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Absinthe Ben

The Rebirth of Alandia

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This is great. I ordered from Alandia once, and it went fine. They had a huge selection but always seemed a bit "Czechsinthy" to me. I'm going to check the new site out as soon as I post this!

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If absinthe tasted exactly the same but had zero alcohol content (and all the accompanying effects that come with consuming alcohol), how many of us would still be as excited about it and be willing to pay $60 or $80 a bottle for it?

 

If it had zero alcohol content, it would not be Absinthe. Kind of a pointless argument. Right?

 

but in fairness, it's not the flavor that people are exclusively buying -- not even the WS members.

 

You may be surprised to find that there are folks who do not see it that way.

IMHO, the so called "effects" of Absinthe are highly overrated.

Like someone said a long time ago. At first you check it out for the buzz but end up sticking around for the flavor.

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Meh it's not all bad, I would consider purchasing the TARN Triple pack with a bottle of Clandestine thrown on top to qualify for the free shipping. Kudos to Mike for wanting to change for the better. :cheers:

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...propugating the myths that unscrupulous producers in the 1990's began.

 

Remember, the effects that were spoken about prior to the bans were not the same thing that we've seen since the 1990's. Magnan's claims were of epileptic fits and siezures as well as uncontrollable bowels. Sound recreational to you?

I have to disagree on this one point. It isn't like there was no implication before the bans that absinthe had special effects, or that this reputation was an invention of modern marketing. Oscar Wilde, at the very least, was responsible for at least two famous quotes that made outright claims of enhanced perception and even mild hallucinations.

 

Also, the fact that absinthe was so strongly embraced by many famous artists who extolled its virtues to the exclusion of other liquors created a general perception that the drink enhanced creativity in some special way.

 

Poor old Phil Baker's much-hated book did a good job of addressing at least this idea. He describes the gulf between the genuine artistic geniuses who would have created great works no matter what they drank, but who happened to love absinthe, and the generation of mediocre poets and painters who then desperately guzzled absinthe by the liter in the hopes of a visionary breakthrough. The latter group tended to write and paint works about absinthe, passing along the notion that it was in some way tied to inspiration and artistic vision.

 

From this group come, for example, the paintings well known to this group but which I find quite mediocre, of the tortured artists with ghostly green fairies sitting at their table or literally pushing inspiration into their heads.

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I have to disagree on this one point. It isn't like there was no implication before the bans that absinthe had special effects, or that this reputation was an invention of modern marketing. Oscar Wilde, at the very least, was responsible for at least two famous quotes that made outright claims of enhanced perception and even mild hallucinations

I disagree with your disagreement for several reasons:

 

1) Most any alcohol created by man has been written about in the same manner by poets, philosophers, etc for millenia. Yet it seems like only those who drink absinthe take it seriously. Just a few examples:

 

"Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary insanity." - Seneca

 

"Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off.” - Raymond Chandler

 

"Now tequila may be the favoured beverage of outlaws but that doesn't mean it gives them preferential treatment. In fact, tequila probably has betrayed as many outlaws as has the central nervous system and dissatisfied wives. Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” - Tom Robbins

 

“A horrid alcoholic explosion scatters all my good intentions like bits of limbs and clothes over the doorsteps and into the saloon bars of the tawdriest pubs” - Dylan Thomas

 

“Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.” - Aristophanes

 

“The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently, and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken” - Homer

2) RE: Oscar Wilde, if you're talking about the now famous 'tulips' passage, he never actually wrote that. It was written decades later, by a different author who assigned that quote to him, which I'm sure you know about.

 

There have been many liquid muses throughout history. The Belle Epoque was absinthe's turn. There's obviously something hypnotic about the louching process, which might have made it more exaggerated than some others, but it's still the same premise that authors have fallen back on in every culture at some point in time.

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I see your point, but in fairness, it's not the flavor that people are exclusively buying -- not even the WS members. If absinthe tasted exactly the same but had zero alcohol content (and all the accompanying effects that come with consuming alcohol), how many of us would still be as excited about it and be willing to pay $60 or $80 a bottle for it?

If absinthe magically didn't cause me any alcoholic effect I'd be just as enthusiastic about it as I am now. If you can get sufficiently drunk off a $6 bottle of vodka, then a $60 bottle of absinthe is worth $54 more just for the flavour. Even if getting a buzz is part of your love of absinthe it's got to be a tremendously minor concern to spend that much money on it.

 

Unless you're expecting something beyond that.

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The only flaw I see now is that it's still freakin' expensive

 

as a consumer, pricing seems way out of line

 

Yes, the prices are a bit higher to make up for the free shipping offer, admittedly. But assuming you order enough to qualify it's really not bad at all.

 

Doesn't seem so outrageous anymore, eh?

