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MJL
09-18-2010, 04:35
After exiting from graduate school late this summer I have been given some extra moments in life to hunt down some bourbons I had not been able to find before and to generally lend consideration to some issues in life that academic constraints had precluded me from doing before.

As I stood in front of a shelf of small batch bourbons the other day I wondered if these might not be the proverbial good old days. Certainly, I do understand the history of American bourbon whiskey and what was lost to Prohibition, what was lost to changing tastes in the post WWII period and what was lost to consolidation of brands under the ownership of multinational conglomerates. Yet, I have to wonder if some of the small batch and single barrel bourbons currently for sale at stores today are the start of a trend or perhaps they will represent the glorious dusty bottles of a golden and long lost past.
There is certainly evidence of both possibilities present. I see much more diversification of taste and an attempt to revive some of the long lost labels of the past or to create new and experimental bourbons. On the other hand I also see the loss of distilling diversification to large conglomerates to be ominous. Mind you I do not have a solution to this but I do see that the larger the distillery may be the less willing they might be in a market down turn to sustain market diversity. I reckon the same may be said of the remoteness of the descision makers to the facilities that make the bourbon. That is to say thay may be more willing to settle on large market brands in bad times at the expense of the loss of smaller, more niche brands, which are the ones most of us tend to enjoy.

So are these going to be the long lost good old times that we will speak of in reverent tones to unknowing ears or are we on the cusp of greatness with so much more to come and a renewed appreciation for bourbon by the general public spurred on by the love and knowledge of afficiandos, like ourselves?

Josh
09-18-2010, 05:22
As I stood in front of a shelf of small batch bourbons the other day I wondered if these might not be the proverbial good old days. Certainly, I do understand the history of American bourbon whiskey and what was lost to Prohibition, what was lost to changing tastes in the post WWII period and what was lost to consolidation of brands under the ownership of multinational conglomerates. Yet, I have to wonder if some of the small batch and single barrel bourbons currently for sale at stores today are the start of a trend or perhaps they will represent the glorious dusty bottles of a golden and long lost past.

There is certainly evidence of both possibilities present. I see much more diversification of taste and an attempt to revive some of the long lost labels of the past or to create new and experimental bourbons. On the other hand I also see the loss of distilling diversification to large conglomerates to be ominous. Mind you I do not have a solution to this but I do see that the larger the distillery may be the less willing they might be in a market down turn to sustain market diversity. I reckon the same may be said of the remoteness of the descision makers to the facilities that make the bourbon. That is to say thay may be more willing to settle on large market brands in bad times at the expense of the loss of smaller, more niche brands, which are the ones most of us tend to enjoy.

So are these going to be the long lost good old times that we will speak of in reverent tones to unknowing ears or are we on the cusp of greatness with so much more to come and a renewed appreciation for bourbon by the general public spurred on by the love and knowledge of afficiandos, like ourselves?

Another excellent topic and post.

I'm relatively new to the game, but I think in a lot of respects we are. I think about my favorite products, Four Roses, and this is without a doubt the golden age of that brand. I think Old Forester is the best it's been in years, Early Times is back on its way to becoming a full-blooded bourbon in the U.S. again, the major NDPs are consistantly putting out quality whiskeys like the Ezra Brooks line, the Van Winkles' (although this is certainly a transitional period for them) and KBD's lines are as good as ever. The PHC has been great, and the latest one is hopefully a sign that Old Fitz is on its way to its former glory. And as much as people (including myself) like to bitch about BT, they have been cranking out quality whiskey, even if they have discontinued some of our favorite expressions of years past (ER 101, Centennial, OCPR, OC 12).

So yeah, in a lot of ways I think these are the good old days. :cool:

sailor22
09-18-2010, 06:30
I'm relatively new to the game, but I think in a lot of respects we are. I think about my favorite products, Four Roses, and this is without a doubt the golden age of that brand. I think Old Forester is the best it's been in years, Early Times is back on its way to becoming a full-blooded bourbon in the U.S. again, the major NDPs are consistantly putting out quality whiskeys like the Ezra Brooks line, the Van Winkles' (although this is certainly a transitional period for them) and KBD's lines are as good as ever. The PHC has been great, and the latest one is hopefully a sign that Old Fitz is on its way to its former glory. And as much as people (including myself) like to bitch about BT, they have been cranking out quality whiskey, even if they have discontinued some of our favorite expressions of years past (ER 101, Centennial, OCPR, OC 12).

