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Evan Camomile

Myths vs. Mass Spectrometry.

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I'll be the first to admit it was the history and mystery that drew me to absinthe. And hell, never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

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Story and suggestion are part and parcel of the force (or the Jedi mind trick).

 

I poured a wine tasting this evening, and every time I walk away from one of those things, I'm convinced that if I said, earnestly enough about a particular wine, "I detect a slight hint of taco in this" I could get an agreement from somebody!

 

The whole post, in context, is here.

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This will be part of my Great American Absinthe Festival presentation on Absinthe, Sex, and Psychology. :thumbup:

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This will be part of my Great American Absinthe Festival presentation on Absinthe, Sex, and Psychology. :thumbup:

 

I should have know that was your presentation...

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I should be clear that I am providing none of the above at the presentation.

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It goes both ways...No scientific analysis can be absolutely sure to detect all ingredients in a spirit/liqueur, but someone with a scientific or historical reputation and a few degrees can be just as wrong or intent on marketing profits as those who just work off the myths, and be even more convincing to the public of his certainty...

The safest bet: Taste, compare and choose what YOU enjoy, after all, what's the point?

Edited by pierreverte

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Putiin' on the Ritz? :laugh:

imagesputin-on-the-ritz.jpg

 

 

Pierreverte, I can't entirely disagree with your somewhat jaded assessment about how everyone and everything can be susceptible to the marketing bug. However, assuming data isn't faked or misrepresented, the scientific analysis is going to be far more reliable than a company brochure or tour guide's talking points.

Edited by Jay

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Ah, more like a potluck then. ;)

 

That's right. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, will be the theme.

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However, assuming data isn't faked or misrepresented, the scientific analysis is going to be far more reliable than a company brochure or tour guide's talking points.

 

Of course, theoretically, that is the obvious conclusion.

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But as we've recently seen, and will no doubt see more of soon, you can massage data to say whatever you want it to say. So there's lots of opportunity to be disingenuous, even with scientific data.

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It's easier to do so with an audience who is not wise to experimental methods, proper analysis, what the data should look like, and the shortcomings of a study. I see this comment often used to discredit scientific inquiry and ignore results of experimentation, when the scientific method coupled with appropriate statistical analyses, when properly implemented by ethical researchers, is the best option we have for getting to the truth. I don't believe that's what you're doing here, Brian, but I wanted to mention it because I don't want people to believe that statistical analyses and scientific inquiry are equivalent to claiming something is true "because my Grandma said so."

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But as we've recently seen, and will no doubt see more of soon, you can massage data to say whatever you want it to say. So there's lots of opportunity to be disingenuous, even with scientific data.

Care to share? What's been recently seen and what's coming soon?

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I don't really care to stir the pot, so I won't comment much, but a good example would be the Czecherland producers mysteriously changing their advertised thujone limits without any actual change in the product. Also the use of what used to be considered detrimental effects during the Belle Époque propaganda campaign, which was then twisted around into an advertising ploy during the '90s.

 

We also have seen 'scientific' papers published that had little or no fact in them at all. One of them even made it onto Oxy's site for a short time, until it was actually examined and taken down shortly thereafter.

 

I'm also hearing rumblings about efforts to discredit the US absinthe industry (both domestically made and legally imported) by massaging the thujone info even further. I really hope it doesn't come to that, but the rumor mill seems to be churning more and more info out about it. But since it's only rumor at this point, take it with a grain of salt.

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It's easier to do so with an audience who is not wise to experimental methods, proper analysis, what the data should look like, and the shortcomings of a study.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe this to be one of the main reasons for peer-review? As in peer-reviewed journals.

 

Sure the ad man can twist numbers no one has any relevance towards, and people eat that shit up. But trying to screw with mass-spectrometry data in front of other chemists is an entirely different thing, and unwise.

 

One human can't be an expert on everything, so at points in our lives we must rely on external authority. The trick is in judging who is a good authority, and about which subjects.

 

For truth: I'll take experimental data that is peer-reviewed over some marketing myth or person with a grudge any day.

 

For emotion: Stories always get me going. :devil:

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The trick is in judging who is a good authority, and about which subjects.

 

OR, separating the sugar from the shit.

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Speaking of such, a definition of absinthe is under consideration for the EU. I've seen some suggested amendments from the Czechs.

 

One of them explains that thujone has hallucinogenic properties.

 

One of them suggests a reduction in anise to avoid the "ouzo effect" (louche).

 

Another asks for a rainbow of colors, because that's the way they roll.

 

I'm not sure why they really want thujone reduced, but the other points are all transparent attempts to highjack the definition to favor crapsinthe.

Edited by Artemis

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Thanks for the cheery news. :)

No doubt folks like Ted, CLB, Matter, and other purveyors of good absinthe will fight this, I just hope they can.

If Asbinthe gets a poor definition, it will continue to be dificult to talk with people about absinthe.

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I'm also hearing rumblings about efforts to discredit the US absinthe industry (both domestically made and legally imported) by massaging the thujone info even further.

Is this in reference to how the U.S. limit on the amount of thujone is lower than that of Europe, and as such absinthes marketed on both continents have to be tweaked to be under the 10 ppm to be sold in the U.S.? If so, I think that's a conversation worth having (in a different thread).

 

If it's something different altogether, well... I'll have to wait and see, I suppose.

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That dead horse is on its 3rd or more beating. Pacifique and Ridge make a lie out of that argument. Neither is wormwood shy. I sampled Ridge Blanche back to back with WWB, and there was not difference I could tell, as far as the Aa flavor intensity.

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Of course, one must remember that apparent wormwood flavor intensity in an absinthe, and residual thujone, can be two different animals.

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Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe this to be one of the main reasons for peer-review? As in peer-reviewed journals.

 

That's exactly right. With peer review, you're more likely to catch faked data or overstated claims. That's not to say that it's fool proof, but it's less likely with solid peer review. The author's peers are the general public's "gate keepers" and serve to ensure that the reported results and conclusions are not a load of :poop:.

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