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> Scoring system and personal preference, ...how to do it?
bob_chong
post Oct 24 2006, 11:39 AM
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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.


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hartsmar
post Oct 24 2006, 11:50 AM
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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.


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Oxygenee
post Oct 24 2006, 11:53 AM
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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".


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Oxygenee
post Oct 24 2006, 12:10 PM
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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.


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Oxygenee
post Oct 24 2006, 12:21 PM
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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.


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Donnie Darko
post Oct 24 2006, 01:11 PM
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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.
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brucer
post Oct 24 2006, 01:18 PM
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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.

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Donnie Darko
post Oct 24 2006, 01:46 PM
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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.
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Jaded Prole
post Oct 24 2006, 02:07 PM
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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.


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Oxygenee
post Oct 24 2006, 02:12 PM
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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.


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Oxygenee
post Oct 24 2006, 02:20 PM
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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.


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Oxygenee
post Oct 24 2006, 02:25 PM
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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.



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Jaded Prole
post Oct 24 2006, 02:26 PM
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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.


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Oxygenee
post Oct 24 2006, 02:33 PM
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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.


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hartsmar
post Oct 24 2006, 02:35 PM
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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.


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