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French Absinthe gets a new cachet


Absinthe, the green anise-and-fennel based spirit once believed to drive men (and women) mad and to depravity has achieved new status in France with one version awarded a Protected Geographic Status label by the EU.

That means that Absinthe de Pontarlier, made in a defined part of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, near the Swiss border, can now be sold with a special cachet as an artisinal product.

The drink, wildly popular among artists and cafe habitues in the Belle Epoque in Paris and elsewhere, was banned because of its supposed hallucinogenic properties in most countries for nearly eighty years.

It has had a great vogue in recent years since long-term bans were lifted about twenty years ago. The bans may have been inspired by the Bohemian lifestyle associated with it, because it's actually no more potent than any other spirit.

Image: detail of In a Café (often called L'Absinthe) by Edgar Degas

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