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Back on topic: I'm tired. I'm getting shit on from all directions when it comes to this subject. I think I'll sit back and take a breather. Have fun all.

 

 

 

Toodles. :wave2: :poop:

 

(Brian Robinson @ May 14 2009, 10:02 AM) post_snapback.gif...that is also why they asked to have a Review Editor.

 

If something looks out of the ordinary, additional information is gathered to see if 1) The review was submitted by a brand rep, 2) The review was submitted with a misunderstanding of criteria, 3) The review was submitted by someone trying to intentionally make a brand look bad, or 4) The review was submitted appropriately.

 

(fingerpickinblue @ May 14to_post_off.gif 2009, 10:04) And I think this is necessary... And I'm glad it's you, not me, Brian! :dev-cheers:

 

 

If we differ a few degrees on this, or anything else, it has nothing to do with any lack of respect I have for you or your knowledge. Your efforts and input here, I'm sure, exceed your remuneration.

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This makes me much more likely to pick up a bottle.

Maybe...

True. I've not even tried the original LTV, so the less-wary feel to "likely" may arise from that.

 

To be in the same room with Joe and Absomphe would be fun and enjoyable to watch and listen.

:cheers:

 

Now all we need is an Absomphe airlift to Ocean City in a few months! (I hear he won't leave the house. :devil: )

 

...a bunch of internet nerds...

Hey! I aspire to resemble a constituent of that remark!

 

But yeah--absinthe definition = identity, which seems to be the first tier of absinthe education (aka, getting LTV to be called an absinthe, good or not). Then the next (independent of LTV and producers) would appear to be teaching folks how to discern quality from average/mediocre in the category and giving them the tools to choose what they wish with that knowledge.

 

More thinking aloud from your friendly night owl. :wave2:

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It may look more natural, but it's still an artificial colour

So what? Virtually every whisky on the market uses artificial color

 

Only in cases of misleading consumers, such as advertising a "verte" as being colored with herbs when it's not, is this even relevant to absinthe.

 

Yes, the colour is the least pressing of the issues here, even if it is still undesirable. It won't be the end of the world if it is left untouched, but the point is, this is the thread to provide feedback and ask questions, which is what I'm doing.

 

They've added more, but how was the quality of this anise?

Again, who cares? This isn't about quality, it's about identity. You don't get to enforce quality. You do get to insist that brand owners label and market their products honestly.

 

Traditionalist fanatics (and I include myself in that category) tend to get caught up on top of the line traditional quality standards as though they were the standards of identity. That's not only untrue and unrealistic, it's unfair. There are such things as superior absinthe, good absinthe, mediocre absinthe and inferior absinthe and there always was. A producer has the right to enter the segment he wants to.

 

There will always be a place for mass-market-appeal and value brands. And there should be, to keep the category broad and healthy and to supply folks in lower economic strata.

 

Again, what's the point of this thread if questions and feedback are discounted with lines like "who cares?" It will always be just as much about quality as identity, without exception. Quality is enforced by commending premium absinthe, and reprimanding unworthy sink-fodder, while actively spreading awareness of these evaluations. It may not be enough to drive a producer to change their formula, but by making consumer opinion public, it will have an impact on media coverage and sales, among other factors. We can hardly tie them to a chair when it comes to reform, but there are plenty of ways to make our point count. Whether or not an absinthe is a "value" brand is just a small part of that evaluation, but should of course be taken into account.

 

I've never heard of anyone especially favouring a eucalyptus-dominant absinthe/absinth, so it's hard to see why retaining this characteristic would be considered desirable.

So? Don't drink it.

 

L'OR told me the same thing.

 

Or could the changes be minimal in hopes of retaining their existing customers? I'm glad to hear there is some level of improvement in the balancing issue, but that alone is not enough to win over any traditional absinthe enthusiasts.

We're not their target market. The reason they're interfacing with us is to learn why we assert that LTV does not have the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to absinthe. They're not really concerned whether the tiny niche absinthe expert segment likes it. They are concerned that we say it isn't absinthe. They're here to learn how to make LTV be absinthe, nothing more.

 

Agreed, with one glaring exception. It's not just that they don't care if the experts like it, but everything points to them not caring if much of ANYONE loves the taste. From what I've seen, most of those who are in their target market couldn't give two shits if it tastes like licking a dead goat, so long as it gets the job done. They're here to learn the bare minimum requirements to be considered absinthe, nothing more.

 

 

"Damage control or a sincere effort to improve the product?" From the look of things, my thought is the former.

If you sunk millions into developing a brand and a bunch of internet nerds started giving you shit about it, you'd be cautious too.

 

Absolutely, which is why this is damage control.

 

I am not impressed after hearing this report. What is the purpose of such a piddly compromise? If it is sincerely to improve LTV, why settle for a subtle improvement when all feedback (even aside from the reaction of WS/TARN members) points to more drastic changes needed to satisfy consumers?

 

By now, I'm sure you've had top-shelf absinthe and are perfectly aware of what LTV should aim to be, yet I still don't see your product heading in that direction, at least not with any sort of enthusiasm. That is why I believe this is purely a political gesture.

