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Gwydion Stone

Absinthe Scoring System Discussion

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True.

One could clearly see that they loved what they're doing, no doubt. They ought to use fennel though! Their liqureur d'anis is very nice and they know what they're doing. They just need to work on their absinthe. If Peter or anyone here can convince them to either make another one to go alongside with the regular Guy or to make modifications on the Guy that would be just perfect. However I doubt that would happen. After all he sees the Guy as a competition winner over and over and...

 

So, better to move on to other distilleries where they are willing to listen and learn. And that is happening. Consider what absinth-guide.de did and what doors that opens. Apart from the Eichelberger I got a sample of a blanche from Deep Forest. I believe it was a first run of a little experiment... It is very nice! Needs some work and modifications to be as clean as the Eichelberger he did but it's defintely not flawed. If he manages to go commercial we have come a long way.

 

That said I know there are still many people who could take even further. I'd love to see that happen and I would (and try to) do all in my powers to somehow make that happen.

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On the HG vs CO review topic, it all depends on what you believe is the purpose of judging and reviewing absinthe and who is qualified to do it.

That's an important point. If reviews are intended as a guideline for clueless newbies, it's not really helpful to call all CO crap. If reviews are intended as some kind of status of where we are now, it'll be perfectly OK to say that this or that clandestine, artisanal absinthe is so much better than any CO the reviewer has ever tasted.

 

But no matter how high the bar is set for an absinthe to be top notch, it still makes sense to compare brands of a lesser quality too. Things doesn't suddenly turn into crap, just because you've tried something better. No amazing, ballz-tripping HG can change the fact that F. Guy or Un Emile are better than Deva or Lasala, and that those on the other hand are better than King of Spirits.

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On the HG vs CO review topic, it all depends on what you believe is the purpose of judging and reviewing absinthe and who is qualified to do it.

That's an important point. If reviews are intended as a guideline for clueless newbies, it's not really helpful to call all CO crap..

It's also not helpful to have clueless newbies DOING the reviewing. I know that sounds elitist, but in my opinion a certain knowledge of the craftsmanship involved in the product can really expand the perceptive abilities of one's palate.

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FWIW, It also sounds to me that it's time for a quarterly publication called Absinthe Review. I'd pay for a subscription and even contribute to articles.

 

As I am already a small press literary publisher, I might be willing to take that up. There are many articles that could appear in print (even under pen names) that might not appear on the internet for obvious reasons if the subscribership was limited to producers and those who are known.

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It's also not helpful to have clueless newbies DOING the reviewing.  I know that sounds elitist, but in my opinion a certain knowledge of the craftsmanship involved in the product can really expand the perceptive abilities of one's palate.

Agreed. Of course it sounds elitist, and it is, but nothing wrong with that. Education is about clueless noobs realizing that they are just that and therefore asking elitist bastards for advice. I wouldn't take advice on different recordings of Beethoven's 9th from someone who only knows Ode an der Freude from a pan pipe version in a shopping mall.

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I agree with that as well. I am (almost?) not a noob anymore, but I still would not attempt to do a review on my own. I can tell you that I like something, but I could'nt clearly state why( and vice versa). I had the pleasure of tasting many different CO's with Andrew T. last night. After sitting and talking with someone who has experience(gained through doing the same with others on this board) I feel alot better about it. By the way, we did a great side by side with the old and new Montmartre. I will be posting pics and reviews soon.

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:drunk: The thought of a publication that dispells the misinformation that has followed Absinthe for so long sounds pretty good to me. I'm quite sure those of the Absinthe illuminate would be chomping at the bit to enlighten the masses or maybe not. This could also be a good venue for those who have collectibles for sale.

 

As for reviewing Absinthe, I feel that this concept is the same as wine tasting and a period of instruction is neccessary for the reviewer to be able to judge with a degree of accuracy. I know I can't describe what I'm tasting other than the anise. I can detect the other nuances but I can't name them.

 

As member that is interested in history, I would be content to read stories of Absinthe that I know are stored deep in the confines of the www and members of these boards.

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FWIW, It also sounds to me that it's time for a quarterly publication called Absinthe Review. I'd pay for a subscription and even contribute to articles.

 

As I am already a small press literary publisher, I might be willing to take that up. There are many articles that could appear in print (even under pen names) that might not appear on the internet for obvious reasons if the subscribership was limited to producers and those who are known.

Always the capitalist. :devil:

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It's also not helpful to have clueless newbies DOING the reviewing.  I know that sounds elitist, but in my opinion a certain knowledge of the craftsmanship involved in the product can really expand the perceptive abilities of one's palate.

Agreed. Of course it sounds elitist, and it is, but nothing wrong with that...

I don't think it's elitist. Elitism is so often used as a handy accusation against anyone who proposes any sort of standards.