 

You're right, in the case of the Eich. When I first looked at this, I looked at the E. Pernot products, which still look high to me. Also, in your example, you're comparing pomegranates to persimmons. The way to fairly compare these two transactions is to compare a same value purchase from LdF to Alandia.FM. In that example, LdF is much closer to AFM in terms of delivered price per bottle (for the Eichs). The bottom line is that they (AFM) might be an economically viable source... just do your homework.

 

 

Yes, the prices are a bit higher to make up for the free shipping offer, admittedly.

 

Then that's not free shipping, now is it? Unlike DUNY which offers true free shipping.

 

There is no "true free shipping". If you have to buy something, the shipping is included in the price. If you don't believe me, call DUNY and ask them to ship you an empty three bottle box!

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We will be watching and analyzing the sales trends very carefully before toning it down further, but it will come eventually.

 

We are setting up a rough timeline of where we want to be and how quickly things can progress without causing a plummet in sales.

 

We are pondering the idea of, for instance, a Duplais mini with any order over $75.

 

Do you have any other ideas we could implement, Joe? :) Any feedback would be helpful, my friend.

 

But for the most part, let's try to keep the focus on Absinthe.FM, as its progress over the months will dictate how quickly we can move on to other things like Alandia.

 

All this "we" has had me wondering from early in this conversation... Ben, do you have some kind of fiduciary relationship to any of the Alandia sites? I think it's a fair question.

 

...I would consider purchasing the TARN Triple pack with a bottle of Clandestine thrown on top to qualify for the free shipping. Kudos to Mike for wanting to change for the better. :cheers:

 

This, also, heightened my curiosity.

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If it had zero alcohol content, it would not be Absinthe. Kind of a pointless argument. Right?

Apparently not, since that's the one sentence out of my various comments that has generated the most discussion (and disagreement).

 

but in fairness, it's not the flavor that people are exclusively buying -- not even the WS members.

 

You may be surprised to find that there are folks who do not see it that way.

IMHO, the so called "effects" of Absinthe are highly overrated.

Like someone said a long time ago. At first you check it out for the buzz but end up sticking around for the flavor.

 

First of all, I feel the need to point out that I said it's not the flavor exclusively that people are buying -- I never said that flavor wasn't a primary factor. Secondly, you yourself turned around and said that people initially check it out "for the buzz", which is essentially helping to prove the very point I was making.

 

As to thujone vs. wormwood, Boggy, I think you may have misunderstood me. My argument mirrors exactly what you just said -- they are in no way the same thing. Therefore, Alandia's choice to market certain absinthes as having a "high wormwood content" should not be generating the same kind of hostility that their previous marketing of "high thujone content" did.

 

Also, absinthe may not have a much higher ABV after loucheing than the average glass of wine, but the strength of the drink is truly in the hands of the person adding water. (And Brian, to answer your question, I tend to add about 4 parts water to 1 part absinthe, on average). In addition, the effect of the alcohol in absinthe (especially in how it differs from the effects of other alcohols) is substantial enough to refer to it as an "effect", but I realize that other people may have different experiences with that. In my case, it doesn't make me drunk quickly, but I do feel it take hold faster than an equivalent ABV glass of wine or whiskey does for me, and it doesn't make me sleepy like most other alcohols do.

 

Lastly, I'm very surprised how many of you are claiming that you'd be just as enamored of absinthe if it were non-alcoholic. Given that, at least outside of this forum, the sales of non-alcoholic beverages is a tiny fraction of what the alcoholic originals are (in spite of some having a very good taste), that makes me wonder how a $60 or $80 bottle of non-alcholic absinthe with great flavor would actually sell amongst the members here -- perhaps better than I think.

 

But I digress. I'll end by saying that if I can bring Boggy and Brian into agreement on anything, I feel that my work is done here :cheers:

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We will be watching and analyzing the sales trends very carefully before toning it down further, but it will come eventually.

 

We are setting up a rough timeline of where we want to be and how quickly things can progress without causing a plummet in sales.

 

We are pondering the idea of, for instance, a Duplais mini with any order over $75.

 

Do you have any other ideas we could implement, Joe? :) Any feedback would be helpful, my friend.

 

But for the most part, let's try to keep the focus on Absinthe.FM, as its progress over the months will dictate how quickly we can move on to other things like Alandia.

 

All this "we" has had me wondering from early in this conversation... Ben, do you have some kind of fiduciary relationship to any of the Alandia sites? I think it's a fair question.

 

...I would consider purchasing the TARN Triple pack with a bottle of Clandestine thrown on top to qualify for the free shipping. Kudos to Mike for wanting to change for the better. :cheers:

 

This, also, heightened my curiosity.

 

I have to say I'm saddened that my integrity would be questioned so easily...