Who are you to decide what LTV should aim to be?

 

What compromises have you made?

 

I don't recall Minott or anybody in the LTV team saying anything about aspiring to be a top-shelf absinthe. I do recall hearing him say that all he wanted to do was create a popular brand, not a premium brand.

 

And I don't recall ever asking him to produce a premium brand, just one that's drinkable. Is that too much to ask? Oops, I mean "demand"? Not that I ever claimed to be in a position of authority, nor am on a holy mission to issue demands. Though, from the sound of it, you seem to have a different opinion:

 

It's not up to you or any of us to make demands…Who are you to decide what LTV should aim to be?…you and the TARNSmen can arrogate that right to yourselves

 

 

If those snippets aren't misleading about my attitude, I don't know what is. And where on Earth did that "You and the TARNsmen" quip come from? Talk about a divisive remark, even more so when you look at the full context. I am at a loss for what prompted these statements, but it seems very out of character for you.

 

What compromises have I made personally? Aside from chronically limiting my social life, free time, and occasionally even turning down clients to work for free on an absinthe-related task for 20+ hours each week? Well, you know, not a lot.

 

So minott wants a popular brand? Here's a tip: create something that tastes good. That would probably be a good first step.

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Pernod isn't a good absinthe, but it qualifies as the real thing, and is definitely at least a couple of notches above LTV.

Good to know. Pernod is decent in a pinch.

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An absinthe substitute, Eucalypsinthe, went so far as to replace wormwood with eucalyptus (of course, they appear to have been eucalyptus fetishists and also made Eucalyptreuse and Eucalypmouth). Our friend, Gert Strand, is offering a Eucalyptus Absinthe essence. If the eucalyptus is so dominant as to eclipse the anise and absinthium, then we have a problem.

Ahh yes, how well I remember the original green Doubs. "A cough drop in every glass!"

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Who are these TARNsmen? Does anybody have their latest CD? I heard they were gonna tour this summer.

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What compromises have I made personally? Aside from chronically limiting my social life, free time, and occasionally even turning down clients to work for free on an absinthe-related task for 20+ hours each week? Well, you know, not a lot.

Wow, that sounds vaguely familiar. :cheers:

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Who are these TARNsmen? Does anybody have their latest CD? I heard they were gonna tour this summer.

 

I thought they canceled due to Sky Saxon passing on onacuz their latest CD LP was 1972 :tongue:

 

===========

I think it's great that while it looks like there are still alterations that should be made (and even more on our collective wish list), there are several positive changes. The kind of changes that can't be cheap or risk free. Not the end all be all, but I think it's pretty cool that they ARE taking place.

===========

 

I personally (from the comfort of the high throne of my computer chair) don't have a problem with less than premium absinthe as long as it's not sold under the guise of premium and priced as such. But I have a problem when an artificially colored oil mix is marketed as Superieure (yes, I know Superieure has no modern legal definition) and priced in the $60 range. It may be real absinthe, but I don't consider it "authentic"- just as a fake Rolex might be a real watch, ect. But I admit that semantic blurrings of this fashion aren't productive and it's best to be specific about the flaws of a product or marketing info instead.

 

In the end I gotta agree with the viewpoint that the aim for a category definition should be as basic as possible. Same with every other spirit, bottom shelf to top shelf. We have bottom shelf to top shelf absinthe (and non-absinthe) on the U.S. market right now, but like in the example above, just about ALL of it's marketed and priced as premium. I see the reasoning that until there's that baseline legal definition in the U.S., that wont change.

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The Tarnsman of Gor actually looks quite interesting. Here's part of one review:

 

"an entertaining adventure for those of us who fantasize about being swordsmen in a place where men are definitely men and women are the natural slaves to such men"

 

Apparently there is lots of bondage in later books in the series. Seems a good advertisement for TARN to me, so Ben should be prepared for a lot more members.

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I personally (from the comfort of the high throne of my computer chair) don't have a problem with less than premium absinthe as long as it's not sold under the guise of premium as priced as such. But I have a problem when an artificially colored oil mix is marketed as Superieure (yes, I know Superieure has no modern legal definition) and priced in the $60 range. It may be real absinthe, but I don't consider it "authentic"- just as a fake Rolex might be a real watch, ect. But I admit that semantic blurrings of this fashion aren't productive and it's best to be specific about the flaws of a product or marketing info instead.

 

Pernod should cost $40-50 a bottle in that case...

but at least they don't try to hype up their product, and it even states the ingredients on the bottle. I find that I can taste something a little more complex than just the anise bomb everyone says it is

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Ha! :laf:

 

Mebbe it's part of a secret plot or something? After all, The Absinthe Review Network does seem like a bunch of random words strung together, right?

 

Edit: took too long to type. Re: Alan's post.

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Now THAT would make for an interesting group! ;) I thought I told you not to mention this secret plot, speedle...

 

What compromises have I made personally? Aside from chronically limiting my social life, free time, and occasionally even turning down clients to work for free on an absinthe-related task for 20+ hours each week? Well, you know, not a lot.

