During the past 20 months TTB has approved several dozen absinthe brands. Almost all are produced in Switzerland, France, and the US — points west of the Czech Republic. Above shows two of the earliest-approved products made in the Czech Republic, approved a few days ago. This is significant due to a long rivalry between Czech and non-Czech absinthes. The Czech products are somewhat different, and these Stromu products show it well: they have added flavors rather than herbs added before the final distillation; the proof is somewhat higher; Djabel suggests lighting the product on fire (back label). The latter is frowned upon by most other producers, to put it mildly. We would also expect many absinthe brands to fight over the trademark rights to the Green Fairy name; this term has long been applied to numerous absinthes all over the world. Here is a list of the first 20 or so absinthe products approved for US sale.
This also shows the massive leadtime sometimes required to bring an alcohol beverage product to market in the US. For Djabel: the importer got formula approval on July 11, 2008 (see item 11 on Djabel COLA); the importer probably applied for formula approval 1-2 months earlier, in May or June of 2008; TTB rejected a label submitted on August 8, 2008 (see item 18.d.); the importer resubmitted the label on September 3, 2008 (see item 20); and TTB finally approved the label on October 23, 2008 (see item 23). This is 5-6 months of hard work with many opportunities for missteps.
Finally, this well demonstrates the recurring trend, to portray alcohol beverages and especially asbinthe as sinful. Djabel’s back label says:
Djabel means “devil” in Czech. … During the dark-ages Bohemian “witches” and pagan worshipers used potions distilled from local herbs including wormwood (artemisa absinthium) as healing tonics and for social rituals. … please serve responsibly the traditional way by flambeing sugar in a spoon …