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Top marks for absinthe in liqueur category

The reintroduction of absinthe to the US market after 95 years of prohibition continues to evolve as Absinthe La Muse Verte is voted as the best spirit in the liqueur category in spirits competition.

Sales of La Muse Verte with its authentically traditional absinthe recipe continue to grow while other absinthe brands have levelled off or fallen, says US importer and distributer of French spirits, Massachusetts based Heavenly Spirits.

The absinthe earned a total of 97 points in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, more than any other product in the liqueur category.

The story of Absinthe and its current revival in the spirits industry goes back a long way, and details of its origins are still being debated.

Absinthe derives its name from Artemisia Absinthium or the Grand Absinthe plant, also commonly known in English as Wormwood. Created for medicinal applications in the late 1700s, it was used to treat a wide variety of ailments including rheumatism and digestion problems, as it was known to have a calming effect on the stomach.

Absinthe reached the height of its popularity during the time of La Belle Epoque, mostly as a result of the Phylloxera outbreak of the 1860s and 70s, which decimated Europe’s wine industry. As more people replaced their daily ration of wine with absinthe its popularity grew.

When the wine industry finally recovered early in the 1900s the French were consuming 36 million litres of absinthe per year with no signs of slowing down. It was in 1915 with pressure mounting from wine industry lobbyists as well as prohibitionists that absinthe became illegal. The reason given for its outlawed status was that in addition to its high alcohol content, (68 – 72) a component found in the wormwood called thujone was a neurotoxin and was believed to cause hallucinations when consumed. No one mentioned at the time that thujone was also present in other consumable plants like artichokes and thyme and drinks like vermouth, which actually means wormwood. In any case, absinthe was replaced by pastis a similar drink with zero thujone, and the wine industry eventually recovered.

Absinthe remained illegal and unavailable to most of the world for the next 95 years. It was not until 2007, that Ted Breaux, creator of the Lucid brand petitioned the TTB to accept traditional style absinthe within the “thujone free” law as long as it had less than 10 parts thujone per million.

Fortunately for all true absinthe lovers, La Muse Verte absinthe, never had to alter the original family recipe. Drinking La Muse Verte absinthe remains the closest one can get to experiencing the quality and taste typical of premium absinthe from the time of La Belle Epoque or the beautiful era.

The Berneau family recipe was recently acquired by the Artez distillery located in the Gascony region of France


16 May 2013 - Felicity Murray