Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: A lot about a little, or a little about a lot?
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > General Absinthe Discussion
Screwtape
Now granted the obvious answer would be "A lot about a lot", but given financial restrictions would you say sampling one bottle from many different producers, or several bottles from a few select producers is a better way to get to know what absinthe is all about?
Tibro
If you want to get to know what absinthe is all about there is no other way than sampling widely and sampling in depth. If you want to discover which of the reputable distilleries make products that may appeal to your palate then taste, research, taste, follow leads that seem to be in tune with your perceptions, taste, research, read and taste again.

Taste is deeply subjective. Taste what you can. Read everything. Question everything. Breathe deeply and make sure whatever you do that you are enjoying it to the fullest and feeling enriched by the knowledge and experience of your life. You won't get the time back. There are no do-overs. There is no one else who is you.
Kirk
Taste is popularly considered subjective, and you could say that an experienced palate may be more discerning by having more things to compare it to, standards to consider. I think what tastes good is universal though, with the few exceptions in this (absinthe) category being people who hate anise and fennel all together.
Getting a bottle of absinthe that is of a certain quality, that tastes good, may be easier than it used to be, but more complicated than ever.
Tibro
What tastes good is not universal. Taste might not be quite as subjective as I set it out to be, but it can be deeply influenced by culture. Delicacies very widely according to history and geography. Any one here care for balut?

Breathe deeply. Enjoy what you enjoy. Question widely and research till you feel satisfied. Rinse and repeat. What matters is subjective. Ultimately.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Tibro @ Jan 13 2010, 02:50 PM) *

What tastes good is not universal. Taste might not be quite as subjective as I set it out to be, but it can be deeply influenced by culture. Delicacies very widely according to history and geography.
Exactly.

QUOTE
Any one here care for balut?
Admittedly, I'm probably in the minority on this forum, but I love em!
Tibro
It's okay, we welcome minorities here. Just don't expect me to kiss you after one of those.

It's the pompous djipxits that usually run into problems here.
absinthist
You might consider getting this or this or this and so on and so forth.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Screwtape @ Jan 13 2010, 02:02 PM) *

Now granted the obvious answer would be "A lot about a lot", but given financial restrictions would you say sampling one bottle from many different producers, or several bottles from a few select producers is a better way to get to know what absinthe is all about?


These are ones worth paying for:
Delaware Phoenix Meadow of Love & Walton Waters
Doubs Mystique
Pacific Distillery's Pacifique
Pernot's Vieux Pontarlier
Leopold's Absinthe
L'Italienne

They are all wildly different from each other. In my opinion, the most important thing to learn about absinthe is what wormwood tastes like. The DP Meadow of Love and Mystique are the absinthes which feature wormwood most prominently, and the wormwood in each has a very unique personality. L'Italienne is the most fragrant, Leopold has the most unique and well-chosen alcohol base, Vieux Pontarlier just tastes, looks and smells great, and Pacifique is the most artfully balanced of the lot.

And if you got extra $, the Jades are very good, with my personal favorite being Verte Suisse.

There are no easy choices on there. Just buy what you can afford. DP's products taste the closest to small-batch home distilled absinthe, because that's exactly what they are. The others all have their own personalities though that you may prefer. I change my mind daily about which I prefer.
Absomphe
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Jan 13 2010, 11:58 AM) *

QUOTE
Any one here care for balut?


Admittedly, I'm probably in the minority on this forum, but I love em!



Okay, then, Mr. Worldly Palate…how about a Limburger and durian sandwich? evill.gif
Tibro
Donnie's list is very reasonable. Donnie has an honest palate. He should have mentioned Blanchette, just to include a good (non-representative; i.e. unique) blanche.

And, yes, the Jade line is very good. And pricey. And brings to mind the caveat that not all clones are what they're cracked up to be. Beware.

And keep breathing.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Absomphe @ Jan 13 2010, 04:38 PM) *
Okay, then, Mr. Worldly Palate…how about a Limburger and durian sandwich? evill.gif

I'm not much of a fan of Limburger, but I've come to like durian. I didn't quite like it, but didn't quite hate it the first time I tried it. It's certainly an acquired taste.

Here's a passage from when I first tried it:

QUOTE
As you open it, you do get a bit more of a sweet scent, which makes it a bit more tolerable, but still not a scent that most Americans equate with anything other than spoilage. Something similar to old pumpkin. You know, the smell you get about a week after Halloween, when your carved pumpkins start to get a bit gamey?

I'd heard from several sources that durian is best eaten with your nose plugged, as the smell and taste aren't necessarily linked. I'd beg to differ.

The taste itself is odd. Not totally off-putting, but not totally enjoyable either. It's a combination of custard, papaya, celery, squash, and shallots. The sweetness is what you first taste, then you get the shallot/light sweet onion flavor in the back of the mouth. It's something that brings two distinct emotions, one of wanting to gag, but one wanting to have more. You have to keep reminding yourself that the oniony flavor isn't due to rotting, or going bad, it's just the natural flavor.

