Monday, 29 December 2008

Real Absinthe: 2008 Review & 2009 forecast


The webpages above are my photos of 2008: a year which saw the number of absinthes available from US retailers such as DrinkUp New York and Bevmo rise to double figures, and saw the list of US-approved absinthes rise to at least 37.

If my readers thought that 2007 was an interesting year for real absinthe, then heaven knows what they thought of 2008! By December 2008, about 25 of the approved absinthes were actually in the US market (or very close to being so).

All this at a time when the USA enters its worst economic slowdown since 1929, with one major banking casualty, an auto industry close to bankruptcy and now with a ground-breaking new President-elect. So, given the plethora of new absinthes on the one hand and the recession on the other, what is really going on? And what will happen in 2009?

My forecasts for 2008: Review

A good start-point is my forecast for 2008 made 12 months ago:

1. By December 2008, there will be at least 8 - 10 absinthes freely available in the USA. They will include more absinthes from France, Switzerland, the USA and the first Czech absinth to launch officially in the USA. With DrinkUp New York and Bevmo respectively listing 14 and 12 different absinthes, my forecast could be seen to have been a little on the low side. Of course one or two of my forum friends


might suggest that several of these aren't real absinthe, but that's another debate for another time! My forecast for the first Czech absinth to enter the USA has only proved wrong in that while four are now US-approved, none of them has actually entered the market yet.

2. At least one of the big multi-national companies, probably Pernod-Ricard, will start to show more significant interest in absinthe. Pernod Absinthe is becoming slightly more prominent within Pernod's portfolio in some countries and the US interest in absinthe will have been noted. And if a second multi-national starts to get interested, then anything could happen! Pernod Absinthe is definitely more of a factor in the US market now, but whether it will satisfy the corporate objectives of the second biggest drinks group in the world is another matter, given Pernod-Ricard's purchase of Absolut Vodka in 2008. Absolut is probably more important than Absinthe for them. And is there a second multi-national looking at absinthe yet? Yes ... more to follow below in my 2009 forecast

3. One or two unlikely alliances between some of the main players will start to be seen. Consolidation is happening throughout the drinks business and absinthe will follow this trend. A year ago, would anyone have forecast that a brand like La Clandestine would be sold by the company selling Lucid?


4. Prices will fall, whether on the internet or in the retailers selling absinthe around the world. Some of this will come from greater production efficiency in the business and from greater competition; some will come from specification changes with suppliers reducing the alcohol strength as has been observed in at least one key market (the UK) in recent months. Some of this has proved correct, especially the effective prices (in dollar terms) from UK-based internet operators, although this is just a short-term foreign exchange phenomenon. Greater competition in the USA has yet to drive prices down, although there is now much more emphasis on value-added packs which has a similar effect.

5. More absinthe blogs will start (and many will wither); membership of the absinthe forums will continue to grow, and many of the longer-established members will tire of the inability of newcomers to read the FAQ's (that's an easy prediction)! However at the Louched Lounge, change will be less obvious! My forecast on new blogs has only come true if one counts the blogs on MySpace, and the demise of the Czech Absinthe blog was the main casualty over the last 12 months (with most other absinthe bloggers also a lot less active).

A notable start-up is the Absinthe Review Network.



The three main English language absinthe forums went in very different directions editorially, although in all cases visitor numbers seem to have stagnated or even declined.



Gwydion Stone's interest in Marteau Absinthe led to a greater presence by the non-commercial staff at the Wormwood Society, David-Nathan Maister's focus on the Absinthe Encyclopedia and on other ventures such as Absinthe Classics Canada and Finest and Rarest seems to have cut down his time spent on Fée Verte. More dramatically, a fall-out between two of the leading lights of the Louched Lounge has led to the virtual disappearance of Louched Liver ....



2008 Review

2007 had ended with the USA’s first locally distilled absinthe since 1912 and some final vitriolic exchanges on the Czech Absinthe blog. Was it RIP or just “au revoir” to Absintheur and DrAbsinthe?

The growing interest in absinthe in the USA was evident with Imbibe’s review of the US absinthe market in January 2008.

January also saw the TTB approval for Le Tourment Vert; February saw Grande Absente's approval; March saw La Fée Parisienne's approval.

