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I can't say it enough that many people who criticize the 'salad dressing' flavor of St. George don't notice it at all in blind tastings. It scored higher than many well respected absinthes in the WS blind tasting.

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St. George is utterly unlike any other absinthe I've ever had. The first thing that pops in my head whenever I taste it is "Hey! Big Red Gum!"

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My opinion: It looks like muddy water and has the most departed profile I've tasted yet. Not a fan. But I have a friendgirl down in Austin that loves it.

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Big Red Gum!"

 

I got a hint of that, as well.

 

Sorry, Brian, but that stuff's just odd, and mostly unabsinthe-like, and I'm fairly confident that in a blind tasting I'd come to the same conclusion.

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I can't say it enough that many people who criticize the 'salad dressing' flavor of St. George don't notice it at all in blind tastings. It scored higher than many well respected absinthes in the WS blind tasting.

This may say as much about the protocol or the participants as it does about the absinthe. Living scant minutes from the distillery, I was extremely anxious to love the St. George, and took all my buddies to the first open house. The taste of the product was what what put me off it. Not bad, I've never said it was bad. But it won't satisfy my desire for a glass of absinthe when I'm really in the mood for one.

 

I bought some anyway, for the history of it, and I've since bought more, mostly for sending out samples and doing tastings for friends. But every time I taste it I have the same reaction to it, and I cannot help but believe that neither I nor any of the folks I regularly drink absinthe with would fail to immediately notice the "St.Georgeness" of it in a blind tasting.

 

Of course it will be a little cumbersome to prove this to myself empirically, requiring at least two or three nights of blind tastings at my place with someone else doing the pouring. But I just think the flavor is such a radical departure from what my mouth expects when my brain tell it there's absinthe coming, that I couldn't fail to notice it unless my tongue had already been numbed into oblivion. (not to suggest this is what happens at a WS tasting. I've never been to one. )

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You're both missing my point and making it for me. It doesn't get a bad "wrap" from me, re-read my post. All I'm saying is that it's so different that it's hard to believe nobody picks it up in a blind taste test.

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Im with Brian on this one. I this St. George is exceptional and gets a bad wrap because it dared to be different from the traditional.

I like stuff that's not traditional. To me St. George is very far from exceptional. It's downright medicore. It's not about not having what absinthe should, but rather it's about not having the things that I like about absinthe, like green anise and a detectable amount of wormwood.

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I've mentioned about a million times that I can't drink it. I'm not a fan. But that doesn't dismiss my findings.

 

Many people, across multiple blind tastings, have been vociferous about their dislike of St. George for its basil and other odd flavors. However, none of those issues have been mentioned in any of the comments during the scoring.

 

FYI, St. George was number 7 in the tasting.

 

I'm not doubting you, WBT, as I've been able to pick it up too. What I'm saying is that a large proportion of people who do the tastings say the same thing beforehand.

 

There have been very few people whose blind tasting scores have matched up with their formal posted tasting scores.

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gets a bad wrap because it dared to be different

As it should.

 

Throwing a bunch of your spice rack into the pot is more on the order of radical, not different. I don't personally like it because it's such a departure from the absinthe profile. I also acknowledge that there are people that like it. To my palate, different doesn't necessarily equal good.

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enless the people tasting never tasted it before. It is very distinguishable.

Some of the people that I've done blind tastings with are extremely well versed in tastings, including people from this forum, the FV and TARN.

 

Try doing a formal blind tasting. You'll be surprised at how much your mind tells you what to taste. When you don't know what you're drinking, it changes the game. Many people find themselves second-guessing everything.

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I agree with that as well, but on its own merrit it is good.

Not to me. The first and second batches were drinkable, but not now. The star anise level is just over the top, and the mouthfeel is entirely too thick. If I water it enough to be thin enough to be palatable, it turns way too bland. Just not a fan.

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However, none of those issues have been mentioned in any of the comments during the scoring.

That's shocking to me. I don't expect everyone to dislike the weird ingredients, or to even be able to identify what they are without the ingredient list, but to not be able to taste that something is really, extremely odd is mind blowing. People like what they like and I'll score a weird absinthe high if I like it without hesitation. But how do you not notice it's weird unless you just don't have the taste receptors to detect it?

 

All this is doing is making me question the usefulness of blind tastings.

 

Again, I don't really go "oh basil there!" and I don't know what nettles taste like. I just know it strikes me as weird as hell and my first thought is Big Red.

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That's shocking to me.