 

I am neither employed nor have any sort of affiliation with Alandia. If I did, I wouldn't have put all that work into the survey (will be taken annually), which was passed to ALL vendors to help them improve. I also keep in contact with Kamal on a regular basis to give feedback, discuss upcoming absinthe, etc for DUNY. What else would I say other than "we" when Mike and I are collaborating on improvements? I suppose I could say "Mike and I", but that would be a little tedious...

 

Mike asked if I wanted to create a custom pack that included some of my top choices from their selection, so I took him up on it, yes. I think it should help some new customers looking for an introduction to absinthe.

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Lastly, I'm very surprised how many of you are claiming that you'd be just as enamored of absinthe if it were non-alcoholic. Given that, at least outside of this forum, the sales of non-alcoholic beverages is a tiny fraction of what the alcoholic originals are (in spite of some having a very good taste), that makes me wonder how a $60 or $80 bottle of non-alcholic absinthe with great flavor would actually sell amongst the members here -- perhaps better than I think.

What do you mean, exactly? Like non-alcoholic beer and wine? Near-beer is fermented like any other beer and then has the alcohol mostly, but not entirely removed. The result is generally horrid and doesn't taste like beer. But the fact that it's even possible is because it's a fermented beverage. Same is true for near-wine. Absinthe is a distilled beverage, and thus a completely different beast.

 

Let's get something perfectly straight. Absinthe cannot be made without alcohol. It's not just something that's there to give you a buzz. You literally could not make something that tastes the same without the alcohol because that is what locks in that intense flavour. I've had absinthe that was not properly sealed and thus had much of the alcohol evaporate out of it, and it was disgusting (specifically it was the dregs of a sample of preban Pernod Fils). I've also had whiskey that suffered the same fate, and gin. It's always terrible.

 

I have to say I'm saddened that my integrity would be questioned so easily...

Don't be saddened. It was a perfectly fair and reasonable question. There isn't a member of WS who wouldn't be asked about it if it seemed at all like they might be shilling for Alandia.

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I have to say I'm saddened that my integrity would be questioned so easily...

Diplomats quite often face this issue. Look at this positively: you are in line for this year's Ban Ki-moon award for absinthe diplomacy (and I don't believe that Brian is eligible to win it two years' running ...)

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My musing about "non-alcoholic absinthe" was just a hypothetical to express my amazement that so many people here all but completely dismiss the alcohol content of absinthe as a reason for drinking it, but yes, you're correct in that I should have phrased it as a "non-alcoholic absinthe substitute" since it technically couldn't be absinthe. Such a thing sounds nasty (and probably would be), but in a decade or ten, with enough testing and trial and error, it might be possible that a convincing non-alcoholic liquid could be concocted that tasted like absinthe.

 

In fact, you probably wouldn't be able to light it on fire, so who knows -- maybe it will end up being WS' secret weapon against Czechsinthe in the 22nd century. Of course, by then their sugar & burn might actually be a bona fide alternate tradition after 100 years of practice, and there'd be little left to fight over on that particular front.

 

Damn. Mutually Assured Destruction would has us at a stalemate. :devil:

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Most any alcohol created by man has been written about in the same manner by poets, philosophers, etc for millenia. Yet it seems like only those who drink absinthe take it seriously.

Exactly. Most of your quotes about alcohol as a liquid muse are in reference to alcohol in general. Absinthe, on the other hand, has been singled out, not just by those who drink it, but through rumor by society at large, as having more effect on one's "vision" in the sense of perception, than other drinks. And people have taken this idea seriously, where as when similar things have been written about other drinks, it is understood to be hyperbole or metaphor.

 

Besides, my point, which you say you disagree with, is not that absinthe has been perceived as being special or infamous, (which seems self evident to me) but that absinthe had its reputation for having a unique effect on one's perception during the Belle Époque, and that this was not an invention of marketing in the 1990s.

 

The modern marketing guys were capitalizing on an existing belief that began back in the day, as evidenced in the aforementioned paintings by the absinthe-inspiration believers, of magical green fairies putting visions in men's heads. Or by Oscar Wilde's quote: "After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world."

 

This idea can also be found in the many works of lesser writers of the period, scribbling in bistros about the special vision they expected from the green fairy. Even if you truly see no difference between this belief and the way people think about tequila or wine, my point stands that they took this idea seriously about absinthe during its heyday, and it is not an idea created out of whole cloth by advertisers in the modern era.

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Alandia's choice to market certain absinthes as having a "high wormwood content" should not be generating the same kind of hostility that their previous marketing of "high thujone content" did.

Exactly.

I can bring Boggy and Brian into agreement on anything, I feel that my work is done here :cheers:

:devil:

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Seeing Strong 68 as #1 bestseller is scary enough. Of all the absinthe I've tasted, well, anyone want a bottle? Because I'll never touch it again. Hmm, think it might work as weed killer?

