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Omnivore - Sacred disorder legal again

How can you not love Arthur Rimbaud (1855-1891), the French poet who wrote this line: "Finally I came to regard as sacred the disorder of my mind." Rimbaud was the, um, protégé of poet Paul Marie Verlaine (1844-1896). The two were famous for their consumption of absinthe, the so-called "green fairy" liquor that contains wormwood and fuels artistic inspiration.

Alas, like any booze, absinthe can also make you nuts. During their final argument, Verlaine shot Rimbaud, who survived and gave up absinthe. In fact, he gave up poetry and disappeared after joining the Dutch army. Verlaine outlived him, remaining addicted to the green fairy which he is said to have cursed on his death bed. (You can get the whole story in the 1995 movie "Total Eclipse," a surprisingly good movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio).

Absinthe was illegal in France, most of Europe and the U.S. for about 100 years. The ban was lifted about 10 years ago and the supposedly hallucinogenic stuff has been available again. However, most of the absinthe that's been in production has not been made with Grande Wormwood, which contains the supposedly potent chemical, thujone.

But that has changed with the introduction of the ironically named Lucid absinthe, made with Grande Wormwood. Its French maker argues that the amount of thujone in traditionally made absinthe has never been adequate to produce the hallucinations for which it became famous. It got its bad rep from prohibitionists who exaggerated its dangers, according to Lucid's makers. The problems the drink caused Verlaine and his contemporaries had more to do with alcohol addiction than tripping on thujone, they say.

You can be the judge. Lucid will be introduced to Atlantans at Halo Lounge next Thursday, March 27, after 8 p.m., following a press tasting.

Please leave me email if you shoot anyone or feel a strong need to join the Dutch army after tasting the new absinthe.

(Painting of Verlaine, left, and Rimbaud by Henri Fantin-Latour, 1872.)





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