Wow, that sounds vaguely familiar. :cheers:

 

Very true. Brian, you're out there busting your ass on the front lines as well and should be commended for that! :cheers: Speaking of, do you have another Real Absinthe Blog article in the pipeline at all? Your last piece is one of the best I've read on Czechsinthe in a long while.

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Thanks. Yes, I've got several new pieces in the pipeline, I've just been so busy with real life and with prepping for Tales that I simply haven't had the time. I wanted to get one posted while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, but the wireless internet connection at the hotel was terrible, so it kept kicking me off.

 

I plan on doing one regarding deceptive marketing very soon, but it will probably have to be after Tales. I'm going to be busy doing podcast interviews and daily blog entries down there. The new piece will specifically name a few brands, as well as discuss why none of them wanted to go on record with me about thujone, including the blowoffs I got from Dr. Arnold himself. :cheers:

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I look forward to your new articles!

 

Minott has graciously provided me the name of the TTB agent who consulted with them on how to communicate thujone levels. Apparently this agent actually recommended that, when the issue comes up, they should state 'LTV contains the maximum amount of thujone allowed by law". I plan to try to talk to this agent to see if we can get him to instead recommend a different syntax that doesn't seem to attract 'thujone shoppers'. Minott, if you're reading this (which I assume you are), can you PM me his contact info?

 

This is pretty much a non-issue now for this thread, all the more so since Minott seems to have persuaded that Manhattan retailer to drop talk of hallucinations and "lipido" (sic). Well done.

 

It does indeed seem that the "maxiumum thujone" line comes from the TTB. There is at least one other product in the US whose website still states:

 

"contains the maximum amount of thujone based on the legal limits set by the U.S. regulatory authorities and the European Union."

 

So it would be great, Brian, if the TTB could provide text that does not encourage thujone-hyping.

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fwiw from the peanut gallery:

 

First off, Alan's avatar pic is the best: he looks like he's having fun on a sailboat, chilling with a bit of the best stuff and feeling the cool breeze. His other pursuits aside, this lends him a certain credibility.

 

Secondly regarding avatar pics, the row of impressive books and tasteful tile behind Brian's well-louched glass speaks of an authoritative nonchalance.

 

gots to get me a meaningful avatar pic, but surely none I could muster will outdo those.

 

 

ANYway, I thought Hiram's answer was very thorough, thoughtful and to the point.

 

My impression is that LTV as it stands currently is not a poorly crafted liquor, it is just an awful absinthe. That they should endeavour to do better is only, uhm, better.

 

[edit]

i strive to be comic relief, you see.

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First off, Alan's avatar pic is the best: he looks like he's having fun on a sailboat, chilling with a bit of the best stuff and feeling the cool breeze. His other pursuits aside, this lends him a certain credibility.

Good to know that I won something here! The sailboat picture was taken off Boracay in the Philippines. Note the subliminal blue background. :pirate:

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Ah yes, Boracay! I thought I recognized that patch of blue water.

 

;) like i've been or will ever get to go sailing in the south pacific ;) but you are looking like you are having a great well deserved time.

:)

I recently tried some Mata Hari. I found it was lesser than Lucid, nowhere near as scrumptious as the sample of Marteau I tried (an actual bottle of which I hope to procure by this weekend caloo calay :yahoo: ) and it reminded me a bit of LTV: when mixed with chilled water and sugar a pleasant enough drink, but absinthe missing waaay too much of the anise flavor, instead presenting a 'chewed cinnamon gum' primary note as noted by one reviewer.

 

Even so, Mata Hari bills itself as 'Bohemian Style', so there is some basis for knowing it is some kind of variant. Also, it is less expensive han LTV.

 

My thought, which is only mine and so largely meaningless, but this is the internet so it is important to articulate fully one's thoughts :laf: <-- stop that... my thought is that the combination of changed marketing pitch and more 'in tune' flavoring would bring LTV into line as an alternative to Lucid and edge out Pernod aux E-trades Plaints Whatevaire which is overpriced and really harsh. It would take LTV significant reworking to rise above that slot.

 

It seems like it has already wedged its way onto the majority of shelves-- basically, if I can find it most places in Maryland, it is likely everywhere-- and if they come up with something not so bad for fitty bux, that's kewl.

 

Also, having fully articulated that, is it out of the question to articulate that it is looking like with the advent of Marteau Absinthe de la* Belle Epoque, Pacifique, Vieux Carre, Leopold Bros and Delaware Phoenix offerings, not to mention St. George, that the good ol' U.S. of A. is an absinthe force to be reckoned with?

 

*pardon moi

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I think its pretty nice to see that Minott is making an effort to act on our feedback in whatever ways are do-able in their budget/vision.

 

While a spirit does not have to be comprised of the top quality ingredients to be called Absinthe, I do agree that the marketing should be honest and that the product should not stray too far from the types of ingredients/flavors that are traditional.

 

I like how the color was changed appropriately; albeit artificial still. It looked like the color of 'Hill's' before. I like the bottle they chose to present the drink in... If they took out the Eucalyptus flavor and the price point was in the $30-40 range I would be inclined to try it. If it remains around $50, I don't see any reason to go with it over the locally available Vieux Carre for 54.99. (which I think is excellent and a great value)

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