The texture is probably the strangest part. The only way to describe it is like hard scrambled eggs, with a bit of the membraney/stringy type texture of overripe mango. It's tough to get used to.
Alan
Durians are wonderful … I really got to enjoy them while living/working in S.E. Asia.

Apparently they don't mix well with alcohol, but that didn't matter too much to the Malaysians. They had a saying to describe the side benefits of durian:

"When the durians come down, the skirts go up …"
Kirk
Taste may be considered subjective but the only differences between what I consider good and what another might is what I know. Knowledge does not change the taste of an absinthe but it might change your perception and by default, your opinion.
When you say taste is subjective, are you saying that what tastes good to me, does not taste good to you?
Screwtape
QUOTE(absinthist @ Jan 13 2010, 04:06 PM) *

You might consider getting this or this or this and so on and so forth.


this is brilliant, and something I will surely take advantage of.


QUOTE(Kirk @ Jan 13 2010, 05:19 PM) *

Knowledge does not change the taste of an absinthe but it might change your perception and by default, your opinion.


i find that the more Walton Waters I drink the less I like Lucid. I still like it, but it's a bit like… well i wouldn't say fast food, but maybe a better comparison would be like a Valpolcella or even a Chianti back in the day, some of which were young and viney and maybe a little chewey, but still nice and familiar. Easy to crap on because they were perhaps not terribly complex, but still, you know… nice. This is my third bottle of Lucid, and I think the last for a while. It's a big world out there. (wish my wallet was fatter)
speedle
Yeah, don't overdo it on the Lucid. The biggest mistake I made was buying bottle after bottle of it, versus buying a variety of other products at similar price points. Now, I can't stand to drink it, and it's even impacting my enjoyment of my bottles of Jade to a very slight degree, because I taste something in there I didn't before.
Tibro
The mix of taste buds on each person's tongue is not the same. If you accept that then there's no reason to believe that the same food tastes the same to me as it does to you. And if it tastes differently than the enjoyment of the way something tastes is going to vary from person to person. Sure some of that is learned, but some of it also has to do with the hard-wiring.
Aggelos
If only it was only the mix of tastebuds…

Knowledge is important, I take it for granted. A Duplais will be just average to someone inexperienced, and a very good one for one more experimented. And some absinthes, Jades for example, are almost impossible to understand for a beginner

Stranges absinthes like montmartre will have extreme scores for begginers (either love it or hate it), an seasoned absintheur may score the real quality, which ranges in "above average but not extraordinary"

But there are so many factors…
Culture : some tastes need to be discovered by the age of 7 to be ever appreciated (true thing)
Personal experience : for me, cumin is a cheap spice for crisps and peanut. While I recognize Libertine is well executed, I sincerely can't drink it
Weather : Duringt the same year, my favorite absinthe will change with the seasons. Like it fresh in the summer and warm in the winter, makes sense
Mood also

Knowledge takes a great part, when you have a few miles on the road that is. Otherwise, you should try everything, save the difficult (forget the Jade line, the Parisiennes line, and I am definitely not sure for Delaware Phoenix, too elusive for a beginner)
Absomphe
QUOTE(Aggelos @ Jan 13 2010, 11:39 PM) *

A Duplais will be just average to someone inexperienced, and a very good one for one more experimented.


Or, just as likely, the reverse might prove to be the case, especially after even more experimentation.
Aggelos
Indeed, "very good" stands as "minimum requirement" in my stash tongue.gif
But I need to change this attitude and bring back some cheap but decent things (mansinthe, emile, etc), because I think I'm losing the grip on how excellent the others are.

That being said, you surprised me here, I was expecting a dead horse kicking on the Devoille I listed tongue.gif
Steve
QUOTE(Aggelos @ Jan 13 2010, 11:39 PM) *

Knowledge takes a great part, when you have a few miles on the road that is. Otherwise, you should try everything, save the difficult (forget the Jade line, the Parisiennes line, and I am definitely not sure for Delaware Phoenix, too elusive for a beginner)

I wouldn't say either of the DP products are elusive or difficult. I think they should be easy for a beginner to understand and enjoy. Did you taste any, except for that small sample of WW I gave you?

The Parisiennes line, for the most part, remains elusive for me. I still like Belle Amie, but the ones from Devoille, at least the ones I tasted, are not at all compelling to me.
Aggelos
QUOTE(Steve @ Jan 14 2010, 04:06 PM) *

I wouldn't say either of the DP products are elusive or difficult. I think they should be easy for a beginner to understand and enjoy. Did you taste any, except for that small sample of WW I gave you?

