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Monthly Archives December 2012

Crillon Importers Reintroduces Absinthe to America

A brief history and overview of the brands that brought Absinthe back to the U.S.

In the beginning

Some will say that Absinthe made a comeback to the U.S. market only recently, when the TTB (Alcohol Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau) lifted the ban on Wormwood and allowed products to be sold as Absinthe for the first time in over a century (though Absinthe is still not technically a stand-alone category within distilled spirits classifications). As with most stories, this is not really the case. . Absinthe in the U.S. market had a much longer journey. You have to go back to a small conference room in New Jersey in 1999, where Crillon Importers Chairman and CEO Michel Roux proudly proclaimed that we were going to bring the notorious and legendary liquor, Absinthe, back to the U.S. market. It was the recipe that graced the lips of bohemian artists from the Belle Époque era and ingrained itself in Parisian culture. Absinthe was the trademark drink of artists like Degas, Manet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. Many of the most celebrated painters devoted pieces to Absinthe such as Manet’s The Absinthe Drinker and Degas’ L’Absinthe. To this day, absinthe continues to inspire creativity of the art community and legendary artists  

Absinthe in the US Becomes a Reality

The “Holy Trinity” of the absinthe formulation is anise, fennel and wormwood also known as artemisia absinthium. In addition to those three standard ingredients, there are found a great many proprietary variations in botanicals and spice content. Government bans of absinthe in the U.S. and other countries were due to the presence of wormwood (artemisia absinthium). Wormwood contains a substance known as thujone which is classified as a neurotoxin and was rumored to cause massive hallucinations during the belle époque period (and beyond). Hallucinations were largely a myth, simply tracing to overindulgence in a 130-150 proof liqueur. Nevertheless thujone, and therefore wormwood, and therefore absinthe, was forbidden for sale to U.S. consumers. Specifically, ANY product containing as little as ten-parts-per-million thujone was illegal. Clearly our dilemma could only be solved by an absinthe without wormwood, or a wormwood without thujone. Yet without wormwood we could not produce a historically genuine absinthe. Mr. Roux found a lovely distiller in Forcalquier in the south of France called Distilleries et Domaines. Together, we were able to discover a sister botanical called Southern Wormwood (artemisia abrotanum), or as the residents of the region called it “Petite Absinthe”. This was perfect in two ways. First, Southern Wormwood was only a small degree away from wormwood, so we felt we were doing the best we could at that time to maintain the integrity of our absinthe product. Second, the TTB had established that any product with less than ten-parts-per-million thujone content can be considered thujone free, therefore legal. The thujone content in Southern Wormwood allowed us to remain inside of the guidelines, so we approached the TTB with an Absinthe formula containing Southern Wormwood (artemisia abrotanum). On April 5, 2001 Crillon Importers gained government approval to market the first absinthe products in the United States since 1912. We called the brand Absente™, Absinthe Refined™ and at 110 proof it was this formula approval that would later set the precedent for other U.S. Absinthes to come.

The Story Blurs

Through the lens of hindsight, we now view 2006 as the year Absente came of age – meaning the year our competitors throughout the spirits industry began vigorously seeking ways to capitalize on the interest Absente had aroused. The U.S. government, of course, had been paying close attention to America’s acceptance of Absente over those years following its introduction. So after several marketers sought approval for an absinthe made with traditional wormwood, yet still remaining below the ten-parts-per-million thujone limit that had been pioneered by Absente, the government gave the go-ahead. And as the engineers of absinthe’s return, Crillon Importers was ideally positioned to fulfill that expanded demand. Following the government’s lifting of the ban on wormwood, in February 2008 we offered another exciting Absinthe brand, Grande Absente™, Absinthe Originale™ at 138 proof. After reviewing more than 200 recipes in partnership with our distillery, we selected a recipe we discovered from an old manuscript that would become Grande Absente. This recipe offered an authentic and original Verte absinthe recipe (Verte is green in French), but also resulted in a great taste. Grande Absente as well as all of our other absinthes, initially gain their color from the chlorophyll of herbs during the distillation process. It is only after distillation is complete that we add a small amount of additional color to stabilize the shelf life of our products. Our Grande Absente is painstakingly handcrafted using the perfect blend of the finest botanicals, exotic spices and distilled with classic artisanal methods.

