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jeff
09-09-2008, 16:35
Here are my deep thoughts on expensive bourbons:

1. If you like it, buy it but attempt to try it first to avoid disappointment after forking over that C-note.

2. I have never tasted a bourbon worth $90 more than my AAA10yo or my Weller 12yo.

3. In a blind tasting, could you pick out the $100 bourbon over the $40 bourbon? I find that there are significant diminishing returns once you hit the $30-$40 range. After that the higher prices usually are a result of limited availability and not necessarily better bourbon.

4. If there was only one bottle of Elijah Craig 12yo in the world, and you wanted it for your collection, would it then be worth over $100 for the same whiskey that now sells for $20?

5. I have paid over $200 for a bottle of bourbon and enjoyed it very much!

This is a reposting of a thread that I started several years ago. Instead of re-opening that old one, I though I would post it again to gage the opinions of our membership today. Please note that, although my income and experience levels have increased, my feelings remain mostly the same.

Rughi
09-09-2008, 16:44
Expensive bourbons can usually deliver value in terms of variety, scarcity, and sometimes to encourage start-up businesses. It's unlikely they're going to be markedly "better" than any number of well-made, nice-priced, mass-marketed bourbons on the market.

Now, if you already have all of the easy to obtain bottlings you want to have and are still interested in the full diversity of flavors possible in bourbon, those expensive ones may make sense. If you're a maintenance drinker and just need to replace an empty to make it through the rest of the day, it never makes sense.

Roger

barturtle
09-09-2008, 16:56
Found the original version of this...I see you plunked down a bit more money in the interim time period.

Basically I totally agree with you assessment....except for #5, I've still never dropped more than $85 on any bottle for myself (picking up things for others doesn't count)

4)Yes the time may come when there is a bottle that I want to add to my collection for damn near any price...I can think of a few that if given the opportunity, I'd fork over a significant premium over the original price...but luckily for my bank account the situation has yet to arise....if you happen to think you have one of the few rare bottles I am looking for, send me a note...

3)So far, I've been successful (I think) in finding the difference between $100 and $40 bottles, but finding the $30 in an array of $40 has eluded me.

2)Nope, I can't say I've had a bottle that was $90 better than either of those bottlings either.

1)Yup...if possible try it first.

jinenjo
09-09-2008, 18:00
Regards to thought #3:

Can anyone ever pick out a more expensive bottle--purely based on taste--when these high prices are largely due to quantity or scarcity?

To me, KY straights are overwhelmingly fine tasting whiskeys that the qualitative difference could never be detected as far as price, which to me is mostly, if not all, subjective (i.e. a whiskey is only worth what one would be willing to pay).

That said, my most expensive bottle was a prohibition era Overholt and while it's not the best rye I ever tasted, if I had the money I would gladly pay for the opportunity to taste more whiskey from the past.

I suppose, for me, the expensive whiskey bottles ($100 or more) out on the shelves now are less appealing--though not without varying degrees of attractiveness--due to the fact that they're present day products. It's a bit of a mind-trick, I know. :hot: But I also realize more, or at least very similar tasting whiskey could easily procured for much less money.

spun_cookie
09-09-2008, 18:23
My favorite bourbons are in the $20-$30 a bottle. I love the Weller Centennial, WT old#8, WTRR101, WT1855, and WT101 8 year

I buy the strange for a chance of the different. I have had some great older bourbons... Worth the $200 for the Willett SW, cask strength... Don't know, but should be fun trying something different.

Thanks to Tony, I have had the Gold and Blue wax Hirsch, due to the Gilberts I have had some other high priced bourbons. I am going to really enjoy sharing these odd ball old-old bourbons I have picked up with other enthusiasts ...

We might like talking more about the bourbon than drinking it, but that is OK with me too :D

Over the long run I figure that the cost is worth it once in a long while for the social aspect if for nothing else...

wadewood
09-09-2008, 18:29
In general, expensive C note bourbons are going to be extra aged products - 20 plus years. I have tried plenty of 20+ year bourbons and I know I don't care for them. The most positive thing people say when they want to compliment said product is "the wood does not overwhelm it". I have enjoyed some Ryes that old.

Hirsch 16 YO is probably the oldest bourbon I like. I do think the releases of WT Tribute, PHC, and George Stagg are well worth their price.

Vange
09-10-2008, 08:00
1. I agree here and have made the mistake not with bourbon, but with smsw. I bought an Arran Bordeaux casked single malt. The worst thing I ever tasted.

2. I could agree with this as Weller 12 is my new goto everyday bourbon.

3. I need to do a blind tasting oneday and see if I can tell the difference.

Worth noting I recently did a blind tasting of the JW line. I think I did pick out the red and blue, but black, green, and gold eluded me. I think I may even have picked green as the 2nd lowest blind with black being first. (disclaimer: this was AFTER having sampled like 12 blends, so I was a bit polluted)

4. No, I do not like the the EC line of bourbons.

5. Pappy 23! Yum.

OscarV
09-10-2008, 13:59
On Jeff's deep thoughts,...

