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View Full Version : Sazerac (BT) Customer Service A++



funknik
12-03-2008, 11:34
I have to post something about this because I had such an excellent experience recently dealing with the Sazerac company.
The background is that I had just bought two bad bottles of EC12 (my favorite) from my local liquor store and was in a foul mood when I bought a bottle of Saz Jr. (which is new in my area). I thought that it, too, tasted bad and was very disappointed but not willing to bring it back especially since I had never had it before....so I gave it a few days.

After still tasting what I can only describe as rotten wood & must/mildew, I was depressed -- more because I had wanted to try this rye and I didn't feel like I was getting the genuine article. I read reviews and tasting notes here and elsewhere that spoke about oranges and spice notes and, while I'm not the most experienced taster, I do usually taste subtle flavors in whiskey. So, I thought, "Hell, why not call the number on the back of the bottle?" It was conveniently located after all.

After being passed around on the phone for a while, I spoke to Ruby who is apparently the customer service rep who handles New England. She patched me over to Kevin Richards who is, supposedly, the manager of the brand. I left a polite message about my concern and figured that would be the end of it. I had sufficiently tired myself out and gotten my whiskey demons exorcised anyway.

I was very surprised when Mr. Richards, indeed the manager of the brand, returned my call the next day. We talked about the general state of big companies and customer service, I told him my story and we chatted about rye for a bit and I guess he got the impression that I wasn't a complete whiskey idiot (read "complete") and said he'd like to help me out. He was sending a new bottle from the distillery (which turned into a refund check due to stupid liquor laws) and a package for me to send my old bottle back for testing. I was feeling sheepish & a little like a burden, but was supremely impressed by the whole thing.

I got my check and Buffalo Trace called me a few weeks later to say that my bottle was "within acceptable standards for the brand." Maybe my standards are higher than theirs, who knows. So, the blame is mine, but I can't say enough good things about this company and how they handled this whole situation -- kudos BT & Sazerac! This is the best transaction I have had with any company over anything. You guys are a class act!

I will also be less bold in the future when judging bottles -- I guess I'll just suck it up. Won't be trying Saz Jr. again for a while, though.

jinenjo
12-03-2008, 13:30
Thanks for the post.

I also had a success story, in dealing with Wild Turkey. Needless to say they were very generous and understanding with their time and resources. I haven't mentioned it before now, only because I wanted to respect their efforts and professional conduct, and to prevent fraudulent claims. Yet with second-hand knowledge, quality control does exist in many if not all of the KY distilleries, and one's voice is heard especially for the discerning drinker.

Sorry to hear you didn't like the Saz. Too late now, but I'd have saved a little sample so you could go back to it much later, or compare it to a future-purchased Saz Jr. and see if anything changed, like your palette or even the rye.

pepcycle
12-03-2008, 15:29
Your impression of Saz Jr is what 6 y/o rye tastes like.

You have to dig beneath the grassy mulch to get to the oranges and leather

funknik
12-03-2008, 15:42
Your impression of Saz Jr is what 6 y/o rye tastes like.

You have to dig beneath the grassy mulch to get to the oranges and leather

Interesting. I just finished a bottle of Russell Reserve Rye (which I believe is also 6 years old) and detected none of the nasty, rotting flavor found in my returned bottle of Saz. I would describe the Russell as light and grassy, almost boring -- it took a while to grow on me, but I eventually came around. The Saz was like a mouthful of dirt.

ILLfarmboy
12-03-2008, 19:44
I too am sorry to here you didn't like Saz Jr.
I have often said that is redolent of the pages of an old leather bound book sometimes tending toward the way a freshly opened deck of playing cards smells. I like that. Perhaps this is what you call "rotting flavor". Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Have you had the Thomas H. Handy? Though the whiskey is the same age, or nearly so, (I think Handy is 7 years old) the spice and clove are far more in evidence. perhaps because of the proof.

funknik
12-03-2008, 20:35
I too am sorry to here you didn't like Saz Jr.
I have often said that is redolent of the pages of an old leather bound book sometimes tending toward the way a freshly opened deck of playing cards smells. I like that. Perhaps this is what you call "rotting flavor". Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Have you had the Thomas H. Handy? Though the whiskey is the same age, or nearly so, (I think Handy is 7 years old) the spice and clove are far more in evidence. perhaps because of the proof.

