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> Aroma vs. Taste, Blanche vs Verte, Discussion on evaluating absinthe
Donnie Darko
post Dec 20 2007, 10:30 PM
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But you CAN have fully realized aroma without any taste sensation whatsoever. You cannot fully realized taste without aroma. So I've just proved that aroma is the more exclusively informative category. It tells you about the drink before one drop is even poured, even before you can see the colour of the stuff still in the bottle. It precedes taste and enables taste to be what it is. Taste, on the other hand, is not indispensable to aroma.

We could get all scientific about it and quantify the number of aroma neurons versus taste neurons, and I suppose I could get into the whole evolutionary origins of why sense of smell is a key reason why we've survived as a species, as the ability to detect dangerous/spoiled foods before ever consuming them is a necessity for survival (think about why shit stinks!). We've got 40 million olfactory neurons for a reason. Taste buds, by comparison, are still primitive blunt instruments which provide information and a good deal of pleasure, but in terms of relaying information, do not provide more information than sense of smell. What you think you are tasting is actually to a degree what you are smelling because your sense of smell is telling your tastebuds what to look for.
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Absomphe
post Dec 21 2007, 12:27 AM
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QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Dec 20 2007, 01:45 PM) *

70-75% of what most people perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. Taste buds allow us to perceive only bitter, salty, sweet, and sour flavors. It's the odor molecules from food that give us most of our taste sensation.

Try doing a review when you have a head cold, then do it again when you are better. You'll get completely different results.


Damn straight.

There I was, back in 1994, really looking forward to reviewing a passle of brews at the Great American Beerfest in Denver when, lo and behold, I developed a sinus cold just before the tasting was to commence…try as I might to detect as many flavor nuances as I could for each brew, it was useless. Without a functional set of olfactories, the taste buds are ultimately sorta clueless.

Not that the sad circumstances stopped me from trying to overcome my handicap on 240 individual tasting samples. wacko.gif


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Marc
post Dec 21 2007, 07:44 AM
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QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 20 2007, 11:30 PM) *

So I've just proved that aroma is the more exclusively informative category.

That's what you've just proved yes. But you didn't prove that aroma in a scoring system is more important than taste.

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 20 2007, 11:30 PM) *

What you think you are tasting is actually to a degree what you are smelling because your sense of smell is telling your tastebuds what to look for.

So again, having said that, you just proved that taste in a scoring system is more important than aroma because it combines the taste buds with the sense of smell.

When I taste/review an absinthe:

1- I smell it before and after water, trying mainly to catch alcohol (base and strength) and herbs dominance/harmony (in my case I'm not even trying to find out how it was distilled, name and age of the distiller, type of alembic, protocol used, etc).
-> It goes to the aroma score.

2 - I sip it, keep it in my mouth for a few seconds, and this is where my nose/smell takes action again and combines with my taste buds, and if my sense of smell is not providing enough informations, then I force it to give more by breathing deeply.
-> It goes to the taste score.
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crosby
post Dec 21 2007, 08:33 AM
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QUOTE(mthuilli @ Dec 20 2007, 11:44 PM) *

I keep it in my mouth for a few seconds, and this is where my nose/smell takes action again and combines with my taste buds, and if my sense of smell is not providing enough informations, then I force it to give more by breathing deeply.

You make bunny wet.


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Marc
post Dec 21 2007, 08:41 AM
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absinthist
post Dec 21 2007, 09:04 AM
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Butt do you spit it thereafter? evill.gif


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G&C
post Dec 21 2007, 02:18 PM
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Which is it?
Spits or Swallows?


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absinthist
post Dec 21 2007, 02:26 PM
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We swallow, they spit, so goes the evaluation bit.


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hartsmar
post Dec 29 2007, 11:50 AM
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Spitting is underrated. If you're evalutating several drinks in one session, it is completely stupid, dumb and idiotic NOT to spit. Getting filthy drunk during the tasting is no good way to get accurate scores for the drinks.

At home - you can always save each glass for later, after you're done evaluating. Because, I presume you use separate glasses for each drink in that tasting session.


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absinthist
post Dec 29 2007, 12:22 PM
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If at the tasting really huge glasses are served, it is. FWIW, the glasses are neither big nor full, so if you are to evaluate e.g. 6 samples, each containing 5-10ml of a given booze, you cannot get tipsy even.

Yes, that is right, I have several glasses used separately for tasting, including 6 I am using for absinthe-tasting only.


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hartsmar
post Dec 29 2007, 12:59 PM
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5-10 ml?

You're not likely to manage to get a good grip of much anything at 5ml. Easily over-watered and likely to give less of louche actually.
Especially since you have a taste of it neat as well before you add water... Can't be that much left then... wink.gif

But it's a good thing to have separate glasses for absinthe tasting, yes.


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absinthist
post Dec 29 2007, 01:26 PM
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No, no, no. By "5-10ml" I meant official tasting of any other booze, not absinthe. For absinthe, the minimum is 20-30ml, as in my case. The louche itself is very nicely to be evaluated at 40ml, and drunk as well. But as I have already said everyone has own methods of evaluation.

Exactly the same you are using certain capacity glasses to drink something, whereas someone else's using smaller or bigger for same spirit. Anything is up to you and it should be valued.


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Shabba53
post Jan 1 2008, 09:12 PM
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Every whisky and whiskey tasting I have ever been to served between 15-20 ml of each. 5-10 is redonkulous.

The tastings I went to at the Tales of the Cocktail served closer to 30 ml.
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OCvertDe
post Feb 17 2008, 06:02 PM
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QUOTE(mthuilli @ Dec 21 2007, 02:44 AM) *

That's what you've just proved yes. But you didn't prove that aroma in a scoring system is more important than taste.


Actually, I think there's a fundamental flaw in your entire argument. Unlike wine scores, that are intended to tell you which wine will give you the best taste (for the money, implicitly), our absinthe scoring is intended to tell you which will give you the best experience. As was already mentioned, there are only four (five, if you include the difficult to quantify area of savory) things your tongue can tell your brain, and over 250 different things your nose can. It's important to clarify that contrary to what some people may believe, neither your tongue nor your nose are telling you how something tastes or smells, it's telling you how you feel about the information being collected. Both your tongue and nose receptors are sending information to the same parts of your brain (which measure more emotional triggers than anything, and the closest thing to "taste" that they measure is flavor, which is more scent than anything), so obviously the one sending more information is more important in determining how you feel about your experience. The fact that you "need your nose to taste accurately" is a vast over-simplification of what's happening, and it isn't entirely accurate which leads to this sort of debate. It's like arguing over the color of the ocean as blue or green when in fact it is neither. If "the ocean is blue" is as close to the real facts as someone is satisfied to consider, then they probably aren't cut out for using this score sheet. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them or the score sheet, only that they may be better suited to the five star rating system employed over at the WS which is pre-biased this way whether the scorer likes it or not; and you, for example, probably would. I, meanwhile, would have to figure out a mathematical compensation for the inbuilt bias of their scorecard since I don't agree with it, which is one of the reasons I reference our guide and not theirs. I'm not wired right to utilize it.


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