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PTAaron

Planning a tasting/party ...

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Okay I am having 2 friends over that are both interested in trying some absinthe. I thought it would be fun to give them a "tour" of what I have - but I'm not really sure what the best way to do it is. Maybe it is a dumb question, and I am probably over thinking it... ;)

 

Here was my plan: Pour 4 different types for them to try... dividing up one glass of each between the 3 of us. I was going to probably "show them" Kübler, Mansinthe, Obsello, and Pacifique ... leaving out Lucid, Absente, and Grande Absente. I think it would give them an idea of what absinthe is and the various ways it could taste... the Mansinthe fitting more into the idea that many people have in their heads when they think of absinthe (without knowing anything else about it) with the stronger anise flavor, Kübler being also rather strong on the anise, and the other 2 being much more balanced. We were going to have dark chocolate and things of that nature to go along - possibly a dark chocolate fondue/dip.

 

What is the best way to do the tasting order for absinthes? I know when I did a sampler of congnacs in Las Vegas they recommended starting with the Louis XIII so you could fully enjoy the flavor, and go for the "lesser" stuff later. For wine tasting it is dry to sweet (right?).... so I'm not sure what the best way to approach that is, other than just give them the 2 good ones - but that means less for me down the road ;)

 

I was also considering the cupcake recipe from the current issue of Mutineer as a nice desert.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions? (even if it is that I am overthinking it!)

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Just enjoy and don't think too much! I do a monthly party with 6-8 people, and everyone has their favs.

Avoid crappy stuff, and if you serve a blanche, it would be good to have it first.

 

Good luck! :cheers:

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Sounds like you have it planned out rather well already. Just for fun you should make this a blind tasting party. Go ahead and show them the bottles, but keep what your serving a secret until the end. It would be interesting (for all of us) to see the results of their preferences.

 

I would also throw in some cheeses to snack on (nothing sharp). For me, milk fats are a good palate cleanser.

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I agree 100% on tasting a blanche first.

 

I know when I did a sampler of congnacs in Las Vegas they recommended starting with the Louis XIII so you could fully enjoy the flavor, and go for the "lesser" stuff later.
Interesting. I worked for Remy Martin for a few years and we always recommended building up to have the Louis X111 last so that you could more clearly taste the progression. Maybe Vegas is different.

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thanks for the input so far! I like the blind tasting idea myself. They won't know what is supposed to be "good" anyway, so it wouldn't be too hard!

 

Interesting. I worked for Remy Martin for a few years and we always recommended building up to have the Louis X111 last so that you could more clearly taste the progression. Maybe Vegas is different.

very interesting, and I can totally see how that would make sense. That was kind of what I was thinking ... but when the somalier (probably spelled that wrong) explained his theory it seemed reasonable.

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I've had a few of these, and I've had some success starting with something like Absente (or GA), then working up to Jade Edouard by the 3rd or 4th (small) glass. That way they can taste the distinction between an entry level fake colored star anise oil mix, and some really good stuff.

 

For regular drinking though, I often do the reverse, because after the 3rd or 4th (larger) glass, I can't tell or don't care. ;)

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While talking with my wife about the blind tasting idea she had an interesting thought: throw LTV into the mix and see if they choose that as "the best" since it is "blended for the American palatte" ... While the results would be intersting, I don't know if 1) I want to waste the $5 it will cost to buy a mini bottle of it or 2) I want to subject my friends to that!

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I've found that lesser absinthe ruins it for the good ones you taste later in the same night, imparting "off" flavors, and wrecking one's ability to detect the good qualities. If you start with something great however, a lesser absinthe winds up in the sink quickly enough that you can go back to the good stuff with no ill effects. :closedeyes:

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Tonight is the "big night"...

2 of my friends and one of their wives are going to be doing the "tasting" this evening.

 

To prepare I went up to the Salvation Army and and spent about $9 for a 18 small glasses that look appropriate for the event.

10 look like this: 8dd6b7fd.jpg

(fountain is fogged up because I just finished washing the uranium glass marbles and added them ;))

 

the others have a slightly shorter bowl/longer stem and slightly wider mouth.

 

My wife is making little color coded tags (like wine glass marker thingies - technical term) and little tasting cards so we can get some fun notes on what they think.

 

We will be doing Swiss cheese fondue and dark chocolate fondue with extra dark chocolate pieces to eat as well.

 

Will be serving: Pacifique (no sugar), Obsello (with sugar), Kübler (no sugar), Mansinthe (undecided on sugar), and Lucid (probably no sugar).

 

Plan is to pour each into a proper absinthe glass for the "show" and divide up each sample into the tasting glasses - later they can choose their favorite to enjoy more of.

 

I know I'm overthinking the process, but I just wanted to post up for any other newbies that want ideas :)

 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! :cheers:

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My recommendation is to prepare them all WITHOUT sugar. Then have some simple syrup available for each of them to be able to add it. That way, they can experience it both ways and adjust to their liking.

