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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. _ The Fee Verte Absinthe Buyers Guide _ Scoring system and personal preference

Posted by: hartsmar Feb 17 2006, 04:26 PM

In the last couple of weeks I have had several reviews updated, sent to me, and moved around the forum. One thing that strikes me, and most noticable was the latest review on the Montmartre - which I removed.

The scoring system is based on an unbiased view which only takes into consideration the quality of the absinthe and preferrably not ones personal preference.

It is very easy to give lower scores to an abisnthe that doesn't appeal to you but that is not what the scoring system is about. If there are flaws in process, artifical color, bad color, no louche etc - those are things to lower a score. If there's something in the taste that one doesn't like - say, anise or fennel or coriander or what ever, that shouldn't lower a score per se since that is actually nothing wrong with the absinthe itself.

An absinthe can however be out of balance and be too heavy on star anise or something which would lend a lower score.

There are a megalozillion parameters that could be taken into consideration of course but personal preference shouldn't be one.

The score sheet that got me thinking about this was one that had an average of 30 points lower than other reviews on the same product. Where is the error? The product at hand is by no means flawed, which was why I figured it to be more of a personal taste thing.

So, what - you can't have a personal taste? Yes you can and of course your personal taste will play a part in the review, that can never be excluded and it shouldn't. It's a fine line to walk but a well made product can not get extremely low points because it used some herbs that someone didn't like. There is the possibility to add a personal note to the review where you are more than welcome to add comments like this but I don't think it should be taken into the scores too much.

Then, why do some absinthe get awfully low scores?
For a number of reasons. Method of manufacture, coloring methods, actual color being off, no louche, it's named Hill's etc.

Please let me know your thoughts on this.

Posted by: Oxygenee Feb 17 2006, 04:56 PM

There are 10 points in the scoring system allocated for "Overall Impression". This is the area where you can bring your own idiosyncratic preferences into play.

But as Hartsmar says, in the rest of the categories it's essential to follow the tasting guidelines, which set out quite clearly what is desirable, and what's not. If you're in any doubt, please read the "Guidelines" column and the notes on Pg 2 of the tasting evaluation sheet, together with the initial posts in the "The New Fee Verte Absinthe Buyers Guide" thread.

The whole point of the tasting system IS TO BE ABLE TO MEANINGFULLY COMPARE REVIEWS FROM DIFFERENT TASTERS. Without some common structure, and adherence to broadly agreed criteria, this becomes a meaningless exercise.

Posted by: jacal01 Feb 17 2006, 06:15 PM

Although I understand the rationale for a 3:1 dilution in the interests of consistency or review, it’s been my experience that there is a definite dilution sweet spot for balance and full development of complimentary flavors, if for no other reason than differing alcoholic proofs, and that sometimes is a very narrow range. Within that window the taste of the absinthe may make a marked difference from the standard dilution.

I think that there should be an point range assignment for taste on the basis of an stated optimal dilution for the reviewer, maybe as a subcategory for taste, accounting for maybe 5 or 10 points of the 20 point allocation, or maybe as its own 10 point assignment partitioned away from the other categories.

Posted by: Boileau Apr 20 2006, 11:15 AM

It might not be a bad idea to throw out both the highest & lowest scores of each absinthe to give a more accurate median. I know this technique is used in many ratings systems. This helps to counteract the fact that some people will give it a rediculously high rating, while others will score it very low.

Just an idea I thought I'd throw out there.

Posted by: hartsmar Apr 20 2006, 11:43 AM

Another thing we need to set up rules for (I think this is mentioned in the thread covering the actual score sheet) is how to rate a blanche absinthe in color.

A perfectly clear and transparent blanche is a perfect color for a blanche while a yellowish tint might indicate problems in production etc. A perfect pearly white completely opaque louched blanche is a damn high or perfect score.

Posted by: brucer Apr 20 2006, 01:15 PM

IMO, re rating blanches on colour ...

Unlouched, to be fair to vertes, a perfectly clear blanche should get 8/10, reserving 9/10 or 10/10 for those that also show aesthetic subtle and pleasing hues from refraction at the meniscus etc.

And the same with louched. 9/10 or 10/10 should be more than just milky and opaque.

A yellow tint is another matter. We need a consensus as to whether this is acceptable, the right shade, and can be measured aesthetically, or whether it is a defect.

Bruce

Posted by: Donnie Darko Apr 20 2006, 04:33 PM

It's a defect and should be penalized, although I think some of the scores of 1 or 2 are harsh since it's not THAT yellow. I think a score of 5 would be acceptable.

Posted by: hartsmar Apr 20 2006, 05:16 PM

QUOTE(brucer @ Apr 20 2006, 06:15 AM) *

Unlouched, to be fair to vertes, a perfectly clear blanche should get 8/10, reserving 9/10 or 10/10 for those that also show aesthetic subtle and pleasing hues from refraction at the meniscus etc.


Did you just look that up in the dictionary? I think any such properties would be too much depending on things other than the absinthe itself and not something that could be a general rule. Things like that are typically the stuff you mention in your own personal notes added in the end of the review.


Posted by: whizz Apr 20 2006, 05:36 PM

QUOTE
...reserving 9/10 or 10/10 for those that also show aesthetic subtle and pleasing hues from refraction...


The aesthetic pleasing hues will IMO differ too much depending on light temperature (nothing to do with heat). This means that a hue as seen in for example daylight will differ a lot from the hue in incandescent light. As a HRD trained diamond grader I know the importance of using standardised light sources when colour(less) grading. Also important when judging coloured stones. I always judge the colour of vertes in daylight in the shade. Preferably northern light. You aussies will then use southern light :)

Posted by: Kirk Apr 20 2006, 06:49 PM

I am blacking out
so I am lashing out
thus I will tell you what "D" means:
D is the color of 16 ounces of distilled water and
"E" has had one drop of tap water added to it,
so
if you want to add the definition of diamonds to the color of absinthe
then buddy
you get better get to it.

Posted by: whizz Apr 20 2006, 08:19 PM

Thanks Kirk, that has such a nice poetic touch.
Maybe we could agree on a similar color grading system as for gemstones? shock.gif
Gotta put together some grading sets.
For blanches: Colorless to tinted yellow and Colorless to tinted brown.
For vertes: Light green to intense pure green, light yellowish green to intense ditto and the same for blueish and brownish greens.

I can hear myself cry out: NOOOO i drank the yellowish green grading samples... AGAIN abs-cheers.gif

Posted by: brucer Apr 21 2006, 08:32 AM

Of course refractive hues are dependant on lighting. Judge in daylight. Of course they are subjective, but so is taste.

My point still stands: for a level playing field with vertes, a blalche that is pure clear and nothing else should get 8/10. A verte that is the right shade/colour/hue is 8/10 too. 9+ should be reserved for something really special (like the green of Edouard).

Bruce

Posted by: hartsmar Apr 21 2006, 11:36 AM

See, this is more of a problem than one would think I guess.
A blanche is supposed to be clear. If it's clear and not obviously flawed then it's a perfect blanche. Is it not?

Posted by: whizz Apr 21 2006, 12:05 PM

I agree, go by the KISS method.

A visually colorless blanche should score top scores.
A verte with a pleasing (to the eye) coloration should do the same.

But what do I know, I'm just a novice in the wonderful world of absinthe...

Posted by: brucer Apr 21 2006, 01:10 PM

If you give 10 to a blanche because "there is nothing wrong with it", then you should give 10 to a verte because there is nothing wrong with it.

Then you meet Edouard which is far better than "nothing wrong with it", it is absolutely stunning. So now what ? 11/10 for Ed.

Bruce

Posted by: whizz Apr 21 2006, 01:51 PM

I can not know about the Ed as I have not seen or tasted it but I have seen quite some vertes and though they differ a lot in colour hue I do not judge one better than another as long as the color is pleasing and without "dirty" tones, clear and crisp. Who should set up the rules, which color is the top of the line?
If it was to be set up some strict rules you also would need a standard set with samples used as comparison. This would IMO take away some (if not all) of the enjoyment and excitement connected to absinthe consumption. I think that from now on I will f-u-c-k the precision judging of absinthes. Just put them into two categories: enjoyable and pure s-h-i-t. The latter will get sinked and the rest enjoyed. I know what I like in an absinthe, that is enough.

Posted by: speedle Apr 21 2006, 03:14 PM

Look, newbies like me want to do two things. First, we want to try absinthes of various kinds, grades, stripes (or not) and colors, to see what they're like. But second, we want to see what other people, mostly EXPERT other people, think as well, either to validate or argue with. To me, a scoring system and various reviews ought to accomplish that as well as helping people in general make more informed buying decisions. that's it. If a few tweaks to the current system are needed, well so be it, but it seems to perform well as far as I have used it. thanks to all. absintheglass-glow2.gif Cheers

Posted by: SoulShade Apr 21 2006, 03:34 PM

QUOTE(hartsmar @ Apr 21 2006, 06:36 AM) *

A blanche is supposed to be clear. If it's clear and not obviously flawed then it's a perfect blanche. Is it not?