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I have to say I'm saddened that my integrity would be questioned so easily...

 

I am neither employed nor have any sort of affiliation with Alandia.

 

And I'm glad that's the answer. Like I said when I asked the question, I think it was a fair one. Believe me, Ben, I originally typed it with the trepidation that it could be taken that way. I thought about it hard, and concluded that it was a fact that needed to be transparent in this conversation. All the "we" statements just kept impressing me as awfully possessive. It's understandable, since you obviously have a great deal of personal investment in this, and have reason to be proud of the outcome.

 

So actually Mike is "watching and analyzing", "setting up a rough timeline", "pondering the idea", etc.. You are the lobbyist.

 

Ben, sorry if this caused you any personal discomfort. I think you know I like and admire you and the work you do. Frankly, I think your position in this conversation is actually enhanced by this issue being perfectly clear.

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Wow. I wish I would have gotten the same resounding support when I declared my allegiances!

 

Seriously though, Ben, I'm really glad you've spent this time with Alandia. I think it will do nothing but help improve absinthe education throughout the US. I look forward to seeing all of the other improvements that come down the pipe.

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Wow. I wish I would have gotten the same resounding support when I declared my allegiences!

You might have got more support if you had written "allegiances" correctly ...

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As long as it's not the spell Czech button.

 

All that thujone might make your spelling even worse, leaving you bitter and twisted. :devil:

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had much of the alcohol evaporate out of it ... I've also had whiskey that suffered the same fate, and gin. It's always terrible.

 

I once had a bottle of Bacardi that "aged" with a cracked lid for about 5 years. It was really tasty and smooth (actually improved). I drank half the bottle straight then sinked the rest. I've moved on to gins and genevers (and absinthe!) but I keep 1 of these around for the tastiest Rum & Cokes you can imagine.

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Steve, That Cruzan Black Strap also makes a delicious float on top of a lot of tiki drinks where, for example, overproof demarara rum is called for in the recipe. Like the overproof, the Black Strap's flavor makes it a bit too intense to use as a primary ingredient in most rum drinks, but as a float on top, WOW.

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I keep 1 of these around for the tastiest Rum & Cokes you can imagine.

 

Ah, nice. I haven't tried that rum yet but I do like a tasty rum & coke, so I'll give this one a spin.

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Ben, I agree with everything that FPB has written, and truly, you're only slip if you can call it that, was your overuse of the "we", onacuz of your commendable, unbridled enthusiasm. And, also truly, look at the SHIT Brian gets, the SHIT Alan gets, when (amongst a certain crowd) there are even the remotest hints that something might be amiss with their pov. If you're gonna be an evangelist, be prepared for the flaming bibles.

 

And all this bullshit about non-alcoholic booze is just that, bullshit. People, throughout the history of mankind, drink alcohol because it makes you drunk. Like I've said before, if it does other things (and some DOES do other things, demonstrably), well that's just frosting on the cake. OTOH, I eat my frosting first!

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Ben, do you have some kind of fiduciary relationship to any of the Alandia sites? I think it's a fair question.

 

 

I have to say I'm saddened that my integrity would be questioned so easily...

 

I am neither employed nor have any sort of affiliation with Alandia.

 

And I'm glad that's the answer.

 

I know we all only know each other so well, but believe me, I don't question the integrity of people (especially those whom I respect) without information. I asked the question in as neutral a way as I could think of, to get the information, and I accept the answer as being the truth. If the answer had been "Well now that you ask, I do own a third of Absinthe.FM", well that would be the point at which I would begin to question the other character's integrity. At this point I was only vetting. And truly, I'm glad the answer was what it was.

 

 

...look at the SHIT Brian gets, the SHIT Alan gets, when (amongst a certain crowd) there are even the remotest hints that something might be amiss with their pov. If you're gonna be an evangelist, be prepared for the flaming bibles.

 

And I believe at some point in the LTV conversation, Brian was asked (in fact, if I remember correctly, accused of an improper interest) about his relationship to LTV and other brands. I don't think flaming bibles are ever called for.

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So let's see if you get people giving you shit for being 'too gentle and rah rah' with them now. ;)

 

Wow. I wish I would have gotten the same resounding support when I declared my allegiances!

 

I guess it was something I said. ;) I really did mean this;

 

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.

 

I think maybe we need a date night. A couple of absinthes, soft music and candlelight. I think you'll see I'm not such a bad guy!

 

I look forward to seeing all of the other improvements that come down the pipe.

 

There is this glaring need in the Absinthe.FM FAQ still;

 

Which Absinthe has the most thujon / best Absinthe effect?

 

Absinthe Strong68

 

I've had a shitty day.

 

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