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Brian Robinson

WS 2009 Blind Tasting Results

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I think he was asking about your assertion that the first absinthes were clear.

Actually, I was asking about Melissa Root. Sorry for not being more clear.

 

Pardon me for appearing to be a blowhard but I think you're reading much more maliciousness in my posts than I intend. You've made statements expecting us to take them as fact when it is different than information we believe to be true. Why am I a blowhard for asking you to qualify those statements?

 

Your questions about coloring would suggest your experience in absinthe production is very limited. That's no crime and I think there are a number of people on this Forum that would agree, The Wormwood Society can be very helpful. Perhaps a little less defensive posturing would be helpful for everyone concerned. We have no desire to learn your deep dark secrets or closely guarded recipes.

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Actually, I was asking about Melissa Root. Sorry for not being more clear.

I edited my response to refer to Brian's comment, since he was clearly referring to the "first absinthes being clear" comment.

 

Are we all clear now?!

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since he was clearly referring to the "first absinthes being clear" comment.

 

Are we all clear now?!

 

I think it's a good question. Certainly apothecaries were adding herbs to wine for their medicines, and at some point eau-de-vie may well have have been used in a similar manner. Charteuse began in 1605 and was revised in the 1750's, and it's a colored herbal spirit.

 

Given the history, I would be surprised if the first absinthe medicinal products of the mid-1700's weren't colored. But this is just a conjecture on my part.

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Very interesting results, thank you very much Brian for having compiled, exposed, and commented them.

 

As an additional info to go your way, I'd like to present the results of the latest absinthiades

 

Poduim%20degustations%20Absinthiades%2009.jpg

 

participants

 

Blanches category

 

- KÜBLER 45°

Distillerie KÜBLER – Môtiers - Suisse

 

- UN EMILE 68°

Distillerie Pernot-Deniset — La Cluse et Mijoux (25)

 

- CŒUR D’ABSINTHE PREMIUM (triple distillation) 68°

Distillerie LEMERCIER – Fougerolles (70)

 

- VERSINTHE blanche 57°

Liquoristerie de Provence Venelles (13)

 

- BLANCHE DE FOUGEROLLES 74°

Distillerie Paul Devoille — Fougerolles (70)

 

Colored category

 

- ABSINTHE DES ALPES 55°

Distillerie Routin — Chambéry (73)

 

- VERSINTHE 45°

Liquoristerie de Provence Venelles (13)

 

- LIBERTINE 55°

Distillerie Paul Devoille — Fougerolles (70)

 

- François GUY 45°

Distillerie Guy — Pontarlier (25)

 

- BREVANS 68 °

AbsintheVertrieb Lion - Allemagne

 

- ROQUETTE 1797 75°

Distillerie Pernot-Deniset — La Cluse et Mijoux (25)

 

- FEE XS Française 68°

BBH Spirits — Angleterre

 

- LIBERTINE 68° amer

Distillerie Paul Devoille — Fougerolles (70)

 

(information taken on heureverte.com )

 

So AFAIK the blind tasting process is far less "scientific" than the one used for the blind tasting here, but what strikes me are the score differences between the three juries (professionals, popular, VIP).

 

This, in my humble opinion, asks a good question for an absinthe distiller/producer : do you want to make a product which satisfies expert palates, or do you want to make a largely appreciated product ?

 

In the second case, since most you distillers are also experts, are you the best suited persons to design an absinthe that will sell well (by opposition to a "niche absinthe") ?

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I like the attempt here, this will inspire me to try a few of these brands. However, I know Marteau deserves a higher spot, especially higher than St. George...

 

Interesting though. Personally, I can't form a full opinion unless I've consumed a full glass (unless it is clearly below good quality)

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I'm just curious but I thought the absinthiades only allowed 'distilled' absinthes into the competition and not 'macerations'. Yet Grande Absente was allowed (and did surprisingly well) which I thought was a 'macerate'. Is it purely distilled then?

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Personally, I can't form a full opinion unless I've consumed a full glass/

I’ve often thought about this, as sometimes my first sips are skewed, or perhaps the numbing of a drink may allow my palate to warm up to it after half a glass? Sometimes things taste better the second time around.

 

Either way it’s hard to drink the entire glass for sampling but perhaps not 100% accurate in just a small sip? There is no solid fool-proof solution so I guess we’re doin what we can.