I have not tried the Handy as it isn't. Handy, that is: I have very little access to different types of ryes up here in New England. I will say, however, that I'm a Never-Met-a-Whiskey-I-didn't-like Type and so, I'm also surprised that I didn't like the Saz Jr. I know that evidence would lead to the contrary, but I'm still of the mind that this bottle was a dud or, at least, not representative if the best that Sazerac has to offer. Who knows? I will certainly try this again, but I maintain that I would be surprised if this bottle was intended to taste the way it did.

kickert
12-03-2008, 20:46
If you do a search for "musty" you will find numerous threads on BT brands. I had some problems with Blantons and many others have complained about other musty bourbons from that distillery. Don't get me wrong, it still is my favorite, but there does seem to be a problem.

funknik
12-03-2008, 20:50
If you do a search for "musty" you will find numerous threads on BT brands. I had some problems with Blantons and many others have complained about other musty bourbons from that distillery. Don't get me wrong, it still is my favorite, but there does seem to be a problem.


I've read some of these same threads and that's a lot of the reason why I think it may have been the bottle and not me (fingers firmly crossed).

HipFlask
12-03-2008, 21:24
Have you tried WT Rye and Rittenhouse yet? I am curious if it is the rye you don't care for. I haven't had Baby Saz yet myself so I cannot speak to that. However, I have had Handy and Saz 18yr and found both to be wonderful straight Whiskies. I would think another bottle is in order. however I would buy it from a differnt store if possible. Sounds to me like you had a corked bottle. I also did not care for the last bottle of WT RRR as it was overly salty.

funknik
12-03-2008, 21:27
Have you tried WT Rye and Rittenhouse yet? I am curious if it is the rye you don't care for.

I don't think this is the problem. I like Old Overholt & Beam Rye a lot -- not that it's a good judge, but I would contend that a good, long rye finish is one of my favorite parts of a good bourbon. Not the wheaters obviously, but mostly I like the rye-based bourbons.

Mamba
12-04-2008, 02:40
My first two bottles of Saz Jr. both shared a certain mustiness/earthiness/mold quality to them. Although it doesn't sound delicious in theory, it's always been one of my favorite things about the whiskey. I found it balanced well with the other flavors, but everyone is different. My 3rd bottle doesn't have that strong earthiness, and frankly, this worries me :)

JeffRenner
12-04-2008, 08:12
It has been my experience, and that of some other SBers, that some of BT's products have what I find to be the smell and taste of a damp, earthen cellar. I find it quite off-putting.

I first found this in the flagship Buffalo Trace bourbon, which I quite enjoyed when it was introduced. But then the flavor started showing up.

Similarly, the first two bottles of Sazarac rye(made by BT) had it. I decided to quit trying, but then the other day, my local shop was our of WT Rye, so I decided to give Sazarac another try, and it is very clean. Lovely orange peel and Christmas spices, with teaberry/wintergreen and then leather. Very nice!

I don't what is going on with BT. One of their former company reps, who posted here, and whose name I've forgotten, said that the flavor of their whiskeys reminded him of the smell of the old tents that he and his family used on family vacations when he was a boy. Sorry, it isn't a nostalgic smell for me.

I know I have a very low taste threshold for the chemical 2,4,6 trichloroanisol (TCA), which is responsible for cork taint in wine, and I suspect is the culprit here as well.

I guess I should try another bottle of BT, too, but I do wish that they would clean up their act.

Jeff

funknik
12-04-2008, 08:18
I know I have a very low taste threshold for the chemical 2,4,6 trichloroanisol (TCA), which is responsible for cork taint in wine, and I suspect is the culprit here as well.

I guess I should try another bottle of BT, too, but I do wish that they would clean up their act.

Jeff

I agree -- it tastes like cork taint, but might be the same taste coming from the barrel.