I agree, while subjectivity is present when judging a verte's color, it seems to me historically a blanche that is clear and has no obvious flaws could be rated perfect in respect to color.
Depending on the recipe and the distiller's goals I can see where some might create a blanche with a flavour profile in mind that could sacrifice color, and the same is true of vertes also.

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 23 2006, 02:27 AM

I was going to post this in the recent Mayans thread but thought it may do better here (or if not here, where?).

Has there been any discussion as to how oil mixes are scored? I mean, we now have a MM review of 63. Is it really in the same league as the distilled products that rate around the same score? I know this is just one review, but it almost seems to me that oil mixes can hardly crack the 50 barrier much.

I thought MM is more or less a joke. Ibizian sheep dip, as Don might say.


Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 23 2006, 07:52 AM

That was the first review I'd ever posted, and I was kind of curious about whether anyone would complain. I was startled, myself, when the score came out, because I just scored it by category, and was surprised that the final number was so high.

I used very complimentary language too, for an absinthe that only scored a 63. I think I realized that because MM is largely thought of as a joke, no positive reviews were likely to be forthcoming, and I think it should be better represented in a buyer's guide intended, in part, to help newbies pick an absinthe.

As I tried to say in the notes, I think this is a good absinthe for newbies to know about, especially if they plan to entertain. I've hosted and tended absinthe bars at a fair number of large parties, with different types of crowds. It doesn't mean I know any more about absinthe, but I've given an unusually large number of people their first glass, and I've always had several bottles with me that were being sampled, often by groups of friends who passed their glasses around for tasting.

My experience is that Mari Mayans does incredibly well with first-time tasters. Even when free glasses of very high-end brands are offered side-by-side, Mari Mayans gets, often, the most repeat business. I've seen a larger number of people prefer it to La Fée which comes across as too simply licorice, and to a Duplais or Jade, which can come across as too medicinal and alcoholic to new palates. With all the success I've had serving it to people, I wanted to give it a good review.

When I saw that 63, though, I have to admit it sounded high. But I looked at the index, which placed La Fée at 57, and Doubs at 83, and thought that 63 for Mari Mayans didn't seem out of line. I figured that placed it just past the halfway point up a ladder that starts all the way down at KOSG. I figured that anything in the distilled category was going to start out in the 70s for low scores ( with the exceptions like Logan Fist, which could score near the bottom) and that some oil mixes, like Doubs, could be scoring higher than some distilled products.

I'm open to other comments about that rating, because, like I say, it was my first scored review.
Tell me now, because I'm fixing to do a review soon for another absinthe from the neglected list, also a controversial absinthe that I happen to like, the François Guy. If you guys think I'm sandbagging the ratings let me know.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 23 2006, 09:04 AM

Yes. This is an issue but not a problem.
Oil mixes tend to lwer their own scores mainly because they simply can't keep the high qulity profile in taste and smoothness as a fine distilled product can. However, some oil mixes are way better than some of the distilled products available.
For instance the Montana, Mari Mayans, Lasala, Oxygenee and Deva range are all better than the Elie Arnaud or Emile Coulin... Just as an example.

Distilled does not necessarily equal good product.

The score sheet and the guidelines for it does account for such things as artificial color and also how the aroma and mouthfeel should be. I have yet to encounter an oil mix with an excellent mouthfeel simply because the oils tend to make them harsher.



Posted by: bob_chong Oct 23 2006, 01:31 PM

This is all very interesting. Obviously, distilled does not automatically mean good, nor does oil mix mean bad. But is MM really "better" than LaFee? There was a time, not too long ago, where LaFee was the height of COs. And lowly MM was never considered in the same class as what else was available Deva, Lasala, Segarra, et al. Anyone who would have suggested such would have touched off quite a contentious discussion. The fact that this newest rating has not done so speaks volumes about the rapid expansion of the market: "Hmmm, someone rated Zima higher than Sam Adams? Well, they both blow, so who gives a rat's ass?" The better COs are so much better than the MM-level stuff that anything below the high bar just gets a shoulder shrug.

As for rating MM so highly "because noobs like it," I am not sure that this is a legitimate reason. In some circles, might not many people prefer a nice white zinfandel from a screwtop jug to that Chateau Margaux in your cellar? That's fine. Go ahead and put out the white zin at parties if people like it. But does that mean that it's "better" and deserves a higher rating?

Finally, and this goes to the earlier discussion here, what about the artificial color issue--and louche, for that matter? Star anise and green dye can modestly prop up the score of an inferior product.

What is needed is a scoring rubric. That would greatly increase objectivity. The scoring system was a great early attempt, but it's time to go 2.0 (3.0?) with this thing. Each category should spell out, point by point, how to rate each one. A rubric. For example, the existing score sheet says artificial color "should be heavily penalized." What does that mean, in objective terms, in specific number of points? Without a rubric to aid in objectivity, we end with Krut's Karport having an equal score with Lasala. Side by side, is KK really the equivalent to Lasala? My point is not to say that Lasala is great and deserves recognition. My point is that if you put Krut's Karport and Philip Lasala in your liquor cabinet side by side, which one would you reach for first? If you saw them side by side on a shelf at your local liquor store, which one would you buy? (And answering, "Neither!" or "Jade!" or some such doesn't help the discussion here.)

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 23 2006, 01:38 PM

Another quick note in favor of a rubric: the current score sheet says to "deduct points" from this or that. Therefore, we are asking folks to start the scoring from 100% and work downwards. This leads to grade inflation. It's better to start from zero and work up. "Points should be given for..." etc.


Posted by: bob_chong Oct 23 2006, 07:14 PM

No thoughts? Nobody? WTF. I guess y'all are busy discussing Tayker's nutsacks.

Posted by: Ari Oct 23 2006, 07:51 PM

Or we agree and just didn't want to waste post space with.
"I agree"

I've tried to remain reasonably constant on my reviews by having a small glass of something that I previously reviewed (and have gone over a couple times) to help compare with the newer drink.

Posted by: Alyssa Dyane Oct 23 2006, 07:51 PM

I think you have some very good ideas. I think one of the reasons I have yet to officially rate, is I need to study the matrix more. Like you mentioned, some things are very subjective - what is heavily punished to you versus to me? And I agree that things should not receive a higher score because they are widely accepted, or liked. Like box wine. Things should be judged soley based upon the experience at hand. I am very motivated now to get this rating system down, and write some reviews. The prospect of that is a little intimidating, but it will be fun. Now back to our regularly scheduled discussion about Tayker's nut sack.

Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 23 2006, 08:03 PM

QUOTE(bob_chong @ Oct 23 2006, 07:31 AM) *

is MM really "better" than LaFee? There was a time, not too long ago, where LaFee was the height of COs. And lowly MM was never considered in the same class as what else was available Deva, Lasala, Segarra, et al.

My contention is that yes, Mari Mayans is better than La Fée. I think it tastes better, and I've seen a lot of people who've tried both ask for seconds of the MM. Is that so hard to believe? The other absinthes you list are not even scored in the index, so their standing isn't part of the comparison. Maybe you should review them.

QUOTE
As for rating MM so highly "because noobs like it," I am not sure that this is a legitimate reason.
I didn't give this absinthe any particular rating for that reason. As I said, I rated each category as I saw it, and the number at the end was what it was. The complimentary language used in the review was the only skewing I did.

QUOTE
what about the artificial color issue--and louche, for that matter? Star anise and green dye can modestly prop up the score of an inferior product... the existing score sheet says artificial color "should be heavily penalized." What does that mean, in objective terms, in specific number of points?
What indeed. This is where it was a bitch scoring my first review. I knew I needed to give it a low number for having artificial coloring, but within the world of artificial absinthe coloring jobs, there are levels of good and bad. MM has more appealing artificial coloring than plenty of others and, more importantly, the coloring looks quite natural during and after louching, unlike almost all others. I gave it 4 out of 10. I maybe could have dropped it to 3, but I thought 2 was just too damned low. And to be honest, you'd probably still be upset with a score of 61, right?

I didn't review this absinthe with a final score in mind. I meant to give it low-to-middle numbers in the categories where it deserved them, and use the language of the review to convey my basic approval. The final score was higher than I expected. It's too late for me to change it, but if a lot of people feel it's an unbalanced review that skews the number in the index, I'd have no objection to having it removed.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 23 2006, 08:21 PM

I've found the final scores on several absinthes I've reviewed to be contrary to how much I actually liked the absinthe. Maybe Bob's suggestions might fix that.

Personally if I were a newbie, I wouldn't buy any absinthe that scored lower than an 80, but maybe that's just me.

Posted by: traineraz Oct 23 2006, 08:43 PM

Wrote a long thing and then the post crashed. Feh.

Short version:

The reviewing system is highly subjective. Most characteristics can't be completely objectively quantified. Color/louche, yes. Balance? Mouthfeel? Not so easy.

The review sheet is intended to encourage reviewers to focus on the one product being sampled. There should NOT be any, "I like this better than Brand X, so I should give it more points" or "I know this is an oil mix, so I'm going to lower the score." The individual sampling experience is what is to be reviewed, not reviewer biases or knowledge about process of manufacture.