More Absinthe

As we continued to see success in U.S. Absinthes we felt that is was important to continue to expand our Absinthe repertoire. First things first, in 2009 Crillon decided to add the legendary botanical wormwood to Absente, Absinthe Refined which changed the recipe only ever so slightly. We were busy in 2009 as this is when we launched yet another absinthe product, Absinthe Ordinaire™ at 92 proof. The world of absinthe is one of legends and mystery; it has been told that Dr. Pierre Ordinaire in 1792 created the first true Absinthe recipe in rural France. Shortly after the French Revolution, Dr. Ordinaire traveled around the Val de Travers on his faithful horse, Rocket, and sold his absinthe initially as an all-purpose cure-all. Although his intention was medicinal, absinthe rapidly became the recreational drink of choice. This brings us to today’s era, where Absinthe Ordinaire recalls one of the original and most commercially successful absinthe recipes during the glittering era of La Belle Époque Paris. We felt it was necessary to create an absinthe that boasted superior authenticity at an affordable price. Finally we arrive at our latest product. In September 2010, we proudly introduced Michel P. Roux, Supreme Absinthe™, a new and exciting small batch absinthe produced in limited quantities. At 151 proof Supreme Absinthe is exclusively produced in small batches annually and each bottle is individually numbered.

Credit to Crillon

Nearly 100 years after its ban, Americans can now enjoy one of history’s most notorious liquors in all its 19th century glory. Not since the early 1900s have Americans been able to experience the caliber of absinthe that Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde and Toulouse-Lautrec enjoyed during their time. While the lines fray and the story blurs as time passes, let’s be crystal clear. U.S. Absinthe may not even exist today without the focus and persistence Crillon Importers and M.P. Roux. The door was certainly opened with Absente, Absinthe Refined and has continued to grow with Grande Absente, Absinthe Ordinaire and Supreme Absinthe. Please visit the links below for Trademark and TTB Documentation.  

2001 Absente™, Absinthe Refined™ U.S. Trademark Approval

2001 Absente™, Absinthe Refined™ U.S. TTB Approval

By : Absente /December 19, 2012 /Blog, Events, News /Comments Off on Crillon Importers Reintroduces Absinthe to America Read More

Greenmvmt – Absinthe App

App ScreenshotNew York, NY – Banned for decades, absinthe, the unique anise-flavored and green-colored liquor made from herbs, is hotter than ever, sparking a new iPhone app which encourages fans to become part of the “green movement” by submitting their own favorite absinthe recipes. A social media phenomenon, absinthe has fans from Facebook to Twitter, from coast to coast. In addition to the Facebook page,, which includes special offers, absinthe fans can now upload their favorite recipes. Learn more about the app at Crillon Importers offers four unique absinthe brands: Grande Absente, handcrafted in France and made exclusively with the highest quality spirits and select botanicals; Absente, the first legal absinthe on the U.S. market since 1912 which is made from the best artisanal distillation methods and ingredients; Supreme Absinthe, at an impressive 151 proof; and Absinthe Ordinaire, named after the creator of the first-ever absinthe recipe in 1792 and priced affordably. “Once the drink of the counterculture, absinthe is now being enjoyed more than ever, which is why we created the absinthe iPhone app and are encouraging fans to become part of the green movement by submitting their favorite recipes,” said Chairman and President Michel Roux, Crillon Importers. Absinthe lovers can also upload their favorite green photos on Flickr at In addition, absinthe mixology videos will be offered soon.

