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  1. #21
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV View Post

    So therefore I think that the the thread's title is a ridiculaous question.
    No, I think that the title is about what we just agreed upon. People tend to say that something is of low quality, when what they mean is it is of a style they don't care for. I may not care for the style that Pappy 23 represents, but for me to call it low quality would be wrong. It is very high quality, hand chosen by someone with a very well respected palate.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  2. #22
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    Ok, ok, ok,...I love Bar-B-Que, but I am not wild about Texas smoke, I do however respect and admire the art that goes into it.

    OK?
    ovh

  3. #23
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    You are correct about the light aging on the silver, which is actually 40 days, according to their official literature. Nothing I've seen indicates the existence of a completely unaged blanco under the Herradura brand. They do have an el Jimador Blanco, but that's 80 proof, as is the entire Herradura line.
    I'm pretty sure they still make it, but I think it's mostly just for the Mexican market. I still see it a lot, and have had it back when I was into tequila.

    http://www.bevmo.com/productinfo.asp...id=00000014960

    Here's another link:

    http://pocotequila.com/bltour/herra2.html

  4. #24
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    I know I am late to this conversation, but I don't really buy into the notion that quality is objective. I agree that quality and style are two different things, but I actually think quality is more subjective and style is more objective. I think John B got it right - style is a secondary characteristic.

    While I disagree with the idea that quality is objective, I recognize there can be objective measures of certain characteristics that some might appoint as indicative of quality. The type of quality we're talking about is this one:
    1. Superiority of kind: an intellect of unquestioned quality.
    2. Degree or grade of excellence: yard goods of low quality.
    Thus, because it is a judgment about superiority or excellence, quality is pretty much inherently subjective. Who can objectively say what is superior or what is excellent? You may prefer more pure, refined, high proof spirits, while I may prefer impure back-country 'shine. Purity is not quality, it is simply purity. You may prefer aged whiskey while I may prefer white dog. You may dislike the taste of whiskey and prefer flavorless spirits, while I may seek the tastiest spirits I can find. You may hate the idea of people consuming alcohol and thus want it to taste terrible, while I may seek to make alcohol as enjoyable as possible. The fact that these things can sometimes be quantified and measured does not change the fact that determining whether they are good or bad or neutral is subjective. Who is to judge what are the "best" raw materials or the "best" cooperages? That determination depends completely on one's subjective tastes and goals.

    And one may even recognize that certain things indicate quality to others - or even to himself in another context - and thus be able to recognize a "high quality" tequila, even if he doesn't necessarily enjoy it. There may also be an objective-like component of quality, which is that consensus views on quality may validly indicate whether others are likely to enjoy a product, since we are all human and share many common characteristics and preferences and ways of experiencing the world. And as we narrow down to groups of humans that are more alike in relevant ways (such as the members of SB.com), the likelihood that recommendations of things found to be of high quality by some group members will also be found to be of high quality by other group members also increases. But consensus is not objectivity.

    The style part, however, is a bit more objective. We can objectively define some styles and categorize whiskeys or other spirits based on them. For instance, the distinction between tequila and whiskey is an objective distinction in style. As is the distinction between bourbon made with rye and bourbon made with wheat. Or white dog and aged whiskey. Or 80 proof whiskey and barrel proof whiskey. But this is all, as John B notes, a secondary characteristic, because what's more important, generally, is whether we like a given style (or combinations of styles) or not.

    So, for me personally, when I describe something as a high-quality whiskey or a low-quality whiskey, I'm not talking about the stringency of the industrial specifications used to produce it or the stringent selection of grain used or the type of wood used in the barrels (one could reasonably hold these things to be the key measures of quality in a whiskey, though I doubt many do.) I'm personally much less interested in inputs and more interested in outputs. When I say a whiskey is high quality, I'm talking about my subjective evaluation of the tastiness and hedonic value of the end product. And this is a subjective standard of quality which incorporates my preferences related to a number of different styles.

    Tangentially, I think people respect PVW23 because of the quality of the end product, not because of all the inputs that went into producing that product. Let's say that a big industry secret was revealed tomorrow - that the Van Winkles also did all of the same tasting and quality control and the like as contractors for Jim Beam to produce the current version of Old Crow. Would you say that Old Crow must then also be high quality, of the same high quality as PVW23? I sure wouldn't. If that's just too far-fetched for you, imagine that you ordered a case of PVW23 and every single bottle tasted terrible. Would you still think those bottles were of high quality? I wouldn't, but we each have our own subjective measures of quality.
    Last edited by Sijan; 04-02-2008 at 22:46.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  5. #25
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    Dan, I found your writing on this quite enjoyable. What I find most interesting, is that we are, I believe, basically agreeing on what attributes must be satisfied for a term, we are just switching the terms.

    I find your choices of which definitions you prefer very interesting, I would have preferred:

    Quality
    n
    An inherent or distinguishing characteristic; a property

    The accounting dictionary may be better:
    Measure of conformance of a product or service to certain specifications or standards

    The American Society for Quality even manages to satisfy both of us:
    a subjective term for which each person has his or her own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings:
    1. the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.
    2. a product or service free of deficiencies
    Most interesting is that the Veterinary Dictionary for both quality and style are the closest for how I was interpreting the terms

    quality: Purity of contents, care in presentation and finish of a product
    style: A term used in subjective appraisal (of wool, blah, blah...)

    So basically both of these terms can be either objective or subjective, however my argument is thus:

    To say that something is of low quality because you don't like it, yes that is subjective, but you could also say that you don't like its style or type (too young, too much rye, too spicy.) I would have a hard time accepting the subjective statement of "too spicy" being related to low quality.

    But to say that something is of low style, because its ingredients are not up to specification makes little sense. I'm not sure, this may have made sense in an older usage of the term, but it doesn't sound correct to the modern ear.

    I would think that both terms need to be used objectively, with personal taste being the subjective part of the equation.

    Mapping this out becomes an interesting exercise:

    All Wild Turkey is made from the same ingredients, so it has the same inherent properties (quality)
    WT is a rye recipe bourbon (style)

    but what about:
    WT80 vs. WT101? A reduction in proof could be seen as a reduction of a property(quality-objective) or it could be seen as a change in type to a milder, softer one(style)...this would depend upon you personal subjective taste, if you happen to prefer the lower proof, you may say you like the milder style or you may even say it's a higher quality(subjective).

    Anyway, the important thing is being able to know when your statement is objective or subjective. Objective-based on some definable, agreed upon fact. Subjective-based upon personal preference.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  6. #26
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    Yes, I think this may turn more on semantics than actual disagreement.

    Suffice to say, based on my own subjective standards of quality (which incorporate taste, complexity, style preferences, etc.), I accept that EWSB is a high quality whiskey (even though I don't myself enjoy it as much as others), but I reject the idea that current Old Crow is a high quality whiskey (unless we're using the extremely narrow definition of industrial purity, etc.) Although some of the flavors I find in EWSB are not my favorites to experience in a bourbon, I recognize that it has complexity and depth, and also recognize that there is a consensus of its quality among other whiskey afficionados. Current Old Crow, on the other hand, is neither nor complex/deep nor appealing to my palate, and the consensus on it among other whiskey afficionados is rather negative.

    If I have time, I'll post a bit more detailed reply later.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  7. #27
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    I need a drink

  8. #28
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    Re: Quality v. Style

    Quote Originally Posted by bromike666 View Post
    I need a drink
    Wrong thread... search under "quantity".
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

 

 

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