I know next to nothing about absinthe in general, but I saw this bottle (the one with Van Gogh on the box) and decided what the hell. The little research I did told me since 2009 this brand has used the real wormwood since it was legalized that year in the States and not the Southern wormwood.
Is this true, and do people consider this absinthe a joke? I didn't care for it all that much the first time around but liked it somewhat better on the second try.
There are two Absente products. The "real" one is a high proof (around 70% as I recall), unsweetened (or at least very little sugar), and is called "Grand Absente". +/- $70. They also make a similar looking pastis, which as I recall is sweetened (although maybe only lightly). I don't recall if it has wormwood in it, but if it does, it's not much. I don't think they use the word absinthe on the label. It is about half the price of Grand Absente and around 55% or so.
www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community
From the wormwoodsociety.org's forum:
"I picked up some Absente, 750ml 55% a little less than $35. The box now indicates it is made with A.a.
Louche is quick forming, kind of a weak start, middle very much with the sweet anise, star anise I guess, and there is some wormwood towards the end of the middle. No extra sugar is needed. The artificial coloration is apparent. Sort of a 'poor man's Lucid', maybe, but at almost half the price more than halfway as good as. Def much more enjoyable than Mata Hari, LTV, Pernod etraits. "
"Whether Absente actually does contain absinthium no one can say, but as far as I'm concerned, the artificial color and the addition of a ton of sugar makes it non-absinthe. I'd never drink it as a glass of absinthe, but it would do for cocktails in a pinch. "
Keep in mind that they are elitists when it comes to absinthe but view what they say as relative to other absinthes. But from the sounds of it (from there and elsewhere), it was modeled after a sweetened pastis and once the laws changed, they added in the wormwood.