The Sazerac Company of New Orleans has dug deep into its archives to launch a new product called Herbsaint Original. The product is made according to the same recipe first used by J. Marion Legendre for Herbsaint in 1934.
Shortly after Prohibition ended in late 1933, Legendre - a New Orleans apothecary-turned-entrepreneur - introduced a product called Legendre Absinthe. Legendre learned about pastis and absinthe while stationed in France during WWI. Upon his return to New Orleans after the war, he secretly made absinthe in his uptown home during prohibition. His launch of Legendre Absinthe was a dream come true. Sadly for Legendre, just months after launching his product and in spite of the fact that it did not contain wormwood, the U.S. Government forced him to remove the word absinthe from his brand name amid concerns that absinthe could have detrimental effects on people. Legendre quickly re-named his product HERBSAINT and launched an aggressive marketing campaign that called on people to “Drink Herbsaint Wherever Absinthe Is Called For.”
In 1949 after 15 years of tireless energy promoting Herbsaint around the United States, Legendre sold the brand to the Sazerac Company. Legendre died in New Orleans in 1986 at the age of 90.
The recipe for Herbsaint changed a bit over the years and while Herbsaint has been a staple on sophisticated bars for decades, Sazerac hopes the release of the original recipe product will rekindle consumers’ interest in the brand and afford them the opportunity to taste the product as it was 75 years ago.
“It has been a lot of fun to work on bringing back the original Herbsaint formula. We’re grateful to have discovered the recipe in our archives and to have had such a wonderful reaction from consumers and bartenders about bringing it back to life. It really is The Spirit of New Orleans,” said Kevin Richards, Sazerac’s Herbsaint brand manager in New Orleans.
Herbsaint has long been a critical ingredient in the world famous Sazerac Cocktail – The Official Cocktail of New Orleans. In addition to the Sazerac, Herbsaint is well known for both the Herbsaint Frappe’ and Herbsaint Suissesse drink recipes.
Herbsaint Original is 100 proof and is available in 750ml bottles. Sazerac will also continue to sell the longstanding Herbsaint 90 proof, also available in 750ml bottles.