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Gwydion Stone

Absinthe Scoring System Discussion

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There is "online" scoring, and there is "organized" scoring. Two different things I think. And then there is the "scoring system", which could be used by both.

 

First order of business is to determine if something along the lines of the scoring system I proposed is appropriate, and then to fine-tune it to provide as much value as possible. I -know- that it needs some work, we just need to take the time to refine it.

 

To properly tune the system, it will require a few interested individuals to meet a few times and do blind scoring of a few different absinthes, and then determine if the resulting value is capable of capturing the separations.

 

It would then be possible to officially use the system.

 

One form of usage "might" be for a semi-standard core group to get together and taste/score abinthes, and then post those scores ALONG with comments, notes, observations, on the site.

 

Another interesting form, would be to have an "online" usage, where anybody could post their "scorecard" and "notes" for any listed Absinthe (of course, only one scoring per registered member, no scoring for unregistered folks). These scores could be tallied and averaged... and it might even be interesting to allow readers to "filter" a score based on certain criteria... thus see the "average" score for an absinthe by members with >2,000 posts?... but this could get complicated, if not confusing.

 

-Robert

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I think this system is appropriate and provides different information than the FV 100 point system.

 

To reduce complication I think the online one should be limited to 2-3 groups. A tasters group which would include many of the veterans who have had access to a large number of drinks over the years, a members group for everyone else and possibly a newbies group for people just starting out who would still like to give scored reviews.

 

A group of blind taste testers would be a great idea, it would also be interesting to see just how much knowing the product name affects the score.

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I've done similar things with beer, wine, coffee, etc. and know that knowing the brand can do amazing things to the score.

 

I once hosted a blind coffee tasting with a decent sized group of folks. Some of the data I gathered pre-tasting showed many of them to be anti-Starbucks, saying that they felt it was far too burnt in flavour, and laughed at how so many "unenlightened" drinkers flocked around the product.

 

(you know where this is going)

 

I used several different favorite Seattle coffees, as well as Peets, Gevalia, and a few others from across the nation.

 

I even threw in a dark roast caned coffee as a ringer.

 

Yep. Starbucks won, hands down. When properly made, Starbucks is an excellent coffee.

 

Gevalia was way down the list (no surprise to me), and the canned coffee was at the bottom.

 

I'm sure that if they had known when they were drinking Starbucks, their predisposition to disliking it would have definately coloured their judgement.

 

-Robert

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Among HomeBrewers, there is an oversite group that gives certification testing for judges. The BJCP exam is quite substantial, and takes a good bit of studying to prepare for it.

 

The BJCP also provedes a standard for styles definition, and standardized assessment of aroma and flavors.

 

However, just because someone passed the exam and is BJCP certified does not mean that they are infallable. I once meet a judge that claimed he tasted Diacetyl in every beer in the flight of over 20 beers he judged. Kind of a low probability in my opinion.

 

So, where this leads is to how we weight judges based on experience, etc.

 

Personally, I don't recommend taking my judging too seriously. My sinuses are shot (sleep Apnea) and on a good day I'm lucky to distinguish anise from fennel.

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When properly made, Starbucks is an excellent coffee.

 

If this is so, then it is the fault of all those high-school kids pulling the espresso. It ALWAYS tastes burnt to me and what is more, it is the only coffee that makes my stomach hurt.

 

I like Tully's or Seattle's Best.

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I really need to finish my coffee roaster. They jumped the bag price last night at the Accoustic Coffee House. including a beer it was 16.43. It used to be 15.05

 

Tansanian Peaberry is my favorite right now.

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When properly made, Starbucks is an excellent coffee.

 

If this is so, then it is the fault of all those high-school kids pulling the espresso. It ALWAYS tastes burnt to me and what is more, it is the only coffee that makes my stomach hurt.

 

I like Tully's or Seattle's Best.

Starbucks over-roasts their coffee, and don't clean their equipment nearly enough; which is why you get the burnt taste and high acid.

 

SBC is owned by Starbucks, but IIRC they still maintain their own roasters (they're not using their original Vashon Island roaster anymore, though).

 

I'm not particularly fond of Tully's; though. Their quality seems to variable.