About Crillon Importers

Absente, Grande Absente, Absinthe Ordinaire, and Supreme Absinthe are imported and marketed in the United States by Crillon Importers. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, Crillon Importers was founded by legendary spirits marketer Michel Roux. In addition to their absinthe brands, Crillon imports a variety of spirit brands including Opal Nera, Magellan gin, Pango Rhum and Rhum Barbancourt. For more information, please visit
By : Absente /December 10, 2012 /Blog, Mixology, News, Technology /Comments Off on Greenmvmt – Absinthe App Read More

Absente La Créme Holiday Cocktails

If you are looking for that special something to deck the halls and make your holidays a little happier this year, then look no further: Absente La Crème is the perfect drink for the season – it is truly a present in every sip. The latest innovation in absinthe, Absente La Crème is the ideal union of absinthe and cream and is the first drink of its kind in the United States. Crafted in Provence, France and ready to be unwrapped, it combines absinthe, the unique anise-flavored and green-colored liquor made from herbs, with cream, lemon and mint to create a smooth, velvety drink that is perfect for every holiday celebration. Likewise, creamy, rich Absente La Crème is a great after dinner drink and goes well with coffee, milk and your other favorite seasonal mixers. If you’re looking to brighten the season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, following are five fabulous holiday drink recipes made with Absente La Crème:   Holiday in Hawaii If you find yourself in a colder climate this holiday season, this special drink with a little taste of the tropics will warm you up from the inside out:
  • 1 ½ ounces Absente La Créme
  • ½ ounce Creme de Banana
  • ¼ ounce coconut syrup
Add all ingredients with ice in a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a pre-chilled martini glass and garnish with a banana. Holidays on Ice Combining Absente La Crème with Grande Absente and orange accents, this cocktail will delight all of the senses:
  • 1 ½ ounces Grande Absente
  • ½ ounce orgeat syrup
  • 1 egg white (or 2 tablespoons pasteurized liquid egg whites)
  • 1 dash orange liquor
  • 2 ounces or ¼ cup Absente La Créme
  • ½ cup crushed ice
In a cocktail shaker, combine Grande Absente, orgeat syrup, egg white, orange liquor and Absente La Creme. Add ice and shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled highball glass with or without ice from the shaker and serve. Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays Ideal for the sweet tooth, this unique drink is a great after dinner drink or can be enjoyed as a dessert:
  • Absente
  • Sparkling water
  • Sugar
  • Absente La Créme
  • Vanilla ice cream
Pour a shot of Absente into a large glass, and mix in 5 parts sparkling water for every 1 part Absente. Stir in a little sugar to taste, and then add a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream and a splash of Absente La Créme. Enjoy. Christmas Morning Coffee You can enjoy this doubly delicious double-absinthe drink morning, noon or night to keep your holidays warm and bright:
  • 1 ounce Absente
  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur
  • 1 ounce Absente La Créme
In a rocks glass, combine all 3 ingredients. Swirl, sip and savor. Sweet Celebration You can celebrate the end of the year in style with this smooth, sweet cocktail inspired by Absente La Creme:
  • 2 ounces Absente
  • 2 ounces milk
  • 2 ounces Absente La Créme
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and then strain into a wine glass. To check out the Absente app and to find more mouth-watering absinthe recipes for all of your holiday celebrations, you can visit for more ideas, information and inspiration. In addition to the new holiday classic Absente La Crème, Crillon Importers offers four other unique absinthe brands: 1) Grande Absente Absinthe Originale, handcrafted in France and made exclusively with the highest quality spirits and select botanicals; 2) Absente Absinthe Refined, the first legal absinthe on the U.S. market since 1912 which is made from the best artisanal distillation methods and ingredients; 3) Supreme Absinthe, a limited luxury that is double-distilled and produced in small batches for the true absinthe connoisseur; and 4) Absinthe Ordinaire, named after the creator of the first-ever absinthe recipe in 1792 and priced affordably. All of the absinthe brands are designed to captivate the senses with their bewitching green color, intriguing flavor and unparalleled inspiration. No matter what holidays you’re celebrating or where you’re enjoying them, creamy, velvety Absente La Crème can brighten your spirits and add a distinctive flair to all of your special occasions this holiday season.
By : Absente /December 10, 2012 /Blog, Mixology /Comments Off on Absente La Créme Holiday Cocktails Read More
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