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Absinthe Ben

The Rebirth of Alandia

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But there is one absinthe vendor that has really stepped up to the plate the past few weeks and taken a genuine pledge to improve. But this is more than just an empty pledge, serious action has already been taken. Mike Schallehn, owner of the well-known absinthe vendor Alandia, has completely overhauled its US-focused sister site Absinthe.fm.

 

From absinthe.fm:

 

Strong

In this section you will find our strongest. These Absinthes are sold as "Bitterspirituose" in the European Union which means that they have a higher wormwood level. When you are looking for effect, choose one of these brands.

 

without Anise

Welcome to our anise free section. As this ingredient is not part of the recipe, these Absinthes are for those who do not like the licorice flavor. Also recommended for mixed drinks.

 

So, what's new and improved about this? A pork chop by any other name...

 

Meh.

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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.

I know I'm the exception to the rule, but I would like it to be clear that the exceptions exist. I do not drink to get drunk, period. Unless I'm at a tasting (for which I'll go overboard just to try everything I can) or epically pissed off I drink in very small quantities and quit. Even being a little drunk usually causes me vertigo that, thanks to my severe motion sickness, makes me very ill. It used to be a minor thing but it's gotten gradually worse with time, just as my motion sickness has gotten worse with time.

 

So yes, some people drink alcohol purely for the aroma and flavour.

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I remember (not that long ago) when I introduced my first bottle of absinthe, Jade Eduoard, to a couple of friends of mine. They were as impressed with it as I was, and remarked that even if it wasn't alcoholic, they'd probably still drink it.

 

I wont lie and say I wouldn't miss getting a buzz on, but I agree and would definitely still drink absinthe if that were the case.

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I've had a shitty day.

Personally, I couldn't tell. I'm serious--I thought it was a good idea to get everything out in the open, because that's one of the strongest (IMO) things about the "cause" of authentic absinthe: everything is out there for your information, should you want to learn more. Warts and all, even.

 

Also, from my perspective your inquiry to Ben was not harsh, though it's easier to feel that way when one is not the object of inquiry, aka me from the sidelines.

 

In a possibly saccharine take on "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger," I think it might have been better for Ben to experience a straightforward question about such things here, to prepare for the brutal accusations that can happen from fauxsinth proponents. Then again, I don't know what Ben's dealt with as far as accusations are concerned, so this might just be me trying to put a positive spin on things. Well, it is, but you know what I mean. I think. :)

 

If this is starting to sound like Fight Club, I swear it's the friendly kind where your "opponent" is a life-size teddy bear that you try and hug the stuffing out of. :heart:

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(In reply to Marlow): Again, the idea is to gradually tone down the references to "effect" before removing them completely so sales don't drop off too suddenly. All references, no matter how vague, WILL be removed 100% eventually. The "anise-free" section is something I think we can take care of much sooner. I've just shot off an e-mail asking it to be removed.

 

If you have not already, please read through the rest of the thread and I think you'll see that substantial changes have already been made. I made it very clear that while there has been serious progress, it will take some time before we're walkin' on sunshine.

 

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 thought about it hard, and concluded that it was a fact that needed to be transparent in this conversation.

 

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.

 

 

If you're gonna be an evangelist, be prepared for the flaming bibles.

 

 

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.

 

<opinionation mode is off>

 

You know what? After being reminded of all the crap Brian goes through, I feel like a gangsta crying over a paper cut. FPB, you were not out of line, I just over-reacted to a fair question. Maybe I've just been spoiled lately because I haven't been call a snob/elitist/bullshitter for a couple of days. ;) I should have been more clear right from the beginning, absolutely, and being prompted to plainly state I am not affiliated surely has added credibility to this effort.

 

Actually, some credit must be given to Brian here, too. A few days ago he sent me some handy data illustrating some changes in the market that I believe Mike found to be very encouraging. Kudos! :thumbup: Thanks again for the kind words and support!

 

Speedle and Scuto, I agree completely, this'll toughen me up, as I've apparently gotten soft lately. I could be losing my edge, so consider this getting into shape to be a badass again. ;)

 

FPB, thanks for pointing out some loose ends, I will shoot off an e-mail and try to get these resolved. Sorry to hear your day was shitty...a drink or two usually helps me feel better so give that a shot.

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Speedle and Scuto, I agree completely, this'll toughen me up, as I've apparently gotten soft lately. I could be losing my edge, so consider this getting into shape to be a badass again. ;)

Heheh. Well, don't get too tough, now; it's that "soft" side that brought us to care about this drink in the first place, IMO--the two sides together plus diplomacy? Golden combo. :cheers:

 

Edit: What speedle said.

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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;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!

