Absinthe could be finally legalised in France following 100-year ban

      Absinthe - the alcoholic spirit said to be highly psychoactive in nature - may be finally legalised in France after 100 years. Notorious for its effects in late 19th-Century Paris among bohemian artists and writers, many swore it enhanced creativity, dubbing it the Green Fairy. Even Van Gogh is said to have been influenced to create 'Starry Night' and it has been suggested it played a part in him cutting off one of his ears. But it was banned in 1915 for the fear that it might knock French soldiers out in the World War I. Although many of the myths surrounding absinthe have been disproved, the cloudy, herbal liquor remains illegal and can only be sold if called "Absinthe-based spirit" and made to a slightly different recipe. But two absinthe enthusiasts, Franck Choisne and Ted Breaux are fighting for the ban to be lifted and the original spirit to be sold. Choisne is owner of the two centuries-old Colombier distillery in the Loire valley, which jealously guards its secret absinthe recipe. Breaux is an American connoisseur and distiller who helped overturn an absinthe ban in the US , with whom Choisne joined hands, failing to sell absinthe in France using its natural, original ingredients. The thujone molecule in one of its key ingredients, wormwood, is said to cause hallucinations and brain damage. In fact, recent research has proved that the original absinthe did nothing more than get people blind drunk, was no stronger than whisky and in any case contained little thujone. After agreeing that the liquid has illegally high amounts of wormwood, hyssop and fennel, the two proved in court the harmlessness of fennel unless consumed in extremely large amounts. "Using 1950s British research, we demonstrated that to be poisoned by fennel you would have to drink the equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool of absinthe. "You'd be killed by the alcohol way before the fennel - and would have exploded from drinking all that liquid," The Telegraph quoted Arnaud de Senilhes, head of the law firm's Paris office, as saying. Senilhes said he was "very confident" the French parliament would approve a new law authorising the use of the name by the end of the year.

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