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View Full Version : I just do NOT understand how you go "dusty hunting"...



humchan2k
11-13-2010, 10:00
Maybe it's because I've always lived in state controlled liquor store states that this doesn't work....but, I dunno..a lot of y'all make posts on here with pictures of amazing booze you've found that some stores just RANDOMLY have in the back (I guess?) that are like 15-25 years old....and I simply have NO CLUE how you ever go about this process of randomly finding old, out of production nectar....can someone please explain exactly how you go about this whole process?!?!!?

I mean, I drop into liquor stores of interest whenever I see new ones, but I've always been in Oregon and Washington, and since the state runs those stores, they go through their stock super quickly, so how exactly do you all find, say, Wild Turkey from the '70's or Old Taylor?!?

Please educate, (if you don't mind, of course!), I'm completely clueless....

Thanks!

wadewood
11-13-2010, 10:40
I lived in WA for 9 years and now back to my home state in TX. There is no dusty hunting in WA. The sate, for all it's faults, does an excellent job of inventory rotation.

But here in Houston we have privately run liquor stores. They can stock whatever they want. In Harris County alone, we have over 530 liquor stores. They have bought stuff that did not sell and it sits on the shelf, sometimes for 20 plus years. So, you can find these dusty bottles. Also, stores close and another store buys the inventory. Sometimes maybe they had stuff sitting in boxes in back and it now gets "found".

SMOWK
11-13-2010, 14:14
I drop into liquor stores of interest whenever I see new ones

There's your first problem.

Josh
11-13-2010, 15:29
Michigan is probably the most benevolent of control states. The extent of the state's involvement is as wholesaler, or a kind of meta-distributor and setting minimum prices. Liquor stores are all privately owned, so we do have plenty of those magical back rooms.

I'm not a great or even good dusty-hunter by any means, but there are two different ways I do it. One way is if I'm by myself going from one place to another and time is not of the essence, I'll just stop at every liquor store along the way.

The other way is when I plan a sort of campaign. I'll look up all the stores on a particular street or in a certain town and try to hit as many as I can.

I also try to have an "exit phrase". If they ask if they can help me find something, and they have nothing of interest on the shelf, I either ask if they have Four Roses or Old Rip Van Winkle. That usually leaves them scratching their heads, and I can get out of the store without having a long annoying conversation or feeling pressured into buying that bottle of Old Crow that has been on the shelf for 2 years.

Anyway, neither method is any better than the other. But one thing is constant: in about every ten stores, only one of them will have something interesting. So persistence is the dusty hunter's best friend.

hectic1
11-13-2010, 17:12
Ha...I do the same thing Josh...usually I'm looking for a bottle for a customer and my staple bottle is ETL...if they carry that I go with ORVW. ;)

Vosgar
11-13-2010, 17:34
You might want to check this out

http://bourbondork.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html

Gary

sailor22
11-13-2010, 18:56
I have two techniques that work for me.

1- Get on your motorcycle and drive long distances stopping at every small out of the way Liquor store you can find.

2- Visit Wade in Houston and let him drive you to some of his honey holes of overstocked poorly managed liquor stores.


The second technique is by far the most expeditious and successful.

WsmataU
11-13-2010, 19:15
My favorite technique is to go into liquor stores with bars on the windows. They usually look at me like they can tell I'm in the wrong end of town, but those tend to be some prime hunting grounds!:lol:

BradleyC
11-13-2010, 20:28
Go to any bigger city in a non controlled state. Hit the worst parts of towns, focusing on any sections where the demographics have changed drastically over the last 20-30 years. Don't wear a jacket, and by all means don't take a lady friend with a purse. Daylight hours work best (the clientele is sober and you are less likely to be thought of as a theif). Have your random bottle question ready in your mind, for when the "can I help you?" question comes up. Take $1 bills with you to buy cans of Coke or a shooter (this is often easier than talking to the owner/employee. They aren't used to our questions and often don't know bourbon from peach shnapps.

Have fun. It's a blast!

Special Reserve
11-14-2010, 06:27
Go to any bigger city in a non controlled state. Hit the worst parts of towns, focusing on any sections where the demographics have changed drastically over the last 20-30 years. Don't wear a jacket, and by all means don't take a lady friend with a purse. Daylight hours work best (the clientele is sober and you are less likely to be thought of as a theif). Have your random bottle question ready in your mind, for when the "can I help you?" question comes up. Take $1 bills with you to buy cans of Coke or a shooter (this is often easier than talking to the owner/employee. They aren't used to our questions and often don't know bourbon from peach shnapps.

Have fun. It's a blast!

This put a smile on my face. It is essentially how it works but I don't buy something just because I went into their store. Even in a control state I've purchased cases (12 bottles) from stores like this. I think for me those days are now largely over for me. I still like going dusty hunting but unless they have something that I really desire I'm not too interested.

Not dusty but I'm having a hard time purchasing the BTAC bottles at $75 to $85/bottle. I must be getting old.

