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I'm just taking a swag here, but if Rob has lessened the amount of coloring herbs, or moved to a new filtration process, or a combination of both, that would most probably affect the taste.

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Filtration? Yuckie-poohie! The brown may not appear appetizing but sometimes it's still a decent drink.

I've read that when natural herbs, seeds and so forth are used to color.......every batch will differ. They may appear close at first but stuff happens. Time, temp, air, alcohol % and light will affect color.

 

I sipped some amber-green almost brown absinthe last night that had just the slightest sediment.

 

The greatest complaint I have about color is neon green and stuff so obviously un-natural. I like the green but rarely say much about dead leaf. Some of the best absinthes I've been lucky enough to drink have been dead leaf in color. I dearly love me some nature. Ahhhh sweet nature.

 

There is some VC around here somewhere....I'll check it when I find it. I'm confident it will be just fine.

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You guys are making me want to pick up a bottle. I kind of got worn out of VC after buying it almost exclusively for a while. Perhaps it's time to revisit...

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The brown may not appear appetizing but sometimes it's still a decent drink. I'm confident it will be just fine.

Too right. And I don't think anyone doubts that! Having not tasted any of the recent stuff that AiO and sbmac have tried, I can't speak to any taste differences from the brown bottle I have. My comment above is just an assumption, of course! I have done less reading than you.

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I need to address one little thing about color. Most everyone that buys a verte is expecting green. It's what they expect and what they paid for. Perhaps I'm just a bit jaded....no pun intended but that's the way it is.

 

Am I close on that? Sometimes I get carried away and I apologize for that. Color, like taste, is subjective. It's a personal thing. Either way...... :cheers:

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If color were not important, then we would hardly have any reason to evaluate it when we post reviews, so I believe that it is necessary that an absinthe be an attracitive shade of green. Although a range of colors is acceptable, I think that brown in a young absinthe is somewhat off the mark.

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I'm just taking a swag here, but if Rob has lessened the amount of coloring herbs, or moved to a new filtration process, or a combination of both, that would most probably affect the taste.

Changing the amount of coloring herbs will certainly affect the color and flavor but unless it is one hell of a bad-ass filtration device, all filtering will do is remove the sediment without impacting flavor or color. Think of your coffee when you think of filtration.

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I'm not sure which pics you are referring to, but regardless, I do believe that if we decide that a new verte can be brown and still "correct," that tends to undermine the whole business of rating color.

 

This in turn leads me to a side question: I have seen plenty of reviews of pre-bans, which are (as is to be expected) anything but green, and which nonetheless receive ratings of 5 for color. Why do we do this? Could not the argument be made that if a pre-ban is not to be penalized for loss of green, by the same logic should we refrain penalizing new absinthes for not having the smoothness or subtlety that comes from 100 years of aging?

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AIO, are you also noticing a slightly brighter less earthy flavor...perhaps lighter and cleaner?

It seems this way to me.

 

While brighter, cleaner, and lighter are all words I'd use to describe the color of the new run of VC, they aren't the first words that come to mind when I think of the flavor. Not that the flavor is dirty or funky. For me, the most striking thing about the flavor of the new batch is the prominence of the grand wormwood--sharp, pungent, and minty. In previous runs, I always felt that the A.a. was more subdued, more of an ensemble player along with the anise, genepi, etc. Now it seems to me to be more front and center. This may be due to the tweaking mentioned above; it's also possible that I'm just more sensitive to the A.a., having had the chance to familiarize myself first-hand with the top-notch herbs Rob uses. Or maybe it's a breathing issue and the flavors will become more integrated over time. Regardless, I'd say it's still the same basic flavor profile with an intriguing little twist. Just my opinion.

 

On the subject of coloration, I'd agree with Bill: it's not a huge issue for me. I can't say I was ever really bothered by the dark olive/amber/brown color of the old VC; I was much more interested in how it tasted. On the other hand, I readily admit that the new run is more "correct" and "aesthetically pleasing" than the old in the color department. So if that's important to you, you're in for a treat.

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I'm not sure which pics you are referring to

These pics.

 

 

This in turn leads me to a side question: I have seen plenty of reviews of pre-bans, which are (as is to be expected) anything but green, and which nonetheless receive ratings of 5 for color. Why do we do this?

GREEN isn't what we're reviewing. We're reviewing the quality of the color, whatever that might be. In both the WS and FV rating system, we account for fuille morte and other colors:

 

"The color should be natural and organic-looking. Greens and whites (clear) are most traditional.