Some reviewers have had different experiences than others. The 100-year-aged mouthfeel of preban is quite different from the 6-months-aged mouthfeel of a contemporary reproduction, but not all reviewers have had the preban experience. Experience factors heavily into reviewing, as reviewers can only base upon their own history in determining what's good and what's not. Someone who has only sampled thin, watery absinthes and Czechsinths may be blown away by K53, for example, while someone with broader experience might find K53 rather simple for his taste.

I believe DrinkBoy at WS is working on a more objective scoring system, perhaps you'd like to review what he's working on. It may be better suited to your review style.

Speaking of which, I haven't been around much lately and haven't caught up on the review section yet . . . where are some of your reviews?


Posted by: bob_chong Oct 23 2006, 09:01 PM

Wild Bill:

I appreciate the discussion and I hope you know that none of this was ever intended as a slam towards your or your review. It just so happened to that it simply gave me impetus to write about the ratings system overall. Sorry that the actual MM has been the pawn in the larger discussion.


Traineraz:

When you ask, "Where are some of your reviews?" are you implying that since I have not submitted any then I should not criticize other reviews or the reviewing process? That is absurd. I'm sure there is some kind of fallacy named after that kind of logic, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Anyway, I thought one of the stated goals of the Buyers' Guide is to be THE source, the most reliable, etc., for reviews. If the system is too subjective, it's useless. It's not a matter of "my review style," as you suggest. It's a matter of usefulness.


Finally...
So to avert any more thin-skinned responses from those involved in creating the scoring system and all its attendant support structures, let me apologize in advance for the constructive criticism.

If any, speak; for him have I offended.

Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 23 2006, 09:31 PM

I take absolutely no offense. The conversation seems valuable and academic to me.

I waited a really long time before posting my first review precisely because I find it to be so subjective giving numbers to tastes.

I don't cook, so I can't make truly educated comments on subtle issues with high-end distilled products. I can't tell you when the tails were mishandled, or when the wrong cultivar of fennel was used. For this reason I have avoided trying to review the serious, artistically produced absinthes.

When the call went out to review some of the overlooked lesser products, I decided to pick one I liked and try reviewing it. But even then, my sentimental fondness for the product effected the outcome.

Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 23 2006, 10:38 PM

I think the suggestions are interesting and maybe a qualifier of sorts and rating adjustments for oil mixes might be helpful. I think any major changes in how absinthes are rated would complicate the process as there are already quite a few rated.


Posted by: bob_chong Oct 23 2006, 10:47 PM

QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Oct 23 2006, 07:38 PM) *

I think any major changes in how absinthes are rated would complicate the process as there are already quite a few rated.


Inertia isn't a good enough reason to resist change.

I didn't realize you were so reactionary/conservative, Hated Pole.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 23 2006, 11:20 PM

It's tough to make a fool proof scoring system if everyone gets to submit reviews. Most websites that I've seen that do liquor reviews tend to have a core group of experienced tasters that do all of the reviews, as opposed to accepting reviews from anyone and their brother as we do. We even seem to accept from people who have tried only one or two absinthes. Thank god I didn't submit a review for Talisker to a Whisky review site when I'd only had two other single malts at that point. I would have said it tasted like fucking dirt, when actually it's pretty good now that I understand the complex palate standard to Whisky.

Bill is honest and admits that he doesn't have the experience that some might and thus can't pick out fennel nuances, wormwood variations or other characteristics which some feel are very important in absinthe evaluation. But can a review be that informative when the reviewer doesn't have the experience necessary to pick out some of the huge flaws in the drink (overwhelming star anise presence, sharp low quality alcohol, cloying sweetness, not even remotely complex)? Bill's Mari Mayans score was only a couple points lower than my Doubs score, and Doubs is light years better than Mari Mayans, as I'm sure any experienced taster would agree. This may sound elitist, but don't you want the most experienced tasters reviewing a drink you're going to drop over $100 on?

The other issue is the buyer's guide THREAD and the buyer's guide PAGE are two different entities, with the more easily accessible Buyer's Guide Page link at the top of the site not being updated nearly as frequently as the Buyer's Guide thread, which is a real mess if you're looking to find an absinthe by name, since it's updated by date, not alphabetically, and gives you little clue as to what the absinthe bottle looks like or where to get it. The only scores for Doubs on the Buyer's Guide Page are Arty's and Greenimp's, which were both posted before the drink was on the market and the public was able to try it. Likewise Duplais is under-represented, which has scored higher as of late. So which Buyer's Guide are people supposed to use here? I see that the Buyer's Guide Page says that the Buyer's Guide Thread is more current, but since the threads aren't alphabetical, it's a pain in the ass to find any absinthe that wasn't reviewed recently.

There are enough absinthes out there now where I think this site could really step up a notch, and create a top 10 list for people looking for the best, and also a bang-for-your-buck list for people on a budget but who want something better than green piss. Just look at wine review sites, whisky and whiskey review sites, and you'll see all different sorts of eye-catching and creative guidelines for reviews that go beyond bare text on a page with the score highlighted in red. I'm going to get lynched for saying this, but Absinthebuyersguide.com provided a much more accessible format that was easier to navigate, had much more visual aids and thus made one want to read the reviews more, even though the site itself was a shill run by a rat bastard thief and the reviews therein were disingenuous.

Or maybe I'm master of the obvious and all of the changes I'm suggesting are already under way.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 23 2006, 11:46 PM

On another note, Bob had suggested a more sophisticated scoring Rubric. I like that idea, though I have no suggestions as to how to formulate one.

Posted by: traineraz Oct 23 2006, 11:49 PM

Actually, Chong, I was hoping to see your review style and learn where your tastes lie, as that might help me understand why you're so ardent in your critique of WBT's mediocre review of MM, and also demonstrate with what success you've used the scoring system yourself.

Thin-skinned? Try not looking for arguments when they only exist in your mind.

What did you think of DrinkBoy's efforts over at WS? Or did you not get a chance to look yet?

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 23 2006, 11:54 PM

What I'd really like to do is have a big internet fight over how to score absinthes. poop.gif


Posted by: traineraz Oct 23 2006, 11:55 PM

Let's make a scoresheet pinata and beat the snot out of it . . .

Posted by: Artemis Oct 24 2006, 12:08 AM

I didn't take Trainer's post as being a slap at Chong.

After Chong reacted, I read it again and saw how it could be taken that way.

It could be that Chong was overly sensitive.

If Trainer DID intend to imply that Chong should shut up because he hadn't put up, there's probably even some merit in that.

But I think Chong was only saying, this is supposed to be the be-all and end-all of scoring, but maybe it's not.

And I think Trainer was only saying, how would you do it better, indeed, how have you done it at all?

The scoring system is a work in progress. It had to start somewhere. It's far less than perfect and far better than nothing at all. Personally, I don't care to rate absinthe anymore. It comes in two kinds, drinkable, and not.

Posted by: G&C Oct 24 2006, 12:12 AM

Indeed.

Drink it or sink it.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 24 2006, 12:13 AM

Can't argue with that.

QUOTE(traineraz @ Oct 23 2006, 08:55 PM) *

Let's make a scoresheet pinata and beat the snot out of it . . .


If good absinthe falls out, then hell yes!

FWIW I do like Drinkboy's system, though there's plenty of absinthe's I'd probably put somewhere inbetween his range which would require the use of decimal points. I like the thrust of his system and the priorities, but not the number schematic. A scale from 1-5 leaves too much wiggle room inbetween. Two absinthes that scored a 3.1 and a 3.7 in aroma would be worlds apart in my book, but I'm not about to round that 3.7 up to a 4.


Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 24 2006, 12:15 AM

I'm starting to think I've already provided a piñata to beat the crap out of.
Yes, it was a mediocre review, if not actually bad. I've already requested that it be deleted.

But Donnie, I do recognize the overwhelming flaws that keep MM from comparing even remotely to better absinthes, and as I said, when I saw how high my score was, I checked the index and found Doubs rated at 83, which made me feel better about leaving the 63 on my review. The unacceptable numbers in my review came from my newness at the review process, not from an inability to taste the difference.

Posted by: eric Oct 24 2006, 12:33 AM

I do not think that Bills MM review should be deleted. I like the review even though I do not like the MM very much. I still really enjoy reading the old reviews that date back to the earliest days of this forum. I think they provide an interesting Time Window.



At this point in time, I think that it is still impossible to be completely subjective in an Absinthe review. There just are not enough people who even know what they are talking about for anybody to be dead on accurate. Even some of the most outspoken experts can be completely full of baloney.



It is like seeing history unfold before your very eyes.

Posted by: traineraz Oct 24 2006, 12:39 AM

Indeed, like which is better, Deva or NS 70 . . .

Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 24 2006, 12:46 AM

What Eric says rings true but that's what I like about seeing multiple reviews of a particular brand. Tastes vary as does knowledge and experience. Collectively we come out with a better picture of any brand's relative attributes.

Posted by: Ari Oct 24 2006, 01:38 AM

I like all the ideas so far.

I think it best to have both this and Drinkboy's system used by many. Since they take two different approaches. A small group of those who know what they are talking about could be singled out as "asspert reviewers" and included along with everyone else's review. The idea that anyone can review lends some weight to the system as sometimes snobby reviewers seem to be speaking out of their flowery ass. So other opinions would serve to support or add other thoughts to those reviews. I also don't think old reviews should be deleted. Everyones tastes change, from the expert to the newbie. I think to see the change might make newbies understand why they don't tasting X in their absinthe or why they like Y when the site says it's crap.

