drink that was banned in France. As I mentioned before, the entire background that is now up on the Green Fairy/Djabel website is new. Previous to that, as Stromu Green and Stromu Red, they had information about the French and the artists in France who drank it.

    It’s not us who have compared them to Franco-Suisse styles, it is them (or you, as I’m further and further inclined to believe). Now they are trying to change things around and adapt. I hope they continue to do so, as it will afford the customer a better chance to differentiate the products and allow them to make an educated decision on which style to buy.

  27. Todd Jackson

    Thanks for your reply. I need to do some more investigating to get a clearer picture but when you say “every person on the WS who has ever bashed these products”!! Well what about the thread called…”Can we kill him”…sounds like you are whipping up some real dangerous hate through your “bashing” (nice term, Brian):

    http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t4012.html

    That is what I meant. Who is that thread about by the way? The owner of L’Or Special Drinks?? Do you know him? You said before that Koruna was the US version of King of Spirit so I wondered if there is some personal issues between you guys.

  28. Brian Robinson

    Wow, you REALLY take things out of context. Either that or you at least like to offer skewed information so as to make others believe something that is false. Your answers are becoming more and more similar to another ‘blog stalker’ who is in cahoots with those interested in propugating some of the myths. You also are accusing the wrong party on this one.

    First, the entire thread was just mocking the ad, as I’m sure you could deduce. The ‘him’ that was referenced was the guy in the ad.

    Second, as you can see, the very FIRST comment made in that thread was by me. It said: “We all know you’re kidding, but you may want to tone it down a bit, since people are now accusing us of being thugs and threatening anyone who doesn’t subscribe to our line of thinking.”

    Throughout the rest of the thread, you can see that myself as well as others on the advisory board are clearly not condoning name calling and thuggery, etc.

    Third, the offending party, Rimbaud, was subsequently suspended from the WS.

    There are no issues that I’m aware of between myself and any absinthe/absinth producer.

    Feel free to contact me via email, or to join the WS to continue this discussion. It’s easier to tell who I’m talking to in either of those two options.

  29. Brian Robinson

    FYI, another passage from the same thread:

    Voicing your opinions is strongly encouraged. How you express them is another matter entirely and the underlying issue is that it reflects on the Wormwood Society in general and me in particular.

    If all you want is a place to rag and rant I can think of at least three other places where it’s not only allowed, but encouraged. We just don’t do it here.

    In the final analysis, expressing yourself that way makes you look like the idiot.

  30. Todd Jackson

    Fair enough. I am just inclined to stand up for the underdog and you guys DO come across like a pack of online rottweilers going out after a bunch of brands like Pernod, Czech, that you don’t approve of. It would be better if you guys concentrated on postive stuff and stopped behaving like absinthe vigilantes. What I find really intriguing is why a bunch of guys in the States are behaving like pack of wild dogs about a European drink. It looks to me like your website is the HQ for all of this, did you ever step back and think about what you are doing? Chill a bit friend, it is only booze after all.

  31. Brian Robinson

    I think it’s you who might want to chill. Vigilantes? Not at all. Our goal is to educate the masses. It might be fine for you (I’m sure it is, since I’m pretty convinced you’re in league with a producer) for brands to go around misleading the public, but our goal is to make sure consumers know what they are buying, whatever brand or style it may be.

    You think of a company like Pernod as an underdog? A company that used to produce the gold standard of absinthe, and who now produces an artificially colored, mediocre brand at best? A company that is now one of the largest liquor companies in the world? Are they really an underdog? I think not. Neither are many of the other brands you are ‘defending’. Many of those brands have the largest marketing push and the deepest pockets. It’s actually us who are the underdogs, since we aren’t funded, and we do it mainly out of a labor of love, since we actually care about the drink as opposed to just profit margins.

