Absinth vs. Absinthe: Where Ignorance Loses

Tara and I spent Christmas Eve and a bit of Christmas day gallavanting throughout Vancouver. That’d be Vancouver, British Columbia, not Vancouver, Washington, for those of you keen on keeping track of things such as this.

One of the things we were keen on purchasing was a bottle of Amaretto Cream Liqueur, a tasty, overly sweet concoction easily found in the Liquor Stores in Vancouver, but not so much here in the state of Washington. While in the store, we were assisted by a harried, but helpful clerk. After procuring said Amaretto Cream, she asked if there was anything else she could help with. That’s when the idea hit me.

Absinthe. Canada sells Absinthe.

Tara and I made a request, and the clerk happily took us to the main office to look at the special collection. There were two options a cheap version and a not so cheap version.

* * * * *

The above scenario represents the quintessential opportunity for companies to take advantage of those who are ignorant of products. Here we have a couple who are only marginally acquainted with a product, and a clerk with even less. The couple has money to spend, but little knowledge. The couple did what the majority of people would do in similar circumstances.

They purchased the more expensive bottle, working under the assumption that more money equates to a more authentic experience.

* * * * *

What Tara and I ended up with was a bottle of Hill’s Absinth. Yes, that’s Absinth, without an ‘e’. With a thujone concentration of 1.5 parts per million, it’s not an absinthe in the traditional sense. In fact, some argue that Hill’s Absinth isn’t Absinthe at all.

After heading back to the hotel, we looked up Hill’s on the internet, and came upon bad review after bad review of the product. As the Wormwood Society writes, “Czech ‘Absinth’ (without the “e” at the end) gets a lot of bad press from absinthe enthusiasts; primarily, that’s because it’s not really absinthe, but a poor approximation. Most of it is fake.”

Well crap. Lesson learned.

Tara and I have decided to hold on to the bottle. After we move into our new abode, we’ll pick up a well-researched bottle of Absinthe and report on it here.

Meanwhile, we’re determining how to not let this happen in the future, whether it be Absinth, Absinthe, or other product where ignorance is seen as a valued commodity amongst producers.

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