The answer to the question “Is Absinthe available in Canada?” is rather simple really – yes! It may not be fully legal to buy and sell throughout Canada but it is perfectly legal to order it and ship it in to Canada from other countries for personal consumption.
In March 2007 Canadian law stipulated that it was up to the liquor board of each individual Canadian province to regulate the chemical called thujone. Thujone is a chemical found in wormwood and is the reason why Absinthe was banned in many countries around the world in the early 1900s. Thujone was thought to be psychoactive like THC in cannabis and Absinthe was compared to drugs like cannabis, cocaine and heroin. Medical professional of the time alleged that Absinthe contained vast amounts (up to 350mg) of thujone and that Absinthe was responsible for causing:-
– Brain damage
Is Absinthe available in Canada or not?
The United States banned Absinthe in 1912 and although it was never properly banned in Canada, liquor boards have managed to prevent it from being available to consumers. Canadian consumers have had to be content with Absinthe substitutes, like Pernod Pastis, that don’t contain wormwood.
Since it has been established through testing that Absinthe only contains small amounts of thujone which are perfectly safe and that the claims and allegations were just part of the mass and hysteria fueled by the Prohibition Movement, Absinthe laws all over the world have been relaxed so that the drink can be experienced by modern consumers.
Many Canadian provinces are now reviewing their legislation regarding Absinthe. The provinces of Quebec and Ontario allow Absinthe with a thujone content of up to 10ppm, just like EU and US legislation. British Columbia does not have any legislation regarding thujone levels but the smaller the better. Hills Absinth and a Canadian distilled Absinthe called “Taboo”, which is distilled in British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley, have been approved and are available to buy in many provinces.
If you are a Canadian in a province where it is hard to get hold of a quality wormwood Absinthe in a store, you should consider Absinthekits like those available from the company AbsintheKit. This online company produce Absinthe essences for the Absinthe industry and for consumers. The essences contain traditional Absinthe herbs such as wormwood, aniseed and fennel and are already distilled. Simply mix 20ml of Absinthe essence with 730ml of vodka or Everclear and you have your very own real Absinthe.
AbsintheKit.com do world wide shipping, simply order an essence or Absinthe kit on their web shop. The essences either come individually in 20ml bottles or you can order a kit containing 280ml to make 14 bottles of Absinthe, artistic bottle labels and a handy plastic measure. The essences come in 4 varieties – one to make a classic verte Absinthe, one to make a clear La Bleue style Absinthe, an essence to make a yellow-orange colored Absinthe flavored with natural orange oil, and a strong essence to make an Absinthe with a higher content of wormwood. The strong essence makes an Absinthe with 55mg of thujone and the other essences make Absinthes with 35mg of thujone.
So, what we can say to “Is Absinthe available in Canada?” is that it can be ordered online for personal consumption wherever you live in Canada but you may not be able to buy it in your local liquor store.