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#121 Joe Legate

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:42 AM

I think it's perfectly acceptable to call out any specific points that are misleading. <snip> However, it must be done with tact and with citations/references.

Of course. Absolutely.

#122 Brian Robinson

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:44 AM

It's hard to go back to prior '08 and remove the trash talk.

Absolutely no need to. We don't need to hide who we were. We need to show what we ARE. :cheers:

I think that the 'Green Hour' seminar at the TotC will provide a very interesting venue for some of these discussions.
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#123 Alan Moss

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 10:40 AM

We all really need to take a bigger stand on this thujone issue. I am sure you already bring it to the attention of producers but can we force the issue? ...

For instance, could the website list producers who hype thujone and expose them in a "name and shame" column? I may do a blog article on this, but maybe some here have other ideas too ...

... I don't believe the WW Society should take such a lenient line on this.

What we?? I really do believe you want us* to get sued. If you want to turn your blog into an Absinthe Inquisition, be my guest, but there's no room for lynch mobs and blacklists at WS.

WS is not here to put people out of business, it's here to present facts. Show me one professional, reputable and dignified wine review site that lists products in this way. It's bad enough we have to list faux absinthes in their own category, instead of not listing them at all.

Actually I don't think we are a million miles apart on all this, but maybe I didn't word this as well as I might have. I listed the "name and shame" column as a "for instance" only and I asked for other ideas too. Consider it "brainstorming" in which all ideas are worth throwing around, and many of them get killed off. In fact, having considered it for my own blog, I have decided not to publish it there either at this stage, so I can understand Gwydion's concern.


I certainly don't want to get WS sued: I enjoy my daily fix here too much (oops - I shouldn't hint at any connection between absinthe and drugs).

As someone here has written to me recently "We are on the same side." I am sure that Ben, I and others may be more strident in what we say on our own sites; I am equally sure that we will go on having some vigorous debates here and we won't always agree on the tactics v. thujone, bad marketing etc. But I am sure that we have the same long-term goal, and that it is the most important thing.
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#124 pt447

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 02:58 PM

There's no need to "trash talk" in the sense of being rude and infantile. But we don't have to pull punches either.
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#125 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 04:02 PM

Attack the behavior, not the man. Never attribute to malice what can adequately explained by stupidity. And other aphorisms and stuff.

Thanks Alan, as I said to you earlier, I probably overstated myself because of the emotional pitch after reading the whole thread all at once. Add the other threads going on now, and you get the idea.

I obviously agree with most of you that a stop must be put to the dishonest marketing of inferior and spurious products, but care needs to be taken for the reasons Brian already cited.

Now that there are business interests in the US with very deep pockets, I feel like someone is itching for some frivolous litigation. Just because they have no hope of winning the suit doesn't mean they won't try to hobble us by keeping us tied up in court. I have neither the time, money or inclination to go down that road.

I really think the best approach—at least for WS—is to continue to really educate people and step up our outreach efforts. There are many opportunities to expand our efforts into new areas and media. Video and podcast have been on the table for over two years.

Private individuals have a lot more liberty and less legal liability than a business or organization and certainly add a valued contribution in un-moderated editorial views. It's important that there are people who can call it how it is.

It's also important that a professional organization maintain a level of decorum in order to get things done through other channels. WS is more than a discussion forum, we are a real world entity that deals with industry, media and trade people every day, offline. Just because it's not all written about here, doesn't mean things aren't shaking.

My point is that if an angry mob—as righteous and truthful as that anger may be—went to Washington and loudly denounced fake absinthe producers and demanded their executions, I'm sure you can guess how effective it would be. The force dissipates the message.

On the other hand, if some well informed—and equally angry, but more composed—suits go in and open a dialog, the message will be heard and heeded.

Does that mean the suits pursed out? No. It means they know what really works. Only other extremists listen to extremists, everyone else ignores the out-of-control opinionated nut-job. The medium is an important part of the message.

