View Full Version : Enthusiast Bottlings
It's exciting to see the American whiskey industry finally respond to the American enthusiast community with products directly targeted to that community. I'm speaking specifically of the Old Forester "Birthday Bourbon" from Brown Forman and the George T. Stagg bourbon expected imminently from Buffalo Trace. These are true "enthusiast" products because they are primarily about the whiskey, not about packaging or other gimmicks. They are limited-availability and pricey relative to the category overall, but affordable for most people. Let's hope these products are successful (I'm sure we'll all do what we can to ensure that) and the industry follows through with more, similar efforts.
In contrast, Maker's Mark continues to explore the iconic potential of colored wax. Is it possible they simply don't have any whiskey good enough for an enthusiast bottling?
Oh Yeah Chuckybaby I sure do agree!
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Oh Yeah Chuckybaby I sure do agree!
You know up until recently I was very reluctant to agree with you reagrding that, but it seems all the more possible as recent events dictate. Several other distilleries have recently introduced "specialty" bottlings of standardish brands (three great examples to me are the BDay Bourbon, George T Stagg, & Eagle Rare 17), and yet you hear nothing from Star Hill. Its not like they are taking a marketing stance like Barton, or, up until this point, Old Forester (our standard priced barands are good enough), because they have been selling MM as premium product all along. Maybe what Linn thinks is true, Maybe thats as good as their bourbon gets, which I find saddening, cause I think it has potential 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/confused.gif !!
Tom (Bummed, but Honest) C
PS two semi -realted thoughts
To echo some already widely accepted sentiments
1) wouldnt a Barton specialty batch/single barrel be some good stuff!!! I mean with a standard inexpensive bourbon like their BIB as a base brand, could you even imagine the "Honey Barrels". . . . .
2) Wouldnt a specialty bottling be a great way to bring Four Roses single barrel stateside?? (hinthint!!) I mean release it once a year in a small amount, like 600-800bottles?? That means the die hards can find a way to get it (like us), and that doesnt leave much room for gray markets.. . . . . . .food for thought. . . . . http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif
M'Dawg, I saw that you mentioned the Old Forester B'day bourbon in your post. Have you tried it? I have just purchased a bottle that I am anxious to "test". I thought it appropriate-I like Old Forester, and I have a b'day this week! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif
We were fortunate enough to try the Old Forester B-day bourbon at this years bourbon festival while at a tasting at Labrot & Graham. It was a great bourbon with a very nice finish. I have been looking all over for a bottle here in NYC, but still haven't struck anything. Consider yourself lucky! Enjoy and happy birthday
Mark, I must admit I am envious! I love most of the Old F stuff. My birthday is Thursday, and was looking forward to "breaking in" the new bottle. I guess we are lucky-it is in most all stores now! I was curious on what some of gang had to say... Thanks, H'wood
Rumor has it that the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon causes memory loss, wrinkles, and occasional impotence.
Do not drink it! Don't even open the bottle! If this urgent warning reaches you in time, send it to me via UPS for safe disposal.
Dave "They didn't distribute it in California" Morefield
Ha....A man of humor I see! Either that or you have all of these symptoms, and are beyond help! Thanks for the warning, but I'm going to risk it. How about I give you a toast as I enjoy my tasty treat! Thanks, H'wood http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
I too have alsways wondered why Maker's Mark has not issued extra-aged products, as opposed to the odd higher proof Maker's Mark of conventional age.
Surely a 10 or 15 year old MM, especially single cask, would be superb from the extra concentration and
barrel uniqueness. Doesn't MM have its "sugar barrels"?
Humor? Yes. Originality? No. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif
FYI, I have two out of the three symptoms, and the third one hasn't arisen as yet.
And yes, I'm beyond help, as Linn and Tom may well testify. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/crazy.gif
Here's to ya!
At WhiskyFest last week, I had a chance to try Maker's Mark at both 7yo and 19yo (along with new make and the standard). The 7yo was different but very good (remember I like MM). The 19yo had a good nose, but the palate lacked balance and was a bit woody.
They used this tasting to show why they only have the standard bottling. (Once the 101 proof bottling is gone from duty free it will not be replaced). They said they make the bourbon to a particular profile that is optimal for their style. If they released other (older) ages they would be perceived as "better" when in fact they were just different.
My personal opinion is that they would not want perception associated with a more expensive bottling to reduce the appeal of the mass produced standard bottling.
