ahhh crap. I had a huge and informative post and I lost it! /cry
Here's a quickie recap:
It was produced in Switzerland and France ~ I'm sure that most brands that you see hitting the U.S shelves will be produced in either of the same areas.
The alcohol content is not any greater than most rums, vodkas and even bourbon / whiskeys (80-110%).
If you drank as much as the lushes who purportedly "saw" things after drinking it you'd know that the type of alcohol you drank was less important than the amount at that point. (i.e. rot gut rum can produce the same symptoms!)
There is a compelling ceremony that goes along with drinking Absinthe (much like drinking tea in Japan ... ). There are glasses, spoons and even dispensers which are considered de rigueur when consuming it ~ to find the perfect "louch"ing point.
USFDA didn't ever ban it per se, but it was able to halt the import of it by controlling the amount of "thujone" which it contained. Funny thing is, every day herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary, caraway, sassafras, and yarrow contain more than the drink ever did. Thujone is also used in several modern products including Absorbine Jr.®, Vicks Vaporub, Absinthe, Gammel Dansk, and many more. Absinthe today contains very safe levels of thujone which is why it was able to be legally distributed here in the good ole USofA again.
I do know that two manufacturers were given permission to distribute here in WA state just this past week or so. The only one I can remember off the top of my head is Lucid
. As soon as I remember the other, I'll let y'all know.