In April, Sign On San Diego broke the news that Tom Boyd (absinthe bloggist and inquisitor) was actually Dominik Miller, spokesman for Century “Absinthe.” Interviewed by the journalist, he invented the wonderful term “thujone denialists” to describe Ted Breaux and others involved in the emerging US absinthe market. In truth, this spokesman for Century and others like him (who took upon themselves the task of arguing on behalf of all Czech “absinthe” with every real absinthe lover on the internet) have probably done more to harm the cause of Czech “absinthe” than anyone through continually linking it with high thujone. Hardly likely to help their cause with the TTB!

Talking of which, in April Mata Hari and Sirene received their final TTB approvals, as did Leopold in May.

June saw the 11th Annual Absinthe Festival in Boveresse, Switzerland. This year Claude-Alain Bugnon's webcam came into its own, filming those of us who were drunk-dialling the USA.





Ted Breaux and Jared Gurfein of Viridian were at Boveresse in 2008, allowing some final fine-tuning prior to the announcement of the La Clandestine and Nouvelle-Orléans US launches.

More TTB approvals followed in June: Trillium and Van Gogh Klasiek. The latter, one of the first absinthes developed by an established American premium spirits company, is not yet in the US market, and we have heard rumours that it will not be launched. I wonder why ...

July is supposed to be the start of the summer holidays, but there was no sign of holidays at the TTB with Marteau, Obsello (the first Spanish absinthe in the USA) and Duplais all getting their approvals. The pace barely slowed in August with Mansinthe and Vieux Pontarlier gaining theirs.

September saw the Absinthiades in Pontarlier.


For the fourth consecutive year, the Absinthe professionals of the world awarded Claude-Alain Bugnon the Golden Spoon for his Recette Marianne; for the second consecutive year the other distilled absinthe winner was La Fée XS Suisse (also produced at a small distillery in the birthplace of absinthe!).

September was also the month when I went on a whirlwind tour of


Moscow (above), Miami, New York and


Toronto (above), all on non-absinthe business. Apart from


in New York (above), it was clear that the absinthe business is under-developed in the other major cities visited: maybe 2009 will be the year for absinthe in Canada?

For me, October was significant as the month when La Clandestine was finally launched in New York, New Orleans, and Kentucky. It was also the month when the Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago scores for nine absinthes became available. Members of the Wormwood Society were not impressed.

Also in October, the Czech absinthe protagonist(s) returned. “Praha” debated absinthe issues in the National Examiner while “Ragnarok” followed suit in Newsminer. In both discussions, Hiram aka Gwydion Stone of the Wormwood Society was the target of the “thujone hypers,” and even if he didn't get the last word in the debates, he got the last laugh in life with the launch of his new Marteau Absinthe de la Belle Epoque.

In November, news breaks of the first Czech "absinthe" approvals. The two brands in question are actually owned by two Australian entrepreneurs who used to work for Jim Beam: more "big drinks company" men coming into the global absinthe business.

In late-November, La Clandestine started shipping from Nova Scotia. Most Canadians can now buy both Taboo Canadian Absinthe and La Clandestine Swiss Absinthe without having to pay high courier charges.

And so as the global economy plunges lower in December, the TTB year ends with more approvals, including approval at last for Pacifique Absinthe.

On Christmas Day, the Absinthe Review Network announced the highest-rated la bleue absinthe to date: La Clandestine.

And 2008 ended with two dramatic developments: Health Canada confirm that they are reviewing their policy on thujone in absinthe: their review may take a year but it is the most positive news of the year for Canadian absinthe lovers (especially those in Ontario).

And I pick up the first solid accounts of three global giants of the drinks business becoming interested in absinthe ... more of that later!

......................................................................................................................

Before my forecast for 2009, I want to make some new awards for achievements and services rendered to the global absinthe business in 2008.

Absinthe Photo of the Year for the Drink Up New York absinthe page featured at the start of this article.

Volte-face of the Year to Health Canada for finally starting to review their policy on thujone in absinthe. Having encouraged some of the biggest drinks retailers in the world to stock Hill's and Pernod Absinthe only (and to state that if Hill's/Pernod can produce absinthes with less than 1 ppm of thujone, so can everyone else), Health Canada appears - at last - to be having second thoughts. Either that, or they will ban sales of vermouth and of turkey stuffed with sage in 2009. And water could be next on their hit list based on the theory that more people may die from drinking water than from drinking absinthe ...