Still have to order a bottle of MoL and of WW to experiment further, and work only from my notes and memories.
While I do agree a beginner would enjoy WW, he/she would not grasp the most subtle aspects of it IMHO. The game of flavors of the different herbs needs trained buds to be caught.
My humble opinion though.

QUOTE(Steve @ Jan 14 2010, 04:06 PM) *

The Parisiennes line, for the most part, remains elusive for me. I still like Belle Amie, but the ones from Devoille, at least the ones I tasted, are not at all compelling to me.

edit (reason : darnit with the long discussion on Devoille, I'm not here to defend my tastes tongue.gif )

Good illustration, Steve : there are some tastes one can't fathom :) As far as I'm concerned, I'm blind to many blanches :)
Screwtape
QUOTE(Aggelos @ Jan 14 2010, 02:39 AM) *

…and I am definitely not sure for Delaware Phoenix, too elusive for a beginner.


Well a beginner is certainly how I would describe myself, but perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean by "too elusive".

I at this point am half way through the bottle of WW that I bought and though many of these flavors are new to me, I surely wouldn't say they were lost on me. I might even go so far as to say that I am more lacking in vocabulary than palate, but then to be fair what do I know from hyssop? It's like the first time I bit into a juniper berry and had a moment of clarity as to why I love gin. Perhaps in addition to seeking out new absinthes I should spend some time acquainting myself with the composite herbs.

Still, I don't think that it is a waste to learn what makes absinthe fine by drinking fine absinthes, though I'd imagine it would make what you be willing to drink a much smaller list.
Aggelos
Well, not even meaning you are a beginner, my deepest apologies if I sounded preposterous.

As far as WW is concerned, the flavors are not lost, and maybe "elusive" was not the word. And yet may be.

What I mean, is that my advice, when you start, is to start with very simple and frank absinthe. You have to get acquainted with the major actors and how they're tuned in the first place before going into the innuendos.

It's like opera : the untrained ear will find pleasing a singer who uses a lot of tremollo, and will still ear the elusive tremollo of another singer, but will find the first one more appealing, not understanding the second singer is far better because she knows how and when to use it.

And the reason for "why not start with the best" is because the best is most often a bit more expensive, and therefore a bit wasted.
Take your time, there's not need to rush the top and not see the panorama while climbing wink.gif
Donnie Darko
I still think the most important factor is the wormwood. It's most easily identified in Doubs Mystique and Meadow of Love (particularly after it has aged for a bit) and to a lesser extent Vieux Pontarlier, which I think uses the same wormwood as Mystique but in an interestingly different recipe. Distinguishing between anise and fennel cultivars is more elusive and requires the most experience, as do nuances imparted by various quality coloring herbs. I think it's best to get ones head around exactly what the herb the drink is named after tastes and smells like in general, and then branch out into the absinthes that may feature the wormwood a bit less but that also do other very interesting things. A real palate education is being able to recognize the excellent wormwood in Mystique and MOL and then tasting Pacifique and seeing how artfully it is balanced.

And yeah, one should experiment with blanches also, of which Blanchette and Brut D'alambic are the best examples (though you need a graduated cylinder or other measuring equipment to get the most out of Brut D'alambic). I keep hearing Helfrich blanche is excellent but I don't know if that's available still. Stay away from Kubler, you can't taste wormwood.
Steve
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 14 2010, 08:24 AM) *

I keep hearing Helfrich blanche is excellent but I don't know if that's available still.

To my great distress, it is no longer made commercially.

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 14 2010, 08:24 AM) *

Stay away from Kubler, you can't taste wormwood.

You can get a good idea what tails taste like, though! het.gif
Steve
QUOTE(Aggelos @ Jan 14 2010, 07:45 AM) *

edit (reason : darnit with the long discussion on Devoille, I'm not here to defend my tastes tongue.gif )

Of course you don't have to defend your tastes, but I wish I had seen this before your edit because I would love to understand them better.
Screwtape
Oh, no worries, Aggelos, I took no offense.
I think I can somewhat see what you mean by "elusive" and perhaps that was what I was getting at with this post. When drinking Lucid I saw how the bottle opened, the alcohol toned down and it just seemed to round out in a predictable way, but with the WW the evolution was unexpected. Each time I came back to the bottle it was a little different with some notes receding and others coming to the surface. I guess that's why I was asking if some products aren't worth buying several times over in succession, so that the kaleidoscope could be better understood.

Aggelos
QUOTE(Steve @ Jan 14 2010, 05:35 PM) *

Of course you don't have to defend your tastes, but I wish I had seen this before your edit because I would love to understand them better.


Well, for what it's worth, I think Devoille are altogether something different. There is nothing out there which looks or tastes like a Devoille, not in terms of quality, but in terms of profile.

