Monday, February 27, 2012

Byrrh Wine Ad 1938

I don't usually deal with foreign ads too much but this one just tickled me.  The ad text reads "Souvenirs du beau voyage.  Voila sweetheart, cela, c'est tout Paris est ceci toute la France." Roughly translated it means "Memories of a beautiful voyage.  That sweetheart, is the pride of Paris and this the pride of France."  So let me get this straight, boyfriend is in the navy (chuckle), boyfriend goes on extended sea duty, both boyfriend and girlfriend live in France but all he brings back is miniature Eiffel Tower and bottle of Byrrh Wine?  What a cheapskate!  This as is only slightly less weird than the Botot ad I posted some time ago.  He did bring home another "gift" from that whorehouse in French-Indochina but he's not talking about that one... hopefully the doctor can stop the itching.  Of course the artwork itself is fun to look at.  Obviously Ms. Girlfriend is some sort of domestic help, judging from the uniform.  She's totally enraptured by the whole 5 francs he's spent, heck even kitty is watching from the floor.  Mr. Sailor boy looks rather old to be in the navy, or maybe it's the salt air... or perhaps even the pack of Gauloises we see peeking from the pocket on his middy blouse.

I did some looking around to find Byrrh Wine because it's actually an ingredient in some of the cocktails in my 1910 Jack's Manual of Bartending.  The wine itself is a bitter aperatif meant to be consumed before dinner to stimulate the appetite.  In this way it was similar to Absinthe but without the high alcohol content.  Prodctuion first started in the 1880's and continued until the 1970's when Pernod-Ricard bought the company.  Pernod moved the production to it's lovely facilities in Languedoc, the factory having been designed by Gutav Eiffel (yeah the guy that built the tower in Paris).  Now the unfortunate news, Byrrh is impossible to find in the US, probably because it contains Cinchona Bark, the stuff you get Quinine from.  It's in Tonic Water here in the USA but even then the FDA permissible levels are 1/2 of the amount in Tonic Water from overseas.  I did succeed in finding one online retailer in the UK that sold Byrrh but it was £15.41 ($24.36) for a bottle I didn't check to see what shipping would cost (pretty dear most likely.)


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