Deep yellow and golden-brown amber hues (feuille mort, or “fallen-leaf” colors) are acceptable and often

indicate a more aged absinthe. Reds, while apparently very rare, were not unknown. The color should be

pleasing and have nuance."

 

"Although most absintheurs regard only the two historically sanctified colours – BLANCHE and VERTE - as being legitimate, there are today an increasing number of absinthes made in different colours, including orange and red. For this reason, points are not awarded for a specific colour – for example the classic dead-leaf green or feuille morte – and the color evaluation should be done solely in terms of clarity, brightness and, most importantly, NATURALNESS. Any artificial-looking color should be marked down."

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unless it is one hell of a bad-ass filtration device, all filtering will do is remove the sediment without impacting flavor or color

See, I would think that sediment left in the absinthe will continue to color, even in a minute way. But in the case of VC, there has normally been a TON of sediment, which I would think greatly affects the additional, non-intentional coloring. So along those lines, I assume cleaning out more sediment is equivalent to minimizing the additional coloring, and therefore the additional chlorophyll breakdown. But I'm just taking shots in the dark.

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GREEN isn't what we're reviewing. We're reviewing the quality of the color, whatever that might be.

 

I understand. Still, for me at least, if I rate a verte, I will be rating the quality and attractiveness of the green (including but not limited to its naturalness). Yes, in an aged absinthe, I would make allowances for natural changes, but I still think a new verte should not be brown, and we must acknowledge that even an aged verte's color has eroded somewhat.

 

Thanks for linking to the pics. My bottle of the Coquette was much greener than the one in the photo appeared.

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we must acknowledge that even an aged verte's color has eroded somewhat.

I wouldn't fault a verte for the aging process, since it's exactly what SHOULD happen. And that goes back to the quality of the color, and not just its greenness.

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I am glad to know the criteria for color guys...I too prefer a natural color to the neon. Both my bottles of VC taste great, though ever so slightly different. I think the newer bottle is better tasting and better looking in louche and pre-louche state. As you can see in the photo I posted, it is much browner than any

VC you guys posted, and I'm still not convinced it wasn't exposed to heat or something, as it seems much browner than other new bottles of VC, even from the previous batches.

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As Gwydion mentioned, coloration could, quite conceivably, vary from batch to batch.

 

We'll never know about your specific bottle, but if it came from Kamal, I'd be surprised if it were exposed to adverse conditions while in his care.

 

As for criteria, each quality is explained in detail on the downloadable version of the scoring sheet, which can be found on the main page.

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Still, for me at least, ...I still think...

I'm not picking on you at all Marlow, but I wanted to make sure that we remember that reviews are intended to be objective, which is why we have stated criteria for each quality as well as for each number within each category.

 

We aren't necessarily rating whether we like it or not, but whether it fits within the pre-defined criteria.

 

Number ratings should be objective. We can add in our subjective thoughts on the brand in the 'fill-in' area.

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Changing the amount of coloring herbs will certainly affect the color and flavor but unless it is one hell of a bad-ass filtration device, all filtering will do is remove the sediment without impacting flavor or color.

 

I disagree. Filtering can have a tremendous effect on the coloring process. Many types of filters can strip out the essential (anise/fennel) flavoring from absinthe. There are many methods of filtering which in turn can have many effects on the finished absinthe.

 

 

As Gwydion mentioned, coloration could, quite conceivably, vary from batch to batch.

 

If an absinthe is correctly colored (final flavoring step actually, the color is incidental) using natural herbs you will most likely have variations from batch to batch. This is especially evident if the particular batch/source/age of herbs has changed.

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I'm not picking on you at all Marlow, but I wanted to make sure that we remember that reviews are intended to be objective, which is why we have stated criteria for each quality as well as for each number within each category.

 

We aren't necessarily rating whether we like it or not, but whether it fits within the pre-defined criteria.

 

Number ratings should be objective. We can add in our subjective thoughts on the brand in the 'fill-in' area.

 

No worries...I don't feel picked on.

 

I must say, however, that your hopes that an open rating system, numbered or otherwise, can be objective are misplaced. Regardless of what guidelines you write, what I perceive as "attractive" or "natural" or "absolutely beautiful" will inherently be a subjective assessment.

 

Which is a better green? That of PF 1901, or that of Mystique? Or that of La Coquette? They all look natural to me, but each is unlike the others, and all could appeal depending on one's subjective opinion. I happen to like the pure, bright peridot of the 1901, but another could prefer the earthy green of the Coquette...these questions are unarguable.

