I got an e-mail this morning asking me if I'd be interested in "an unbiased paid review" of Buy-Absinthe-Alcohol.com, a site selling absinthe and related accessories.
I declined; for the record, we don't do advertorials here at Cocktailians. We'll do reviews, sure, but they're the honest reactions of our correspondents to the ingredients, drinking establishments, recipes, accessories, and whatever else we've set our sights on. Will we accept free samples for review? Sure (bring 'em on!) but don't expect that to mean that you've bought our opinions, and do expect those discounts to be prominently disclosed here.
Now, all of the above is meant as a policy statement, and is neither a dart nor a laurel directed toward Buy-Absinthe-Alcohol: for instance, I don't think that I can give a website that sells things a fair review unless I buy something from them...and I'm not going to pay shipping from Europe when I can get absinthe (relatively) easily here in New York. To their credit, they asked for an "unbiased" review. I'm assuming this means that they'd pay me regardless of what I said about the site, whether it's positive or negative. Their FAQ acknowledges that the site started as a distributor for Rodniks absinthe, and (again, I've no personal experience with buying from them) they seem like a perfectly above-board way to buy absinthe. (There are other suppliers, such as Liqueurs de France, which carries the Jade Liqueurs line of absinthe. There's also Viridian Spirits' Lucid, which is probably the absinthe that's most readily available in the U.S.) The site includes an absinthe blog, which I'm linking to here because it has some useful and interesting information tucked in among the expected promotional content.
Want more information on absinthe? A good first step is to check my estimable co-author Chuck Taggart's article on the subject. And here's a nice article on absinthe's history, as well as an interview with chemist and absinthe distiller T.A. Breaux. Breaux is the man behind both the Jade Liqueurs line of reproduction absinthes and the more widely-available Lucid absinthe, and there's a fascinating profile of him in Wired, which was followed by an excellent profile in the New Yorker. And, you can find bunches more information at the Absinthe Buyer's Guide and the Virtual Absinthe Museum.