It's shocking to everyone until they've participated in a formal blind tasting. ;)

 

All this is doing is making me question the usefulness of blind tastings.

Blind tastings are extremely useful. It really helps to show people that personal biases (including what you expect to taste) play a huge part in the enjoyment of any beverage.

 

If used properly, it can teach people to set aside such biases in order to do formal reviews.

 

The first few times I did them, it was an extremely humbling experience. But those results showed where I needed to improve and how much more practice I needed. Since then, I've been able to develop my palate and put myself into a 'tasting zone'. My blind results now don't differ that much from my formal reviews.

 

I'll give you another example: There was a person over at FV who used to swear up and down that he couldn't drink the Marteau Swiss because of the overpowering 'maple sugar' flavor. One day, I gave them a sample that came out of an unmarked sample bottle. They raved about it and asked if they could have the rest.

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I agree with that as well, but on its own merrit it is good.

 

 

Be that as it may (or more likely, may not), it simply isn't very absinthe-like.

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I don't think you want to start arguing about Scotches. ;)

 

Scotch is Scotch specifically due to the production method, including the ingredients, set forth by The Whisky order of 1990. You can't use Scotch here as an example, because all Scotch is made of the same thing, with differences coming from the amount of peating, the aging process (length and also location), proportion of grain to malt, and the previous use of the Oak barrel, NOT from the use of different ingredients. St. George is not made with the same ingredients as normal absinthe.

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Or we could subcategorize, like you mention with the whisky example, and create a niche inside an already niche market and call them St. George style absinthes? Then anyone else who wants to create a traditional absinthe can do that and then modify it by tossing in some stinging nettle, basil, coriander, white pepper, mugwort, eye of newt, rat tail, etc. They would certainly be more than welcome to. And the folks who like those absinthes would be more than able to purchase them. Or not.

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The difference is that scotch has rules on the ingredients however what about the smoke of peat? I dont think that is something that is listed in the ingredient lists for most scotch. The truth is St' George uses all the ingredients neccisarry to call it an absinthe and then adds different ingredients to make it stand out from the rest as do all brands. Many absinthes list ingredients that arent used in other recipes.

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If that be the case then all the Islay malts arent very scotch like either being that they have a very different profile than other scotches.

 

And each regional French absinthe style during the Belle Epoque had its own distinctive characteristics, as well, but they were all clearly identifiable as absinthe. St. George just strays too far afield, in my opinion, to be so identified.

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I've already addressed the amount of peating. That isn't adding new ingredients. There are plenty of unpeated malts in Scotland too, but they are still Scotch.

 

You can't connect that with absinthe. It's simply a different argument.

 

I don't really understand how this conversation switched from 'I don't like St. George' to "St. George isn't absinthe'. I think we've strayed from the original premise, which was based on indvidual preferences.

 

Simply put, St. George IS absinthe. At least according to the Wormwood Society's Review System. However, it's a very non-traditional absinthe. One that many purists and traditionalists don't like because it's flavor is too much of a departure from what many people look for in absinthe.

 

In that sense, it IS similar to Islay whiskies.

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i agree it taste nothing like traditional absinthe and like it says on the bottle it is more identifiable as a brandy with herbs. But lets not forget that nowhere on the bottle does it say "absinthe traditional" so they are not lying about what it is. So until the laws change on what an absinthe is you can not say it is not absinthe, but we can say it is not absinthe traditional which they are not claiming. And I think we all agree they need to better classify absinthes as they do all other wonderful spirits with strict rules and guidelines that must be followed to label an absinthe within a certain category.

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I don't really understand how this conversation switched from 'I don't like St. George' to "St. George isn't absinthe'. I think we've strayed from the original premise, which was based on indvidual preferences.

 

Simply put, St. George IS absinthe. At least according to the Wormwood Society's Review System. However, it's a very non-traditional absinthe. One that many purists and traditionalists don't like because it's flavor is too much of a departure from what many people look for in absinthe.

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It's absinthe. It just doesn't really taste like it.

 

Even with an Islay malt I can taste the taste of Scotch whisky in it, loud and clear. There are a couple big flavours added but nothing detracted. St. George tastes like it's missing as much as is added.

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Blind tastings are extremely useful. It really helps to show people that personal biases (including what you expect to taste) play a huge part in the enjoyment of any beverage.

 

If used properly, it can teach people to set aside such biases in order to do formal reviews.

I almost can't fathom that at this point. I expect to hate things and love them. I expect to love them and then am bitterly disappointed.

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