WS In Other Media

Absinthe and Its Silver-Tongued Marketers – Thujone’s Role in Absinthe Sales

ThujoneDefinition of silver-tongued: a person who is able to clearly and effectively express themselves, or who has a clever way with words. While at once it is admission of sophistication, it is in some cases an accusation of deceptiveness.

I wanted to make sure I clearly defined that term before I moved on any further. I am referring to the latter bit of the definition.

I’m currently working on a blog article for my own blog, over at Rantings, but I thought that this little piece of the pie deserves even more attention due to its level of deceptiveness.

What I’m talking about is thujone and how some of the less scrupulous absinthe brand representatives spin the info to make it seem like it plays an important role in the consumption of absinthe.

For those of you who have not yet read my previous blog post about the authenticity of absinthe that is available in the U.S., let’s just say that thujone really plays no part at all. Reports of its significance and/or its effects are highly exaggerated, and have been proven incorrect by recent scientific studies.

Many producers who are creating some of the most highly regarded absinthes, both in Europe and in the U.S. will go out of their way to make sure the public is educated about thujone. MarteauJade absinthes, and Emile Pernot are just a few amongst many who work hard to dispell the myths about thujone. One producer and historian has even gone so far as to create an entire website dedicated to providing as much scientific data as possible about thujone.

But then there are others. Those who, in my opinion, feel their money is better spent on marketing misinformation, and misleading potential customers by skirting around the subject, and using clever plays on words to state correct information in a way that is still misleading. For example, I was perusing the Facebook site of a certain group of brands, and came across multiple questions regarding the thujone content of their brands. Here’s an excerpt from the page:

Question: Does this actually have thujone or wormwood in it?

Answer: Yes it does. Our products have the maximum amount (emphasis mine)… out of any Absinthes sold in the U.S. and most European countries, which is 10 parts per million of thujone.

My retort: (I’m paraphrazing because the comment was deleted shortly after I posted it) By law, absinthe in the U.S. must be thujone free, which is defined as less than 10ppm. So, by saying you have the maximum amount allowed by law, you are also saying that it contains no thujone at all.

Their response: (also paraphrazing) We prefer to answer questions directly. We simply answered the question. We stated that our brands contain the maximum amount allowed by law. These are factual statements with no other implication (again, emphasis mine).

I think you can all guess what my feelings are about their response, but what do you think? Do you believe that making the statement that the product contains the maximum amount allowed by law is implying that thujone is important? Do you think that they are trying to grab up the consumer who is viewing thujone as a potential recreational drug, and they are hesitant to dispel the myths like the other producers I linked to because they don’t want to lose that business? Is this, in your mind, dirty and misleading marketing?

A Classic Cocktail

Cocktail à  la Louisiane

Combine in a mixing glass:

3/4 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Bénédictine
3 to 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
3 to 4 dashes absinthe

Fill glass with cracked ice and stir for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a cherry.

Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em - Stanley Clisby Arthur, 1937