(If all of that wasn't too disjointed).

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 24 2006, 01:45 AM

Good thoughts by all, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this discussion. Kind of smacks of the good old days.

Anyway, I think Bill's review should NOT be deleted. It should absolutely be added to the mix. And hopefully more will be added. This whole discussion is not to beat up Bill, MM, or his review.

Trainer, I haven't seen the WS scoring system you speak of. I poked around there and couldn't find it. Link, anyone?

If we were to develop a rubric, what would it look like? Starting with the first category:

COLOR BEFORE WATER
10-9 pts = Color should be CLEAR, BRIGHT and NATURAL LOOKING. BLANCHE should be completely clear, and a VERTE should be green. ["but other colors such as orange or red are also acceptable"]. VINTAGE ABSINTHES may have faded to an amber brown. Free of sediment. Free of artificial coloring
8-7 = Mostly clear, bright, and natural looking. Mostly green but may show some signs of yellow. A very light haze may be present. No artificial coloring used.
6-5 = Somewhat clear and bright but exhibits some haze or plant material. Should be predominantly green but may have some yellow. No artificial coloring used.
4-3 = Hazy but still natural. May have some sediment. More yellow than green, but some green still present. No artificial coloring.
2-1 = Yellow, or any use of artificial color.
0 = Artificial color which is "off." May have haze or sediment.

--------
OK, I'm not saying this is perfect, but maybe it's a start? Comments? Improvements? For example, where would Hill's fall, with its bluish tinged, industrial solvent look? 0? If nothing else, a rubric could spell out, in points, how much a "penalty" should be. (BTW, why are orange and red perfectly acceptable?) In regards to this category, I tried to throw in the yellow aspect, but I am not happy with how it came out. I mean, should a yellowish green still get a 6?

Would something like this help? Someone care to try another category?

I sympathize with those who care not to write reviews. But as a service, or educational undertaking, the reviews on this site should really be the best out there. This place planted its flag first and has nutured hundreds of enthusiasts. I think the BG can really be something.




Posted by: G&C Oct 24 2006, 02:39 AM

Slightly yellow with some sediment could get a 10.

Peridot, as I've read Absinthe described, is not lime green.

Natural coloring will always leave some sediment.
Perhaps too much should be a penalty, but how much is too much?


I still go with drink it or sink it.

Posted by: traineraz Oct 24 2006, 03:18 AM

Sea Monkeys™ would be too much. More than 50 chews to the swallow, or anything stuck in one's teeth, too much.



Chong, I discovered there's a reason a lot of folks can't see DrinkBoy's scoring system suggestions. Will ask Hiram how best to remedy the situation. He may suggest just cutting and pasting, but I'll czeque first.

Posted by: Absinthesizer Oct 24 2006, 04:02 AM

My $.02:

I have lamentably little experience with absinthe but lots of experience filling out judging forms, as a juror for art exhibits, play competitions, and music competitions. My strong preference in a judging form is the opposite of Bob Chong's - have very few specified point categories, and leave as much as possible up to the reviewer's experience and taste.

The main reason for this is that you don't want the judging form making decisions for you. For instance, in the current FV form, aroma is worth 50 percent more than taste - 30 points to 20. This may indeed be some people's experience of absinthe, but should it be enshrined in the judging form? Color before water counts half as much as taste, even though, with most blanches, color before water is a virtual non-part of the absinthe experience.

There are other distortions built into the form. With the exception of Blanchette, it inherently favors blanches over vertes, because blanches tend to be clear and hence score high. The specified 3/1 dilution penalizes extremely rich-tasting absinthes that are intended to be drunk at higher dilutions. Absinthes should be scored at whatever dilution the reviewer thought was best.

There are some excellent aspects of the current form: It helps guide one's absinthe experience, and thereby helps educate people. I doubt I would ever have taken the time to evaluate mouth-feel without it. But its over-parsing results in a misleading impression of precision - the doomed quantitative approach to objectivity that Hegel called the "schlecht-abstrakt," and I promise never again to mention Hegel on this forum. It's entirely possible that a reviewer could end up giving the same score to both a good-smelling, average-tasting blanche and a great-tasting, extremely complex verte, even though he or she actually greatly preferred the verte. Yes, there are 10 points for "overall impression," but that's not nearly enough leeway to correct this sort of error - it's supposed to be an overall impression, and not a place to dole out ones or tens to counteract previous distortions.

If I were allotting points at all, it would be along the lines of 40 points for “Before you drink,” covering color before louche, louche, color after louche, and aroma (but no set number of points for color before louche etc.); 40 points for “While you drink,“ covering mouth feel, taste, and aftertaste; and 20 points for “Overall Impression.” That would allow for more meaningful descriptions - and more representative point totals.

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 24 2006, 04:27 AM

Good point: as it stands now, a full 60% of the score is before one even takes a sip. Seems high.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 05:06 AM

Many good points are brought up. I've got to go to work here so not much time now...

I don't think Wild Bill's review should be deleted. I think it's a perfectly fine review.
Artificial coloring does deserve to be scored above 0 even if it's artificial.
Louche does deserve to be scored even if it's enhanced by star anise.

Those are things accounted for in the score sheet. Good points on how to "set rules" for it have been brought up though.

Regarding that fact that the Forum part of the Buyer's Guide and the "official" Buyer's Guide not being quite in tune, this is being worked on and you'll notice why this has been the case - shortly. I'm sure you will love the result.

If I can only find the time tonight, I'll do a review of Mari Mayans myself.

Posted by: Hiram Oct 24 2006, 05:17 AM

QUOTE(bob_chong @ Oct 23 2006, 06:45 PM) *
... I haven't seen the WS scoring system you speak of. I poked around there and couldn't find it. Link, anyone?

http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=755 and http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=1629.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 06:27 AM

Well. That is all nice but...

For instance, the original "UCDavis" sets the score for "Color is correct for it's type and age" and "Color is nearly correct" etc. This still means that and artificially colored oil mix would be able to scoe equally high as a naturally colored distilled absinthe.

In the follow-up this is changed to:

QUOTE
E = Artificial
D = Weak or broken color
C = Correct, but thin
B = Blanche
A = Fully developed natural color


Nice intent but not fair and just won't work. As they themself indicated after testing it.

I think if changes are to be made the approach that bob_chong was talking about in the beginning, of more or less changing the phrasing and setting up just a little more rules on HOW to deduct or add points, would be the best way.

I am VERY happy with the scoring system as a whole. The 100 point scale may seem hard and scary to some but the problem isn't gone just by lowering the scale. To me this limits me a lot more.
If I was to give from 0-2 points for color, with 0.5 point increments, there would be A LOT of absinthes that would get the same score but wouldn't be equally good or bad in reality.


Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 06:52 AM

Come to think of it, the scoring system used in the Absinthiades is a go-between of the two but holds a certain amount of flaws...

The one thing I don't like about it is just that - to narrow scale to score 12 completely different absinthes fairly. The result, a lot of absinthes get the same score for color (which in their case accounts for color both before and after louche) and taste - simply beacuase the scale is too narrow.

With a larger scale, there would be room for adding or deducting that one single point that would actually make the difference.

We should also remember that an absinthe that scores 50 out of 100 on the Fee Verte scoring system is NOT a middle of road, semi-good absinthe. It's below average and maybe not something we would recommend. I'll find the post about that in here somewhere...


Posted by: brucer Oct 24 2006, 08:17 AM

QUOTE
More than 50 chews to the swallow, or anything stuck in one's teeth, too much.


Does that include hairs ? I don't mind a few hairs stuck in my teeth when diving.

Bruce

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 09:10 AM

I based the scoring system on the industry standards used in the professional tasting and evaluation of wine and spirits. Two broad systems are in use: one marked out of 20 (commonly used in the UK and Europe) and one marked out of 100 (commonly used in the US). Since most members here are US-based, I chose the latter. The two most important US based wine rating organisations (The Wine Spectator, and The Parker guides) use the 100 point system.

In very general terms, the way to use the system is to start with a theoretical perfect score in each evaluation category, and then deduct points for flaws, or less than ideal characteristics. There is no reason not to give an absinthe a perfect score in a particular category, and in some cases (eg the colour rating for a blanche) one might expect this to be the case 95% of the time.

Broadly speaking you'd expect a really excellent absinthe to score 90+, a very good one 80+, a fair one 70+, a drinkable but imperfect one 60+, a very poor one 50+ and something almost undrinkable 40+. Scores of below 40 are almost unheard of in professional tasting, even for dramatically faulty products

Within the framework of the tasting sheet, the scores are indeed entirely subjective, as individual opinions must inevitably be. The "objectivity" of the guide arises from two things:
1. The reviews here are disinterested. We don't sell absinthe, we don't reward members for posting specifically positive reviews, we don't edit reviews (except on narrow technical grounds). We let the chips fall where they may.
2. Over time, as we accumulate more and more reviews, the collective opinion expressed becomes more and more representive of the "objective" ideal. The same principle applies to other sites that solicit consumer reviews: if you look at say a camera for sale at Amazon, and it has one 4-star review, you'll likely (and correctly) take the rating with a pinch of salt. But if it has 60 reviews, averaging 4-stars. you'll correctly assume that that is a fair reflection of the quality of the product.