The Ban Ki-moon award for diplomacy to Brian Robinson, aka Shabba (53)


for his two or more years debating firstly with the Czech absinthe bloggers/supporters, and more recently debating the Wormwood Society on Fée Verte. More importantly, he is a first-class spokesman for the absinthe industry in the USA, and I hope he is allowed to spend more time on that in 2009 (and that he will not need to argue in the internecine inter-forum war).

Absinthe Launch of the Year award? In 2007, Lucid was the clear winner. In 2008, there is no clear winner. Pandor Absinthe hit the French market, Marteau hit some of the US market, and Stefano Rossoni's L'Italienne hit the internet shops. Obsello, St. Antoine, Prométhée, Vieux Pontarlier and Pacifique all look promising, but all lack the breakthrough impact of Lucid. So, all things considered, I have decided not to make an award in this category in 2008.

......................................................................................................................

2009 Forecasts

1. More multi-nationals will enter the absinthe market in 2009, probably through acquisition.

With Pernod Absinthe gaining distribution in the USA every month, I cannot see Diageo ignoring this sector for much longer. And two separate sources have told me that they are looking very closely at this sector. Diageo generally buy their way into a sector through brand acquisition, and there are a number of acquisition candidates. A company of Diageo's scale would most likely want to buy an absinthe that can be easily "scaled up," which probably excludes most "hand-crafted" absinthes. If I was in charge of Diageo's acquisition policy, I know which brands I would be looking at, but there's no need for me to drive their prices up by naming them here! Which brands do my readers think a Diageo should buy?

Bacardi, Brown-Forman and Fortune Brands are also possible absinthe purchasers, but might, on previous form, have other less obvious brands in their sights.

2. US absinthe prices? Impossible to forecast, with the forces of dollar depreciation and US recession/local production finely balanced. If the dollar falls to 1.75 against the Euro as some have predicted, then the price for absinthe imported into the USA could, theoretically, increase by up to 25%.

3. Absinthe consumption in the USA? Highly dependent on prices and the general recession, although there are those (myself included) who point to the good health of premium drinks in recessionary times.

4. Absinthe outside the USA. With the resurgence of absinthe (especially real absinthe) in the USA, bartenders around the world are looking at the sector with new interest. The bar trade in the UK, Australia, and Canada may be able to drive these markets away from the more artificial style of "absinthe" currently dominant there, but exchange rate issues may slow some of the demand. Looking globally, I see other markets in Europe and Asia Pacific as being more attractive, at least in the short- to mid-term. As an Asia lover now seeing bars in Thailand, Japan, India and other countries selling high quality absinthes, it is good to see that others seem to agree with me.

5. Internet sales to change dramatically. Already there are signs that absinthe shopping is changing dramatically.

Example one: Absinthe-Suisse no longer ships to the USA.

Example two: In December 2007, eAbsinthe sold 17 Swiss absinthes; 12 months later, they are only selling 4. With similar trends for other countries.

Why the change? A few possible reasons spring to mind, such as the easier access to good access locally in the USA, cheaper local prices cutting demand on the internet, and, maybe crucially, the need of those companies now selling absinthe from Europe to the USA by the container, to appear to be moving to a 100% legal operation. In this situation, it is possible to envisage a time when all internet absinthe sales from Europe to the USA will cease.

Maybe this is not the present that my US friends are looking for, but as Absinthe develops, why should the industry operate differently from Tequila or Vodka?

......................................................................................................................

Even if the world economy appears to be in free-fall, I forecast a great future for high quality absinthe. Even if 2009 is difficult, good absinthes which meet consumer needs will flourish ... in the USA and elsewhere. In October 2007, a bottle of hand-crafted Swiss absinthe cost about the same as 2 General Motors shares; in December 2008, that same bottle, with a lower price now it is available in US shops, would cost the same as 21 GM shares! Clearly, I don't want my readers to drink and drive: however, now, more than ever, is a good time to curtail one's driving habits, and switch to absinthe. But please drink responsibly!