Stick to challenging the ideas and behaviors. Personal attacks will not be permitted and will be removed from view. This is not about hushing dissent, it's about tone and language. I'd prefer that some of our most valuable contributors continued to be here, fighting the good fight.

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#126 scuto

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:34 PM

Others have said it well, but I want to hone in on some specific things.

I'm not advocating being a bastard, but if there's one thing I've started to realized in the fight to promote absinthe truth, is that almost everyone I've spoken to about it--consumers as well, and especially liquor store owners--do not, will not, and have no interest in listening to the "lies" we are trying to sell them. They "know" the truth and nothing will ever change their mind.

If this is true, then I don't see how a "bash list" would help; such a list would only serve to solidify their view that we're wrong.

For all we know this dissent was the purpose of this latest discussion. Sowing discord is the best way to weaken an enemy. I think every one of us who loves absinthe and blogs should trash the hell out of crap absinthe and promote quality offerings.

To me, the last sentence above advocates "drawing battle lines" as it were. This post may have been written in the heat of the moment (I know I have written those, myself!)--the us/them thinking is very seductive and provocative, eliciting strong responses.

The proof is in the pudding folks. We used to be much more aggressive and mean spirited in regards to certain brands and producers. However, because of that angle, people didn't view us as credible sources of unbiased information. They viewed us as a radical sect of traditionalists.

Brian's words. I'm not interested in the WS being viewed thusly. Let those be who feel they "know" the truth and won't change (referring back to those mentioned in the first block of quoted text in this post); if they've already turned away from learning yet more, then we should not waste our time. If they come around later, it will be of their own accord, and that tends to be far more permanent than someone yelling at them about it, as Bill mentioned.

The force dissipates the message.

How very taijiquan of you! Absorbing and redirecting the "other side's" force, instead of presenting an opposing force, can drastically reduce the power of the "other side" much more efficiently. Cogent arguments, presentation of facts, calm demeanor, etc.

I have to admit I can get rather ripshit about some of the things I see, regardless of subject. Not very taijiquan. Heh. I recently read David Foster Wallace's commencement address speech, now in book form as "This is Water," which mentions that we really and truly have no idea the specifics about the person who just cut us off in traffic or relied on bad information to promote their product. Granted, there may be a good chance we're right, but that doesn't mean we should presume so. The person who cut us off may--however unlikely--be rushing to the hospital for some dire situation, and like Gwydion wrote, the bad marketing quite possibly may be due to not knowing any better, as mundane and boring as that may sound.

I blab. I will spare y'all now. May your Memorial Day be filled with the warm sort of memories.

Edited by scuto, 24 May 2009 - 09:18 PM.

"The Saint when he is drinking/Is also pleasing God/As if he were praying and singing." - Angelus Silesius, quoted in Simmel's On Individuality and Social Forms, p.391. (Yay for classical sociology!)

"Full bottle in front of me/Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work/And after many glasses of work/I get paid in the brain" - They Might Be Giants "Your Own Worst Enemy."

"I've an absinthe factory in my head" (jcbphd, 2009). [Liberties taken. -ed.]

#127 Brian Robinson

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:49 PM

Brian's words. I'm not interested in the WS being viewed thusly. Let those be who feel they "know" the truth and won't change; if they've already turned away from learning yet more, then we should not waste our time. If they come around later, it will be of their own accord, and that tends to be far more permanent than someone yelling at them about it, as Bill mentioned.

You missed my point. Many of the most important people who are now using our site for reference and information were originally turned off by the previous paradigm. Only after we became more professional did they begin to view us as credible sources.
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#128 scuto

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 09:15 PM

Oops! Crap--the "they" I was referring to were those mentioned in my first quote of pt447, not those who were initially turned off by the early tone--supporting the fact that the current mode of WS is far more effective. I'll go clarify. Thanks for pointing that out! :cheers:

Edited by scuto, 24 May 2009 - 09:20 PM.