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Back to the score cards, I really thought it was a good idea. I only filled out a couple, but I did try to be accurate in describing my impressions. The small group tastings are a good idea too.

 

Yay Drinkboy! :cheers:

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Maybe a Newbie score sheet? things to look for? tastes to notice?

A suggested first time order list?

 

We are a group of four newbies and from the looks of it there might be 2 -4 others in this area to form a newbie group.

 

We won't always be newbies...............one day ;)

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Yes, even you Absomphe.

 

Mi Hora, there's absinthe purchasing advice for newbies on the site, listed right under the FAQ.

 

I've got to get rid of those frames.

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I should have been more clear. Recommended brands and purchasing advice are to be found by clicking the ABSINTHE PURCHASING ADVICE link on the sidebar, right under the FAQ link.

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1. Color

A = Artificial

B = Blanche

C = Weak or broken color

D = Correct, but thin

E = Fully developed natural color

 

2. Aroma (pre-louche)

0 = Flatly 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 = Weak or otherwise inappropriate

3 = Correct, but not quite there

4 = Well formed, deep, well coloured

 

4. Taste

0 = Hideous

1 = Inappropriate, wrong profile

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.

 

 

Such a scoring system is -not- intended to result in a unique score for each absinthe tasted. Nor is it intended to provide the fine level of granularity that would give a different score from one batch to the next of essentially the same recipe. For example, I would expect that all of the Jade absinthes would get the same score. It would be in the reviewers notes that additional differentiations (if any) would be shared.

 

-Robert

I'm going to bring this one, unless anyone has anything more to add. I'm still reading this long post...

 

Edit: Robert sent his scoresheet to me.

Edited by Jane Avril

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I would suggest a change in the louche category. A good absinthe should not be "deep" in its color. When a properly manufactured absinthe is louched, the color should be opalescent. Not so deep that you cannot see through it. It should be on the foggy side of translucent. A louche that is so thick and deep can be a sign of an overabundance of badiane or waaay too much anise or fennel. I would also add a section regarding the aroma of the absinthe post louche. After louching is when an absinthe really opens up to all the herbal and floral nuances that are the hallmark of a good absinthe.

Edited by Dr. Verte

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I find that strange.

The samples of pre-ban Pernod fils and CF Berger that I have tasted both had a very thick milkshake louche.

Are you saying that these Absinthes which I have considered to be the benchmark were incorrectly made?

 

Maybe some of the people who have tasted a lot of pre-ban could provide some input.

Edited by eric

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I too have had pre-ban samples of both of those you elaborate on and I found their louche to be opalescent, not "milkshake" or overly thick in the least. Of course, the amount of water added will account for the mouthfeel and how "thick" a louche will be.

Edited by Dr. Verte

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I'd have to say I agree with the Dr. The pre-bans I've had all louched fabulously, but were at their best when enough water was added to make them slightly translucent.

 

One of the most common descriptors used for a glass of absinthe was "opalescent" and a chalky, milky-thick louche isn't that. Opalescence has a jewel-like quality and multiple colors dancing in it, greens, blues, even russets.

 

In my opinion a well made absinthe has enough anethol and other oils to get that thick louche, but doesn't open up fully until diluted enough to go a bit translucent.

 

Of course, in the final analysis, it comes down to a matter of taste: whether you like your absinthe strong and less diluted or more mild.

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I agree w/ the part about adding water until it starts to thin out just a bit. I like to prepare it that way as well.

 

In my experience a good pre-ban will get pretty thick before it starts to turn opalescent. I guess it is a question of how thick is too much. I have not tasted enough vintage Absinthe to know for certain. If anyone can send me some free samples, please contact me. :harhar:

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Like food, presentation means alot.

I enjoy reaching an "opalescent" ratio. IMO, it makes for a satisfying experience.

 

:cheers:

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I agree w/ the part about adding water until it starts to thin out just a bit. I like to prepare it that way as well.

 

In my experience a good pre-ban will get pretty thick before it starts to turn opalescent. I guess it is a question of how thick is too much. I have not tasted enough vintage Absinthe to know for certain. If anyone can send me some free samples, please contact me. :harhar:

 

 

Sir,

If you ever make it to my neck of the woods (and you know where I live) we will sit down to a glass of

pre-ban together.

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