  32. Todd Jackson

    Wow! You really make a lot of wild accusations, Brian. Pernod is only “mediocre” in your opinion, it is not an objective fact. What really concerns me is that you guys make accusations against others, who are legally operating in this US market, using a real nice flashy expensive website that might mislead people into thinking you are a regulated authority like the TTB. From some info I have been sent the organisation consists of a board of whom the majority are involved in the manufacture of US absinthe brands:

    1.Gnostalgic Spirits Ltd ( Founder & Administrator x2)
    2. Pacific Distillery LLC ( Advisory Board)
    3.Ridge Distillery LLC ( Advisory Board, Forum Moderator x2)

    It is like Dr Pepper setting up a website and launcing online attacks on Pepsi and Cherry Cola. This is allowed is it?

  33. Brian Robinson

    Wild accusations? Don’t you mean responses to YOUR wild accusations?

    Of course saying Pernod is mediocre is opinion. But it’s based on fact. Pernod is artifically colored. Says so right on the label. That doesn’t lend itself to ‘top notch’ absinthe. Would you think of a scotch with added caramel color as top notch? I doubt it.

    How would anyone take our site as one from a regulated authority? Right on the main page it says we are a non-profit absinthe education association. Legal disclaimers abound regarding the opinions stated therein. All factual information is cited. Compare our site to that of any of the absinthe producers you’re trying to defend. I’d venture to guess that you’d have to agree our site is less ‘flashy’ than theirs, and that our public reach doesn’t extend as far as their marketing dollars do.

    By the way, the TTB actually recommends prospective absinthe producers go to our site for info and research.

    Regarding the board, it is all volunteer efforts. Gwydion Stone (Gnostalic Spirits) has stepped back from his role so as to not create a conflict of interest. Marc from Pacific and Joe from Ridge, now that they are commercial producers, have also stopped writing reviews of other products. FYI, they were members of the WS BEFORE they began producing, not the other way around.

    Also, we have recently added several more members to the board, who are not commercial producers, in order to alleviate any concerns of potential conflicts of interest. There are now more non-producers on the board than producers.

    Given there are more than a dozen absinthe producers who are members of the WS, it stands to reason that they are there more to help support absinthe’s growth within the United States, not to compete against each other.

    Can you point me to any part of the site where there are specific points that are factually untrue? Opinions are freely stated, but what on the site that is presented AS FACT is untrue?

    All in all, this is just smoke and mirrors. You’re making lame arguments to the public just to try to discredit an organization that is devoted to truth in advertizing. I can only imagine why. Wink wink, nudge nudge. As I’ve said time and time again, if you seriously have an issue with anything on the site, you can contact us directly. Instead, you choose to try to skirt around things and bad mouth the site on blogs like this. Does that seem like a professional thing to do?

    My (educated) guess is that there is just as much of a case against you for trying to discredit us as there is any case against the WS.

  34. Pingback: Drinkhacker.com » Revisiting Absinthe: Seven Bottlings Re-Sampled

  35. Wow, $80 for a bottle of cheap cane spirit with a few chopped herbs floating in it? Who would be so stupid as to mistake this for a bottle of absinthe?

    “In fact, in one way it doesn’t behave like absinthe at all: ”

    That is because this isn’t absinthe by even the vaguest definition, except for perhaps the most ignorant and gullible. If you’re looking for something that resembles the spirit that was immensely popular in 19th century France and Switzerland, you won’t find anything even remotely close to it in a bottle of this dreck.

  36. Todd Jackson

    You tried it did you, Vapeur? Looks like the usual online anti-Czech hate talk to me:

    “cheap..stupid..ignorant..gullible..dreck”

    What is the problem with you guys? I find the motivation behind these outbursts to be deeply fascinating and I suspect we are dealing here with something very peculiar. Where does your anger come from?

  37. Todd Jackson

    “Vigilantes? Not at all. Our goal is to educate the masses”

    Julius Streicher probably said the same thing.

    “So, Djabel is finally starting to hit store shelves, is it? Time to sort some sort of street team to “suggest” these liquor store owners remove it from their shelves (with a baseball bat)…..quote .we should also have a copy of the main WS page sometime soon quote…Good man, Brian!”