"The Saint when he is drinking/Is also pleasing God/As if he were praying and singing." - Angelus Silesius, quoted in Simmel's On Individuality and Social Forms, p.391. (Yay for classical sociology!)

"Full bottle in front of me/Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work/And after many glasses of work/I get paid in the brain" - They Might Be Giants "Your Own Worst Enemy."

"I've an absinthe factory in my head" (jcbphd, 2009). [Liberties taken. -ed.]

#129 Absinthe Ben

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 10:37 PM

I'd like to be more specific here, but it would take me half an hour to quote and reply to every snippet, so I'll just say this:

I do appreciate the warnings of possible legal action, but for a lot of us, our approach will always lean toward a more aggressive style. That's just who we are. If I'm going to dedicate 20+ hours of my own time each week to guiding newcomers, I'll be damned if I'm not going to be upfront with them. That's not to say, of course, us more aggressive types will not do so in a tasteful manner. Any absinthe enthusiast on MS, FB, Twitter, Youtube, etc will tell you that us regular watchdogs tell it to them straight, but are hardly spreading counter-intuitive slander along the way. I strongly disagree with the overly clear-cut analogy of professional or brash as the only two ways to approach a situation...there IS a middle ground. Joe elaborates on this view ever so eloquently in the previous page, suggesting a more stern attitude with known repeat offenders, for instance. LTV is a perfect example of a product whose staff has a HISTORY of taking the low road. It is incidents like these that require more than just the occasional correction, but a CONTINUOUS watchdog/evangelical campaign to inform the masses of said deception. Obviously, LTV is not alone, nor should an offensive campaign rely solely on criticism, but my point is that it's more dangerous to overlook the negatives than to neglect preaching the positives.

I will refrain from doing so here at WS as a courtesy, to avoid any risk of involving the staff or other members, but my current agenda elsewhere will remain unchanged.
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#130 Brian Robinson

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 04:09 AM

it's more dangerous to overlook the negatives than to neglect preaching the positives.

I don't think that taking the approach of the WS is overlooking anything. You can point out negatives very specifically and very clearly without putting yourself in legal danger. It's quite easy to do.
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#131 Joe Legate

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 05:34 AM

Agreed. I would also add, WS needs Ben (and everyone else) to continue expressing his opinion both negative and positive.

#132 Brian Robinson

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 06:37 AM

Absolutely! Negative comments are NOT frowned upon. We just want to make sure they are done with tact.
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#133 pt447

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 07:25 AM

Oops! Crap--the "they" I was referring to were those mentioned in my first quote of pt447, not those who were initially turned off by the early tone--supporting the fact that the current mode of WS is far more effective. I'll go clarify. Thanks for pointing that out! :cheers:


"Bash List" was probably a misleading term. I mean a list of absinthe that isn't absinthe, and that isn't subversive in the forcefulness of that conviction. If it's bad, we say so and tell why 100% plainly. It doesn't have to be harsh or disrespectful, but if it's bad, and not real, then we should say so plainly! This included dishonest marketing methods. It's hard to sugar coat someones desire to make a buck off of intentionally misleading potential consumers on the realities of whether or not absinthe is a drug and has "effect". You can't say, "guys, come one, you know better, tsk tsk tsk", and slap them on the wrist. You have to call out the dishonesty as it rolls by!
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#134 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 07:55 AM

I mean a list of absinthe that isn't absinthe, and that isn't subversive in the forcefulness of that conviction. If it's bad, we say so and tell why 100% plainly.

We currently have four categories for product reviews: Traditional Absinthe, Vintage Absinthe, Pastis and Substitutes, and Related Products. The intro to the related products category says:

These are products which are labeled and promoted as absinthe but for some reason do not meet our criteria to qualify as such.

Being placed in this category is not in itself a reflection of quality, since even within the scope of authentic styled absinthe, there exists a range of poor to excellent products. Some of these brands are enjoyable as spirits in their own right, but simply lack an appropriate absinthe flavor profile and/or contents.