I'm open to the idea of tweaking the existing system, but I'm not convinced any of the suggestions made so far would be an improvement. I've extensive experience in wine and sprits judging at regional, national and international level, and am confident that the system is broadly speaking, as fair as it can be.

I do feel that it's a pity that more of the of intellectual energy devoted to criticizing the scoring system, isn't devoted to actually contributing reviews, because over time, what matters most if the number of reviews per product, not the specific characteristics of one single review. It's the wisdom of crowds thing. I also worry that criticising individual reviews, and demanding the reviewer justifies his decisions, can act as a disincentive for less confident and less experienced members to post reviews in the first place. The most powerful critique of a review you disagree with, is surely to publish your own review of the product.

We'll very shortly be introducing a new version of the Buyers Guide, which will vastly improve the ease of navigation and searching, as well as making it far quicker to upload new reviews. Kallisti and Hartsmar have done a tremendous amount of work on this, and it's now close to completion.

We're also looking into a way of publicly recognising and rewarding those who contribute significant numbers of reviews. This will apply retrospectively as well, so get reviewing!

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 10:47 AM

QUOTE(Wild Bill Turkey @ Oct 24 2006, 12:03 AM) *

I didn't review this absinthe with a final score in mind. I meant to give it low-to-middle numbers in the categories where it deserved them, and use the language of the review to convey my basic approval. The final score was higher than I expected. It's too late for me to change it, but if a lot of people feel it's an unbalanced review that skews the number in the index, I'd have no objection to having it removed.


There's absolutely nothing wrong with this review, and I don't think 63 is an untenable score for MM either. As you quite correctly say, it's an absinthe that often impresses newcomers, even in the face of competition from brands which the conventional wisdom rates higher.

A review is meant to be one reviewers personal, subjective opinion of a particular glass of absinthe, poured at a particular time and place. Such objectivity as the Buyers Guide has (or will have), comes from the accumulation of many reviews, from many reviewers, over many months or years. Each review is ultimately a piece of the bigger picture.

Striving for "objectivity" in an individual review is a fools errand. The only objectivity required is to try and rate each absinthe as far as possible on its individual merits, without regard for its method of production, price or reputation here on the Forum or elsewhere.

I can't stress this enough: EVERYONE IS ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT REVIEWS. You don't need to be an "experienced" taster. If your review is rational, and follows the form specified in the Buyers Guide, we will include it.

If you'd like to have a review included anonymously, just email or PM it to Hartsmar or myself, and we'll post it on your behalf.

If you have a review under your name in the Buyers Guide which, for whatever reason, you'd now like to disown, we won't remove it for you, but we will happily remove your name from it.



Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 10:53 AM

QUOTE(bob_chong @ Oct 24 2006, 08:27 AM) *

Good point: as it stands now, a full 60% of the score is before one even takes a sip. Seems high.


Not at all, this is absolutely in line with professional norms. In wine tasting, 50% of the score is usually devoted to non-taste factors - colour and aroma - and 50% to taste. With absinthe, one has additionally to evaluate the louche, so a 60-40 split seems about right.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 11:35 AM

QUOTE(Absinthesizer @ Oct 24 2006, 08:02 AM) *

There are other distortions built into the form. With the exception of Blanchette, it inherently favors blanches over vertes, because blanches tend to be clear and hence score high.


This point has been made repeatedly before, and is absolutely, completely, utterly false.

1. The difference in points likely to be awarded to roughly equivalent quality blanches and vertes is very small. Yes, it's absolutely true that most blanches (the Combier being a notable exception) would automatically rate 9 or 10 out of a possible ten points. Almost all blanches are naturally distilled products. Following the scoresheet guidelines, most naturally distilled vertes are likely to rate between 6 and 10 as far as colour is concerned. So one is talking about an "advantage" of at most 4 points out of 100, and more likely 2 or 3.

2. Those vertes that score lower than 6 in the colour category, especially those that score ultra low markes like 2 or 3, are overwhelmingly likely to be poor quality, artificially coloured products that deserve to be marked down.

3. The best vertes are - on average - more likely to be rated highly for taste, complexity and overall impression than blanches are. Over a broad range, this more than wipes out any slight advantage blanches have as far as colour scoring is concerned. There is an exact analogy here with wine tasting: certain varieties - for example, young sauvignon blancs - are so pale and clear that they almost automatically score full marks for colour. Other varieties - pinot noir is an example - often full short of the ideal colour, even if they are superb in every other respect. But pinot noir's are not consistently outperformed by sauvignon blancs, because they more than make up any shortfall in the other tasting categories.

4. All tasting scoresheets, by their nature, must generalize. Otherwise there's no basis for comparing different products to each other. I'm not aware of one single professional wine tasting panel anywhere that uses different scoresheets for white and red wines, even though it's generally far easier for a white wine to achieve a perfect colour score than it is for a red wine. I'm not aware of a single shred of evidence anywhere that indicates that white wines therefore do disproportionately well at tasting competions - on the contrary, anecdotally, the overall medal winners are more likely to be red wines. There are no grounds for believing that the situation with blanche and verte absinthes should be any different.

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 24 2006, 11:39 AM

Given all that, do you think there's no place for operationalizing, in points, what the scoring sheet calls a "heavy penalty"? Star anise and green dye can prop up score on the first three categories. Are you in agreement that an artificially colored absinthe should regularly receive scores of 7 (or better) on color after water, as has been seen in some reviews? If color is faulted, should it be faulted twice? By how much?

Am I alone in thinking artifical color should rate no higher than 1-2?

I know that "objectivity" is impossible, but can even a little more guidance be a bad thing? The criteria (e.g., heavy penalty) are too wishy-washy.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 11:50 AM

Well, certainly a blue Hill's like or Pere Kermann color shouldn't achieve more than that. But an artificial green is more appealing than the blue tint, so it must rate higher, no?

That alone excludes the possible use of limitation of artificial coloring always getting only 1-2 points.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 11:53 AM

QUOTE(Absinthesizer @ Oct 24 2006, 08:02 AM) *

But its over-parsing results in a misleading impression of precision - the doomed quantitative approach to objectivity that Hegel called the "schlecht-abstrakt,"


Balls, as Kierkegaard would say. There's absolutely no "misleading impression of precision" either claimed, implied, inferred or - as a brief perusal of the Buyers Guide will show - demonstrated in reality by the scoresheet.

QUOTE(Absinthesizer @ Oct 24 2006, 08:02 AM) *

It's entirely possible that a reviewer could end up giving the same score to both a good-smelling, average-tasting blanche and a great-tasting, extremely complex verte, even though he or she actually greatly preferred the verte.


It's also entirely possible that the earth will be demolished to make way for a hyper-space bypass, but it isn't probable, or even remotely likely, and so far it's only happened in fiction. Likewise with your hypothesis. I believe Nietschke called this "der Hitchhikers Guide-Analogie".

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 12:10 PM

QUOTE(bob_chong @ Oct 24 2006, 03:39 PM) *

Given all that, do you think there's no place for operationalizing, in points, what the scoring sheet calls a "heavy penalty"? Star anise and green dye can prop up score on the first three categories. Are you in agreement that an artificially colored absinthe should regularly receive scores of 7 (or better) on color after water, as has been seen in some reviews? If color is faulted, should it be faulted twice? By how much?

Am I alone in thinking artifical color should rate no higher than 1-2?



What matters isn't whether an absinthe is artificially coloured. What matters is whether it LOOKS artificially coloured.

A bright green colour doesn't in itself indicate artificial colouring - just look at the colour of some of Ted's absinthes, which are all scrupulously naturally coloured, and yet are a vibrant bright green. There's no one ideal shade of green for absinthe (just as there's no ideal shade of red for wine). The scoresheet indicates that a clear, bright absinthe, with a plausibly natural looking colour should get top marks. Marks should be deducted for murkiness or lack of clarity, and for clearly artificial colours (particularly those in the blue spectrum, which are never found in naturally coloured products).

But yes, to answer your question I certainly think an artificially coloured absinthe could score more than 1-2 points - there should be a full spectrum of scores in this, as in all other categories. There are a huge variety of artificial colours found in absinthes, some far more appealing and natural looking than others. This should be reflected in the score. To take a real world example, I wouldn't hesitate to give 7 or 8 out of 10 for colour to Pernod's artificially coloured (and no longer available) Oxygenee product, which was close to indistinguishable from a naturally coloured absinthe.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 12:21 PM

QUOTE(bob_chong @ Oct 24 2006, 03:39 PM) *

I know that "objectivity" is impossible, but can even a little more guidance be a bad thing? The criteria (e.g., heavy penalty) are too wishy-washy.


The scoresheet has been criticized in this thread both for being too proscriptive, and for not being proscriptive enough. I'm proud to have achieved this feat of Clintonian triangulation.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 24 2006, 01:11 PM

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 24 2006, 07:47 AM) *


I can't stress this enough: EVERYONE IS ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT REVIEWS. You don't need to be an "experienced" taster. If your review is rational, and follows the form specified in the Buyers Guide, we will include it.