They also talked about how they rotate ageing barrels from the top to the bottom. This implies there would not be a "sweat spot" to chose from.
My opinion again... the just picked a 7 & 19yo to taste. These were not carefully selected, matured under a watchful eye, etc. So of course they were not exceptional. If they did carefully select and monitor barrels for extra aging, I think they could arrive a limited edition bottlings that would be exceptional. But this would be inconsistent with their overall marketing plan.
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Doesn't MM have its "sugar barrels"?
A cynic might opine that the few that they find are needed to make the regular product palatable. Not that I'm one of those cynics, mind you.
Dave "Just finishing my third glass of MM on the rocks this afternoon" Morefield
Yep I was lucky to be one of the group that was able to taste some of that fine elixir under the guidance of Chris Morris at this years Straight Bourbon tour of Labrot & Graham. I got a healthy poor and jotted some stuff down. See the results, My Birthday Bourbon Tasting Notes (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=Tasting&Number=9891&pa ge=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1) , by following the link. I look forward to searching out some more for my personal stash in the near future. You are a lucky guy for getting a hold of some, as there were not many released.
M'Dawg, I guess I didn't realize how lucky I am! I have two bottles, but to be honest it is in about every store here in the Birmingham area. Doesn't sound like it will last very long! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/shocked.gif H'wood
Hopefully this is a trend that will continue, to the extreme enjoyment of all enthusiasts. Having tried the Stagg bottling, which I enjoyed immensely, I'm eagerly awaiting it's release. I'm planning to buy as much of it as I can. I have not yet tried the Birthday Bourbon, but from what I've read, it sure sounded like a winner. I'm still hoping to find it somewhere. As it sounds like most of the Birthday Bourbon is already sold, I would imagine that the George Stagg will sell quickly as well. In that event, hopefully this trend will continue for all of our enjoyment! Possibly others in the industry will recognize that this demand exists, and will add other products that we would like to try.
I should clarify that when the bourbon industry talks about something "selling out," they mean that all of the product has been sold into distribution. It's still up to us to do our part and buy it off the retailers' shelves.
I have always been a big fan of Makerís Mark. It was probably the first premium bourbon that I was introduced to when I first really started to appreciate bourbon. I have many other favorites and am always looking for something new. If you do not include the signed or collector bottles or other unopened bottles, I will usually have five or six different brands open at any one time. This provides an enjoyable variety of different tastes. I will rotate the brands always looking for new bourbons to try. We have a bar downstairs where I display my collector bottles and store the bourbon and other bar stuff. However, upstairs in our living room in a glass decanter you will always find Makerís Mark. At the end of a work day that is what I will often reach for. I guess you can say itís like my house bourbon. In short I can find the variety in other brands yet with Makerís Mark I have a product that I consider consistently good.
There is another advantage in enjoying Makerís Mark. I guess this is do Mr. Samuelís marketing and distribution efforts. In almost any bar or tavern they will carry Makerís Mark. Most small establishments will carry only four or five brands of bourbon or Tennessee whiskey. Around here it is usually a well whisky like Ten-High, then Jim Beam White, Jack Daniels Black, and Makerís Mark. Sometimes I can find Wild Turkey 101 but not as often. The point is that most of the taverns carried Makerís Mark as their premium. Therefore, I can usually find a bourbon I really enjoy almost everywhere.
SSSHHHHHH, they might hear you. You don't want to be BRANDED a MM fan around here. I am starting an underground movement to take over this rye loving website by MM lovers everywhere. Can I count on your support?? http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
I agree with all you have said and like to reiterate that I really do enjoy MM, I was just curious to why that was the only expression of it they had, especially when some of the better wheated bourbons seem to improve with a little more age. Wouldnt it be interesting to se what a 10/15 year old Maker's Mark would taste like if they took care of it properly. My only major complaint about MM's standard bottling is that it costs too much, if I could get it @ the $15 price point some can, I would be a happy guy.
Hmm... when i asked the makers mark tour guide why they don't sell a different proof or age bourbon here, she said that they have always had just one brand... Right after that i asked her why they sold such things to the Japanese and duty free markets, she said 'the Japanese pretty much can get whatever they want'... It sounds to me like it is marketing that is responsible for it all...
I dont doubt it. i think they could make a superlative wheated bourbon, akin to Julian's stuff, if they wanted to. i guess they just dont want to show us folks the best they can offer, cause they are afraid of losing a few cents. I would be way more open to paying extra for special bourbon, I have no interest in special bottles.
