Is absinthe legal in Canada

La Fée Verte

“High percentage” and “green” are two keywords that first come to mind when I think of today's fragrance protagonists: absinthe or the green fairy. The ultimate fashion drink of the late 19th century. The everyday companion and alleged source of inspiration for many artists and writers of the time: Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, everything that has rank and name today (from the 19th century) was completely obsessed with the green Herbal brandy.

At the end of the 18th century, the formulation of the high-proof drink was created, which got its name from the ingredient wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Originally conceived as a remedy, it was initially used as such. Among other things, wormwood is a very reliable worming agent and, like other bitter substances, is considered helpful for gastrointestinal problems (and is therefore also used in bitters & Co.). At the beginning of the 19th century, military doctors poured absinthe to soldiers in order to avoid the spread of epidemics under poor hygienic conditions. It is no longer possible to verify today whether the absinthe took the soldiers from the war field to the bars in European metropolises. After the end of the Franco-Prussian War, the green hour (la heure verte) established itself between 5 and 7 p.m. in everyday life for residents of major French cities.

Absinthe in the afternoon was absolutely en vogue; yes, even women who did not belong to the disreputable demi-world were allowed to have a glass in public in broad daylight (known to be diluted with water), which was an absolute innovation. In addition, the high-proof drink was very cheap, so that not only those with higher incomes could afford large quantities of it. Excessive absinthe consumption was common throughout the population - with lasting consequences. Dizziness, over-excitability, delusions, convulsions, depression and convulsions up to blindness could be observed in the consumers during the high phase of absinthe popularity (and were referred to as absinthism). The wormwood component thujone, a neurotoxin that leads to these symptoms, was held responsible for this.

Well, as everyone knows, green schnapps was banned almost across Europe (and in the USA) at the beginning of the 20th century due to the damaging effects of the neurotoxin thujone. At the beginning of the 1990s, a moderate variant of the green herbal schnapps was established, the thujone content of which was much lower than in absinthe of the 19th century (due to its toxic effect, up to 100 times higher thujone content was assumed in historical absinthe), which allowed wormwood alcohol to be used despite the ban . Since absinthe had the attractive reputation of the forbidden, the "legal" absinthe quickly developed into a fashionable drink. From the Canadian author Taras Grescoe come these, in my opinion extremely accurate words:

If gin and vermouth had been banned instead of absinthe ... collectors today would pay a fortune for old, conical glasses and reverently quote Dorothy Parker and Dashiell Hammett about the narcotic qualities of the infamous martinis.

A study by the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office in Karlsruhe from 2008 states that the real thujone content of historical absinthe is roughly the same as that of today, i.e. not many times higher. The toxic effects of the absinthe of that time are rather attributed to alcohol and chronic consumption. Since the drink was produced as cheaply as possible back then, often also distilled black, absinthe contained cheap alcohol, fusel oils and methanol (which alone can lead to severe symptoms of poisoning such as blindness and seizures). The excessive and regular consumption of the high-proof drink did the rest. The symptoms of absinthism are basically identical to those of chronic alcoholism.

So the fairy is disenchanted, even if the call of the forbidden is still inherent in her. Absinthe has even found its way into the world of perfumes. Parfum d’Interdits launched the Absolument Absinthe fragrance in 2006, which not only plays with the charm of the green fairy, but also contains a second forbidden ingredient as a fragrance: cannabis.

Absolument Absinthe is described as a perfume that smells different depending on the skin chemistry; more floral for women, fresh and spicy for men. May the hormones play a role? This assumption comes from me. I find this general statement by the manufacturer a little daring; personally, I would be interested in the size of the experimental group whose results verify the claim. But the laboratory rat in me will probably come up again. 😉 Let's agree that the scent will be different depending on the skin chemistry of the wearer.

The fragrance notes: black tea, bergamot, cannabis, absinthe, galbanum, lily of the valley, lotus blossom, jasmine, ylang-ylang, nutmeg, cardamom, sandalwood, musk.

According to the manufacturer:

Absolument Absinthe reveals the mythical essence of absinthe and cannabis plants. The daring fragrance at once fortifying and fresh, is both subtle and sensual.

I can confirm two things, namely first: test strips and skin smell significantly different and second: my skin smells floral. Freshly sprayed on, the scent begins here slightly citrus and with a herbaceous-soft note, before, very clearly, the lily of the valley makes its way into the scent. Lotus blossom adds watery tendencies. I would ascribe aromatic herbal impressions, which cannot be explicitly determined, to galbanum and absinthe, or better: to wormwood, because I always associate absinthe with a strong aniseed nuance, which is completely absent here. The fragrance is green-aromatic in the further course, accompanied by a subtle floral note. Light woods and creamy, soft musk accompany the aromatic herbal tincture on a gentle bed.

On the other hand, the scent has a completely different effect on the test strip. I hardly dare to say: it somehow reminds me of CK One. I like the variant on the skin much better. A floral-aromatic scent (on my skin) that I like very much; quite transparent, harmonious and nicely balanced, which I would rather assign to the warmer season. In my opinion, he doesn't need to flirt with the oh-so-forbidden substances, because I wouldn't call him a daring scent; no, it is absolutely suitable for everyday use on my skin. 🙂

Have a nice day,

Your Stephanie.

Image source: Absinthe Glass by Eric Litton and Absinthe Robette by Henri Privat-Livement - some rights reserved. Thank you so much!