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View Full Version : Perception and Reality



jeff
10-14-2002, 19:51
On my way home from work today I stopped by Meijer's and picked up a bottle of Evan Williams 7yo so as to try and slow the emptying of my better bottles. As I am writing this I am thinking to myself that this is a pretty darn good pour. I have tried EW7 before and liked it, but for an $8 bourbon it just wasn't worth my time to contemplate its virtues.

The last couple of weeks I have been vacationing at Club Single Barrel. I have spent many hours in deep meditation discovering all of their virtues. The full-bodiedness, the delicate nuances and the taste only a premium bourbon could bring to the party. But damn, the EW7 is good.

That got me to thinking about why I seem to like the other, more expensive premium bottles better. When I look at a couple of my "prized" posessions I see elegantly designed bottles with well put together lables. My Eagle Rare Single Barrel is packaged in a classic wine bottle with a gorgeous etching of a bald eagle one the front, with all-american patriotic ramblings on the back. Who wouldn't love that? And my Jefferson's Reserve is put into a perfume-style container that you might expect to find in a French boutique. A quick look down the top shelf at the Liquor Barn reveals an abundance of eye-candy. Any number of which I would be proud to place on my cabinet. But my EW7 is packaged in a standard whiskey bottle with an all-to-familiar designed black label. And its good.

So I ask myself: Why do I like the premium bourbons more? Is it because they are better? Or is it that they are SUPPOSED to be better? How much does slick packaging and perception of quality effect my enjoyment of the bourbon? If all bourbons were packaged in the same style bottle with a white label that read "Bourbon #1", "Bourbon #2", "Bourbon #3" and so on, would that detract from my enjoyment? If the same whiskey that is Kentucky Spirit were put in both its current bottle, but also in a bottom shelf type bottle and given a different name, would we be praising the KS while reserving the "Kentucky Spiritless" for our boubon balls and our know-nothing, bourbon and coke drinking friends? I don't know. I just know that this EW7 is pretty good right now.

Don't get me wrong. I do happen to believe that there is a definate and measurable quality difference between the top and the botton shelf. I do think, however that premium packaging and style adds more to the experience than the bourbon could alone, and that ordinary packaging and lack of advertising does cause some good to great bourbons to be over-looked and under-appreciated (i.e. Old Forrester 100 and Evan Williams 7yo.)

Well my glass is empty and I have to go get another. In the mean-time, what effect does packaging and marketing have on your over-all tasting and enjoyment experience?

**DONOTDELETE**
10-14-2002, 20:40
Jeff this is where blind tasting really comes into play. Use two identical glasses, and ask Leslie to pour (her choice & keep it secret) a high end bourbon into one and a run of the mill middle shelfer into the other. You choose which is better tasting to you and why. Eye candy and upscale names cannot come into play and marketing psychology is kept at bay.

Jerry Dalton played this trick on a 'well known' whisky writer. He gave the writter four samples of bourbon. The writer raved about one; trashed another, and thought the other two were so - so. The fact of the matter is that all four samples were the exact same bourbon. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif Slick Trick JD!

MurphyDawg
10-14-2002, 23:55
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
On my way home from work today I stopped by Meijer's and picked up a bottle of Evan Williams 7yo

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I havent even read past the first line of your post yet, and although I am sure it is quite thoughtful and interesting I have something I have to get off my chest. . . . .(I work at Meijer #111, Marion OH, BTW), and that is


WHY CANT MY STORE CARRY BOURBON!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/crazy.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/crazy.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/crazy.gif


Thank You All for your patience, It is quite appreciated,

Tom (Damn Control State!) C

MurphyDawg
10-15-2002, 00:13
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Eye candy and upscale names cannot come into play and marketing psychology is kept at bay.


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Yep blind tastings do cut the shit in a hurry, just be prepared to be suprised by the results. I think packaging plays a huge part in what you buy, especially when you are new to something like bourbon. You figure that if they care enough about it to dress it up "purdy-like", than it must be good. Even with lower shelf bourbons, I originally gravitated toward the ones with more pleasing bottles, I chose Old Forrester 86 over Evan Williams 7 year initially cause I liked the bottle better. I have come to like them both, as well as some other underwhelmingly packaged bourbons (AAA 10, Old Ezra 7, even Van Winkle 10 &amp; 15 are kinda boring bottles by comparison) quite a bit, I am even kinda starting to like those bottles "Classic Styling" more (not the Evan Williams Jack Daniels Rip Off Label, though). The biggest problem I have with the fancy styling is that it raises the cost, without improving the contents of the bottle. On the Buffalo Trace tour they said that the BOTTLE that carries Blantons Single Barrel, BY ITSELF, costs $8 a pop. Sheesh. I am all for "Uglying up" those bottles and passing the savings on to me, casue the bourbon sells itself.

Tom (the Anti-Marketer) C

Aahzz
10-15-2002, 10:46
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On the Buffalo Trace tour they said that the BOTTLE that carries Blantons Single Barrel, BY ITSELF, costs $8 a pop. Sheesh. I am all for "Uglying up" those bottles and passing the savings on to me, casue the bourbon sells itself

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I'm with you on that one! I'll take an uglier bottle with a better bourbon any day.....

kgiammarco
10-15-2002, 20:38
...Or if they objected to making an 'ugly' bottling, it would be nice to have a 'family size' 1.75l 'plain' bottle...

-Chris