PB, I would not know how to tell the difference. I do know that the 40 drops is an insignificant blip on the taste buds' radar when it's in the drink though. It's almost too easy. I feel like I'm cheating.
Yep, alcohol may degrade some substances. It's used in herbolgy extensively though, so I wouldn't be afraid that it would do too much damage.
The extract I use (not a tincture) is preserved with glycerin which means you don't have to burn off any alcohol. However glycerin is very sweet, so this tells us that it's also acidic. I don't like it, but I'll use it when I need a break from the powder.
The crude powder may have some advantages as it's as close to being in its natural state as we're gonna get. Extracts are usually as good if they're made correctly, but I must admit that I don't know much about their manufacturing process. I do know that they answer email in a timely manner to answer technical questions. That's how I found out about the dosage of only 40 drops. I thought, "Wow, that is CAKE!"