BBQ+Bourbon
11-14-2010, 07:07
This subject comes up over and over, and the original poster usually takes one of two directions. Either they give up, lamenting the 'fact' that they live in a dusty wasteland, or they spend more time reading the board, modify their search, and keep hunting. Successful dusty hunts don't come easy, and they don't come often. For every post you see detailing some amazing haul, that person has likely spend dozens or hundreds of hours in fruitless pursuit.

In my case, I was only successful when I was in an area of town where I had good cause to fear for my safety. I have Mexican friends who live in the Mexican ghetto, and they are afraid of the areas I hunt. Find a place like that, get out at 9 am (yes, they are open) and hit EVERY store you see. You also have to know how to identify dusty bottles through bullet proof glass. I suspect that many dusty hunters pass by good bottles for lack of knowledge.

Dusty hunting without a guide reminds me of bird hunting without a dog.

imbibehour
11-14-2010, 07:08
My favorite technique is to go into liquor stores with bars on the windows. They usually look at me like they can tell I'm in the wrong end of town, but those tend to be some prime hunting grounds!:lol:

This sounds like my neighborhood :slappin:

Seriously though, I just haven't gotten around to doing this in my backyard but plan to..

BBQ+Bourbon
11-14-2010, 07:16
I meant to mention that I know of a few instances where board members have discovered such treasures as ORVW 15/107 in areas that were declared 'hunted out' by nearby residents. The guys who haul in dusties are guys who work at it consistently.

imbibehour
11-14-2010, 07:17
On another note, I actually just went in to a random store downtown... (not bars on the window type thing...)

I had heard the same techniques also from a cocktail aficionado whose book I read also saying similar things (go into an OLD store) cause I would love to find old bottles of not just Bourbon but gin, liquers, etc.. for cocktails or collectiblity. I'd probably never open those but anyway...

I had been in there several times, and finally one of the managers was about so I asked him.. "hey.. do you have any old.. liquor bottles?" figured why not I'll give this a shot...

He literally FROZE and turned and looked at me like I was nuts... As if I was asking for drugs or something...

"What... [pause] do you MEAN...????"

Oh you know old bottles of anything you haven't sold perhaps, unopened or even just an old empty bottle...

Hey then stood there looking at me completely stunned... for about 3 seconds..

Finally then he just kicked in and said "OH! no we don't have any of that"...

Somehow I knew I should have tried elsewhere... ;)

nor02lei
11-14-2010, 11:26
I do my dusty hunting exclusively out on cyberspace. I do believe I am relatively successful, but I do put a lot of time on it. I seek E-bay, Krugerís auction of cause but also bunches of small online stores were you can do the real steals in my opinion.

Leif

silverfish
11-14-2010, 12:23
... Krugerís auction ...
Leif

I check this out each month. There are some nice deals
(low prices) if only the ship charges to USA weren't so
high. That said, you can sometimes pick up a bottle or
two at a low enough price to offset the shipping and it
ends up costing you a reasonable amount. Even without
winning, it is still nice to see some of the older bottles
offered and a good resource to keep track of "sold for"
prices.

cowdery
11-14-2010, 16:18
The Art of Dusty Hunting Pt. 1 (http://bourbondork.blogspot.com/2009/08/bourbon-art-of-dusty-hunting-pt-1_19.html)

The Art of the Dusty Hunt Pt. 2 (http://bourbondork.blogspot.com/2009/08/dusty-hunt-pt-2.html)

To be consistent with his inconsistency, Greg should have designated the second one as "Pt. B."

Gillman
11-15-2010, 08:01
Any tips for Washington, D.C.? I will be there soon.

Gary

callmeox
11-15-2010, 09:34
I meant to mention that I know of a few instances where board members have discovered such treasures as ORVW 15/107 in areas that were declared 'hunted out' by nearby residents. The guys who haul in dusties are guys who work at it consistently.

That hurts, man...it really hurts.

DeanSheen
11-15-2010, 11:30
That hurts, man...it really hurts.

I dunno man, $39.95 seems a little high for ORVW 15/107.

OscarV
11-15-2010, 14:11
I dunno man, $39.95 seems a little high for ORVW 15/107.

Not when compared to watered down Pappy Van Winkle 20yo 90.4 proof @ $100.00 plus plus plus, and up to $125.00.
Forty bucks for ORVW 10/107 is like a freebie.

Virus_Of_Life
11-15-2010, 14:25
That hurts, man...it really hurts.

That horse has been resurrected more times than Brett Favre has come out of retirement! :deadhorse: :deadhorse: :deadhorse:

You also have to consider what some people refer to dusty. Back when I started nobody cared if a Weller was stamped 00 on the bottom, if it wasn't Louisville, it wasn't desirable... I left Frankfort Centennials behind because the juice wasn't as good and I was finding better stuff. Had I known they'd become so desireable I would have stocked up on those too. And that leads to the "what should you hoard now" thread.

squire
12-17-2010, 15:24
I look for stores that have been around long enough to have dustys. If I'm fortunate the owner will be on premises and I'll ask him about any 'old stock'.

Finding dustys is more hunting than gathering but that's part of the fun.