    Source:Wormwood Society 16/06/08

    You guys are out of control, apart from damaging consumer choice in America and Admiral’s business, your website is now publishing incitement to violence. No sensible person would allow that. As I said there is something very peculiar and dark about all of this.

  38. How exactly are we ‘inciting violence’? Are you taking things out of context again? We don’t condone any form of violence as I’m sure you know. Now you’re just being ridiculous. To the point of totally discrediting yourself.

    We aren’t damaging consumer choice, we’re protecting consumer interests by advocating TRUTH in advertizing and marketing. I guess it would be OK with you if people bottled everclear mixed with liquid smoke and labelled it as Scotch.

  39. Todd Jackson

    “Are you taking things out of context again?” Excuse me?

    “So, Djabel is finally starting to hit store shelves, is it? Time to sort some sort of street team to “suggest” these liquor store owners remove it from their shelves (with a baseball bat)”

    What context? street team + baseball bat =? You PUBLISHED this on your website, so what does it mean excatly? That he was going to invite the lqiuor store owners, who sell this Czech product, out into the street for a friendly ball game? Please explain the “context” that I am missing here.

  40. I published nothing. People post what people write.
    .
    It’s called a joke. Get over it. If you really took that seriously after reading the thread, you’ve really got to figure out what’s wrong in your own mind that you would read that as an actual threat. Do you honestly think that the WS members go around and physically intimidate retailers? You also might want to recognize that Ben runs his own absinthe website. Trying to blame us for something he said is like trying to fault the Pittsburgh Steelers for something that OchoCinco said.
    .
    You seem to always want to minimize the damage these brands are doing to the industry and to consumer confidence in absinthe by resorting to misinformation and misguidance. Instead, you focus on obviously tongue-in-cheek comments like the one you referenced above to try to make us look like the bad guys.
    .
    Give it up Todd. Anyone in their right mind can see right through you and your arguments. It’s worthless trying to debate with someone who argues in circles, doesn’t answer the pertinent questions posed to him, and argues against the ethics of truth in advertizing.

  41. well i got on this last night… good drop and I had a genius time.

  42. To freedom of choice and heros like Todd, I salute you sir. There is a glass of Koruna raised to you!

  43. Oh I forgot to mention that Anthony Dias Blue gave Koruna 93 in the next issue of Tasting Panel. Not bad for a REAL Czech Absinth!

  44. As I’ve mentioned about a million times now, I’m all for freedom of choice. But what’s more important than anything is proper consumer education.

    When a consumer walks into a liquor store and sees a row of 5 brands, they should be able to have some semblance of an idea of what the experience will be with the product. They would be quite surprised if they picked up a bottle of Belle Amie, and a bottle of Koruna. The two are nothing alike. Thus, Bohemian Absinths should be categorized separately to provide the necessary distinction.

    If it’s categorized in the same class as traditional French and Swiss brands, then it will be judged thusly. In this manner, the Czech absinth industry is doing itself a disservice, since the reviews will not be favorable when judged by the same criteria.

    Manuel, you might be able to help in this arena. Would you be able to develop a tasting review sheet for what Bohemian Absinthe should be judged by? I’d be happy to re-review all of the Czech absinths I have in my bar based on those criteria.

    Cheers!

  45. this whole thread and its ‘enlightened’ contributors gives credence to the ‘myth’ that absinthe contains hallucinogens. nutbags.

  46. I NEED ADVICE… I’ve never had absinthe before and I bought a bottle of koruna absinthe the other day. I want to go camping and share it around with everyone, hoping to hallucinate with everyone on it. Will this make me hallucinate in any way? Should I drink it with sugar and distilled water? How much should I drink? Whats the best brand to get for these effects? Cheers!

  47. Adam – No, it won’t make you hallucinate. Yes, drink it with water and sugar. I wouldn’t suggest drinking more than three… but you can be the judge and report back here after…

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