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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > The Fee Verte Absinthe Buyers Guide
Marc
The big difference we have with wine reviews is that we have blanches, they immediately score more for the color (i.e. translucent=10). And a lot of other differences.
And while we're on it, I do not agree with the score system, because:
1 - color/louche is 30/100 - 1/3 of the final score?
2 - aroma is 30 but taste is only 20 - which one is the most important?

My 2 cents.
hartsmar
Yeah, but you're also French so that doesn't count.

In a way there is more to aroma than there is in taste. The aroma presents itself both pre- and post-water and shows how the drink behaves under that change. It is also in large in the aroma that you find a lot of the characteristics in the drink and those then carries over in the taste.

Color and louche is a third of the score, yes - because the presentation is a big part of the drink. There is 2x10 for the color since there are two states of the drink between which it has changed in color. The louche is in part a quite relevant factor and also says some things about the ingredients and character, which is noticable in aroma - and taste.

Believe me, this has been turned over and over and back again many many times.

The issue with blanches is the one thing that can seem strange, in the same time as it's not so strange. A blanche i supposed to be perfectly clear, if it's not, it gets a lower score. Of course, most will always score a 10 in color... This is also the one part of it all that I too am thinking of and trying to see if there is any other reasonable way to adjust that. Especially since there's now a lot of blanches available.

Oh well. I'll have a drink now.
Deluge
Initially I noticed a slightly off putting aroma in both the Artisinal and
the first run of the 1797 but after a few months that aroma
dissipated and they were both wonderful.

I say let them breathe and enjoy them in a month or so!
Oxygenee
QUOTE(mthuilli @ Dec 19 2007, 10:45 PM) *

The big difference we have with wine reviews is that we have blanches, they immediately score more for the color (i.e. translucent=10). And a lot of other differences.
And while we're on it, I do not agree with the score system, because:
1 - color/louche is 30/100 - 1/3 of the final score?
2 - aroma is 30 but taste is only 20 - which one is the most important?

My 2 cents.



In reviewing wine, white wines usually score full points or close to perfect on colour.

Aroma should absolutely receive more points than taste, because it is more important. This is true for wine, all spirits, and for absinthe.
Provenance
QUOTE(hartsmar @ Dec 19 2007, 12:09 PM) *
I too am thinking of and trying to see if there is any other reasonable way to adjust that.
No need. It's not as if there is a contest for the highest-rated absinthe. As it stands, the numbers and text provide a sense of what the drink is like. That's all that should be expected of any review. Besides, all reviews should be taken with a grain of sugar anyway.
speedle
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 19 2007, 02:37 PM) *
QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Dec 19 2007, 12:47 PM) *

Sounds very good and I look forward to trying it. Seems like it'll benefit from a little aging.


It's already aged, the youngest part of the blend being 6 months old.


He just says that because he's old too. wink.gif
G&C
QUOTE(Provenance @ Dec 19 2007, 02:10 PM) *

Besides, all reviews should be taken with a grain of sugar anyway.

And only one grain!
Provenance
Better a grain in the review than the drink.
Marc
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Dec 19 2007, 09:38 PM) *

In reviewing wine, white wines usually score full points or close to perfect on colour.

Seeing the nuances in white wines and the nuances in blanches, I'm not sure this is comparable.

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Dec 19 2007, 09:38 PM) *

Aroma should absolutely receive more points than taste, because it is more important. This is true for wine, all spirits, and for absinthe.

This is where I'll always disagree.

QUOTE(hartsmar @ Dec 19 2007, 09:09 PM) *

Oh well. I'll have a drink now.

What you said abs-cheers.gif

As I said, it was my 2 cents, and fuck yes I'm french so that doesn't count.
Jaded Prole
QUOTE
He just says that because he's old too.


Some things are better with age. Absinthe is best after a year.








I, on the other hand just get more cantankerous.
G&C
QUOTE(Provenance @ Dec 19 2007, 02:51 PM) *
Better a grain in the review than the drink.

Indeed.

The Traditional Way!
Sans Sucre!
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Dec 19 2007, 03:38 PM) *

Aroma should absolutely receive more points than taste, because it is more important. This is true for wine, all spirits, and for absinthe.


It's worth pointing out that I've never had an absinthe with a weak or bad aroma that tasted good, nor have a I had an absinthe with a fantastic aroma that tasted bad. The aroma reveals the most information about the beverage, it's what makes it appetizing or not.
traineraz
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Dec 19 2007, 12:38 PM) *

Aroma should absolutely receive more points than taste, because it is more important. This is true for wine, all spirits, and for absinthe.

In a wine scoring system, there is no before water/after water aroma scoring.

So, is the total percentage given to aroma greater with absinthe than with wine?

In all honesty, does it MATTER how it smells straight? Is anyone drinking it that way? I know I don't.


Absomphe, control yourself.


I'd prefer an absinthe that smelled like an old sweat sock straight that opened into a sunny alpine meadow of joy and beautiful music with the addition of water, than one which smelled delightful neat and only average when louched. I'd be spending a lot more time with the louched than the unlouched.
Absomphe
QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Dec 19 2007, 11:02 AM) *

That's not muskiness, that's funk.


George Clinton would most likely argue that point with you.