#1. This one doesn't make sense. If you like it buy it but try it first?
How do I know if I like it or not if I don't buy it first?

#2. Yep, I can say that. I have never had a bourbon worth $90 more than Eagle Rare 101 or WLWeller Centennial.

#3. Yes a bourbon priced at $100 is usally because of availability.
But blindly I could very easily pick out the $100 Pappy 20 vs. a $40 ryed bourbon of anything.

#4. Only one left and I needed it for my collection then $100 would be dirt cheap.

#5. I have paid over $400 for a bottle of bourbon but I haven't drank it yet,... I do stare at it every now and then.

jinenjo
09-10-2008, 14:59
Here are my deep thoughts on expensive bourbons:

1. If you like it, buy it but attempt to try it first to avoid disappointment after forking over that C-note.

2. I have never tasted a bourbon worth $90 more than my AAA10yo or my Weller 12yo.

3. In a blind tasting, could you pick out the $100 bourbon over the $40 bourbon? I find that there are significant diminishing returns once you hit the $30-$40 range. After that the higher prices usually are a result of limited availability and not necessarily better bourbon.

4. If there was only one bottle of Elijah Craig 12yo in the world, and you wanted it for your collection, would it then be worth over $100 for the same whiskey that now sells for $20?

5. I have paid over $200 for a bottle of bourbon and enjoyed it very much!

This is a reposting of a thread that I started several years ago. Instead of re-opening that old one, I though I would post it again to gage the opinions of our membership today. Please note that, although my income and experience levels have increased, my feelings remain mostly the same.

4. Yes, definitely. Especially if there was only one left in the world. $100 would be pretty cheap--if you ask me.

cowdery
09-10-2008, 15:25
That's the equation, isn't it? It's not, "is any bourbon worth more than $50?" It's, "if it's the only one in the world, $100 is pretty cheap."

spun_cookie
09-10-2008, 16:06
I guess I should have answered your questions..

1. If you like it, buy it but attempt to try it first

I do this. Bird and a few of us will by a bottle to try or we will play a little 50 ml tennis with folks to spread the tastings out among a few of us.


2. I have never tasted a bourbon worth $90 more than my AAA10yo or my Weller 12yo.

I would buy the Weller Centennial and WT- old 101 and 1855 quality Turkey for more than what they did go for.

When you compare a good bottle of wine to a good bottle of bourbon, you can get more value out of the bourbon

3. In a blind tasting, could you pick out the $100 bourbon over the $40 bourbon?

Sort of a trick question. If you take all of todays bourbons and stacked them up... Easily.

If you toss in cheap dusties, probably not because todays $100 bourbon is the 70s $20 bourbon.

In a rack and stack of Van Winkle, top down an early ORVW 15/107 was the blind taste best tied to the PVW 23yr "B", then PVW 20yr, PVW 23yr "A" 15yr, ORVW 10/107.


4. If there was only one bottle of Elijah Craig 12yo in the world, and you wanted it for your collection, would it then be worth over $100 for the same whiskey that now sells for $20?

Yes... If I really wanted it or any bourbon for collection.

5. I have paid over $200 for a bottle of bourbon and enjoyed it very much!

I got my first PVW 23yr "B" for $165... Liked it so much, bought a second for $185.

I picked up a VVOF for $375 and loved it... Would not do it again, but it was great. Just not $375 great... (Split with Birdman).

Now, I have picked up two Willetts for $199... We will see what I think of those... My guess is the 27 year is better than the 25 year...

Gillman
09-11-2008, 04:50
Rather than answer each point, I'd say that overall I get the most satisfaction from medium-aged bourbons. For rye though (as others have said, eg. Wade), I prefer it older, 13-18 years in general but that AH Hirsch 22 year old rye was amazing.

In bourbon, most of it therefore comes to me in the medium price range.

I like some bourbons at the lower end of the price range, eg., Weller 107, Forester Signature, and some of the Heaven Hill brands.

Most of the bourbon I've bought that is over 12 years old seems destined for the mingling bottle, it enhances younger ones but I find I generally don't like to drink them neat because too much of the distillery character is effaced.

That said, if I want something, I'll get it, like the Hirsch 16s, which to my mind were more like ryes. Soon I'm picking up some Woodstone bourbon which as the first craft-distilled straight bourbon in modern times, and the first by a new company of any kind (one which did not previously make bourbon or acquire one which did) since the 1950's, is a must purchase for me. This is not to collect them for unopened storage, but to drink.

Gary

jeff
09-11-2008, 08:01
I Guess I should have written that, "If you WANT it, buy it...", sorry if that wasn't clear.

jeff
09-11-2008, 08:08
I guess where I'm disagreeing with most here is #4, but then I'm not really a collector. To me, collections are just stuff that takes up space, only to be discarded a few years after you begin collecting it. That's just been my experience, but that's neither here nor there. If I already knew what EC12yo tasted like (to me it tastes like a $15 bottle of bourbon), then I couldn't bring myself to pay more for it, just because it became rare. That's also the reason I don't go "dusty" hunting much, because I'm usually disappointed in the results for the amount of time/money that it took to get them.

YMMV