Our criteria are based on the characteristics of properly distilled absinthes made at the height of absinthe's popularity in the late 19th century, since these were the definitive items.

Imitations
We strongly advise consumers to avoid brands which make innuendos about the alleged psychedelic, hallucinogenic or aphrodisiac properties of absinthe which are the hallmark of inferior and spurious brands. Modern science has shown these to be no more than fanciful myths and superstitions.

Likewise, we urge serious producers to refrain from these unneccessary, untrue, and undignified sales tactics


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#135 pt447

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 07:58 AM

Then that's all the WS can do. It's up to the forum members to take action on their own. Maybe creating fliers of crap vs. quality and handing them out. I don't know. But I am in agreement that there is only so much the WS can do. This is an info site, not a partisan site. You inform, that is all. It's up to us, who have no such legal ramifications on the horizon to take it to the next level and say things even plainer and more directed.
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#136 Joe Legate

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:13 AM

You inform, that is all.

Don't down play the significance here. Knowledge is power.

Brian mentioned all the messages of gratitude for solid information. Think of all the new members that mention in their "Introductory Thread" that WS saved them money and gave them good absinthe advice before they bought crap. Our review system is very solid and we see evidence in our "Top Ten" matching up with the most highly regard absinthe despite million dollar campaigns touting sub-quality crap. We don't have to play dirty to win.

The most important thing we can do is review absinthe and report charlatans. Informing is all important.

#137 pt447

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:30 AM

Joe, I was not intended to downplay anything. I meant is as "that's the limit" of what they can say. I really believe that WS has an integral role to play in absinthe education. I'm constantly telling people to visit. But like I said, they cannot take that extra step and always state plainly the motives behind the recent decades absinthe misinformation campaign we are trying to combat.

*EDIT*

Oh man, I hate puns but I just thought of one.

We need to fight the war on two fronts. the WS as the legit education source, and the rest of us as the foot soldiers, doing all the behind the scenes, clandestine dirty work.
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#138 Alan Moss

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:37 AM

You know I'm going to take exception to that juxtaposition of words, don't you?
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#139 pt447

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:43 AM

Eh, juxtaposition schmuxtapositon...
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#140 Joe Legate

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 11:22 AM

Joe, I was not intended to downplay anything.

Nor did I intend that to seem derogatory but I wanted to emphasize the power we have. We are in agreement, I'm certain. :cheers:

#141 pt447

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 11:27 AM

No doubt! :cheers:
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#142 scuto

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 04:15 PM

Indubitably!

Agreed. I would also add, WS needs Ben (and everyone else) to continue expressing his opinion both negative and positive.

Amen for me as well. Vigilance is nothing to sneeze at. I think "stern" describes well what should be done with "repeat offenders." Good choice of words, for both, Ben! :cheers:
"The Saint when he is drinking/Is also pleasing God/As if he were praying and singing." - Angelus Silesius, quoted in Simmel's On Individuality and Social Forms, p.391. (Yay for classical sociology!)

"Full bottle in front of me/Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work/And after many glasses of work/I get paid in the brain" - They Might Be Giants "Your Own Worst Enemy."

"I've an absinthe factory in my head" (jcbphd, 2009). [Liberties taken. -ed.]

#143 buddhasynth

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 09:21 PM

schmuxtapositon...


words like that make my day.
What part of Klaatu Barada Nikto don't you understand?


...because shoddy absinthes will be flavored with the lubricator of take the lead anise.

#144 josser

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:15 AM

great posts! very proactive direction!;)

the dialogue is necessary - we've updated our faq (and yes, we needed a reminder about that) and i think that we really don't push the thujone. yes, we're mentioning it but it's far from primary information - like i've said it is the smallest font and the last info on the back side. it still is part of absinthe specification and we as producers for reasons i've mentioned in previous posts can not obide it. yet. however, groups like these can with time put it into oblivion.

