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Auguru

Secondary review section (off main page)?

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Hiram,

 

I would like to suggest a second sort of review section (not here in the Forum, but for the "Reviews" section off the main WS page). I liked the existing narrative reviews (on hiatus, I know). They add detail that helps me understand what individual reviewers like and dislike about a given product. To add to this, I would like to see a numeric or even graphic composite of the votes of WS members for particular products. I was thinking that a "radio-button" like interface could be used to help members "vote" for value scales like "overall quality", "value" (quality versus cost), "burnt", "anise", "louche", however many characteristics you might want to use. As members vote, a composite score would accumulate and reflect the WS assessment (bias, for those who doubt). Kind of like the poll results you have employed.

 

I suggest this out of purely selfish motives, as I am still testing the absinthe waters myself. My budget dictates I be selective in purchasing, but over time, I should be able to try a good variety. The question will always be "in what order", or "when should I avoid a product entirely", or "is it worth the money even if it is guaranteed not to be a favorite", etc... If I were to be able to make the WS events, I would be able to try a wider variety and perhaps avoid those choices I'd otherwise regret after a purchase. A guide like the one described above would be helpful before chucking the ol' greenbacks across the pond. Might be fun too.

 

Basically, an expanded version of the "recommended" list you already have in the Vendor section, just with the scores/results incorporated.

 

Too much work? Too much trouble? I don't know much about web site building or how hard it would be to conjure up such a tool, but wanted to make the suggestion.

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Short answer to your question: In my opinion, number scoring absinthe won't be meaningful for quite some time. The best you can do is describe qualities and flavors and compare them to others which are similar, so that folks can make an informed choice.

 

Browse the reviews over at Fe Verte, and don't hesitate to ask about a given brand here. Most people will agree I think, that anything worth paying for is on the reviews page here (which I just put back up, even though it's still incomplete). Perhaps I could post a poll for each brand and see what happens. By-the-by, if anyone wants to submit a sincere review of any of the "review forthcoming" items on the reviews page, don't hesitate to submit it.

 

Long answer: It's do-able, but to tell the truth, absinthe "judging" is still in its infancy. There are very disparate views of what constitutes good - or even authentic - absinthe, so you have to pretty much just trust the judgement - and qualifications to judge - of someone who could be a putz talking out of his butt. It's like the Siskell & Ebert Show really. I love Franois Guy and Jack thinks it tastes like ass. There are plenty of people who agree with each of us.

 

On the one hand I have come to agree with Jack B that all commercial absinthes are crap. On the other hand, I feel that commercials are such a different animal than clandestines that its not fair to judge them against one another. That, and I do enjoy a number of commercial absinthes quite a bit - some of which are sneered at by my colleagues. It also doesn't do any good to tell 99.5% of the absinthe drinking public "forget it, you'll probably never taste truly fine absinthe", it's true, but unproductive.

 

It's like saying to someone that McDonalds is crap food; it is, but I can still eat the hell out of a Big Mac. Most commercial is McAbsinthe. Contrariwise, not all home-cooked meals are spectacular gourmet creations (except mine). Question is, how easy is it for a high-volume restaurant to prepare genuine home-cooked tasting meals? How possible is it to get that flavor/quality/je ne sais quoi in a restaurant? Are you more likely to find it at a greasy-spoon diner or at a five-star? This is a pretty limited analogy, and I digress.

 

Jade is the one exception. It's as close to an authentic, fine absinthe as you can buy - but its flavor profile, which does carry over through all three styles, is not to everyone's taste. The premium absinthe market is tiny and new and there's still plenty room left for competition.

 

Gatsby is right: at a WS event, people only go for the commercials out of idle curiosity, or when the other bottles are empty.

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