I see where you're coming from when you compare our reviews as analogous to Amazon. If the intent is to just have general consumer reviews so possible buyers can know what other consumers think of the product, then I'm fine with that. I think I was looking at it as more akin to reading a movie review than reading viewers comments on a film, but since this is a forum, not a newspaper or a magazine, then it makes sense that the reviews are from as many forum members as possible.

If there's anything I said to discourage any member from posting a review, I apologize for that. Given Oxy's intent behind the format, everyone should submit reviews. And I'm looking forward to seeing the updated buyer's guide. I think I've reviewed pretty much everything I've tasted recently, but I'll check my cabinet and see if there's anything I missed.

Posted by: brucer Oct 24 2006, 01:18 PM

QUOTE
What matters isn't whether an absinthe is artificially coloured. What matters is whether it LOOKS artificially coloured.


ABSOLUTELY. abs-cheers.gif

And the same goes for taste, smell, aroma, mouth-feel, and general impression.

After all, what is "artificial" ? If you coloured whisky by putting leaves in it and warming it in a closed container for 24-48 hours, many people would call that an artificial colour.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, nowhere else.

Bruce

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 24 2006, 01:46 PM

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 24 2006, 09:10 AM) *


What matters isn't whether an absinthe is artificially coloured. What matters is whether it LOOKS artificially coloured.


I disagree.

Artificialy colouring an absinthe is an end-run around a difficult traditional process, as a botched colouring step can ruin a previously flawless distilled product. The intent behind artificial colouring is also to make the product as visible on a shelf as possible, as artificial colouring allows one to have a clear bottle with no negative impact on the colour, which automatically puts higher quality naturally coloured products in correct dark bottles at a commercial disadvantage. Should we judge that commercialism as on par with putting in hard work to achieve a decent natural colour?

Of course there is a range of quality in artificial colour too, and not as many points should be deducted for an artificial absinthe that looks nice. I like that Doubs takes the darker more "herbal" appearance than some of the eye popping radioactive colours like the discontinued Oxygenee. But for me knowing that a colour is made from dyes rather than careful selection and utilization of top quality herbs is going to negatively impact my opinion of the colour of the absinthe. But that's just how I will review them. If other people want to give an 8 for an artificial colour, that's their perogative. It just doesn't make much sense from where I'm standing.

Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 24 2006, 02:07 PM

I agree. We are talking about an artisinal product and judging it should be much like wine tasting. Shortcuts for commerical purposes are bound to reduce the quality. The present system works well, though like all systems, tweaking it as needed can always make it better.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 02:12 PM

With respect Donnie, I think you're wrong.

The point of a review is to evaluate it from a sensory perspective, not to give your opinion on the morality of the production process. Discussing the relative merits of natural and artificial colouring processes is certainly a worthwhile subject, a tasting review though is simply not the right place to do so. What matters is what's in the glass.

By your analogy, one should evaluate organic wines higher than those produced from vineyards where artificial pesticides have been used, or rate the taste of a Fairtrade coffee higher than one produced by exploiting hapless peons somewhere in the Andes. It's perfectly legitimate to say you'd rather buy or drink the one rather than other because of how they were made. But it's not legitimate to say one tastes better simply because of how it was made.

An example from another field: All blended whiskies and most malt whiskies have their colour "corrected" by the addition of caramel. Provided the end result looks natural, they are never penalised for this in tasting competitions.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 02:20 PM

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Oct 24 2006, 05:46 PM) *

than some of the eye popping radioactive colours like the discontinued Oxygenee.


I just double-checked an unopened bottle of Oxygenee in my cellar. The colour is a clear, bright peridot green, not at all "radioactive", and absolutely indistinguishable from the colour of some fine natural absinthes.

By sight alone, you couldn't tell whether this colour was achieved by natural or artificial means, and I wouldn't hesitate to give it 8 out 10 in a review.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 02:25 PM

QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Oct 24 2006, 06:07 PM) *

Shortcuts for commerical purposes are bound to reduce the quality.


Yes, that's certainly true overall, and it should be reflected in the lower scores achieved in a sensory evaluation. But to deduct points for the fact in itself that commercial rather than artisanal techniques were used - which is what Donnie seems to be suggesting - is wrong.


Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 24 2006, 02:26 PM

I think it is important to note artificial coloring. Many people have physical reactions to some dyes, particularly yellow #5 (tartrazine) which can trigger migraines in some people. Artifical coloring may be done well but it is still not the same qualitatively as a properly made verte.

I think it's like the difference between bulk process champagne and naturally carbonated.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 02:33 PM

QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Oct 24 2006, 06:26 PM) *

I think it is important to note artificial coloring. Many people have physical reactions to some dyes, particularly yellow #5 (tartrazine) which can trigger migraines in some people. Artifical coloring may be done well but it is still not the same qualitatively as a properly made verte.

I think it's like the difference between bulk process champagne and naturally carbonated.


I agree with you that it's interesting and even important to note how the absinthe was made, and whether the colouring is naturally achieved or not. We aim to include this information, seperately from the tasting evaluations, in the Buyers Guide.

But it's not relevant to a sensory evaluation of the absinthe, which is what the scoresheet is about. What matters is the look, smell and taste of what's in the glass. not the back story.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 02:35 PM

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 24 2006, 07:20 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Oct 24 2006, 05:46 PM) *

than some of the eye popping radioactive colours like the discontinued Oxygenee.


I just double-checked an unopened bottle of Oxygenee in my cellar. The colour is a clear, bright peridot green, not at all "radioactive", and absolutely indistinguishable from the colour of some fine natural absinthes.

By sight alone, you couldn't tell whether this colour was achieved by natural or artificial means, and I wouldn't hesitate to give it 8 out 10 in a review.


You beat me to it. I have an unopened bottle of Oxygénée neatly stored away. It isn't and never was anywhere near MM or La Fée or whatever product you can come up with. I've said it before... Of all oil mixes the Oxy is the one with the best profile in color and taste. (Not saying it's a product of heaven now, ok?)

Side note: It's a damn shame that Pernod-Ricard decided to end this one and continue the shitty Pernod 68.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 02:54 PM

QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Oct 24 2006, 06:26 PM) *

I think it is important to note artificial coloring. Many people have physical reactions to some dyes, particularly yellow #5 (tartrazine) which can trigger migraines in some people. Artifical coloring may be done well but it is still not the same qualitatively as a properly made verte.


An analogy which I think is relevant here: in many markets, wine labels are legally required to state whether the wine contains sulfites. The reason for this, is precisely as you suggested for artificial colouring - some people have a physical reaction to them. But the wine would never be marked down in a tasting competition for the fact in itself that it contained sulfites (unless of course these were discernable on the nose or palate).

Posted by: Absomphe Oct 24 2006, 03:05 PM

I think your last point is absolutely salient, Oxy.

And the converse could also apply.

For example, while the coloring of Segarra 68 may be entirely natural, the addition of artemesium absinthium to the coloration step is definitely a detraction to the palate, and should be scored accordingly.

Posted by: Alyssa Dyane Oct 24 2006, 03:13 PM

I have to admit that after all of this discussion, I have been afraid to submit a review. Not because of comments by any one person, but because you guys area heck of a lot smarter than me. But I think I'm going to bite the bullet and do it tonight. I am not practiced at writing reviews, but I know I have a developed palate. I do have to thank you all for all that I have learned on the subject of reviewing in the last couple days.

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 03:19 PM

That's great Alyssa, look forward to the review.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 24 2006, 03:40 PM

I suppose an absinthe that is artificially coloured may lack aroma and taste complexity that a well made naturally coloured verte would have, so even if they scored similarly in colour, the lack of a proper colouring step would result in a lower score for the artificially coloured one in aroma and taste anyway.

But is IS immoral to artificially colour an absinthe, and I will carry out my Absinthe Inquisition undeterred, putting makers of artificially green absinthe on the rack and setting it to 10. evill.gif

But I will base my colour score on strictly cosmetic criteria the next time I review an artificially coloured absinthe.

EDIT: I realized I didn't review the Ike Verte even though I have some so I posted one in the Ike thread.

Posted by: justabob Oct 24 2006, 04:03 PM

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 24 2006, 02:10 AM) *

We're also looking into a way of publicly recognising and rewarding those who contribute significant numbers of reviews. This will apply retrospectively as well, so get reviewing!


Are we talkin cash payments or just stock options?

Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 24 2006, 04:12 PM

Maybe special samples???

Posted by: brucer Oct 24 2006, 04:17 PM

QUOTE
I have to admit that after all of this discussion, I have been afraid to submit a review. Not because of comments by any one person, but because you guys area heck of a lot smarter than me.


I doubt it. They just shout louder and bullshit more.

A few, a minority, may know more about absinthe. But that doesn't make them smarter.

Anyone who makes an award-winning raspberry sauce sounds quite smart to me.

Bruce

Posted by: justabob Oct 24 2006, 04:27 PM

QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Oct 24 2006, 09:12 AM) *

Maybe special samples???



Excellent idea JP

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 24 2006, 04:30 PM

Get a room, Bruce.

Posted by: justabob Oct 24 2006, 04:31 PM

I would certainly like to help out. However the number of commercial absinthes I have tasted is limited. Also is it fair to review a product from past experience, i.e. if the bottle is empty?

