Well it took a long time to get everything together, and life kept getting in the way, but we finally had our absinthe party! Thank you everyone for the help and suggestions, it ended up being a very fun night. I thought some of you might be interested in the results.
The final selection as shown in the picture consisted of Taboo, Lucid, Authentique, Duplais Blanche, and Roquette 1797. We actually skipped over the Taboo as most of us had tried it previously and it seemed to me that Lucid would do just as well for the intro drink. The time between coming up with this idea and actually hosting it allowed me to amass a small collection of items vintage and modern, including some spoons that fit both ends of the spectrum, a couple fountains, the cafe plate, a Pernod picture -- which I understand is probably from around the 1950/60s but works great for as a spoon holder, and a great glass bowl that I used to store the sugar. ( I know the wrapped "absinthe" sugar cubes are a bit silly, but when I ordered some of my glasses they were thrown in and I've found their dosage to actually be pretty great. ) The book is Absinthe, Sip of Seduction: A Contemporary Guide, which the guests enjoyed flipping through.
In front of each bottle I had printed off reviews from this site. In this case I found Brian Robinson had reviewed all of these bottles and I felt his words did a great job of setting expectations, so thank you very much there!
All told there were myself, my wonderful girlfriend, and 5 guests. Of the 7, one was pregnant and not drinking and the other unfortunately had been improperly introduced to absinthe some time earlier and would not be convinced into trying it again. I think he mentioned "shots". Oh well.
What the picture doesn't show is the kitchen full of cheeses, chocolates, and other snacks, plus various other refreshments.
Everyone had a great time and a very natural pace of trying a bottle and moving onto the next one developed under the flow of laughter and conversation which filled the evening.
What did everyone think? Most people preferred the Authentique, which is what I expected. I believe one person said they liked the Duplais Blanche best. Only my girlfriend disliked the Roquette. I enjoyed it but I also understand now why I've seen people refer to it as one for the more experienced palates. I could definitely see myself acquiring more of a taste for it.
Thanks again everyone who provided input and helped me out!