 

It's just common sense that some people are more qualified than others to judge absinthe (or wine, or cigars, or single malt Scotch...). That doesn't mean that no one else can do it, but it obviously won't be as meaningful.

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Always the capitalist

 

I don't profit from literary publishing and a very limited subscribership of the kind of journal being discussed here wouuld probably barely pay for itself. Hardly "capitalist."

 

 

 

 

Though, in a sense, we could all profit from shared knowledge and experience.

 

 

 

Theoritically

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Hopefully but, as a known anti-capitalist, people are quick to accuse. No capitalist in their right mind would do literary publishing and I don't qualify on either count.

 

Anyway if a select few are interested in such a project, it might prove worthwhile.

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So, back to this idea of a review (maybe a twice a year deal) -- anyone whating to send articles can send them to P.O. 11417 Norfolk, VA 23517. Suggestions for what to call it . . . pm me.

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At this weekend's Green Hour, some of you might have noticed the scoresheets and pens I brought. I intentionally didn't highlight this much, just letting folks sort of discover them for themselves and play around with them. I did notice a few folks using the sheets (more earlier in the evening than later).

 

I'm not necessarily sold on this specific scoring system being "the" right system yet, but I still think it holds potential, as well as value. Here is the system as distributed at the GH:

 

1. Color

E = Artificial

D = Weak or broken color

C = Correct, but thin

B = Blanche

A = Fully developed natural color

 

2. Aroma (pre-louche)

0 = Wrong and inappropriate

1 = None, or very weak

2 = Unbalanced, comical

3 = Correct, but not quite there

4 = Well formed, balanced, complex

 

3. Louche

0 = None

1 = Very slight and/or slow to form

2 = Too Weak/Strong or inappropriate

3 = Correct, but not quite there

4 = Well formed, deep, well coloured

 

4. Taste

0 = Hideous

1 = Inappropriate, unbalanced

2 = Appropriate, but weak

3 = Acceptable, average

4 = Correct, but not quite there

5 = Well balanced, rich, complex

 

5. Aftertaste

0 = Recedes quickly, if not instantly

1 = Present, but not remarkable

2 = Lingers and develops

 

6. Overall

0 = Unacceptable, worthless

1 = Barely acceptable, needs help

2 = Unimpressed, forgettable

3 = Acceptable, average

4 = Enticing, shows promise

5 = I'll have another thank you.

 

I'd appreciate any comments from folks who actually tried to use it Saturday, but I think the best way to validate and improve upon it, would be to actually plan a rather small gathering (5+ people) to actually attempt to specifically use the scoresheets and attempt to do a blind scoring of three or four different brands.

 

Perhaps we could even use this as one of the "mini" gatherings that Hiram has mentioned (or a "planned event" within one of them)?

 

-Robert

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That's a good idea. Several (six?) forms were left behind, somewhat legible.

 

The only thing I noticed that might need to be accounted for is on Aftertaste, 2 = Lingers and develops. Depending on Taste, lingering and developing may or may not be a good thing. A possibility might be to change this section to Mouthfeel, which is largely a matter of aftertaste anyway. Maybe I'm splitting hairs.

 

"Comical" is a good descriptor, and I don't mean that in a humorous way.

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If a regular tasting group did start getting together and filling out forms like these, I would be interested to see the results posted. Is there a way that a form such as the one described could be posted in this forum so that we could simply log on and fill it out "online"? Then we could keep tabs on the "top of the charts".

However, my other half thinks that these forms must be read with a grain ( a spoonful?) of salt. Those numbers that you see at the wine store (Wine spectator?) always lead me wrong, some wine that gets a "92" tastes like swill, while I might thoroughly enjoy an "80".

Also doesn't it take something away from what makes Absinthe so special, once you start graphing the results.

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Edit button.

 

In the hands of someone with a lot of experience and knowledge about absinthe, a scoring system can be a valuable tool. Even otherwise, after enough scores are tabulated, it provides a good barometer of public opinion.

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I would be interested in looking over the completed forms. As for a local group, maybe one will form in the near future. Reading reviews while tasting helps me get some sort of grasp of what to look for and compare. Everyone has an opinion. It would be nice if mine were a bit more informed.

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Drinkboy, I like the scoring concept. Reminds me of my own crude suggestion last May:

 

Online scoring thread

 

I would add another refinement: add a weight to the individual scores based on the WS group/status level. Or perhaps compare the scoring by group/status or in some sort of stratified way to contrast newbie vs. connoisseur.

 

Yikes! It is sounding too complicated again...

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Scoring and grading are so subjective. I like the idea of both. The number plus comments for each area. Status in the WS is exactly that and should be taken into consideration. IMHO

 

:)

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