I love to see people acting unbiased and with integrity and thus we fully feel that this is the way to go also for WS. I hope that some day (rather sooner than later) we can put WS certificate of authentic absinthe on the label and drop the thujone talk. if you want producers to change things, it is necessary to show support on the other side. sadly, live it's been said before... there are to many distributors, bars, clubs and stores who judge the products only for the price. something like this would give everybody in the "food-chain" a more secure feeling.

nonetheless, we're currently designing a label for the US edition of Supreme and the thujone content was never planned to be on (even before this thread).

however, all comments and suggestions are most welcome be that regarding the taste or marketing.

so, let's get it on. time for change.;)

best,

g.

#145 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:23 AM

You may think that without the thujone talk your product won't sell as well, but I believe you're mistaken, and I'm pretty sure that the other artisanal makers of traditional absinthe will agree with me. I make Marteau absinthe. Here's what I say about thujone on my site:

Q: Is thujone the active ingredient in absinthe?

A: No. The active ingredient in absinthe is alcohol. Recent studies have demonstrated by GC/MS analysis that previous untested conjectures as to the thujone levels in pre-ban absinthe were wildly inaccurate, and that properly made pre-ban era absinthe had negligible levels of thujone, just as properly made absinthe does today. The reason for this is that thujone does not easily distill and all but trace amounts remain behind.

Inferior absinthes didn't contain high levels of thujone either, but some did contain copper sulfate and antimony chloride, two very poisonous chemicals with no recreational potential.

Q: Is thujone a hallucinogen? An aphrodisiac? Similar to THC?

A: No, no and no. Thujone is toxic in high concentrations, hundreds if not thousands of times more than has ever been found in any absinthe, but it's not a drug or an aphrodisiac. There was conjecture in the 1970s that thujone may interact with the same receptors in the brain as THC, but this was quickly shown not to be the case, over 30 years ago. Thujone is an advertising gimmick.


So you see, not only do I not advertise the thujone level in my absinthe, I actually go so far as to debunk thujone on my site. This goes a long way toward demonstrating integrity. The great thing about copy like this is that it's true, honest, and you can back it up. Innuendos about the alleged properties of thujone don't have that.

The best way to get support from the Wormwood Society is to produce a sincere, quality product that earns the name of absinthe by virtue of more than the word on the label and the simple inclusion of absinthium in the formula, and to market it fairly and honestly as a sincere, quality-minded craftsman. Does it look, smell and taste like absinthe? Is it well made and flavorful? That's what matters.

I encourage you to read our Absinthe Review Guide and download and read the absinthe evaluation sheet. It's a good way to understand what connoisseurs look for in an absinthe.

Maker of Marteau Absinthe
Master Distiller, Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery
www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#146 OMG_Bill

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 04:12 PM

What better way to get the review you'd like? Make good absinthe and members will respond with support. JMO

If the WS has as much influence as some believe, why piss away an opportunity to shine. Make good absinthe and I'll be as close to the front of the line as possible to support your efforts. Fixing the label is part of making a good product. Again, JMO

*smile*
Some folks may cringe each time I use the term "Booze" regarding these high quality drinks.
I mean no offense. There are bottles of extraordinary booze out there. I've tasted a few. Relax.

#147 Alan Moss

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:52 AM

It's like the one soldier trying to tell the other soldier not to kill the guy trying to surrender when the enemy is about to pull a knife from his boot .... Sowing discord is the best way to weaken an enemy. I think every one of us who loves absinthe and blogs should trash the hell out of crap absinthe.

Your quote is already being taken out of context (and mispelt) in the comments here. Nice to see our old friend back again! Shame that he distracts from an interesting article in which Drinkhacker completely changes his mind about Tourment.
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#148 Brian Robinson

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:11 AM

Do you all now see why we try to keep that shit to a minimum??? Those types of comments are what will come back to haunt us when dorks like Todd Jackson twist them in public.
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#149 Alan Moss

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:21 AM

But dork is OK? It seems rather flattering ...
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#150 Brian Robinson

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:24 AM

Yes. Dork is fine. ;)
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