At least their damage control is better than their quality control.

funknik
12-05-2008, 15:46
Sorry to hear you didn't like the Saz. Too late now, but I'd have saved a little sample so you could go back to it much later, or compare it to a future-purchased Saz Jr. and see if anything changed, like your palette or even the rye.

I too am sorry to here you didn't like Saz Jr.
I have often said that is redolent of the pages of an old leather bound book sometimes tending toward the way a freshly opened deck of playing cards smells. I like that. Perhaps this is what you call "rotting flavor". Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Have you had the Thomas H. Handy? Though the whiskey is the same age, or nearly so, (I think Handy is 7 years old) the spice and clove are far more in evidence. perhaps because of the proof.

Thanks Guys. I know I will try this again -- I'm pretty convinced still that what I got is not the intended profile -- bottles will vary, obviously, and all my be within "brand standards" but I'm sure they can do better than this. I wish I had kept a little -- hindsight is 20/20, but I'll be back to this with an update.

Thanks everyone for the support on this.

Luna56
12-05-2008, 16:20
If you do a search for "musty" you will find numerous threads on BT brands. I had some problems with Blantons and many others have complained about other musty bourbons from that distillery. Don't get me wrong, it still is my favorite, but there does seem to be a problem.

Very interesting. I've never had the faintest whiff of mustiness in the many, many bottles of ERSB10 I've consumed over the last few years. I've detected a little wood in the finish, sometimes more, sometimes less, but never anything overpowering or remotely objectionable.

It's been a little while since I've had me some ER, so, for the sake of research, I'm running out tomorrow for a bottle or two. ERSB17 is here in a few selected stores, maybe I'll put it to the acid test.

Cheers!

kickert
12-05-2008, 16:49
Very interesting. I've never had the faintest whiff of mustiness in the many, many bottles of ERSB10 I've consumed over the last few years. I've detected a little wood in the finish, sometimes more, sometimes less, but never anything overpowering or remotely objectionable.


I got this taste in a bottle of blanton's. I tried another bottle and it was night and day. Interestingly enough, when I was at the BT distillery doing the tasting the bottleing of ERSB10 had a bit of funk to it (especially compared to the BT they poured next to it). I didn't say anything because I figured I was at the place where they knew their whiskey. I went straight home and poured my own drink of ERSB10 and again, it tasted much much better.

I wanted to make sure it wasn't the comparison that was throwing it off, so I sampled the BT at home too. At my personal tasting the ERSB10 blew away the BT... at the distilery it was opposite and I blame in on the notorious Buffalo Funk.

callmeox
12-05-2008, 18:57
During the hard hat tour, the guide showed us the small engraved markers on the corner of one of the buildings near the river. I don't recall the exact height, but there were some impressive floods on the property over the years.

Could the funk be due to some barrels that rode out one of the floods?

kickert
12-05-2008, 19:06
The flood theory has been discussed before (and I think it has some merit). http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10530&highlight=musty+flood

I did some research. There have been 4 threads started with the word "musty" in them. 3 out 4 are refering to Buffalo Trace products. Not quite a wide enough sample to determine anything, but interesting none the less. Threads that mention "musty" are often about Buffalo Trace products or about high rye bourbons/rye whiskies.

So then... if rye is often associated with mustiness and Buffalo Trace is often associated with mustiness.... it is quite concievable a rye from BT could be expected to taste musty.

There are tons of assumptions in that, and no scientific research... but its a thought.

funknik
01-31-2009, 14:44
I too am sorry to here you didn't like Saz Jr.
Have you had the Thomas H. Handy? Though the whiskey is the same age, or nearly so, (I think Handy is 7 years old) the spice and clove are far more in evidence. perhaps because of the proof.
VINDICATED! Having tried the Thomas Handy & loving it and reading many, many positive reviews of the Saz Jr, I sprung for another bottle on Thursday evening. It is pure delight, nothing like the tainted swill I returned a few months ago. I'm glad that my palate is intact.....I'll just have to check the corks in the future (as we do with EC12), but this will be a regular pour for me.

Lost Pollito
01-31-2009, 15:41
That's good news Andy.