Well said. We may have lost some good (or possibly great) ones but there is plenty to appreciate currently and all signs point to more good juice on the way.

TNbourbon
09-18-2010, 08:58
Those of us who started 'dusty' hunting 5, 8, 10 years ago will tell you THAT was the Golden Age (type in that phrase, and you'll find that this discussion is not new). Still available at not-yet-fortune-hunting prices were (Very, and Very Very, and Extra) Old Fitzgerald BIBs, the standards from the '50s and '60s like Old Grand-Dad and Old Taylor (original producers) and such-like; plus the newer likes of the BTAC (which could be had for under $40 a bottle), Stitzel-Weller via Van Winkle, et al. It's all relative, particularly to whether or not I'm participating:grin:.
Finding anything today from prior to the metric era is indeed a rarity. But the current quality of new and existing bottlings certainly lends itself to the likelihood that one or more of these labels will be the 'dusties' of the future -- especially if another bourbon-buying depression, such as hit the economy from the late-'60s to early-'80s -- leaves all the current, ramped-up production now aging in warehouses with no marketplace.

OscarV
09-18-2010, 12:28
-- leaves all the current, ramped-up production now aging in warehouses with no marketplace.

I was going to mention the same thing.
If these are not the good old times then it certainly is one of them and I think future is looking pretty good too.

SBOmarc
09-18-2010, 13:33
The phrase, "it's all relative" rings true. I really can't do much about what is not available to me or to anyone else.

In the meantime I have and have had more than enough to satisfy me.
Great thread, BTW.

imbibehour
09-18-2010, 18:00
I honestly think this could go either way... it does feel like we are at some sort of tipping point...

Either way I think all of us Bourbon aficionados here win in the end...

The Boozer
09-25-2010, 08:14
Have more choices today than ever, especially when looking back in the 1970's and early 1980's. Only stuff on the shelves then was JBW, WT and OGD. Today, many liquor stores are carrying a much larger and diversified product line. These are likely the best of times for bourbon.

George
09-25-2010, 09:43
I'm fairly new to the world of bourbon, but what I find exciting about today is the sheer number of quality products available in the $20-$30 range.

ggilbertva
09-28-2010, 08:56
I think it's the good 'ole times x 2. I wouldn't be surprised one bit in the least if OWA age stated is a "dusty find" within a couple of years. For me, the benefit is finding dusty bottles in addition to some of the great stuff on the shelves today. Not that I would celebrate the decline of bourbon sales from decades ago, but the fact that it happened means we can enjoy both old and new with relative ease. It's the (new) golden age of bourbon, celebrate.

unclebunk
09-28-2010, 09:51
I think it's the good 'ole times x 2. I wouldn't be surprised one bit in the least if OWA age stated is a "dusty find" within a couple of years. For me, the benefit is finding dusty bottles in addition to some of the great stuff on the shelves today. Not that I would celebrate the decline of bourbon sales from decades ago, but the fact that it happened means we can enjoy both old and new with relative ease. It's the (new) golden age of bourbon, celebrate.

Well said, G. and I agree 100%. We still have access to many of the great bourbons of yesteryear and dozens of quality bottles being produced today that may someday be considered classics in their own right. Hence the ridiculous-sized bunker I've amassed over the last few years.

ggilbertva
09-28-2010, 11:35
Hence the ridiculous-sized bunker I've amassed over the last few years.

you and me both...... :toast:

cigarnv
09-28-2010, 12:00
The good old times for every generation appears to be the twice removed generation..... it was always better back then. Ah.. the cigars and bourbon of the 80's..... Of course when it was the 80's we relished the cigars and whiskies of the 60's..... and so it goes...

Gillman
09-28-2010, 14:46
Point taken Reid but brewing is the one exception. These really are the good old times. Maybe they were as good before but that was 100 years ago. :)

Gary

cigarnv
09-28-2010, 15:47
Point taken Reid but brewing is the one exception. These really are the good old times. Maybe they were as good before but that was 100 years ago. :)

Gary

Gary... spot on!!

squire
12-17-2010, 23:52
These may well be the best of times for Bourbon factoring in the wide choice of quality products and the demands of increased consumer awareness, but I regret the loss of such gems as Yellowstone and others commonly available in 1970 when I became of age to buy my own.