Archive for September, 2014

Absinthe, part 1: Alive, well, and legal in Maine, a visit to Tree Spirits Distillery

September 30, 2014

Written by Michael Oudyn

While vacationing this summer in Maine I came across an add in the local paper. Just up the road in Oakland someone was making

The "decadent muse" is back.

The “decadent muse” is back.

absinthe, “the decadent goddess.” Yes, “the green fairy,” the drink of choice of Parisian fin-de-siècle bohemia was back, alive and kicking, and once again legal. The notorious “muse extraordinaire” could be got at Tree Spirit Winery and Distillery. So off we went to check it out.  The place which housed the tasting room and the distillery was very small, not much bigger than a garage. We sniffed the herbs used in absinthe which it turns out don’t smell like much of anything until soaked in alcohol.

Tree Spirit's traditional absinthe maker

Tree Spirit’s traditional absinthe maker

We admired the traditional absinthe maker. We tasted the green fairy with the traditional four parts water, which reduces the alcohol level to 16%, and some sugar, which cuts the bitterness of the wormwood. Well I really liked the stuff, and the whole mystique.  Then we were treated to a fine, informative  tour of the place with the owner, Bruce Olson, who gave us a  little of the history of absinthe, a bit of his own personal story, and a peek into the workings of America’s alcohol and tobacco bureaucracy.   Here are some excerpts from that interview.