Finally, do my readers agree with my thoughts on 2008 and, more importantly, 2009?

Santé et bonne année!

42 comments:

The Absinthe Review Network said...

Wow, where to begin? There's so much I'd like to respond to. Well done, I had forgotten about some of the more memorable moments that have passed over the months, while others were things I somehow missed (such as the BTI's ABSURD absinthe scores).

If there's one point to retain from all this, it's that it really is difficult to predict how drastically things could potentially change in 12 months, though to your credit you did a hell of a job with your predictions. That was a bold prediction on the number of absinthes available, and I think many people were shocked at the steady flow of new brands that debuted in 2008.

Ha ha, I was discussing that same photo with our middle-finger wielding friend just last week. I think THAT should be photo of the year.;)

Regarding the price of absinthe for US-residents, I don't think many long-time absintheurs are going to just get fed-up with the prices one day and start buying less...we're all pretty much used to it after so many years. But I think the real danger is that newcomers will "splurge" (or at least many of them will think of it that way) on a bottle of shit absinthe and say "I shelled out $60 for THIS?! Well, screw absinthe!". Once absinthe really starts entering the mainstream, I think its going to need a good entry-level brand around the $40 range that is not an anise bomb.

Either that, or like I said last year, start selling in .5 litre size so the price point is more attractive to the average alcohol consumer.

And wow, eAbsinthe's selection has gone to SHIT. I never buy from them, so I didn't realize just how bad it's become. Good eye!

How do you think other online absinthe shoppes will be affected?

Alan said...

Is the 0.5 liter size legal? I thought it had to be 37.5 cl, 75 cl, or liter.

Other online shops? Assuming you mean other European shops, that could depend on whether the shop owner wants to sell "normally" as well. If a shop owner decides to go the normal US route, then at some stage he will be under pressure from his US wholesalers and/or the TTB to stop the internet operation.

The Absinthe Review Network said...

I can't say I recall seeing any .5 litre bottles of liquor, but I don't think it's illegal to do so. There's .5 litres of wine here, but then I suppose it could be different regulation for spirits, I'm honestly not sure.

Yes, I see your point on the internet sites. But then, I can't imagine online absinthe retailers no longer shipping to the US ENTIRELY. If a major website or two stops shipping to the US, I think others will capitalise on the slimmer set of options for US customers and begin offering US delivery themselves. And even if they don't, it's the internet: there will always be SOME website that is only semi-legit that will keep delivering absinthe to us.:) Of course, they could use that to their advantage and keep prices higher under the mentality that we, as US customers, have no other alternative for overseas brands. Though honestly, I'd still pay it even if it was outrageous so long as I could have my favourite overseas-only brands...

Anonymous said...

Quote of the Year?

"The only reference available in library catalogues is: Talking Raven, Summer 1993, interview with S/M Pagan, Gwydion Stone"

LMFAO. Quick delete this comment...got to keep Mr Whiplash on side ;-)

http://media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper997/stills/2yigrqze.jpg

Anonymous said...

http://media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper997/stills/2yigrqze.jpg

Anonymous said...

/stills/2yigrqze.jpg

Not a "rent-a-still" operation?

Alan said...

Thanks, Anonymous.

I don't really see how a 1993 interview qualifies for Quote of the Year 2008.

And frankly it's of no interest to anyone what Mr. Stone did 15 years ago.

At least he never hides his past or identity like some people around here ....

Wendell said...

So much interesting stuff going on in this post, so I'll just say that the photo of Boggy is hilarious! Thanks for the comprehensive post and the chuckles, Alan.

Boggy said...

Excellent and in-depth review. Hopefully the new coming 2009 will bring some new, positive happenings in the absinthe market and in the absinthe scene.

Since Americans are rising the bar higher and higher, the division between absinthe substitutes and real deal will become more and more discernible; there are also some more intriguing European players in the very game, we should wait what they have to say.

Who would think you choose THAT pic? Really made my day. Thanks again!

Alan said...

That photo of Boggy?

Well, you are all missing a thing or two here.

Firstly he is holding up just one finger while I write "Of course one or two of my forum friends might suggest that several of these aren't real absinthe." Does my comment mean that he is the only one that thinks this, or that, in fact, Boggy only thinks one of the US-legal absinthes is really absinthe?

