Eyes, JAPAN Blog > Once popular in Europe – Absinthe (アブサン)

Once popular in Europe – Absinthe (アブサン)



I was surprised, when I learnt that in Japan people do not drink or even know about “Absinthe (アブサン)”. So, todays blog post will be devoted to its nature and history.


Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage.
It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from herbs, including the flowers and leaves of the herb Artemisia absinthium, commonly referred to as “grande wormwood”.
Absinthe traditionally has a natural green colour but can also be colourless.
It is commonly referred to in historical literature as “la fée verte” (the Green Fairy).

Origins Origins

Absinthe originated in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland.
It achieved great popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers.
Due in part to its association with bohemian culture, absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists like: Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, and Alfred Jarry.
They were all notorious “bad men” of that day who were (or were thought to be) devotees of the Green Fairy.

Is it allowed? Allowed

Absinthe has been portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug.
The chemical thujone, present in small quantities, was singled out and blamed for its alleged harmful effects.
By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in most European countries except the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Although absinthe was vilified, no evidence has shown it to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits, and its psychoactive properties, apart from those of alcohol, have been much exaggerated.

Were there any changes recently? Changes

A revival of absinthe began in the 1990s, when countries in the European Union began to reauthorize its manufacture and sale.
As of February 2008, nearly 200 brands of absinthe were being produced in a dozen countries, most notably in France, Switzerland, Spain, and the Czech Republic.
Commercial distillation of absinthe in the United States resumed in 2007. So in a time being it expected to be available in Japan as well.

Absinthe with Glass and Spoon

A reservoir glass filled with a naturally coloured verte, next to an absinthe spoon


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