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Obsello never struck me as an absinthe which required sugar. As a matter of fact, there has only been one absinthe I thought, "Hmm. I might try sugar with that one next time." And then I promptly forgot which brand it was. If you go the sugar route on any of those absinthes, try just half cubes.

 

Edit: Whoops. Brian beat me to it. I'm not going to tell anyone how they should drink their absinthe, or whether or not they should use sugar. But I tend to believe that the producers tweaked their recipes until the exact flavor they wanted got bottled and sent out the door. The anise is sweet, and the properly balanced absinthes have accounted for that. But that's totally my own opinion. I agree with Brian though. Prepare them all sans sucre and then have some simple syrup ready if people want a little sweetener. I know that robs the enjoyment of using your spoons and watching the drip though, so you could prepare each absinthe without sugar first, and then with sugar (for the show). Then have your friends offer up their thoughts. Gives something more to talk about after they've first dissected the glass without.

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Thanks for the input guys.

 

I will do them all without sugar, and give them the chance to add some after.

 

I was going to sweeten the Obsello because I found I liked the taste a little better with sugar - but I also like it sans sugar. I recall reading in one of the reviews on the forum that someone had found it better with sugar when the bottle was new, and better without sugar after it had been opened for a while.

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Looks fab, man! Making me homesick. :3869-sadbanana:

 

That was a good deal on the glasses, by the way. I meant to mention that earlier. Not that you don't already know it, but still. Good job!

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For wine tasting it is dry to sweet (right?)....

 

I know the discussion was about tasting absinthe.... but I learned to "build" the wine tasting from "less bodied" to "full bodied" which usually means going from white to red.....

 

I never participated in an absinthe tasting (which I would love to do sometime), but I think that taste always should go from less to high...... since we "saturate" the budds...

 

and.... I don't think that drinking water will "break" the saturation, since absinhte has already a lot of water..... but maybe a coffee could break, any ideas on this ?

 

Now..... I read and read in this forum about "which food" goes with absinthe... and the general suggestion is chocolate...... I usually do not like chocolate, I like "salty" food, so the suggestion here of a "fondue" is great, although I always enjoyed fondue in my life with wine....

 

When I meet my French friends in France for a wine and cheese night, they are always picky "this cheese goes with this wine" and "that wine with such cheese"... I sincerely don't know how they have all this theory of which cheese matches whatever wine.....

 

but... it seems that we don't have this complication of pairing cheese with absinthe anyway....

 

Cheers,

 

- marcelo

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My struggle with pairings has always been "what absinthe goes with a burnt weenie sandwich and stale chips"

 

So far, only the Czech brands that I've tried.

 

Hope the party went well though. I'm looking forward to the report(s). :cheers:

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Everything went very well last night!

 

We started out the evening with dinner at a Japanese steakhouse - then sat around being overstuffed for a while before we got into the "absinthe portion of the evening"...

 

As far as rating the absinthe: All 5 were mixed 3:1 with ice water from a fountain. I poured/louched 2 full glasses of each, stirred it, then divided it into smaller glasses so each of the 4 of us could have a sample. 2 people picked Mansinthe as their favorite, 1 picked Pacifique. Obsello was rated as Number 2 by 2 people - the other rated Kübler as #2. Only one person wrote the number ratings on their card - so I can't give a final tally for the rest of the votes though - but we did discuss them for a bit before we moved onto the "pig out on chocolate and cheese while playing games on the Wii" portion of the evening.

 

The 2 guys enjoyed all of them, but the 2 ladies (my wife tried each but didn't rate them) both came to the conclusion that they don't like absinthe.

 

I gave everyone "comment cards" to write notes on each of them so we could share afterward. My friend's wife was very descriptive in her comments.

 

A few comments on specific drinks - and "numbers" from the one person that wrote them on the cards (leaving my own out since I was biased coming into the tasting):

 

Lucid - generally agreed to be fairly sweet with a strong anise flavor. "6 out of 10"

 

Mansinthe - "Tastes like a summer day in an herb garden"; "Tongue getting numb. Slightly more bitter. Pungent yet surprisingly smooth given higher alcohol content"; "10 out of 10"

 

Obsello - "less licoricey but still licoricey"; "lemony finish"; "Slightly more bitter than Kübler"; "7/10"

 

Kübler - "watered down version of Lucid"; "Black licorice"; "8.5/10"

 

Pacifique - "A summer day has rained and that is Pacifique" (a comment in the "fresh" aroma and flavor); "Harsher than others with additional lemony flavor" (I think I accidentally made his slightly stronger than the intended 3:1 ratio); "Fairly Sweet"; "7/10"

 

My friend's wife took a lot of great pictures of the evening - I hope to be able to share some of those in the near future when she emails them to me.

Edited by PTAaron

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