Secondly, did no-one notice the leitmotif running through this blog? Three separate photos of fingers held up to the camera? Is there a more subtle message here? For those that don't recognise the distillery photos, that's Marc Thuilli from France holding up two fingers, and Markus Hartsmar (absinthe.se) pointing his finger sideways.

Boggy said...

Out the list of 37 products you have listed my friend, 12 are real deal more or less, 7 are absinthe substitutes and sadly 12 again are non absinthes.

However, I do strongly hope when the bar is raised as high as possible, the two aforementioned inferior categories will get sorted out, it is survival of the bitter, I mean the fittest ;)

Btw, Happy New Year's Eve!

Alan said...

Total: 37

12 (real deal) +7 (substitutes) +12 (non-absinthe) = 31

What are the other 6?

I suspect the substitutes and non-absinthes will remain ... indeed their cost structure will allow them to get trial among people who are scared at the idea of paying 80 dollars a bottle for the real deal.

Americans pay less than 10 dollars for a bottle of American brandy, between 20 and 30 dollars for Greek or German brandy, and 40 dollars upwards for good Cognac. A good XO Cognac will be over 100 dollars. Absinthe may end up having a similar price range, with Pontarlier/Val-de-Travers absinthes at the higher end.

Wesołych świąt i szczęśliwego nowego roku.

Boggy said...

;) you know how good I am at maths?

Well, yes, 15 real deal, 7 substitutes and 15 non.

Here, you would pay 7.5 USD per Polish brandy, 10 USD per Greek one or similar style thereof, 25USD for a decent cognac, whereas XO would start with 35USD. However, the bottle of decent absinthe (so far there is only one specialist shop of that kind in Poland) may cost even more than the bottle of XO.

dakini_painter said...

Hi Alan and friends!

Hopefully 2009 will be the year of Delaware Phoenix absinthe getting to market! But distribution will be limited.

I think the low end market will be very difficult for poor quality absinthe in the US. The big players will be able to produce lots of product, and sell it relatively cheaply. However, the experience of LTV and La Fee may be a warning to them. Why come out with an absinthe product that doesn't sell well, when they could produce another flavored vodka, a rum, or tequila that they could be sure of making money. In a way, they're competing with themselves for shelf space.

ps I left a comment on the list too. You might want to read it. ;-)

Alan said...

"I think the low end market will be very difficult for poor quality absinthe in the US."

Let's hope you are right, DP. My worry would be that a Diageo size company won't do their proper due diligence and would buy a low end brand thinking that they can throw a few more million dollars at the market to make it work. A few million dollars invested in a low quality "absinthe" could distort the whole market.

Wendell said...

How could a middle finger pic not be tongue-in-cheek in some way? ;)

I did notice the middle-finger consistency, and am now glad I can put a face to that sock's name. The squeeze puppet, too.

speedle said...

Great post, Alan! My only possible area of disagreement would be in the area of internet availability of the "artisan-al" brands, i.e. Jade or Eichelberger. I think that as long as people will buy these brands, and there is a perceived value to them, then a way will be found to distribute them to eager buyers. As to whether their makers will still be producing them, given the reduced market potential, that's another question.

Jill said...

Very interesting blog. Enjoyed it. There's an article in the NYTimes today...but, I'm sure you already know that.

Alan said...

Thanks, Jill. The NYT article is discussed here:

http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=4553&hl=

Anonymous said...

"Scientists had documented the effects of thujone by 1916. Recent research did confirm one thing: the alpha-thujone found in absinthe causes "CNS cholinergic receptor binding activity" in the brain, which, scientists claim, improves the brain's cognitive functions". Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, why is the Wormwood Society so dead set against high-thujone absinthe, considering that Wormwood is the best source of thujone. Odd choice of name. Why not call it Taste-only Absinthe Society, since you prefer the delicious yet impotent New Age variety of this lovely drink? No offense intended, just fascinated by the name

Alan said...

Anonymous,

I can't really comment on the research you quote. Presumably scientists could find that consuming alcohol also has an opposite effect on the cognitive functions.

At least the name of the Wormwood Society tells us something about them. Which is more than your name (as shown here) does. Also your note seems to suggest you think that the Wormwood Society and I are closely related: we are not and their choice of name is nothing to do with me. So since I cannot answer your quesion, why don't you join the Wormwood Society yourself and ask them about their name?

