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> Scoring system and personal preference, ...how to do it?
whizz
post Apr 21 2006, 01:51 PM
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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.


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speedle
post Apr 21 2006, 03:14 PM
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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


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SoulShade
post Apr 21 2006, 03:34 PM
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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.


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bob_chong
post Oct 23 2006, 02:27 AM
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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.



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Wild Bill Turkey
post Oct 23 2006, 07:52 AM
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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.
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hartsmar
post Oct 23 2006, 09:04 AM
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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.




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bob_chong
post Oct 23 2006, 01:31 PM
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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.)


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bob_chong
post Oct 23 2006, 01:38 PM
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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.



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bob_chong
post Oct 23 2006, 07:14 PM
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No thoughts? Nobody? WTF. I guess y'all are busy discussing Tayker's nutsacks.


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Ari
post Oct 23 2006, 07:51 PM
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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.


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Alyssa Dyane
post Oct 23 2006, 07:51 PM
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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.


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Wild Bill Turkey
post Oct 23 2006, 08:03 PM
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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.
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Donnie Darko
post Oct 23 2006, 08:21 PM
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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.
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traineraz
post Oct 23 2006, 08:43 PM
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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?



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. . . and don't forget to read the FAQ and check out the Absinthe Buyer's Guide for brand reviews and distributor links!
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bob_chong
post Oct 23 2006, 09:01 PM
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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.


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