I think that in the distiller's proofs that scent crossed the line into funk, but in the final versions it receded into musk, and in the PF 1901 it was particularly subdued, but you call 'em as you smell 'em, Komrade. abs-cheers.gif
Marc
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 20 2007, 01:11 AM) *

It's worth pointing out that I've never had an absinthe with a weak or bad aroma that tasted good, nor have a I had an absinthe with a fantastic aroma that tasted bad. The aroma reveals the most information about the beverage, it's what makes it appetizing or not.

I've had both, hence my disagreement about aroma having to score more than taste.

hartsmar
QUOTE(Provenance @ Dec 19 2007, 02:10 PM) *

QUOTE(hartsmar @ Dec 19 2007, 12:09 PM) *
I too am thinking of and trying to see if there is any other reasonable way to adjust that.
No need. It's not as if there is a contest for the highest-rated absinthe. As it stands, the numbers and text provide a sense of what the drink is like. That's all that should be expected of any review. Besides, all reviews should be taken with a grain of sugar anyway.


Absolutely, and that is also why we haven't done anything. But since many people see it as an issue, I've been thinking of ways to account for the blanches. Personally I don't see it as a problem at all.
Marc
But you're Swedish so that doesn't count harhar.gif

Blanches are overrated anyway.
absinthist
QUOTE(G&C @ Dec 19 2007, 04:04 PM) *

The Traditional Way!
Sans Sucre!


Indeed™! Yes, I agree with that statement shock.gif , out of the recent ones I have been drinking, none was avec.


QUOTE(mthuilli @ Dec 20 2007, 12:48 AM) *

Blanches are overrated anyway.


Vertes are better.
Marc
Betterer™

I would re-taste any of the absinthes I've had with that very good Sirop de Gomme we've had on saturday.
Was not the Combier one where the orange blossom is overwhelming.
Provenance
QUOTE(hartsmar @ Dec 20 2007, 12:26 AM) *
I've been thinking of ways to account for the blanches.
Since most vertes of any quality score about 7-8 for colour, the easiest "correction" mechanism would be to suggest to readers that they could deduct 2-3 points from a blanche's total score if they care to, to obtain a rough verte equivalency. I would avoid any changes to the scoring system itself.
Oxygenee
No, just give the absinthe, verte or blanche, the marks it deserves. The advantage that blanches have in the single area of colour before water are balanced out by the statistical disadvantages they have in several other areas, including colour after water, taste and above all, overall impression. In all these areas, vertes have a defacto advantage.

There's an exact parallel in the case of wine judging. Colour is almost universally allocated three points out of 20 (equivalent ot 15 out of 100). Some white wines - pretty much all sauvignon blancs for instance - simply can't fail to get full marks in this category, as they are essentially completely clear, whether good, bad or indifferent. But despite these advantage, sauvignon blancs certainly don't dominate the ratings, or in fact, even feature much at the highest level. In practice, if you look at the wines given the highest ratings by Wine Spectator or Parker, red wines predominate.

In the same way, the highest ratings overall in our Buyers Guide are all for vertes, notwithstanding the apparent advantage blanches have in the colour before water section.

So if you feel a blanche is perfectly clear and bright, don't hesitate to give it 10/10.
Provenance
I've clearly made myself misunderstood. I was only suggesting that review readers mentally deduct a couple of points if they care to -- not that the reviewers change their ratings. As I noted "I would avoid any changes to the scoring system itself."
Patlow
I still think it is hard to rate Absinthes honestly when you have chosen them over others. There are subliminal prejudices that are in effect based on who has made it, the country of origin, the hype surrounding a product, etc.

But I suppose you can still get pretty close.

Maybe I will finally start to rate some myself. Is there a sheet that is printable, so I can have someone pour them for me, so I can test them blind? I have so many right now, I think it is a good time to have an X-mas Absinthiades of my own.
Steyr850
QUOTE(traineraz @ Dec 19 2007, 07:14 PM) *

I'd prefer an absinthe that smelled like an old sweat sock straight that opened into a sunny alpine meadow of joy and beautiful music with the addition of water, than one which smelled delightful neat and only average when louched.
Funny how that is.
absinthist
Blind-tasting is good. Take 4-5, put them into identical sample mignonettes, stamp at the bottom what is in each and ask someone to shuffle them.

Hype is also very influential on the final score.
Patlow
But do we have a rating sheet? I seem to remember one from when the rating system here all started…
grey boy
Yes we do,
right here.

At the end of Oxy's post.
Patlow
Thank you very much. I am a lazy cunt… Cheers!
Shabba53
QUOTE(mthuilli @ Dec 19 2007, 06:00 PM) *

QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Dec 19 2007, 09:38 PM) *

Aroma should absolutely receive more points than taste, because it is more important. This is true for wine, all spirits, and for absinthe.

This is where I'll always disagree.


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.
Marc
Yep I know, and you've just proved that the 'taste' (taste buds+smell) score is more important than the 'aroma' (smell) score.
Donnie Darko
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.
Absomphe
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
Marc
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.
crosby
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.
Marc
IPB Image
absinthist
Butt do you spit it thereafter? evill.gif
G&C
Which is it?
Spits or Swallows?
absinthist
We swallow, they spit, so goes the evaluation bit.
hartsmar
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.
absinthist
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.
hartsmar
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.
absinthist
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.
Shabba53
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.
OCvertDe
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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