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Beowulfgang

"My distributor told me..."

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Having exhausted the scant decent local offerings, and my wife and I finding ourselves in the next town north, we stopped by a few liquor stores to see if maybe there was anything interesting stocked. We'd love to reward them for carrying something decent with a purchase.

 

Surprisingly... Not only were offerings next to nil (one store had Lucid, which we like as a standby but can get that in our town), but we heard the same comments a number of times...ALWAYS prefaced with "my distributor tells me..." Or something similar, as below:

 

"You can't get the real stuff, it isn't available in the U.S."

 

"The only stuff anyone can buy in this state isn't what you want anyway, doesn't have the active ingredient, you have to take your chances and order online direct from overseas..."

 

"All we have is Lucid, we can't get the good stuff anymore because they banned imports out of Bulgaria" (???)

 

I tried to politely educate via friendly conversation, but frankly I got "the look" and a few repeats of "well, that isn't what the distributor says."

 

I suppose that somewhere around 2008, I began to develop the expectation that by 2014, I'd actually be able to find some upscale local store with more than one decent choice. Where we are, Lucid is rare, Pernod Absinthe Superieur I've seen once, and I've heard of Kübler a two hour drive away but never actually seen it. Of course, there are the rotating offerings of absolute crap faux absinthes that I wouldn't take for free.

 

I suppose the purpose of this rant is to bemoan the fact that some of those that the drinking public may rely on as experts or at least informed individuals in the field of alcoholic beverages - the bartenders, liquor store proprietors, and distributors - are still so badly misinformed that I worry we'll never get to the point that we can achieve a decent local selection.

 

Until then, our next bottles will be mail order Jades, Marteau, Delaware Phoenix and similar offerings, which just means we'll drink a bit less than if some decent offerings - and a little quality variety - were more readily available.

 

I suppose the upshot is that as long as we are relegated to online ordering and paying shipping costs, we may as well order the best stuff we can afford. I just hate knowing that newer folks interested in absinthe will continue to get a near-guaranteed first set of bad offerings and even worse information.

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I recently was walking around Brussels and seeing if any place had any decent stuff. No matter where you are in the world - even Western Europe - asking people if they have absinthe makes you seem like someone openly asking if they have drugs.

One guy was saying "oh, no man! Absinthe is ABSENT!"

I'm sure he thought he was clever. And no, he wasn't mentioning 'Absente', either.

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When people stop taking their frat-boy cousin who got duped in Prague as an expert, then we might see some change. Until then expect idiots to continue to influence idiots. Even if they do manage a liquor store.

 

Be thankful you can think critically, instead of accepting the first word as fact. Your life is indeed richer because of this ability.

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Just realized the next to last paragraph in my diatribe could be interpreted to mean that the Jades, Marteau, and Delaware Phoenix aren't desirable... Obviously I meant just the opposite. Only meant to say that since we can't find a good selection locally, ongoing online orders are our only real option for variety, which for practical considerations equates to enjoying a little less often and spending more to do so.

 

Meanwhile, the local liquor stores have some odd stock collecting dust on the shelves that I'm not sure anyone ever buys, while distributors seem uninterested in test marketing a few decent absinthe brands. What a travesty to know so little about the products they make their living distributing... Or to pay so little attention to the fact that every bottle of halfway decent stuff they've put on the shelves for the last few years (at least within a ten mile radius of my pantry) has sold with a quickness, many times to yours truly.

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I started out with crapsinth, and now I'm reasonably informed and learning more and more from this site every day. Sometimes you just need to do a little research on whatever takes your fancy, and a little exclusivity isn't bad. That said though, I think that czech absinths should be exposed for what really they are.

Edited by shady2001

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Greytail, he thought it was non-existent.

One would think he would know better if his business was spirits.



When people stop taking their frat-boy cousin who got duped in Prague as an expert, then we might see some change. Until then expect idiots to continue to influence idiots. Even if they do manage a liquor store.

 

Be thankful you can think critically, instead of accepting the first word as fact. Your life is indeed richer because of this ability.

On another note, this is probably the best thing I have read in a long time.

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I don't know any frat boys, or even anyone who's been to Prague.

 

I did learn from the absinthe documentary on Hulu, before I ever had a glass of absinthe, that absinthe is either naturally green or clear.

And I also found a pretty awesome website and forum with a ton of information on what absinthe is, or isn't.

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Yeah, I'm not going to lie. The Toulouse-Lautrec stuff - particularly the Christmas edition - was not half bad.

Haven't tried any stuff from that site. Mead-based sounds... interesting.

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Yeah, that's the one everyone has mentioned to me. I think I'll finally get around to doing so very soon - I noticed they have it at my spot in Brussels.

Avoiding Czechsinthe-burning tourists has become an art to me, so I will go on a weekday early on in the evening and will let you know my thoughts.

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