Absinthe - the green fairy still enchants!
www.absinthe.de is one of the oldest and most competent providers worldwide. The company was founded in 2000 under the name LaFeeVerte, then changed its name to Absinthevertrieb Lion until we took the opportunity to take over the absinthe.de domain. In the beginning it was just about offering the types of absinthe that were available in Spain, France, Germany and the Czech Republic. The range has been consistently expanded with absinthe glasses, absinthe spoons, absinthe fountains and other absinthe accessories. Manufacturers such as Kübler, Francois Guy and Emile Pernot were added very early on, so that we were the first retailer to also have a Swiss absinthe in our range. Since we are convinced that only quality products will prevail in the end, we consolidated the entire program and realigned it. Those who shop in our online shop will find that they not only get very high-quality products, but also excellent service. Also take a look at our TrustedShops ratings.
In addition to absinthe, we have also been offering a highly interesting range of other spirits since 2008. The Danish gin Geranium made the start in 2008 and the Black Forest Dry Gin Monkey 47, OMG - Oh My Gin, Tschin, Tarquin's Gin, Old English Gin, Iris Gin, and Faude Feine Brande were quickly added. Today our range also includes non-alcoholic products such as Verjus from Kögler, Renner and Vinofactum.
At the beginning of 2022, Markus Lion went into his well-earned retirement and sold the company Lion Spirits to Paul Hellmann. The two had known each other for 15 years and Markus was convinced that he had found a worthy successor in Paul.
When was absinthe as we know it today created? The origin of absinthe is similar to the story of the hen and the egg. On the one hand, one speaks of a Dr. Ordinaire, who fled France to the Principality of Neuchâtel, which was under Prussian rule, and sold the elixir to his patients, on the other hand there is the Henriod family, who are credited with the original recipe. dr In any case, Ordinaire and the Henriod sisters were based in the Val de Travers and one can assume that this took place in the second half of the 18th century.
On the other hand, it is documented that in 1797 a certain Major Dubied bought the recipe from the Henriod family. He founded a small distillery in Couvet with his son Marcellin and son-in-law Henri-Louis Pernod. With just 16 liters of daily production, absinthe was still a delicate plant, but at least the 3 were already exporting to France, about 25 km away. Apparently there was a high demand for absinthe in France, but exporting it must have been quite complicated, so in 1805 Henri-Louis Pernod decided to drop out of the business with Major Dubied and his son Marcellin to set up an absinthe in Pontarlier to start my own distillery. He acquired a large area in the east of the city and built a distillery there, which was the basis for what is now the world's second largest spirits company!
Absinthe becomes a great success - thanks to the military!
It is well known that shrewd businessmen make a lot of money in war. In the case of absinthe, the Algerian War (from 1830) by the French was the decisive factor. In any case, Pernod managed to convince the military that every soldier should be given a daily ration of absinthe - to clean the drinking water of disease-causing microbes! From then on, the soldiers mixed their drinking water with some absinthe! After the war, the typical taste of absinthe was established among a group of customers. Wormwood, aniseed and fennel were well received and so it is not surprising that the returnees kept this habit. L'heure Verte – the hour of absinthe.
Absinthe developed into THE aperitif par excellence in France. Around 1860 people didn't drink beer after work, but developed a penchant for absinthe. Historical newspaper articles describe how a very special scent pervaded the boulevards in the late afternoon hours in the metropolises of France. The success of absinthe is based on some very interesting facts: absinthe was an extremely cheap liquor, which was even cheaper than wine. It was precisely for this reason that he was so popular with the notoriously cash-strapped bohemians right from the start. Anyone could really afford a glass, and since absinthe is diluted with water, you could refill your glass as often as you like to extend your visit to the bar as you wished. You have to imagine that apartments back then were tiny little shacks that people didn't like to be in. Investing in a glass of absinthe, on the other hand, offered company, entertainment and a distraction from the dreary life.
Excitingly, the herbal schnapps absinthe gradually became popular in all walks of life. Artists, military, workers, academics, administrators, but especially women, spoke to the green fairy!
The growing popularity of absinthe led to more and more pubs springing up and the French state favoring the opening of a bar with a decree. From 1880, almost anyone could open a bar with a simple written declaration. Now you don't have to imagine such bars as glamorous. Apart from a bar, there was often nothing at all in the simple rooms. The term Kaschemme probably describes such establishments best. A glass of absinthe was available for just 3 sous, but you could also send your child to get a whole bottle.