 

As for pre-bans, I would like to propose another experiment, or at least a thought experiment, akin to the blind tastings you've done in the past. This time, however, we should test whether the brown of a pre-ban gets a five if the reviewer is in doubt re whether it is pre-ban or more recent absinthe gone feuille mort. A blind test would tell us whether that pre-ban brown truly merits a five!

 

In the meantime, I'll persist in my heretical view that a newly poured PF 1901 or Marteau should get a better color score than an absinthe newly dug out of some forgotten pre-ban cache! :cheers:

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I disagree. Filtering can have a tremendous effect on the coloring process. Many types of filters can strip out the essential (anise/fennel) flavoring from absinthe.

Fair enough. I should have said, none of the filters I use will affect the color or flavor. :laugh:

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I must say, however, that your hopes that an open rating system, numbered or otherwise, can be objective are misplaced. Regardless of what guidelines you write, what I perceive as "attractive" or "natural" or "absolutely beautiful" will inherently be a subjective assessment.

Misplaced? No. Idealistic? Of course. There will always be some modicum of emotion imparted in a review, blind or otherwise. Everyone has their preferences.

 

However, if we didn't believe that people could set aside emotion to conduct an objective trial, well then, the scientific method itself would be worthless. Intelligence analysis would be worthless. Critical thinking would be worthless. The idea is that you should step outside the box (as much as possible) and give a fair review to whatever it is you're reviewing.

 

The criteria is there in order to give as level of a playing field as possible, and to prevent tunnel vision. We've seen tunnel vision work both ways, where some people blindly follow a producer and sing the praises of the product, and where they vilify another product because they don't like the producer. If done right, a good review (at least by the numbers) can be given to a brand, even if you don't particularly care for it, as long as it's well crafted.

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we should test whether the brown of a pre-ban gets a five if the reviewer is in doubt re whether it is pre-ban or more recent absinthe gone feuille mort. A blind test would tell us whether that pre-ban brown truly merits a five!

It's not possible to review an absinthe that has been aging for 100 years in the same way you review a new absinthe. It's almost a completely different product. Age does a lot of different things to an absinthe. Things that cannot necessarily be controlled by the producer.

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However, if we didn't believe that people could set aside emotion to conduct an objective trial, well then, the scientific method itself would be worthless. Intelligence analysis would be worthless. Critical thinking would be worthless. The idea is that you should step outside the box (as much as possible) and give a fair review to whatever it is you're reviewing.

 

Yes and no...I agree that science and critical thinking rely on people making an effort to be objective. However, the scientific method builds in safeguards to deal with inevitable subjectivity, and more importantly it primarily deals with things that are measurable in an objective sense (e.g. temperature, pressure, chemical composition, etc). When we begin to deal with unmeasurable questions (what is a "correct" hue or aroma of absinthe, or what is "beautiful") then science itself will run aground.

 

Reviewing absinthe is fundamentally an unscientific business, and there is almost nothing that is objectively measurable about any of the criteria we use to rate absinthes here at WS. If we could somehow agree on an "ideal" color for a verte, for instance, and then found some way to express it in objective terms (presumably something to do with a mix of light frequencies), then we could rate absinthes objectively for color. Of course, in that situation, we would have no need to have user reviews! One review would do for each brand.

 

The criteria is there in order to give as level of a playing field as possible, and to prevent tunnel vision. We've seen tunnel vision work both ways, where some people blindly follow a producer and sing the praises of the product, and where they vilify another product because they don't like the producer. If done right, a good review (at least by the numbers) can be given to a brand, even if you don't particularly care for it, as long as it's well crafted.

 

I really think you are conflating separate issues. To be sure, it is not fair to (for example) rate a Jade poorly because one does not like Ted Breaux, and we need to encourage objectivity in that sense. (We won't always get it, but that's another discussion.) However, there is no objectivity in evaluating a good color or aroma or flavor.

 

Leopold's absinthe provides a good illustration of what I'm trying to say. I like Leopold: he's a contributor to the forum, he's willing to interact with his customers, he's friendly and gentleman-like, and he doesn't take it personally when he receives negative feedback. Nevertheless, I (being as objective as I can) gave his absinthe a critical review because I (being subjective as I must be) don't like the way it tastes. Because "regard for distiller" is not a 1-5 on the scoring chart, I objectively submerge that factor as best I can. Because all of the 1-5 criteria we do have are inherently subjective, I make no effort to be "objective" when doing so is clearly not possible.

