Absinthe without wormwood's active ingredient, thujone, has been legal for a while, but there is speculation that one or more of the brands now available might actually contain tiny amounts of thujone. Actually I'm gonna have to read up again on the whole wormwood/thujone legal/illegal matter, get back up to date. We have a bottle of wormwood-free absinthe, and it's very good, tastes like a warm and fragrant version of "good & plenty" candy... actually, better than that makes it sound.
The question is, without wormwood or thujone, how is absinthe all that different from other anise or licorice flavored liqueurs or liquors, like anisette or ouzo or "absente."
I have to admit, I have long been fascinated by absinthe, mainly due to my Hemingway worship in college, and the various evocative descriptions by that author of the absinthe experience (I'm recalling A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises at least). It seemed like a more mystical and poetic cousin of alcohol. Now that it's readily available I find myself thinking, it's just another liquor, though maybe if I got my hands on some thujone-heavy stuff I might feel differently about it.