All of France under the spell of the green fairy
After all, absinthe was popular in all social classes and so, in addition to the numerous dive bars, there were of course also plenty of sophisticated bars and cafes that offered their customers more and more sophisticated preparation rituals and the necessary utensils. At first there were special absinthe glasses with a mark that determined how much absinthe had to be filled into the glass. Then there were saucers on which the price of a glass was noted. You can imagine this in a similar way to the small plates in a sushi restaurant today. Then there were special carafes with which you could dilute your absinthe with ice-cold water. There were so-called brouilleurs, which you put on the glass filled with absinthe, filled them with ice and water to see how the water ran through a tiny hole into the glass. The undisputed crowning glory of these rituals was undoubtedly the absinthe fountain. The water dispenser, made of glass and metal, either stood on the bar counter or was brought to the customer's table, who tapped the water there to dilute his absinthe.
How do you drink absinthe – the absinthe ritual
It's really hard to imagine the extent of absinthe consumption in late 19th century France today. To get a rough idea, the curator of the Absinthe Museum in Auvers sur Oise, Marie-Claude Delahaye, started writing a catalog of historical absinthe brands a few years ago. In her first volume of more than 400 pages, she only described historical absinthe brands with the initial letters A and B! What we perceive as gin hype today is just a gentle breeze compared to the absinthe hype back then!
Absinthe becomes a problem
Where there is a lot of popularity, there is usually always a counter-movement. In the case of absinthe, it was primarily doctors and scientists who discredited absinthe and saw it as the cause of a disease called absinthism. Today we know, of course, that there is no such thing and that back then this disease was simply described as alcoholism. The market position must have been so dominant that this term was used.
Absinthism - a disease?
Absinthe is reputed to have hallucinogenic effects. To be more precise, it is about thujone, which is found in wormwood. Of course we are always asked about the "original absinthe", because only this would have the legendary effect... We have an extensive collection of historical absinthes from the 19th century and have already tried many different absinthes. However, we have never observed any drug-like effects - apart from the high-proof alcohol. No legislator in the world would even think of allowing a spirit with intoxicating drug-like effects. Therefore, we explain to the people hoping for such an effect that this is just a myth. Even in the 19th century such effects did not exist! We reproduce historical recipes on historical stills with the same herbs that were used in the past. Why should something different come out today than 100-150 years ago? As a reputable absinthe online shop that has been on the market since 2000, we offer authentic absinthe that is produced on the basis of historical recipes. These absinthes have from 45 percent alcohol to over 80 percent alcohol. In the EU flavor regulation, bitter spirits are limited to 35 mg thujone and we also stick to that.
Thujone - the hallucinogenic substance in absinthe
In fact, there was a growing problem of alcoholism in France around the turn of the century. Large sections of society were simply addicted to alcohol. Emile Zola describes in his book "Totschläger" how society developed. Someone also coined the term that half the French should be in straitjackets, the other half. The wine industry in particular supported the movement against absinthe, because the phyloxera plan not only destroyed 2.5 million hectares of vines, but an entire market that had existed for centuries. This industry did everything to sweep the unpopular, up-and-coming absinthe off the market.
The beginning of the end?
In Switzerland, a horrific murder caused an outcry that ultimately led to the country's first absinthe ban. Jean Lanfray was a laborer at a winemaker. His drinking defies description, beginning in the morning, progressing throughout the day, and ending at various bars on the way home after work. It is reported that one day after his return home he was so upset with his wife that he grabbed his gun and shot his entire family. However, he failed to shoot himself. With this terrible act, Lanfray started a development that ultimately brought the end of absinthe in Switzerland in 1910. In a referendum in 1908, almost 64% of male Swiss decided to give up absinthe in the future. Absinthe was banned! France followed shortly before the First World War, as did numerous other countries in the decades that followed.
Jean Lanfray and the Fall of Man in Switzerland
The spirit "Absinthe" originally comes from the French-speaking part of Switzerland and was most important in France, where Absinthe is written with an E at the end. Nobody would think of suddenly Germanizing cognac and writing konjak! Incidentally, absinthe is the French word for wormwood and thus describes the most important ingredient of this spirit. Artemisia Absinthium would be its Latin name. Only when absinthe was also produced in other countries did the wrong spelling absinthe appear.
Why absinthe with E and not absinth?
The Swiss doctor and mystic Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) wrote in a publication in 1574 "All things are poisonous and nothing is not poisonous / only the dose makes that a thing is not poisonous vñ preparation". Today this knowledge is abbreviated to "The dose makes the poison". This finding is valid for all spirits, including absinthe! However, anyone who is of the opinion that thujone is harmful in the quantities permitted today, with normal consumption, is wrong! Certainly thujone can be harmful in high doses, but these are well above the legal limit.
Is absinthe dangerous?