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Figuring out Countries Where Absinthe is Legal


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There are several countries where Absinthe is legal to buy, sell and consume. Gone are the times of bootleg or clandestine Absinthe, when it needed to be distilled in secrecy, shipped from other countries or marked differently. Generally in most countries it’s no longer an offense to distill Absinthe or illegal to promote it.

Absinthe is actually a herbal liquor that has an anise taste. It’s usually served diluted with iced water, which then causes the famous louche effect, and was a popular beverage during the 19th century. It was made illegal in lots of countries at the outset of the twentieth century due to concerns in regards to the chemical thujone present in wormwood. Not only was Absinthe an intoxicant, like several alcohol based drinks including wine, beer and cider, but it has also been considered to be an hallucinogen.

The medical profession and prohibitionists stated that Absinthe contained large amounts of thujone which they alleged was psychoactive, like THC in the drug cannabis, and may cause psychedelic effects. We now know that Absinthe only contains small amounts of absinthe legal thujone and is equally as safe as any strong spirit. It could however offer you a very different type of drunkenness, if consumed in excess. The alcohol as well as the unique mixture of herbs combine to act as both a sedative as well as a stimulant – very strange. Some people have described it as being a “lucid” or “clear headed” drunkenness.

Countries where Absinthe is legal include:-

United States – Absinthe was banned in 1912 nevertheless in 2007 a number of brands of Absinthe were approved in the US due to their very low thujone content. The USA only allows “thujone free” beverages to be marketed but Absinthes with less than 10 ppm of thujone (below 10mg per liter) count as thujone free.

The EU (European Union) – Absinthe was legalized in the EU in 1988 however, there is a regulation relating to thujone content in drinks in the EU. Up to 10mg/kg of thujone is allowed in alcohol with more than 25% alcohol by volume, and up to 35mg/kg in alcohol tagged “bitters”.

Australia – Absinthe is legal. Bitters may have a thujone content as high as 35mg/kg as well as other beverages can contain up to 10mg/kg.

Brazil – Brazilian law permits Absinthe up to 10mg/kg thujone and that it must have less than 55% abv.

Canada – From March 2007 it has been up to the individual Canadian province liquor boards to manage thujone. Many provinces don’t allow any thujone containing alcohol to be distributed but Absinthe is legal in British Columbia, where there’s no limit, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec and Ontario legislate that Absinthe with as much as 10mg/kg thujone could be legally sold.

Czech Republic – Absinthe never was prohibited in the Czech Republic.

France – France famously suspended Absinthe in 1915. French law of 1988 permits thujone beverages to be sold if they comply with EU laws and if they are labeled “spiritueux à base de plantes d’absinthe” and not Absinthe. France also has regulations relating to fenchone that’s present in fennel, a key ingredient of Absinthe, so beverages must also have low fenchone contents (up to 5mg/liter).

Hungary – Absinthe turned out to be legal in 2004.

Israel – Absinthe appears to be legal and also on sale in Israel.

Ireland – Absinthe containing thujone is illegal to buy and sell but could be brought in for private consumption.

Netherlands – Absinthe was made legal in 2004 after being banned in 1909. Absinthe must satisfy EU requirements.

New Zealand – Absinthe is lawful.

Portugal – Absinthe was never restricted.

Russia – Excessive thujone Absinthes (approximately 75mg/kg thujone) can be bought in Russia.

Serbia – Serbia does not seem to allow Absinthe that contains thujone or higher 50% abv to be distributed.

South Africa – Absinthe is authorized at the time of 2005.

Sweden – Absinthe complying with EU legislation may be sold and is marked as formulated with wormwood.

Switzerland – The home of Absinthe legalized Absinthe in 2005 soon after banning it in 1908.

UK – The UK never restricted Absinthe. Absinthe must comply with EU legislation.

As you can see there are lots of countries where Absinthe is legal and may be enjoyed. You might like to create your own Absinthe using Absinthe essences from AbsintheKit.com. These essences make a true Absinthe and can be shipped worldwide. They do not require distillation, which has already been done for you, and so are perfectly legal. Check them out.