The green fairy

With a cover story in by Paul Clarke in Imbibe magazine (not available online, alas) following Jacob Sullum’s The Green Fairy gets a Green Card in reason online last month, it’s absinthe-mania! The legal issues are complex and relate to the levels of thujone, the ingredient that may or may not be psychoactive.

To me drinking absinthe feels roughly like being hit on the side of a head with a sledgehammer (60% alcohol content will do that to you) and a steel wire brush scouring my brain from the inside. I remember saying “wow, I can really see why the whole fin-de-siecle crowd went nuts drinking this”. There is a very distinctive warm and langourous feel along with it which is quite interesting; hard to know how much is the set and setting — morphogenic fields in the cultural sense. People have told me that drinking three or four sometimes leads to hallucinations, but as a notorious lightweight I suspect I’d be passed out from the alcohol long before that, so I’ll have to take their word for it.

Still, even though it’s not my drug of choice, it’s got lots of adherents, and a rich tradition; so it’s great to see this semi-legalization. Kudos to the Ted Breaux for the historical and chemical research, and to Swiss distillery Kubler which supported the legal battle.