Comments on: How money can buy happiness, wine edition A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: tinyhands Sat, 16 Nov 2013 16:03:05 +0000 I love the comments from the misinformed people who think that quality is an objective measure of something like wine or vodka. Do they not see that thing WAY over there which is your point? Nope, even though you described it very clearly, they missed it. Too bad. I enjoyed the article.

By: BillSeitz Thu, 14 Nov 2013 12:08:59 +0000 Is this some weird kinda Pascal’s Wager allegory or something?

Or, connecting to your recent series, are you trying to trick people into enjoying paying for content?

By: mdeav Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:41:35 +0000 If you’re making or ordering your martinis with vodka you’re doing it wrong.

By: Decidocisum Fri, 08 Nov 2013 14:59:27 +0000 All vodka tastes the same? Just because you cannot taste a difference does not mean others can’t. I can definitely tell the difference between Absolut and Grey Goose. Hard to tell between Belvedere and Grey Goose. Easy to tell between the latter two and something like Kettle One. I agree a lot of it is branding but saying that all vodkas taste the same is sort of ridiculous.

By: psvt Fri, 08 Nov 2013 14:28:16 +0000 I have a number of friends who are heavy Vodka drinkers. That sounds worrying, but at worst I would call them “business executives who are also functioning alcoholics”.

Saying that Vodkas don’t taste of anything or that they’re all similar is sort of like saying “Coke tastes like Pepsi” for these folk. If you do a taste test at a Vodka bar (these things do exist in most large cities), it’s pretty clear that not all Vodkas are created equal.

Grey Goose is different not just for its marketing – it really does taste differently from Stoli or Absolut. Better? I guess it depends on what you want. I’d say it is more of a neutral flavour than others, and that’s what they often want.

Marketing is just an amplifier. It creates fads. The fundamental product still has to be good/better in some small discernible way if it is to remain a hit over years.

By: WaltFrench Fri, 08 Nov 2013 13:01:26 +0000 I don’t understand why wine is different from coffees or Scotch whiskies.

There are obvious differences among the various Islay single-malts that I favor, and it’s no problem distinguishing Peet’s Indonesian offerings from their MidEast or Central American blends. There are even bigger differences between Peet’s dark-roast style and the currently very popular Blue Bottle or Spyglass offerings in the Bay Area that are lighter roasts. While these are obviously very fine coffees, they move out of my preference zone, just as I find Highland Scotch less interesting.

Sometimes the full-bodied coffees lose their earthy, chocolaty associations and just get too heavy and muddy. Might be variation from lot to lot, or more likely, I’m just a bit tired of the same old same old, and want some novelty in the cup. Blend in a little spicy Ethiopian and I’m off to the races again.

All these seem real, so much so that the observations are banal. But what is NOT real, is the idea that any one of these coffees is “best” or that the Port Charlotte whiskey that seemed a revelation when it was poured a couple of years back (and I knew nothing about), would meet others’ tastes as the right blend of smokiness, peatiness, sweetness, salt air, etc.

With wines there are another few dozen dimensions and tastes that can intrigue or be repetitive, can amplify another sense or smother it. So with more variables, faulty memory (who can easily recall their tasting notes from an earlier vintage of the same vintner?), it’s unsurprising that casual observation is going to find a “best” in that realm.

By: nikh Fri, 08 Nov 2013 02:27:10 +0000 I am not buying into the Vodka theory without some input from experts. I admittedly know nothing about Vodka.

But I do know about a vast majority of people who believe that all water is equal. Who tell me I should avoid bottled water, and instead use water from the tap as if it was the same thing. It’s the majority opinion, I am well aware of it, no need to “correct” me in replies. I’ve read it a thousand times.

That, I have to say, is absolute BS. Where I grew up we had tap water coming directly from reservoirs in the Alps – this was better than most bottled water you can buy here in the US. But we also had a cottage in the country where all rivers were drinking water quality – this was a point of pride there. And there was a particular spring in the forest where I would go and collect water from – it tasted better than any water I knew. Today I can buy Evian mineral water almost anywhere in the world, and it’s a similar quality.

The point is, there is quite a wide range of water quality out there.

Since there’s water in Vodka, it follows there must be a range of different quality Vodkas as well. Water is probably not the only distinction point but it’s got to be one of them.

Just because you can’t taste the difference doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Again I know nothing about Vodka, just saying that there is certainly a possibility of difference. Fight the ignorance.

By: mdelvecchio Fri, 08 Nov 2013 02:26:29 +0000 to add to the last comment…a small percentage of people can actually taste better — they’re called super tasters and it owes to the number and type of taste buds they have.

By: AndreRichards Fri, 08 Nov 2013 00:08:55 +0000 You make a very convincing case that there’s a correlation between cost and enjoyment–something I think we all know exists even without such proof, but it’s definitely nice to see it all laid out like this.

However, I can’t tell if you’re attempting to make the argument that there is no such thing as a finer wine or vodka. I strongly disagree. Just because the majority of people apparently lack the refinement in taste to appreciate the (admittedly subtle) difference between two wines of differing quality doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And people getting a bit of pleasure out of *thinking* they’re drinking something better also doesn’t disprove that some people can taste the difference.

I think, as with most things, there’s a small percentage of people who have taken the time to understand the differences and have come to appreciate them while the vast majority don’t have the patience and prefer the “it costs a lot so it must be good” mentality.

By: GodOfBiscuits Thu, 07 Nov 2013 23:40:33 +0000 Vodka for a martini? I guess money can’t buy taste. :)