From my viewpoint, I'm not specifically against high-thujone absinthes. I've had some high-thujone absinthes which taste OK and had others which don't. That's not the issue. I'm against companies and individuals who market their brands on the false promise that high-thujone absinthes have any significant effect.

It's as if a fine champagne started to claim that it has more bubbles (and then hinted that bubbles have an effect on the cognitive functions). At that stage, I would suspect that the executives of that company have been consuming too much of their own product!

Grate said...

What has champagne got to do with it? That is just a spurious concept invented by you to ram home your ideology to the masses.

Absinthe was/ is a medicinal formula - what do medicines do? Why they have an effect! In your beloved Switzerland they drank absinthe as medicine even after the ban. Why use wormwood anyway and not some other plant if they were only after taste? There is a lot of history a comin' soon which will make the proud "second level" gods of absinthe - those that proclaim themselves experts but who actually work in a pizza kitchen etc - look like the vacuous popinjays they are. I'll have mine with extra anchovy please and send the kitchen a slice of humble pie.

Alan said...

Thanks, Grate. Good to see you have a name.

My comparison to champagne is not at all spurious. I have worked on some of the finest champagne brands, as well as on top end single malts and cognacs. I could draw similar analogies with other sectors.

In not one other sector of the drinks business do some of the "experts" get worked up about the chemical composition of their brands. And most of those few remaining absinthe vendors who do so, hyping up the chemical composition of their products, only do so because they have nothing else to hype up.

I look forward to reading the "history a comin' soon." Maybe it will become a best-selling work ... in the fiction section, of course.

Anonymous said...

Some of us drink only for the effect:

"I could give a shit less about thujone, but if I can expect no "absinthe effect"( I refuse to consider it "secondary"), then I'll be god-damned if I am going to spend $100 for a bottle of booze unless it's damned fine single malt scotch. When I want an anise flavoured liquer, I'll buy a pastis for $30. I don't care if the effect comes from thujones or Tom Jones, or a combination of other herbs, but that's why I pay exorbitant shipping rates"

GStone Feb 12 2004 FeeVerte.Net

GStone said...

Nothing in that quotation suggests that effect was the only reason I drank absinthe as you allege. I've never claimed that there is no absinthe effect, only that it was exaggerated by those that needed the hype to sell their blue vodka.

I realize that any rational rebuttal of your comments is pointless, but let's look at the date of that quotation: 2/12/2004. Six weeks after my first taste of absinthe. I'm not embarrassed by this, it only shows how far one can come in five years!

I went from being a relative novice to being a producer of one of the best absinthes on the market.

You're still stuck in front of a computer, trolling blogs, and working at a job you hate.

Anonymous said...

"a producer of one of the best absinthes on the market"

Indeed?

"Now I have died and gone to absinthe heaven." was one comment about your new absinthe. The comment appears along with a lot of other equally breathless praise at a "a non-profit educational and consumer advocacy organization" website.

Congratulations. To obtain such approbation from such an august and impartial organiSation is praise indeed.

I see that some are more cynical:

"Whatever the WS started out to be and regardless of its stated intentions, it has become nothing more than Hiram's propaganda machine. For the first time in the Grate H's life he's determined to get paid for something other than dressing up like a Nun and playing slap and tickle. I have nothing against making money. In fact, I quite like it. The Lard™ might consider doing it the way a few others in the world of absinthe do it, by offering a quality product. I guess it's easier his way - silence the ones who call crap, crap. Dec 7 2008, 09:26 AM

Extraordinary! Anyway, well done that man! Huzzah for GStone is what I say!

GStone said...

You rebut a review of the absinthe by quoting a vulgar insult to my character by someone who has a personal grudge?

Lame.

Anonymous said...

You are not the sharpest knife in the draw are you? You were always more in tune with commerce than the erudition you wear, like a vulgar floral silk waistcoat at a white-tie dinner. You have now found your vocation in a very small way. You have offended many and not only those whom you think.

The comments above were made of course after a serious intellectual - and your better - was ejected from your community of sychophants for daring to question your product.

Anonymous said...