It actually wasn't your post that I was refering to when I mentioned declaring my allegiances. It was something that happened on another forum, where I was directly accused of having a financial interest in one or more companies:
So you'll help anyone, anytime if they're the owner of a brand of booze? Totally indiscriminate? And what qualifies you to give this advice? Being a mouthpiece for WS? Or the fact that brand owners have come to you seeking advice? Maybe having won a cocktail contest?

 

Seems to me that you're busy creating an illusion that your advice is important to the booze industry. I wonder if that importance ever plays a role in investment opportunities or advice.

 

Just for perfect clarification, you have no vested interests with any of the professional, or soon-to-be professional distillers that you sometimes socialize with on the fora or blog-sites.

When I made the declaration:

Absolutely correct. I have no vested interest in anything regarding any spirit brands. I have not invested any money with any beverage firm, current or future, nor have I invested in any distillery, big or small. I do not stand to profit on the success or failure of ANYONE in the beverage industry, absinthe or otherwise. I intend to keep it that way.

 

Several people have approached me with investment opportunities, but for ethical reasons with my job, and to keep my integrity as and unbiased review editor, I have declined them all.

No one even acknowledged that I had made the declaration at all.

 

I do not drink to get drunk, period.
Neither do I. Not only does it take an inordinate (and expensive) amount to do it, I've also never really been interested in being drunk.
This is a good thread. It's amazing how things can improve when we all work together. :cheers:
What's amazing to me is how many people don't get this statement. So many people would rather just be assholes and criticize people for trying to work with the 'enemy' as opposed to allout attacks on them. They'll ignore every bit of evidence that shows that more progress is made doing the former than the latter.

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Drinking not to get drunk is overrated. And in the aforementioned pic Brian is not drinking, but eating some tasty glass of beer, so the reference is invalid.

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I actually didn't get drunk that night either. That was a wonderful night in Bar Ratzkeller in Madrid though. But my moderation is other people's alcohol poisoning. :cheers:

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I'm with Boggy, as ya know, on this one. The whole line of reasoning aggravates me for some reason. And that other guy in the pic looks like he's struggling mightily to keep up with you, BR.

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I doubt it's really possible to separate the enjoyment of drinking from the experience of the effect.

It's like eating to get full. The "point" of eating is to satisfy hunger, and get "full". But of course for most of us, most of the time, it's really about the enjoyment of savoring the various tastes on our plate. At a great restaurant, we regret getting full so quickly because we'd like to keep trying and tasting the foods. At a great bar, I'm incredibly envious of somebody with Brian's physical stature who can just keep drinking all night without getting hammered. I have to ration my drinks so that I can enjoy the taste of as many as possible without getting so drunk that I stop enjoying myself or being able to appreciate what I'm drinking.

 

But at the same time, if there were none of the slow-creeping warmth of intoxication the experience would ( I can only imagine, all of us can only imagine, even Brian) be oddly hollow. Much as you don't want to get too full or too fat when you eat, you can't simply taste your food on your tongue and then spit it out like you were at a wine tasting. You might be able to appreciate something of the artistry of the cuisine, but without actually eating, the enjoyment isn't going to be satisfying.

 

Similarly, I don't think it's possible to hypothesize what it would be like to be able to drink a great scotch that was full and satisfying in every way but had no alcoholic effect. The easy, comfortable numbing and warming of the body begins at the tongue, as soon as you start to sip. Your body recognizes the sensation as well as the flavor, the two are inextricably linked. Even if you can drink two gallons without getting sloshed, that sensation is part of the experience.

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Similarly, I don't think it's possible to hypothesize what it would be like to be able to drink a great scotch that was full and satisfying in every way but had no alcoholic effect.

I disagree. On most occasions, when I have a drink, I have just that, one drink. Sometimes even less than that. Many times, when I'm drinking some of my finer scotches, I might pour half an ounce and sip it for 15 minutes or so. I don't do that to feel any alcoholic effect, but to enjoy the flavor of the scotch.

 

I have many more of those types of experiences than I do of sitting down and killing a bottle or a case, or even of tackling multiple cocktails as opposed to just one.

 

I try to have a lot of the same experience with food, which is why I love tapas so much. You don't eat them to get full, you eat them to enjoy the flavor, and to be able to munch on many tiny little things over the course of a 3-4 hour period.

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And he scores!

 

(that means I totally agree with WBT, for those that might not get the metaphor)

 

Put, by the way, far more eloquently that I could ever manage.

 

But I do want to add one more thing, which is that if you are "tasting" a beverage, like they do when testing whiskey, you're not "drinking". Perhaps this distinction varies by the person, who knows.

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I can't disagree that many people drink for the effect of the alcohol. All I'm saying is that there are some people who have a drink because they like the flavor and don't need to drink enough to feel the alcohol.

 

I guess I'm in the minority, but I expect to be.