 

The good news is that there are some subjective criteria we can probably agree on, at least most of the time. A lot of Czechsinthe looks "unnatural" -- this we know. However, I promise you there is someone out there who will look at Hills and say "looks natural and beautiful to me" and mean it. There are far more who will say that for the wrong reasons, but even so, the matter is ultimately a subjective one. If you don't agree, then my question is what's the measurement for "natural looking" absinthe.

 

It's not possible to review an absinthe that has been aging for 100 years in the same way you review a new absinthe.

 

Sure it is. There are at least two ways to approach this question. On the one hand, I could say "sure, this 100-year-old verte is actually brown, not green, but hey, it's pre-Ban so I'll overlook that and give it high marks." If I do that, though, I think I have to make allowances for young absinthes which may not measure up in the realm of flavor. Or, I can be quasi-objective and simply put the age issue out of mind and evaluate the color I see in front of me. That allows me to also evaluate the flavor of a young verte without making allowances for lack of age.

 

I understand that vertes are expected to turn brown with time, and so I might in theory give a pre-ban a 4 for color instead of 3...but a perfect score? Maybe not.

 

Another approach would be to eliminate the color score altogether. That would not make the rating process any less subjective, but at least it would eliminate questions like how to rate a pre-Ban, or a blanche.

 

[edit] One thing I forgot to mention: I really think the system we have is working well and doesn't need to be altered. Wise readers of the main site will be able to interpret the reviews in ways that are helpful to them. To me, some of the most useful reviews are those I disagree with, because as long as I understand the subjective preferences of the reviewer, I know something about the product being evaluated. And the more reviews we get, the more data readers have to discriminate among various absinthes.

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My two cents: I know colour is weighted to be less important than other categories, but I think it might need to be valued even less. I think the weighted values for colour and finish should be flip-flopped. My overall enjoyment of a drink is considerably more affected by finish (part of the flavour every single sip) than by colour before water. For the first few seconds or minute in the glass the absinthe is of a certain appearance and rated for it, then we add water to change that, and then we give the rating for its new appearance, which is how it's going to look the whole time we're drinking it, equal weight as our rating for the colour before. And then all of that is considerably less important (at least to me) than its aroma, taste, and finish.

 

I do agree with Brian about trying to be objective. It is impossible to be completely objective, but I try to balance how much I "like" something with how correctly it's made. Shade of green (or gold or brown) in a verte is nearly a non-issue to me. The important questions are, is it clear and sediment free? Is it a rich colour or a dull, lifeless one?

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We may have to agree to disagree, but I'm willing to be educated. What are the objective measurements for color, louche, aroma, flavor, finish, and "overall?" What tools do we use to make objective measurements? What units do we use to express the results?

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We aren't necessarily rating whether we like it or not, but whether it fits within the pre-defined criteria.

 

Whoa! Dude!!

 

The idea must be that if the absinthe perfectly fits the criteria, everyone will have the same rating.

 

Even if they don't like it?

 

It's always going to be relatively subjective, dependent on the experience with absinthe of the drinker and their personal preference.

 

And as Marlow implies, what will be held as the basis for the pinnacle of those criteria? Pre-ban? If so, most people will never have seen it or tasted it. And that only becomes more true in the future.

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What are the objective measurements for color, louche, aroma, flavor, finish, and "overall?"

Read the instruction sheet that comes with the review sheet. They give specific instructions for what each quality is, and the respective number for each.

 

It's always going to be relatively subjective, dependent on the experience with absinthe of the drinker and their personal preference.

Read through my explanations. I already acknowledged that there will always be some subjectivity involved, which is fine. We expect that. And we expect each reviewer to illucidate on those feelings in the explanation section.

 

Gwydion has mentioned the goal of the reviews a multitude of times. This isn't news. The review system leaves room for subjectivity, while at the same time using objective criteria. For example, the criteria is pretty strict as to whether to score an absinthe a 2 or 4 in any given area. But it also relies on personal feelings when choosing between a 3, 4 or 5.

 

I don't know about anyone else, but I know that I've been able to become more and more objective with my reviews as I've tried more and more absinthe.

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Q: Why does this semi-OT color discussion have a tendency to take over so many valuable threads?

 

A: Because there IS indeed a lot of subjectivity to the rating, and IMO the rating system for color needs to be changed or eliminated entirely if that subjectivity is not agreed as imposed naturally. We must agree that this is not an exact rating system and appreciate it for its ability to be versatile in those regards.

 

 

 

Marlow I believe the word that you were looking for was "empirical", and not "objective".

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