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 04:33 PM

QUOTE(justabob @ Oct 24 2006, 08:27 PM) *

QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Oct 24 2006, 09:12 AM) *

Maybe special samples???



Excellent idea JP




What if I said special samples AND premium Swedish porn...?

Posted by: Oxygenee Oct 24 2006, 04:38 PM

QUOTE(justabob @ Oct 24 2006, 08:31 PM) *

I would certainly like to help out. However the number of commercial absinthes I have tasted is limited. Also is it fair to review a product from past experience, i.e. if the bottle is empty?


We absolutely need multiple reviews, the more the better, so even if there are several reviews of a commonly found product already, additional reviews are very welcome indeed.

But you do need to have the actual absinthe in front of you when reviewing it.

Posted by: mthuilli Oct 24 2006, 04:39 PM

QUOTE
What if I said special samples AND premium Swedish porn...?


w00t2.gif

Now I have to drink a lot !

Not that it will change my habits really...

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 04:40 PM

QUOTE
What if I said special samples AND premium Swedish porn...?


I think will reward myself tonight. With a little of both! ahhhh.

Posted by: traineraz Oct 24 2006, 04:43 PM

Edit: Damn, you people post fast, making me go back and quote Donnie:

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Oct 24 2006, 08:40 AM) *

But is IS immoral to artificially colour an absinthe, and I will carry out my Absinthe Inquisition undeterred, putting makers of artificially green absinthe on the rack and setting it to 10. evill.gif



See, this is where you miss Free-dee (here, and the rifle range. Runs fast, Free-dee does.). Who's going to pop up and randomly shout, "Nobody expects . . . " etc.?


The question really coming to my mind now is: Who is the current review system and Buyer's Guide designed to serve?

Is it designed for professional industry critics and/or experienced absintheurs, or for Average Joe who wants to make a good purchase decision? I'd always thought the idea of the Buyer's Guide was to guide buyers who lack the experience to make good choices, not so we can tell each other, "go read my review, don't waste my time asking me about Brand X."

Hypothetical example:
Average Joe wants to try a new absinthe. Joe comes here to read up on the subject, and sees reviews about color in the bottle, aroma before adding water, etc. Joe doesn't care, he's not going to spend $100 to stare at a bottle or open the top and sniff it all night, he's going to drink it. Joe wants to know what it smells/tastes like when he drinks it. Joe wonders, if color in the bottle is so important, why isn't there a section on bottle and label design, too? (Discount 3 points for screw-tops?)

Personally, I tend to side with Joe. An absinthe may score 10 of 10 points on color in the bottle and 8 of 15 on taste (Pernod 68, perhaps?), and end up with a higher ranking (18 of that 25) than one scoring 3 on color (Blanchette/Old Yeller, anyone?) and a 13 on taste (16 of that 25). The P68's star anise probably also gives it a thicker louche, hence another score boost, perhaps bringing it to 6 or 7 points ahead of the Blanchette. The "overall impression" correction might end up giving them equal scores. Doesn't this result in scores which, while perhaps appropriate to professional industry critics, are confusing and inappropriate to the Guide's target audience?


I'd never suggest dropping the existing reviews or anything of that nature; not only is there far too much work involved, but also a great deal of raw data has been captured which should not be lost. However, is it possible to re-weight the categories (perhaps just adding a separate, "taste-centered" score) using the same raw data, to achieve a score that will have meaning for Average Joe?

The "taste-centered" score would be much like the "when you drink" suggestion put forth by Absinthizer, but this score as an addendum to, not replacement for, the overall score. Perhaps in the "taste-centered" score, the existing raw numbers for appearance, pre-louche aroma, and louche experience get knocked back to 25% of their current weight, with the emphasis being redistributed to primary taste/aroma and aftertaste experiences.

Edit #2: 25% is a random % I picked out of the air -- they're flitting about all over the office, and me without a %-swatter -- not a judgement of these categories' relative value.

I do agree that DrinkBoy's 5-point scales are generally too narrow, particularly to judge flavors/aromas (OK for a louche, though); but he has some ideas which seem worth looking at, like an aftertaste review, and (through his experience with his system) the dropping of pre-louche aroma as a significant category.

Posted by: Ari Oct 24 2006, 04:58 PM

Drinkboy's review system seems more like a way to categorize absinthe, unlike the more competition based 100 point system. In it top level absinthe will get similar scores, and so will mid, etc., with differences in those categories coming from the reviewers opinions that aren't specifically quantified. Although it doesn't rank absinthe it does take care of the more subjective issues in the 100 point system by regulating them to comments and not numbers.

I like both systems as I don't think it's possible to create a perfect one that takes care of everyones issues. Thus more information, properly organized, will always give a better result.

Posted by: justabob Oct 24 2006, 04:59 PM

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 24 2006, 09:38 AM) *

But you do need to have the actual absinthe in front of you when reviewing it.


10/4 boss, I will breakout the Segara and blow the dust off the Deva.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 07:32 PM

So... SHIT!
I just finished four score-sheets. Swedish sewer system is in better shape than ever, I tell you.

Neto Costa, Tabu 55, Segarra 45 and last something I could actually finish a glass off, the L'Artisanale.
Complete scores will be added to the B.G as soon as I get them in digital form. I need another drink of something good first.

For now, I can tell that the scores range from 27 to 84.




Attached image(s)
Attached Image

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 24 2006, 07:57 PM

I'd happily review the L'Artisinale too...IF I HAD SOME!

Something tells me it wasn't the Tabu, Segarra or Neto Costa that earned the 84.

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 24 2006, 08:02 PM

Neto Costa? Wow, you really took one for the team!

Posted by: traineraz Oct 24 2006, 08:17 PM

If anyone would care to send me a sample of this L'Artisanale of which you speak, I'd be happy to review it.

Or just about anything else, for that matter.

Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 24 2006, 08:22 PM

We could use another review of the Neto Costa if he'll send you the leftovers.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 24 2006, 08:25 PM

Not worth the price of shipping.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 24 2006, 08:30 PM

There is about 60 cl left of the original 70cl in that Neto Costa bottle. I have had that bottle since around 2001 or something I think. Need I say more about which scored in at 27?

Posted by: traineraz Oct 24 2006, 08:47 PM

Well, I was hoping for the l'Artisanale (Wasn't Markus or LDF supposed to be stocking that by now?!), but reviewers can't be choosers.



Besides, someone in the States has to establish a physical library of Absinthes Terrible . . . or has someone already got one going? (Preferably someone who moves less frequently than I: Twice in the last month, and now looking at again in December or so, depending on interviews . . . then maybe 6-9 months after that, depending upon finances!)

Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 24 2006, 09:28 PM

QUOTE(hartsmar @ Oct 24 2006, 02:30 PM) *

Need I say more about which scored in at 27?

Amazing! Having tried the Gatorade, er, Tabu, I'm astonished that anything scored lower.

Posted by: Gertz Oct 24 2006, 10:13 PM

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 24 2006, 02:53 PM) *

Balls, as Kierkegaard would say.

In Danish, words for male reproductive organs aren't used in that sense, so no, he wouldn't.

He might, however, have used some term referring to urine or flatulence.

Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 24 2006, 11:49 PM

The more I think about it (and the more I drink) I like G&C's dictum -- drink it or sink it. I think that should be included as the bottom line on reviews.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 25 2006, 12:24 AM

That's why I hope the Buyer's Guide eventually includes a "Hit List" and a "Shit List". Personal preference can have a lot do to with it, but the Hit List could be absinthes that reviewers generally recommend with confidence, ordered from first to last in terms of quality, and the "Shit List" would obviously be all the absinthes that reviewers generally score around 60 points or less (obviously that # is my subjective opinion, higher or lower is at the discretion of the Admin). That's basically a more specific way of saying "Sink it or Drink it".

PS Hartsmar I just reviewed the Blanche Traditionelle Brut D'Alambic so you can add that the guide.

Posted by: G&C Oct 25 2006, 01:15 AM

No, Donnie.

Specific is Sink It or Drink It!


Your way is less specific.

Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 25 2006, 01:21 AM

Of course it can be both, as with Elixier. Drink a glass of it, and a minute or two later you sink the same glass. (if you're still in the kitchen)

Posted by: The Standard Deviant Oct 25 2006, 01:27 AM

Not Elixier du Pays des Fées, I hope?

Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 25 2006, 01:45 AM

I've had this bottle for about two years. I can't believe I drank that much of it.

IPB Image

Posted by: G&C Oct 25 2006, 01:48 AM

That's the crap.

"What is it?"

"I dunno. Well, it's . . . green."

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 25 2006, 05:10 AM

But where's the review for it?
harhar.gif

Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 25 2006, 05:43 AM

http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/buddy_holly/thatll_be_the_day.html

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 25 2006, 06:12 AM

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Oct 24 2006, 05:24 PM) *

PS Hartsmar I just reviewed the Blanche Traditionelle Brut D'Alambic so you can add that the guide.


I noticed. I'll do one myself tonight as well.
I'll update all current and add my own reviews tonight when I get home from work.