You can't drink a Devoille like you drink another absinthe, methinks. They're not apperitive, or festive, they're absinthe for long discussions, or long calm moments, because they're very strong and grab you by the croach at every sip. I tend to prefer them in winter, after meal :) And they're definitely not my "go to" absinthes, even if I rank them among the best.

That being said, Parisiennes by Devoille are a velvet fist in an iron glove, imho.

I recall you have tried L'enjoleuse. This one is a very secretive bitch, if I may. As much as I've tried, I can't tell why it is wonderful, and I sometimes have to try another thing and get back to it to remember how wonderful she is. Mind you, its own creator can't tell why it's good.
Well… in fact, there is a reason, actually : it's a very smooth absinthe, strong but smooth. They're is not hidden flavor, but none emerging either. And everything blends beautifully : flowery and fruity
She's made of sugar and spice, and everything nice.

Coquette is the contrary : a fireworks of flavors, mainly fruity and flowery (well, which Parisienne isn't ?), with a nice coating of herbs. It ages wonderfully, and a month after opening it's at its best : verbena and honey are emerging (and nothing alike is in it)

La Désirée is a no-brainer. The anise is sweet, and carpets the tongue for the other flavors, the wormwood
is smooth and covers the palate, and everything dances in the middle. A real masterpiece.

I would not be surprised if it was the same recipe with different executions, if I think a bit more about it…

Well anyway, as a conclusion, the Devoille wine alcohol is the strength and the weakness of the Devoille absinthe. It is very rich and powerful, and provides an unmatched aging, but it can definitely be too powerful to some palates.

Ah, a final note : a Devoille is served cold, but is drank all the way to warm, because some of the best fragrances emerge at room temperature (I don't know if you recall, when you tasted l'Enjoleuse, I tasted Soixante Cinq, and told Luc that a bit warmer it reminded me croissants, assertion to which the co-owner of VdA agreed)

Hope I'm clear.
Head_prosthesis
Another good way to sample many varieties is to take an arm load of sausages to one of the various sausage fests. If you're doing the Louchefest be sure to wear face protection. If you're going to one of the Wormwood Society events make sure your lawyer is present. If you're going to the Absinthe Festival to swing with the FeeVerte crowd drink plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes. Or you could host your own gathering. Preferably in a venue that is shatter proof and child proof.

Another idea is to marry the owner of one of the various forums (like I did).

Aggelos
QUOTE(Screwtape @ Jan 14 2010, 05:52 PM) *

Each time I came back to the bottle it was a little different with some notes receding and others coming to the surface. I guess that's why I was asking if some products aren't worth buying several times over in succession, so that the kaleidoscope could be better understood.


Well, you're poking at another phenomenon here, wich is "open bottle aging" or "oxygenation" in French (the term must not be very different in English). Don't be fooled, you'll go from start at the next bottle.

So try something else if that was the root your concern, that's my best advice :)
Steve
I'd like to discuss this more but I guess my boss would like me to get back to work. Later…
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Head_prosthesis @ Jan 14 2010, 12:53 PM) *

If you're doing the Louchefest be sure to wear face protection.


Ha!
QUOTE
If you're going to one of the Wormwood Society events make sure your lawyer is present.


Double Ha!

QUOTE
Another idea is to marry the owner of one of the various forums (like I did).


Triple Ha! Is Oxy spoken for? I ain't sayin' I'm a gold digga…
Kirk
QUOTE
The mix of taste buds on each person's tongue is not the same. If you accept that then there's no reason to believe that the same food tastes the same to me as it does to you.

I understand what you're getting at but
is there reason to believe that taste is any different than our other senses? Sugar tastes sweet, all over the world. My vision is different from yours but we both are looking at the same object. My hearing is different from yours but we both know drum beats from reed, same with touch, we all know heat. With training, any of our senses can become more acute. With knowledge we become more adept at understanding or identifying what we hear, see or taste, missing highs and lows, type of vision or number of taste buds aside. If we both like absinthe and I say to you, "this is one of the best absinthes I have ever tasted in my life" chances are pretty good, you'll like it.
Tibro
Or will learn to like it, if the rest of that is true. Which I think it is. Which is why I think it's best to drink the best quality you can afford. Or better. If you're lucky.

You might wind up learning more about yourself than you do about absinthe. But that's okay, too, isn't it?

Or the good people who recommend good libations.
Kirk
Let's put it to the test in September. Face to face is the only way I like to talk about specific absinthes.
Tibro
I would be pleased to taste whatever you would recommend. And discuss the merits face to face.
Provenance
QUOTE(Aggelos @ Jan 13 2010, 11:39 PM) *
some tastes need to be discovered by the age of 7 to be ever appreciated (true thing)

So that explains my Laphroaig habit.
Absomphe
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 14 2010, 01:09 PM) *

Triple Ha! Is Oxy spoken for? I ain't sayin' I'm a gold digga…


There's always Absinthe Ben, although comparatively, you might be marryin' loose change.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.