Following the approval of its file in 2012 by the French National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO), Pontarlier Absinthe was recognized in August 2019 as a Geographical Indication on the European level. This sign of quality provides consumers with a guarantee that the product owes some of its characteristics to it geographic origin, and provides producers with protection throughout the territory of the European Union.
A traditional plant-based recipe
Pontarlier absinthe is a spirit produced primarily from the plant Artemisia absinthium (“grand wormwood”),” and the grains of green anise, which are distilled in leather stills. This drink is characterized by the presence of “small wormwood” and hyssop, which give to it, after the addition of water, its characteristic opaline color.
A local zone of production
Pontarlier absinthe can only be produced in the 20 communes of the Haut-Doubs département situated around the town of Pontarlier, where the history of producing this product runs deep. All steps of the process must take place in this area.
Absinthe, a drink with a turbulent history
At the end of the 19th century, Pontarlier was considered the French capital of absinthe. A drink with a nefarious reputation, absinthe was banned in 1915. Starting in 1988, the ban was lifted (for absinthes with low levels of the molecule that gave that nefarious reputation, thujone) and production resumed under strict regulation, but without letting the producers use the name “absinthe.” A law passed in 2011 lifted this ban, thus allowing the recognition of the geographic indication Pontarlier absinthe.