I keep thinking that some of the best bourbons i have tasted have been from bottles that supposedly were made from 'superb' barrels of wheated bourbon (Omar's V.V.O.Fitzgerald, Van Winkle's 20year) . Chuck told me in the gazebo that a way to make a great bourbon is to make a lot of it and pick the honey barrels... Is there anyone who has a large amount of aging wheated bourbon that has the ability to offer us something comparable to the V.V.O.F? I keep having this idea (dream) in my head that makers mark has been taking all the best barrels (i would imagine they have tons to choose from) and hiding them away somewhere special in order to grow a bourbon that can hold it's own with what we tasted in the gazebo...
You have to wonder , are they that far adrift to not know that they could sell a 17 yearold single barrel , or a 12 yo special maker's in a limited edition. I don't give a damn about blue or white wax when Ky wins a basketball game. But it's Ky and a lot of people do. You have to hand it to them they have figured out how to sell a 12 dollar Bourbon for 20 bucks.
BC, I'm not a huge MM fan, but if you want to drink it here it'll cost you $30-35! Consider $20 a deal!?? Unfortunately here in Alabama, most premium liquors start at the $30 mark. Jefferson Reserve-$52.00 JD Single Barrel-$47.00 etc. You get the picture. Enjoy what you like. See ya, H'wood http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
Ouch! I think I can get a 1.75 for 38 or so. We are talking about a 750 ml , right? 30to 35 I couldn't stand that. I buy it when it is on sale at rite aid for 15.99 or 16.99 and that's the only time I buy it. Except I have got 3 vip for my sons birthday It's the same whiskey and you pay 8 or 9 dollars more for the bottle. I could get Woodford that way also but I started with Maker's . If it were Beam or Barton I would buy theirs because it is the bottle and label I'm after. not so much the Whiskey. The thing about Makers, that I dislike, Isn't that they make a bad product , They just make an overpriced one. But I guess the market will bear it. I checked out a liquor store the other day and they had WT 101 for 26.50 for a 750ml , I'm not going to do that either. That was a fluke because WT is readily available much cheaper. And is on sale often. Here's a time when you can be thankfull for Heaven Hill Elijah Craig in a nice bottle , no wax, 12 years old , 94 proof ...... Read Solid Value http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
Man!, I thought I was getting shafted @ $22 - $25 a fifth for MM up this way. No way am I gonna pay $35 for it (at that price, try Old RipVan Winkle 15/107, a much better value). H'Wood its a good thing you dont like MM much, cause thats a waste of good money!
Tom ( <font color="red"> http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/shocked.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif 700! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif </font color> ) C
M'dawg, my sentiments exactly! Unfortunately, liquor in general is high here like I said. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/mad.gif There are a few good buys on certain brands. Evan Williams Single Barrel runs around $21.00. That would be a great deal here. Most of my choices- WT, Woodford,JD Single Barrel, etc. are $30-$40 or more as I posted earler. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif See ya, H'wood http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
Well, you are lucky (if you like MM) - where I live, it is $28! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/ooo.gif
Around where we live the local drug store has it on sell a couple times a month for $16.99 for 750ml or you can get it a little cheaper if you purchase 1.75L.
You can get it on sale at Meijers here for $15.99 from time to time.
Heya Jeff you wouldnt happen to know the store number for your local Meijer?? Woulja??
Tom (works @ #111) C
OK, OK! Y'all can quit rubbing it in! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif I may have to move somewhere else.
Nope, But I could look next time i'm there. Where would I find the number?
Either on the flyer, or ask any of the employee's, its hardly classified info I am sure they will tell ya http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif !
Should I say that I know someone on the inside? http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif If I drop your name at the Party Shop will they hook me up?
BTW: Last week I was in there they were selling their WT80 for $9.99 a bottle and had 3 bottles left. I took all three. The guy at the register said it was a closeout and they would no longer be selling anything but the 101. Well, next time I am in there what do I see? Russell's Reserve for $20.99 a bottle and that's not a sale. I just paid $23.99 at LB. I have to give it to Meijer's, the selection isn't great, but if they got what you drink, the price is right!
Sadly, No I can help much there, I work at a Meijer in communist control-state Ohio, so the only liquor they sell there is DILUTED,(See My speil on Old Dan Tucker Diluted (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=Tasting&Number=6718&pa ge=1&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1) , for more on the shit that Ohio puts me through lookin' for decent hooch. . .) Bleah! I was just curious. . .
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