PONTARLIER ABSINTHEIADES 2011
The history of Absinthe in Pontarlier and Val-de-Travers region of Switzerland is just one spot along the time-space continuum. The plant Absinthe and its processing using alcohol is over 2,000 years old, the use of the Absinthe plant along with sweet aromatic herbs to which the name "Absinthe" was bestowed by the Swiss and French is just one historical example out of hundreds. The drink "Absinthe" wasn't born in a specific place, nor should it be defined by a specific definition, it was the results of over 1,500 years of alchemists, healers and doctors experimenting with the plant, alcohol and production processes - distillation being just one process.
One possible reason for Switzerland in being the cited as the origin is due to the fact that many enlightened men who were at the vanguard of what would eventually evolve into science and the scientific method sought refuge in Switzerland during times of European religious intolerance - which was quite frequently from the Dark Ages forward. They could live in Switzerland experimenting and not worry about being labelled a "wizard", "dabbler in the dark arts" or "cohabitation with the Devil" for discovering things your average citizen and religious leader couldn't or didn't want to understand.
Nor is Pontarlier the birth place of absinthe, it is the birth place of Industrial Production of Absinthe, but history of mankind didn't start with the Industrial Revolution, the Industrial Revolution provided means of documenting history that didn't exist before (still images and commercial printing), and thus we tend to think history began at this time because that is when visual evidence was available for the masses for the first time and has been preserved to this day. It is a lovely place and should be visited by those interested in understanding more about the complex and multi-faceted history of Absinthe. The first Industrial Absinthe Factories were established there, but that is just one chapter in the Book of Absinthe.
That the dichotomy of distilled and non-distilled are just two sides of the same coin - the coin being Absinthe. That distilling the macerate produces the ideal raw material for a further maceration that is just filtered - thus a production process that combines the two production methods, just as historic Absinthe Verte recipes state. A persons path in life should contain surprises, and a person should be open to acceptance of these surprises so they will be able to change who the viewed things in the past. Innovation is the answer to stagnation. As Mr. Bairnsfather remarks, "I have had my world view changed. I made the pilgrimage to Pontarlier, and thanks to the graciousness of Mr. Guy, I no longer hold the same views that I did before. I no longer reject distillation, but have now enlarged my world view to include it. What purpose would life have for living if change and surprises were not apart of it?"