Taste of Absinthe


Pages 23

Why these manufacturers aim especially at cheap markets, one can easily see from these mixtures! The least danger that they present is the unequal saturation of alcoholby the essences; those, being more volatile, separate from the alcohol and rise to the surface which is thus saturated to excess. When absinthe is prepared from spirits distilled from wine and maceration of plants in the alcohol followed by a methodical distillation, the product obtained is healthy and tonic. This chapter was written when we were informed of the discussion which taken up in the House of Commons in May and June 1895 concerning the project presented by the Government on the reform of the taxation of drinks. It was about reducing the taxes on drinks qualified as healthy – wine, beer, cider, perry, etc, to defer all the load of taxation upon the alcohol which one can justifiably call the beast of burden of the tax department. To justify this measure, they painted a very dark picture of the ravages of alcoholism. Perhaps, in order to produce a sharper impression on our legislators and to more easily obtain from them the enormous surtax applied to alcohol, they had to let fly some exaggerations.
As it is, we know from the information provided on that occasion by the most qualified men, that alcoholism was, so to speak, unknown in France for as long as we consumed only naturally produced brandies, made by distillation of wine and fruit juices. Such was noted, among others, by Dr. Lannelongue, who dealt ex professo in the chamber with the question of alcoholism, and who produced for the tribunal the results of his own observations joined with those of the highest scientific authorities, before 1850 we knew no alcoholism inFrance, or rather we knew an alcoholism different from what it is today;chronic alcoholism was not frequent; the cases observed in the lunatic asylums were not numerous; in summary, declared Mr. Lannelongue, at that time, alcoholism presented no problem, not for society, not for the family, not for the race.