Posted by: Absomphe Oct 25 2006, 12:30 PM

QUOTE(G&C @ Oct 24 2006, 07:48 PM) *


"What is it?"

"I dunno. Well, it's . . . green."


Even Mr. Scott wouldn't touch that shite.

Posted by: Artemis Oct 25 2006, 04:23 PM

I was pleased when Bob Chong emerged from the shadows of the forum's past - he might be heavy-handed at times (what would I know about that?) but I see I was justified as well as ancient - he's lived up to expectations. In this thread he's engendered a passionate and considered discussion at the heart of the matter, something that's been lacking for many moons.

It's important that newcomers join in, if for no other reason than that old timers may be too jaded (no pun intended) to get it up for absinthe anymore. It's good for newbies to contribute reviews - everyone learns something from such a review, including the newbie.

It's easy to be impressed by Mari Mayans - attractive bottle, spectacular color, spectacular louche.

No review should be deleted just because the reviewer would do it differently now. I don't like everything I wrote in old reviews, but they may have a certain entertainment value in addition to being a possible benchmark in light of subsequent reviews by others and/or myself - this is true for anyone - if you've changed your mind you can always say so and people may learn from this too.



Posted by: traineraz Oct 25 2006, 04:44 PM

Perhaps it'd be worth allowing reviewers to add a "new thoughts" note to a review, at least a year after the initial posting, if his/her tastes or impressions have changed (with a date attached). That way, the initial review is preserved intact, but people don't feel a need to have their names removed from reviews or leave reviews posted which they now feel may be misleading.

For example, A.D.'s new review of VdF is well-written; however, in 2008, she may find that her scoring style varies from the present distribution, perhaps because her tastes change or the aspects of a product she values have shifted; products she feels are stronger may have similar or even lower scores. Products she finds weaker may have stronger scores. Rather than rewriting her review or disowning it, a simple note explaining the change in her tastes and suggestions on where she might rank the same product in 2008 (from the review, I'm sure the bottle will be empty by then!) will get the point across.

The minimum one-year wait time would dissuade people who are unduly pressured by others from changing their reviews right away; in a year's time, I doubt WBT will still want to delete his MM review, and it will no longer be a topic of controversy.

Posted by: Ari Oct 25 2006, 05:07 PM

Not sure how multiple reviews on the same product by the same person will be handled but I have recently posted one, I think six, has suggested doing a couple and I might re-review some older stuff as well. I like the idea of reviews from different levels of taste education as well as new reviews from the same person. A good example of this is the Fou. Just recently a flavor that seemed a dullish musky unknown has jumped out at me as the alcohol base and now tastes better than it did in the past.

Absinthe is complex enough that it takes time for each flavor to appear, and I think the more the newbie who knows nothing about absinthe understands this, the better the reviews will be.

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 25 2006, 06:40 PM

QUOTE(traineraz @ Oct 25 2006, 01:44 PM) *

Perhaps it'd be worth allowing reviewers to add a "new thoughts" note to a review, at least a year after the initial posting, if his/her tastes or impressions have changed (with a date attached).


I think that's a great idea. It has become customary for some absinthe brands to be shipped without being properly aged first, and your suggestion would allow for a reviewer to put an addendum on the review if they revisit the same product months later and notice new developments due to aging.


Posted by: Absinthesizer Oct 27 2006, 01:37 AM

QUOTE(Wild Bill Turkey @ Oct 24 2006, 08:45 PM) *

I've had this bottle for about two years. I can't believe I drank that much of it.
Looking at that color, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the veterans who endured the first years of the absinthe revival. You must have gone through hell, and with no guarantee that really good commercial absinthe would ever appear.

Thank you all! abs-cheers.gif

Posted by: Donnie Darko Oct 27 2006, 02:17 AM

Back then, several of us actually thought that stuff WAS good. I used to yap about how awesome NS70 was. I worshipped La Fee when I found it, then François Guy blew La Fee out of the water. After that, I thought Emile was the bees knees.

Then I had a well made HG, and suddenly couldn't swallow a drop of anything I had had before. Then I had a "lab sample" of Ted's, and there began the journey to the Temple of the Golden Yak in a very icy remote location, with only my nose and nubby fingers to guide me to the Temple.

I think several veterans have a not too dissimilar history with the drink...

Posted by: traineraz Oct 27 2006, 05:29 AM

At the time, Donnie, they WERE good, at least compared to everything else available (sHill's, 'Sebor Strong' (now Czech Strong, and never produced by Martin Sebor, they just stole his name), Elixier, Mata Hari . . .). UE being the greatest CO offering wasn't that long ago, either! What, two years, two and a half? Then VdF blew it away, and the Jade distiller proofs, and now the current bevy of commercial (and HG'er - to - commercial) beauties (including but not limited to the fine-tuned Jades), where we have a range to recommend to n00bs, instead of "UE is the only one" or "you must get the VdF"!

Seems like a great time to be a n00b, if ya ask me. With all the flask-sizes and such, there's something of quality for just about any budget, and a good range to choose from!

Maybe that's something missing here . . . an Absinthe Revival timeline of the brand releases and other developments (legalizations, new distillers coming online, key personalities such as Julian Segarra, Martin Sebor, Ted Breaux, 'Deep Forest', 'Tuivel', key authors, and the less-illustrious Kyle Barffather, Radomil sHill, etc.).

N00bs probably don't realize how short the timeline really is, and I imagine I'm not the only one who forgets sometimes. A mere 4-5 years ago, Deva and NS70 were still top of the line, with the possible exception of Segarra 45 (if you liked oak). Back in 1997, I do believe Butty and/or Moonman were the only semi-reliable ways to get anything! Well, other than Opie . . . Glad I missed him!

FSC was the leader for quite a while, until Markus, and then it seemed a fair split until LdF came along.

Posted by: hartsmar Oct 27 2006, 06:16 AM

QUOTE(traineraz @ Oct 26 2006, 10:29 PM) *

Glad I missed him!


I don't miss him.

Posted by: Wild Bill Turkey Oct 27 2006, 09:32 AM

Oswald wouldn't have missed him.

Posted by: Jaded Prol Oct 27 2006, 11:40 AM

Hah!

Yes it's a familiar track and it's amazing how quality has escalated in only a few years. What's also amazing is the formation, development and continuing evolution of the community that grown around absinthe.

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 27 2006, 01:28 PM

QUOTE(traineraz @ Oct 27 2006, 02:29 AM) *

Maybe that's something missing here . . . an Absinthe Revival timeline of the brand releases and other developments (legalizations, new distillers coming online, key personalities such as Julian Segarra, Martin Sebor, Ted Breaux, 'Deep Forest', 'Tuivel', key authors, and the less-illustrious Kyle Barffather, Radomil sHill, etc.).


Great idea. How soon can we expect your report?

Maybe start a new thread with this intention and get everyone to pitch in.

Posted by: Absinthesizer Oct 29 2006, 03:07 AM

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Oct 24 2006, 06:53 AM) *

QUOTE(Absinthesizer @ Oct 24 2006, 08:02 AM) *
It's entirely possible that a reviewer could end up giving the same score to both a good-smelling, average-tasting blanche and a great-tasting, extremely complex verte, even though he or she actually greatly preferred the verte.

It's also entirely possible that the earth will be demolished to make way for a hyper-space bypass, but it isn't probable, or even remotely likely, and so far it's only happened in fiction. Likewise with your hypothesis. I believe Nietschke called this "der Hitchhikers Guide-Analogie".
You may laugh and you may scoff, but a situation almost identical to the one I described has already come within one point of occurring in the current buyer's guide: Same reviewer, a blanche and a verte, higher total score to blanche, but higher "overall impression" for verte.

And this situation WILL occur if enough people review Doub's. shock.gif

Posted by: bob_chong Oct 29 2006, 03:40 AM

I think someone suggested that the pre-consumption categories could be made into one subtotal and the actual consumption in another. Sort of the ogling/fondling factor versus actual imbibing. I don't know where aroma would fall, though, since some consider aroma part of taste.

I know Oxy defended the system as being similar to other judging standards, but I still think it odd that only 1/3 of the score is from actually drinking the damned stuff and 2/3 is everything else. Obviously, it is a contentious issue.

Even so, by and large the xit that scores well tends to score fairly high across all categories, more or less, so it probably doesn't make much of a difference. It's nice to see such an impassioned discussion about absinthe though. I was poking through the archives earlier and was amazed at how different things were around here in the olden days. One example, there were a lot of longish posts. There's probably much discussion about why that is, along with other differences. I wouldn't pit it as better/worse, just different. Actually, that would be a discussion I would very much enjoy. If anyone else cares to navel gaze about it, too, speak up, and we could start a thread on that very topic.

Posted by: bob_chong Aug 23 2007, 02:44 AM


http://www.feeverte.net/archive/messages/16/475.html

QUOTE
…the Buyer's Guide should not be reduced to a set of facts. The more a review reads like Hunter Thompson wrote it, the better I like it. If anybody is intrigued enough to try the product in question, he'll quickly judge for himself what the "facts" are, and that's as it should be. That Buyer's Guide could certainly be improved, but it is unique, just as this forum is, because it is NOT your father's Oldsmobile.


I'd say that the BG still has some of these qualities, after all these years.

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