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Brian, I think you missed the point. Of course you don't drink to get drunk when you sip on a small glass of scotch, any more than you eat to get full when you sample tapas. And of course you have more nights of small tipples than you have of putting away multiple drinks. That's what I was saying, if you read carefully.

 

My point is that there will never be a satisfying glass of non-alcoholic scotch for the same reason that there will never be a great zero-calorie ham sandwich. The sensation of drinking alcohol, with its numbing, warming effect, is similar to the sensation of ingesting nourishment. Your body recognizes these sensations and it can't be fooled. Even if you only want to sip or nibble in small amounts, the sensation of ingesting real food or real drink is the same.

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If you're talking about what happens in the mouth, then yes, I completely agree. But that's not what I was talking about, and I think it's not what most people here were referring to either.

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Did you read the part of my post where I said I ration my drinks because I don't want to get drunk? Or that I regret getting full when there are more great tastes to try at dinner? What part of that makes you think we're on opposing sides of this question?

 

I don't think you're in the minority at all in not wanting to get hammered when you drink. I think absinthe, in particular, is not the drink of choice for people who do. But without the sensation that only alcohol creates, a "drink" is never going to be truly satisfying. Maybe you're not seeing it as a question of degrees, as I most definitely do.

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If I have enough booze for a mild buzz it makes me unpleasantly dizzy. The dizziness used to begin after I'd had quite a bit but it's gotten worse with time. But it takes more than one glass of absinthe or any other booze for me to feel any of the effects of alcohol entering my bloodstream, so it's no big deal.

 

I'll deal with it if I'm at a tasting. Those are the only times I ever get drunk.

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I'm responding to the ongoing argument in the thread that asks if we'd enjoy absinthe as much if it had zero alcoholic effect. I'm saying it isn't a realistic question, that even those of us who drink for taste alone would not enjoy absinthe-flavored water because drinking even a small amount of the real thing will bring on the start of a warming glow that the body responds to as an integral part of the experience. Without that, our senses will simply not accept it as a glass of absinthe.

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I agree with that point.

 

That's why I rejected the original hypothetical and turned it into a "well, if it was just like it is now but I miraculously couldn't ever get drunk" question to get closer to the intended point. If my body simply didn't react to alcohol after I swallowed it I'd probably drink a lot more of it at a time than I do now.

 

I imagine Brian doesn't feel a damn thing after having one glass of absinthe. It'd be like a mosquito biting a buffalo.

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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;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!

It actually wasn't your post that I was refering to when I mentioned declaring my allegiances. It was something that happened on another forum, where I was directly accused of having a financial interest in one or more companies:
So you'll help anyone, anytime if they're the owner of a brand of booze? Totally indiscriminate? And what qualifies you to give this advice? Being a mouthpiece for WS? Or the fact that brand owners have come to you seeking advice? Maybe having won a cocktail contest?

 

Seems to me that you're busy creating an illusion that your advice is important to the booze industry. I wonder if that importance ever plays a role in investment opportunities or advice.

 

Just for perfect clarification, you have no vested interests with any of the professional, or soon-to-be professional distillers that you sometimes socialize with on the fora or blog-sites.

When I made the declaration:

Absolutely correct. I have no vested interest in anything regarding any spirit brands. I have not invested any money with any beverage firm, current or future, nor have I invested in any distillery, big or small. I do not stand to profit on the success or failure of ANYONE in the beverage industry, absinthe or otherwise. I intend to keep it that way.

 

Several people have approached me with investment opportunities, but for ethical reasons with my job, and to keep my integrity as and unbiased review editor, I have declined them all.

No one even acknowledged that I had made the declaration at all.

 

Brian, I hope you did not take it as a gesture of skepticism when I didn't directly reply to your declaration of non-affiliation. I thought it spoke for itself, and I take you at your word.

 

Again, being aware of some of the crap you go through, I probably should have said something to affirm my confidence that your words are truthful. Hearing this puts the mind at ease, and I'm sorry to say I did nothing to ease your worries that day.

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Brian, I hope you did not take it as a gesture of skepticism when I didn't directly reply to your declaration of non-affiliation. I thought it spoke for itself, and I take you at your word.

Not at all. I was looking for some form of acknowledgement from Jules or PanBuh, who were the people who were attacking me. Their silence shows me that I didn't need to respond because it didn't change their opinion.

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Hey, no fair going back to the original topic! What do you think we are here anyhow? ;)

 

Oh, and BTW I still agree with WBT, even after his clarification. It's part and parcel, and you don't have to be a frat-boy drunkard to see that.

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If my body simply didn't react to alcohol after I swallowed it I'd probably drink a lot more of it at a time than I do now.

To get insanely geeky and reveal myself as a recovering nerd, this calls to mind one of my favorite aspects of the original "Ghost in the Shell" movie, when the major is discussing her cyborg body's ability to metabolize alcohol at will. "We can just sit here knocking them back, while we wait for our orders".

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