We all know that you rpdouced a product by proxy in Switzerland at the Mansinthe distillery.

According to one of the original USA absinthe fathers:

"That stuff was the worst absinthe I've bought in several years, and I've bought some bad absinthe in my time. I'm sure the new version must be better.Dec 7 2008, 05:20 AM"

Apparently it is so much better to rank alongside pre-ban in the Wormwood Society scores. Amazing given you have no experience as a distiller.

Those who seek to sell their products to American consumers, on a fair and level playing field, have much to fear from your "non-profit educational and consumer advocacy organization" don't they?

Of course you also offer "consultancy services" - both you and Robinson do that, don't they?

How does one pay for these "consultancy services" then?

GStone said...

You boys are getting sloppy.

GStone said...

You know, you really do suck at this. Jack was much more funnerer.

"You have offended many and not only those whom you think."

If I've offended someone and they don't let me know about it personally so that I may address their issues, that's their problem.

I'm not the least bit concerned that I may have offended the bigots, sexists, homophobes, anti-Semites, liars and intentionally disruptive persons that have been ejected from the Wormwood Society none of whom qualifies as an intellectual of any stripe.

No one has ever been suspended, banned or ejected for simply disagreeing with me or WS policies. There are many people still enjoying full privileges at WS with whom I strongly disagree.

I'm done with anonymous, lying cowards who don't have the stones to put their names and faces to their shameful slander.

Alan said...

Actually, Gwydion, the attacks probably constitute libel, not slander.

So far recent comments by Anonymous on this blog have included:

1. A 1993 quote nominated for "2008 quote of the year." Living in the past, Anonymous?

2. Libellous attacks in the Drink Up New York thread against the makers of Lucid ("fake absinthe") and by extrapolation against a major New York retailer for describing it as absinthe.

3. Thinly-veiled criticism of the name of the Wormwood Society.

4. Repeated ad hominem attacks against Gwydion Stone using the quotes of others.

5. Bad spelling: "you are not the sharpest knife in the draw" should be "in the drawer." Ironic to criticise someone's intelligence with incorrect spelling!

But not a single comment on what the poster actually thinks of Marteau itself.

I have been remarkbaly indulgent so far allowing all these anonymous ad hominems. They add nothing to the discussion, however, and I am inclined to delete future anonymous remarks if they are merely re-writes of old personal attacks.

Anonymous said...

Quite a few of these comments are from copy and paste trolls and are not real. You already know that, which makes me think they are you, Alan, Whiiping up trouble was always one of your fortes.

What about the brands and individuals that Stone and his cronies happily malign at the so called "Wormwood Society"? For example read the review published by Stone about La Fee Bohemian.

But then it is some kind of "consumer organisation" and they can PUBLISH what they like, right? Wrong.

a. Gnostalgic Spirits, Ltd.
Consulting services, specializing in authentic, 19th century styled absinthe.
Consulting in traditional absinthe service and staff education for bars and restaurants.


b.The Wormwood Society is a NON-PROFIT educational and consumer advocacy organization focused on providing current,....

We also provide guidance for spirits industry members who desire to produce and market authentic absinthe in a fair, honest and socially responsible way, including providing historically documented formulas and processes for making absinthe in the true Belle Époque style.

a & b - spot the difference. This is significant for the many brands of absinthe that are maligned at GStones' website. The Wormwood Society is NOT a non-profit organisation, it would seem to be a de facto arm of Gnostalgic Spirits Ltd. The legal ownership is the same.

Alan said...

How hypocritical of Anonymous to accuse me of trouble making, looking at all his/her attacks here. Lashing out to criticise Lucid, New York retailers, Gwydion and now me.

And all done behind that cloak of anonymity, demonstrating quite clearly the strength or weakness of the accusations. Of course he/she will never reveal his/her identity, given that the attacks are so libellous.

Contrast that with the willingness of Stone, Robinson, Moss, Nathan-Maister, Breaux, etc to say who they are.

Does Anonymous really think that the casual reader of this blog will pay any serious attention to his/her anonymous accusations? That cloak of anonymity says it all ..

Anonymous said...

The comments on another thread on a high -thujone theme are clearly not real and seemn intended to play on the stupidity of one WS member. I saw them for the first time today.

