Many Absinthe aficionados need to know more details on
the drink of the Green Fairy and its particular history. So, let’s find out 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 produced Absinthe being 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 herb worwmood, artemisia absinthium, a plant named after the goddess Artemis. Wormwood has been used for thousands of years in medicine so it was a good option for Ordinaire’s tonic. Wormwood posesses a chemical known as thujone and it was this chemical substance that induced the banning of Absinthe in the early 1900s. Thujone was reported to be psychoactive also to cause psychedelic effecs exactly like THC in cannabis. We now know that thujone just isn’t like THC and, although it can effect the GABA receptors within the brain, one needs to ingest large amounts of thujone for this to happen and Absinthe only contains really small amounts.
Couvet is within the Swiss canton of Neuchatel in the Val de Travers region. It is actually renowned for being the birth place of Absinthe and for being home of the distillery of bootleg Absinthe distiller and also artisan, Claude-Alain Bugnon. Bugnon was given an Absinthe recipe by a friend that his aunt, distiller Charlotte Vaucher, has been using since 1935. Bugnon chose 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 for a license to distill Absinthe in 2004. In March 2005, the Absinthe ban was lifted 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 variety of Absinthes using the best traditional Absinthe herbs and also alpine plants. His range includes:-
La Clandestine Originale – This was the primary Absinthe to get distilled by the Artemisia distillery in 2005. It is actually produced from 10 different herbs, which includes 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 a classic Swiss La Bleue (clear) Absinthe.
La Clandestine along with wine alcohol base – This is simply like La Clandestine but is manufactured using wine alcohol which was made use of by Pernod in the nineteenth century but is not a traditional base for Swiss clandestine Absinthes. Bugnon identifies 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 though with a larger alcohol content.
Recette Marianne – Bugnon developed this absinthe as he wished to participate in the Absinthiades in Pontarlier, France. France still have strict rules regulating Absinthe – Absinthe drinks can not be labeled Absinthe as well as complying to EU legislation regarding thujone, they also have to obtain low fenchone levels. Fenchone is the chemical 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 – It’s a classic Swiss verte, or green, style Absinthe and it is manufactured using 12 herbs which includes wormwood and angelica. It has 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 very own absinthe-suisse.com.
You can make your personal Swiss style La Bleue by using the Absinthe Clear essence coming from AbsintheKit.com. This essence could be ordered online for $3.95 for 20ml that produces one 750ml bottle of Absinthe or as part of a kit to make 14 bottle of Absinthe for $29. AbsintheKit’s essences are produced by distilling natural Absinthe herbs and you just have to mix the essence with vodka or everclear to make a true wormwood Absinthe.
So, where is the birthplace of Absinthe? Couvet is definitely the birthplace of Absinthe and is particularly the place to find some great modern day Absinthes.