Absinthe: Don't End Up in the Drink

I rejected an ad submitted to one of my sites from a British company selling absinthe, the notorious hallucinogenic liquor that's coming back into fashion with the repeal of its prohibition in several European countries.

Absinthe containing thujone cannot be legally sold or imported into the U.S. The FAQ from the seller's site was not particularly reassuring on this point:

... don't worry; we don't think the Feds will shoot a stun grenade through your window for placing a little online order. They're too busy looking for Osama and Saddam.

A Google search for the term absinthe appears to show that the company isn't accepting ads for the product.


Ahh.. Absinthe. When we took our trip to Prague http://europetrip.buzzword.com I picked up a bottle at the duty free shop at the Prague Airport. I got some of the Hill's Czech variety. The stuff is potent but didn't strike me as being that addicting, or mind bending.

Now the Slivovice and Becherovka are a different story, I'm hooked on both of those :)

Is it hallucinogenic? We drank a lot of it in college; there was one stroke, one blood clot, misc. items of clothing set on fire without the wearer noticing... but I don't think it was mind bending, just strong

Isn't that the stuff that makes hearts grow fonder?

Absinthe can be fun in smallish doses. A really tasty mix with hot caramelized sugar (soaked with Absinthe in a tea-spoon and lit!) and water. It's a little bit like Tequila, in causing a relatively unique kind of drunkenness. I haven't experimented often enough (and really don't intend to) to define it any more exactly than that: "unique".

However, I *think* most of the stuff sold nowadays as "Absinthe" is fake (i.e. lacking the original hallucinogenic chemical), making it legal in many countries, but that many producers are reluctant to admit that fact for marketing reasons. At least this is what I came to understand last time I read up on the modern availability of Absinthe and the difference between different brands currently sold.

P.S. to Rod: Becherovka is evil, wicked-tasting thing. My stomach turns just thinking about the taste of it. I unwittingly bought some on the way home from Prague few years ago, and then tried to get rid of it by offering it to some of my friends - pretending to like it myself. I believe they haven't spoken to me since... :-)

Absinthe isn't hallucinogenic. Modern absinthes made strictly according to original protocols contain only negligable amounts of thujone. Vintage pre-1915 absinthes have been extensively tested recently by gas chromatograph and found to contain equally low levels of thujone. The historical demononization of absinthe has, it turns out, been based on a myth: that absinthe contains high levels of thujone. It doesn't. For more, read the detailed FAQ on my site, The Virtual Absinthe Museum at www.oxygenee.com<>

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Im in college and I've drank Absinthe about 5 times in the last month...partied my ass off...and I love it...it does cause hallucination if u drink a lot of it (Speakin from experience)...and it does taste great with melted sugar.

However, I *think* most of the stuff sold nowadays as "Absinthe" is fake (i.e. lacking the original hallucinogenic chemical)

You are correct. Dr Arnold, Biochemist at Univsity of Kansas proved that old absinthe had 260mg/l thujone. Thesedays the highest you can get is 100mg called Century 100 absinthe made on a farm from forest wormwood.

The modern absinthe industry like to claim that there was no thujone in absinthe so that they can sell it in the USA (which prohibits absinthe containing thujone)

Thujone is somewhat mind altering - a natural terpene found in the flower tops of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) - BUT most modern is just coloured vodka and will do nothing except get you drunk. Berkley scientists have preoven that thujone relaxes the GABA receptors in the mind. That is where it gets its reputation as a mind bending drink.

The real stuff - with thujone - is made by farmhouse distilleries and costs a lot too. You need to add crushed ice at a ratio of 1:5 absinthe : ice to release the herbal oils and all important thujone content in the wormwood.

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