You have nothing to say about the issues? Just banging on about this Anonymous function on your blog in an attempt to undermine? There are real issue here. They will not go away in 2009.

Alan said...

"The comments on another thread on a high-thujone theme are clearly not real and seemn intended to play on the stupidity of one WS member."

If they are not real, how can they have any intent?

So now you are adding criticism of a stupid WS member to your list? It seems the whole world has a different view of things. There's a word for your problem: paranoia.

"Real issue?" I prefer the honest and open way in which Gwydion works, to the practices of those that dishonestly hype thujone and/or hide behind anonymity.

Anonymous said...

>If they are not real, how can they have any intent?

Intent was to create a reaction only and not debate the issue. I only read it today and it is weak copy of DrAbsinthe's style.

As you seem to have your Carter-Ruck hat on today, who are you accusing of dishonesty exactly?

Alan said...

See the misinformation label on this blog for a few examples:-

http://realabsinthe.blogspot.com/search/label/misinformation

Alternatively do a Google search for thujone hype.

As I've said before, the real problems are not with the brand owners of most of the brands involved, but with the vendors (in many cases American) who hype the thujone story.

GStone said...

"What about the brands and individuals that Stone and his cronies happily malign at the so called "Wormwood Society"?

What about them? That's what user reviews are for. It's hardly my fault if crappy absinthe has few supporters.

If you think that's maligning, you should read what they have to say over at your favorite site to quote, feeverte.net.

Funny how you've singled me out as the persecutor of crappy absinthe, and, although obviously very familiar with the threads at FV you haven't mentioned how much worse these same absinthes fare over there.

Funny that.

Very sloppy my friend. Very sloppy indeed.

For example read the review published by Stone about La Fee Bohemian."

I'm not seeing where I ever reviewed La Fée Bohemian, but as I recall, it was pretty crappy.

"a. Gnostalgic Spirits, Ltd.
Consulting services, specializing in authentic, 19th century styled absinthe.
Consulting in traditional absinthe service and staff education for bars and restaurants.

b. The Wormwood Society is a NON-PROFIT educational and consumer advocacy organization focused on providing current,....

We also provide guidance for spirits industry members who desire to produce and market authentic absinthe in a fair, honest and socially responsible way, including providing historically documented formulas and processes for making absinthe in the true Belle Époque style.

a & b - spot the difference. This is significant for the many brands of absinthe that are maligned at GStones' website. "


I can spot the difference:

b. is a free service provided by the website of WS, which is an unincorporated non-profit association.

a. is my personally-owned private business, where I am paid for my time and knowledge when giving private, in-person, in-depth consulting and instruction.

Aside from that, what makes you think that "non-profit" means "non-revenue"? Maybe you should learn something about business structures.

Your posts are full of fail.

Anonymous said...

good blog, claude's coat is too cool.

it is too bad Absinthe may get more expensive in the States. In the next year, I believe the brand with best proportion of quality to price will get a good foothold in the states. The brand that becomes the most affordable at the shelves will become the best seller.

Lucid did well because it was the first. It is also a mediocre absinthe (non-czech), that uses the label to tie into the drinks mystique. As more brands appear at shelves, it should turn into a price war. If you line up five 80 dollar absinthes in front of a first timer, there is a 1 in 5 chance your absinthe gets picked (unless it has the evil lucid eyes). If I were distributing absinthe, I would want an edge, I want a 3/5 or 4/5 chance of getting purchased. Main point: Do the right thing and drop prices before the Czechsinth arrives for $30 a bottle. It is up to the REAL ABSINTHE companies to make good absinthe a success. I am terrified that they'll screw up and turn Czechsinth into a top seller.

funny quote to hear coming from Hiram, I'll admit, but I forgive him. Marteau is too good.

--- Kurt Smetana "Zzz"

Alan said...

Hi Kurt,

Thanks for joining us ... for those who want to know what Kurt looks like, his photo is somewhere on this blog ..

I seem to have been wrong on prices, which are apparently moving down, not up. I was expecting the dollar to fare less well in the first few months, but have been proved wrong. So far.

Thankfully no "Czechsinth" at this stage. There are 4 approved Czech brands, but none seem to be in any distribution in the market. Of course there are other threats to Real Absinthe from other areas ...