There are a number of countries where Absinthe can be legally traded. Gone are the times of bootleg or clandestine Absinthe, when it had to be distilled in secrecy, shipped from other countries or labeled differently. In most countries it is no longer a crime to distill Absinthe or against the law to sell it.
Absinthe is a herbal liquor which has an anise taste. It is usually served diluted with iced water, which causes the famous louche effect, and was a popular beverage in the 19th century. Many countries banned it at the beginning of the 20th century because of concerns about the chemical thujone found in wormwood. Besides being an intoxicant Absinthe was also thought to be an hallucinogen.
Many ddenouncers claimed that Absinthe contained large amounts of thujone which they alleged was psychoactive, like THC in the drug cannabis, and could cause psychedelic effects. It is now clear that Absinthe contains trace amounts of thujone and is apparently as safe as any strong spirit. It may however give you a distinct kind of drunkenness, if consumed in excess. The alcohol when combined with these unique blend of herbs act as both a sedative and a stimulant – very strange. A number of people described it as a “lucid” or “clear headed” drunkenness.
Countries where Absinthe can be legally traded include:-
United States – Few brands of Absinthe were approved in the US because of their low thujone content in 2007 after a ban of 95 years. The USA only allows “thujone free” beverages to be sold but Absinthes with less than 10 parts per million of thujone (less than 10mg per liter) count as thujone free.
The EU (European Union) – Absinthe was legalized in the EU in 1988. Up to 10mg/kg of thujone is permitted in alcohol with more than 25% alcohol by volume, and up to 35mg/kg in alcohol labeled “bitters”.
Australia – Absinthe sale and distribution is legal. Bitters can have a thujone content of up to 35mg/kg and other beverages can contain up to 10mg/kg.
Brazil – Absinthe is legal that contains up to 10mg/kg thujone and that it should have less than 55% abv.
Canada – Post March 2007 it’s sale and distribution is looked after by the separate Canadian province liquor boards that regulates thujone. A number of provinces prevent any thujone containing alcohol to be sold but Absinthe is legal in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec and Ontario legislate that Absinthe with maximum of 10mg/kg thujone can be legally sold.
Czech Republic – Absinthe was always allowed for sale and distribution.
France – Banned Absinthe in 1915. French law of 1988 allows 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 guidelines preventing excessive use of fenchone which is found in fennel, a key ingredient of Absinthe, so beverages also have to have low fenchone contents (up to 5mg/liter).
Hungary – Absinthe was made legal after 2004.
Israel – Apparently Absinthe is legal and on sale in Israel.
Ireland – Absinthe which contains thujone is illegal to trade however it can be imported for personal consumption.
Netherlands – Absinthe was made legal in 2004 after being banned in 1909. Absinthe needs to be compliant with EU requirements.
New Zealand – Absinthe is legal.
Portugal – Absinthe was always allowed.
Russia – Absinthes with up to 75mg/kg thujone are available in Russian markets.
Serbia – Serbia seems to disallow Absinthe containing thujone or above 50% abv to be sold.
South Africa – Absinthe enjoys legal status as of 2005.
Sweden – Absinthe made under EU guidelines can be distributed freely as long as the label denotes wormwood. The Absinthe kit site is located in Sweden.
Switzerland – Absinthe was once again made legal in 2005 after being banned it in 1908.
UK – It was never banned Absinthe. Absinthe must follow directions given in EU legislation.
As you can see there are a number of countries where Absinthe is legal. You may want to make your own Absinthe using Absinthe essences from AbsintheKit.com. These essences make a true Absinthe and can be shipped world wide. They do not require distillation, that has already been done for you, and so are perfectly legal. Check these out.