If you’ve ever managed to sample a well known but relatively new arrival to the world of absinthe, the face behind the Mansinthe brand might just surprise you.
Favoured by artists, writers and bohemians alike during the late 19th century, once the absinthe started to flow freely, the streets of Paris came alive. Often portrayed and embraced as a hallucinogenic, it was banned across much of Europe before experiencing a revival in the western world in the early 1990’s.
While many of us are all too aware that it was the beverage of choice for the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemmingway, absinthe is still favoured by plenty of modern celebrities. Everyone from Hilary Clinton to Johnny Depp have been spotted with a glass of absinthe in hand, but one of the most famous absinthe connoisseurs is none other than one of the most well known gothic rock stars in the music business.
THE ORIGINS OF MANSINTHE EXPLAINED
While Brian Warner is regarded as one of the most controversial artists on the planet, he’s more commonly known under his stage name – Marilyn Manson. His antics both on and off the stage have made him a figure of infamy across the world, with even his stage name being a combination and juxtaposition of two American cultural icons: actress Marilyn Monroe, and cult criminal Charles Manson.
While arguably more famous for his shock tactics and alleged run-ins with the law than his music, Manson has also spent the past few years quietly developing his own brand of another controversial figure – absinthe.
Although the United States is Manson’s country of birth, it was also one of the last jurisdictions to relax restrictions on alcohol that was derived from wormwood and thujone in 2007. Along with anise, these are the primary ingredients found in almost all varieties of absinthe, so it’s almost understandable why the liquor has remained almost taboo for so long.
However, Manson had started to be an absinthe enthusiast as early as 1998, and even went on the record to state that the brew heavily influenced the creative process used for his album “Holy Wood” released in 2000. Absinthe seemed to fascinate Manson, and his 2003 album “Golden Age Of Grotesque” was even marketed as a tribute to the golden age, 19th century Paris. As Manson’s former girlfriend Dita Von Teese was also very well known in the burlesque industry, she too had been seen consuming the substance on several occasions during her performances.
As such, it seemed to be only a matter of time before business and pleasure appeared to assimilate. Heavily involved in the development and distilling process, Manson’s own brand of the green fairy was released to the public in 2007 under the brand Mansinthe. Rated at a whopping 66.6% pure alcohol content, Mansinthe is distilled in Kallnach, Switzerland. Although it claims to use only the finest ingredients such as a traditional blend of wormwood, fennel and anise, the warning label on each bottle says it all really.
“Do not drink straight. Do not light it on fire. Do not drink too much in one sitting. Seriously.”
While some critics have dismissed the flavour of Mansinthe as “plain”, others such as The Wormwood Society have nothing but praise. Although the reviews have been polarising, Mansinthe still managed to win a gold medal at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Although Manson himself has publicly sworn off absinthe consumption since 2015, his reasons for giving up the green fairy have varied significantly. While the rocker has claimed that absinthe “bent his brain too much”, he’s since disclosed that his abstinence is more closely linked to calorie counting and generally disliking the taste – even though he still owns Mansinthe, and has every intention on it remaining that way.
For Australians looking to sample a tipple of Mansinthe for themselves, Groglords import the stuff directly from Switzerland. Mansinthe is categorised as a “Verte Absinthe”, which is characterised by the trademark green hue of the spirit. While this colouring is the result of natural colours and without any artificial ingredients, it’s still important to mix it prior to consumption if you wish to avoid a nasty case of alcohol poisoning – or worse.
Considering the alcohol content alone, Mansinthe is certainly not a brew for the faint hearted – however, there’s no denying that the controversy and mystique are all a part of absinthe’s appeal, and the global curiosity doesn’t look to be diminishing anytime soon.