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Personally, I can't form a full opinion unless I've consumed a full glass/
Then I guess tasting events of any kind just aren't in the cards for you. ;)

 

but perhaps not 100% accurate in just a small sip? There is no solid fool-proof solution so I guess we’re doin what we can.

While there isn't any fool-proof method, I think that mirroring the same method that is used industry wide gives us the best chance at getting reliable results.

 

Regarding the 'small sip' statement, each person was given more than an ounce, so there is enough for several sips. I think the biggest issues were time constraints and number of products.

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Personally, I feel my results were skewed just due to the fact that I was so jazzed to be involved. This was my first experience doing something like this and I think I was overly kind, in hindsight. The number of brands involved certainly played a role, though. By the end of the exercise, everyone's tongues were so numb and worn out from the assault of anethol and alcohol that it was becoming a chore. Making a ruling on anything by that point was difficult because your palate is shot.

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Hence my goal of using 10 at the most for the 2010 results.

 

I still really like the idea of combining totals from several different events that have been hosted throughout the country. More results = more accurate scores. As long as we can handle the logistics of making sure each is done under the same strict protocols, it could end up being great.

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I had thought about that option before but never brought it up. It's a feasible option. You're right, though. All the maestros have to be on point with keeping the operation run in the exact same fashion.

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Well, one of the key qualities I look for in quality absinthe is the mouth-feel, which I feel develops through several sips.

 

But you're right about one thing, I would not fare well in a tasting, for any type of alcohol....I can't have just a sip...

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Really? I just did a quick glance over on the main site and found this:

 

FINISH

This refers to the mouth-feel and aftertaste. It should not be excessively tongue-numbing, although some numbing is to be expected. It should be smooth, dryish, slightly bitter, fresh and crisp. A lingering unpleasant bitterness should be penalized.

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I didn't word that very well. IMO, 'Finish' is not the same thing as a separate score for 'mouth-feel'. As you can see, that description talks mainly of flavor in conjunction with the feel.

 

The FV, which has a separate score for mouthfeel, describes it specifically as the feel of the drink on the tongue. They also do not have a separate 'finish' category.

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There were enough in each sample to have more than one sip, but mouth-feel isn't separately scored in the WS system.

 

Emphasis mine. Oops, I didn't see the word separately in there when I replied.

Edited by Phoenix

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Really? I just did a quick glance over on the main site and found this:

 

FINISH

This refers to the mouth-feel and aftertaste. It should not be excessively tongue-numbing, although some numbing is to be expected. It should be smooth, dryish, slightly bitter, fresh and crisp. A lingering unpleasant bitterness should be penalized.

 

And I have never agreed with this one. Mouth-feel occurs while the drink is in your mouth. Finish is the cumulative impression, over time, after swallowing or spitting the beverage. Mouth-feel should be a part of palate or flavor evaluation.

 

If I were "King of the World" and could name review categories, they would be;

 

1. "Appearance Unlouched"

 

2. "Louche"

 

3. "Aroma and Bouquet", or more globally, "Nose"

 

4. "Flavor" or more inclusively, "Palate"

 

5. "Finish"

 

6. "Overall Impression"

Edited by fingerpickinblue

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Mouth-feel occurs while the drink is in your mouth. Finish is the cumulative impression, over time, after swallowing or spitting the beverage. Mouth-feel should be a part of palate or flavor evaluation.

I agree.

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Regarding the 'small sip' statement, each person was given more than an ounce, so there is enough for several sips.

Of course. I didn’t mean it to come off sounding critical. But you are correct, with the sheer number of samples after so long perhaps a sip or two was all that could be taken (I know I’d have had trouble ;) ). By all means, the scoring method and methodology of the tasting events are top notch and I think it’s more about fine-tuning for the best results.

 

Always ready and willing to help in any way, as always Sir! :cheers:

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By the end of the exercise, everyone's tongues were so numb and worn out from the assault of anethol and alcohol that it was becoming a chore. Making a ruling on anything by that point was difficult because your palate is shot.

 

 

Hence my goal of using 10 at the most for the 2010 results.

 

IMHO, you should not attempt to taste more than 5 absinthes during any one session. Even five is pushing it.

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IMHO, you should not attempt to taste more than 5 absinthes during any one session. Even five is pushing it.

I think that doing 10 over a 3 hour period (1 brand every 20 minutes) with help from products like Santasti, it should work just fine. The problem with 5 is that it will be such a myopic view of absinthe brands that it would render the results almost pointless.

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