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October 19, 1895


Author Affiliations

Alienist and Neurologist of the Reese and Alexian Hospitals, Chicago; Late Medical Superintendent of the Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane, and Pathologist of the Cook County Insane Asylum; Author of "Comparative Physiology and Psychology," "Spinal Concussion," etc. CHICAGO.

JAMA. 1895;XXV(16):662-666. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430420018002h

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Ethyl alcohol, spirit of wine, is commercially assumed to be the base of intoxicating drinks, and the purest of these is capable of working great havoc when abused, but the demand for cheap liquor in vast quantities substitutes for portions of the less harmful ethyl or vinic alcohol what is known to chemists as the poisonous amyl alcohol (potato spirit or fusel oil). The aroma or bouquet of liquors is largely due to certain ethers of the more poisonous amyl and butyl alcohols, notably the acetic and valeric; then super-added, all too often, by distiller, rectifier, wholesaler, and especially by the retailer, are sophistications, flavors and perfumes for the purpose of cheapening the resulting compound, which, by the time it reaches the average consumer, contains in addition to the alcohol diluents to increase bulk, articles to give it false strength, fictitious appearance, odor and taste.

In the English Licensing Act

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