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Master_Photog
02-04-2011, 05:04
Finding some bourbons that are commonly mentioned here in the SB Forum tend to be tough finds in my area. I've stopped in at a myriad of retail locations, from the small mom-and-pops, to the larger selection stores, most of which I've hit dead ends.

I'm a NEWB to the bourbon drinking family (little over a year) and would like to know what you would pick up if you were traveling to Chicago (Binny's) or to the Louisville area.

During my frequent visits to this forum, it's been a little frustrating to want to go pick something up that is getting quite a lot of attention and sometimes rave reviews during some of the discussions, i.e. the BOTM (ORVW 10/107) or the Van Winkle Family Reserve 13yr rye. I typically get "these are highly allocated bourbons that you're looking for sir" when stopping in at a retail location.

I know I have some on-line vendor options, but since I'll be in the area of some larger markets, I'd like to know what you would seek out and pick up.

Thanks!

Chuck

HighTower
02-04-2011, 05:13
Chuck,

Welcome aboard bud! If you're heading to Chicago....and more specifically Binnys...I would suggest going to the South Loop store and going to their tasting room, they have many bourbons available to taste. I would also make sure Brett Pontoni is going to be around and have a good chat with him. make sure you tell him Scott from Australia said G'day!:grin:
Try some of his hand picked SB Four ROses if available, Brett has an amazing pallette!

Cheers

Scott

Josh
02-04-2011, 06:27
Agreed. Try some of their private bottlings, especially the Weller 12 if they have it. If you like Scotch they have plenty of Scotch private bottlings too.

Brett is indeed the man, as is Joe aka Lost Pollito who also works at the South Loop store and is a long time member here.

As for the allocations, sometimes your best bet is just to put the word out like you have in this post and people will help you out.

T Comp
02-04-2011, 06:57
Agreed. Try some of their private bottlings, especially the Weller 12 if they have it. If you like Scotch they have plenty of Scotch private bottlings too.

Brett is indeed the man, as is Joe aka Lost Pollito who also works at the South Loop store and is a long time member here.

As for the allocations, sometimes your best bet is just to put the word out like you have in this post and people will help you out.

What Josh said with the addition that highly allocated also applies to Chicagoland and specifically to VWFRR, PVW 15 and WLW/GS of BTAC. With 25 Binny's locations and plenty of other fine independent stores you should be able to find the other attention getter's or rave review bottlings and certainly ORVW 10/107.

Master_Photog
02-04-2011, 07:15
Josh / T Comp - Understood, good point on highly allocated doesn't necessarily exempt Chicago, NY, etc.

I was being told to check out the larger markets for your specific needs.

Thanks for the comments!! Much appreciated!

cgbakerjr
02-04-2011, 07:32
The other thing to keep in mind is the timing of the release. While highly allocated, I could find BTAC and PVW at a few stores around here in October, but by February it's pretty rare to stumble upon one.

I know your question was what to get when you travel to the larger markets, but you may want to also consider introducing yourself at some of the smaller stores and make a point of talking with the owner/manager each time you come in. Once they feel like they kind of know you they are a bit more willing to special order and/or reserve some of the specialty bottles that come in.

cowdery
02-04-2011, 09:47
"If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."

Instead of going into a store and being disappointed because they don't have products that are challenging for all of us to find, expend your energy on seeing what they have and maybe trying something new. A store with a miserly selection won't lend itself to this, but most will. Van Winkles are a hard get everywhere and, yes, you're more likely to find hard-to-find stuff at a store like Binny's South Loop, but from Indianapolis you're closer to Louisville and you can find a lot there too.

Master_Photog
02-04-2011, 10:14
Good quote Chuck!

I was beginning to use the "if it ain't broke - don't fix it" approach as well as your "love the one you're with"

HOWEVER

Both have a "why change" connotation, SO, since my experience and varieties are limited, it makes me even more hungry for a more diverse cabinet. Especially when I see very consistent abbreviations on specific bourbons that I do not have.

Yes, I agree, being in Indianapolis is a plus to be within a few hours drive (both ways) of some hard-to-find bourbons. Hard to complain about that, just wish they were more accessible for those - on a whim moments!!

Thanks again for the help here!

White Dog
02-04-2011, 11:03
Don't know your area, so I don't know what stores to send you to but...

When those stores told you those items were allocated, did you ask if, and when, those stores ever receive it?

Since you're looking for items that come out in the fall, start building a relationship with the stores that you know will actually get the product. And build a relationship with the actual buyer, not one of the clerks, just as cgbakerjr said. And when the allocations come around again, and you REALLY want to lock it down, give the store your credit card number to use, if you don't mind doing so. NOTHING shows a retailer how serious you are as that. Retailers treat that behavior best. If they have your card number, then they can simply bill and hold for you as soon as it comes in.

VWFRR is worth it, so good luck!

SMOWK
02-04-2011, 12:31
VWFRR is worth it, so good luck!

I second that! Keep looking.

"Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit." - Napoleon Hill

Inthewater
02-04-2011, 12:36
The funny thing is, we have some of the stuff that seems harder to find around other states fairly readily available, but someof the stuff that seems pedestrian is hard to come by, around here.

I can find a lot of RVW (Pappy, ORVW, others) fairly easily at at least two places, but for some reason, other things are super rare.

It is fun when you find something cool, though. Just not a lot of places around my parts that you can really find old dusty bottles or anything like that, due to the State being so heavily involved...

(shakes angry fist)

snowrs
02-04-2011, 15:44
I took a mental health day today :slappin: and went to Louisville, No one had any of the hard to find bottles, but I did pick up a Weller Antique, AAA, and a sampler of the Small batch collection, along with about 7 other bottles to round out my general liquor cabinet. Yamazaki, and Isle of Jura to name a few.

cowdery
02-04-2011, 18:42
I took a mental health day today :slappin: and went to Louisville, No one had any of the hard to find bottles, but I did pick up a Weller Antique, AAA, and a sampler of the Small batch collection, along with about 7 other bottles to round out my general liquor cabinet. Yamazaki, and Isle of Jura to name a few.

What couldn't you find in Louisville and where did you go?

snowrs
02-04-2011, 20:14
Pappy 15, or BTAC I went to Liquor Warehouse on 2nd and in St. Mathews, Liquor Barn on Springhurst and in St. Mathewes, Liquor World just near Old town and OldTown Liquor it's self.

Special Reserve
02-05-2011, 05:38
Reading about these highly allocated bourbons forced me to have a little sip of VW Lot B. Not the hardest to find but not in most stores either.

I feel so much better now.

Medicfrost
02-05-2011, 06:11
Pappy 15, or BTAC I went to Liquor Warehouse on 2nd and in St. Mathews, Liquor Barn on Springhurst and in St. Mathewes, Liquor World just near Old town and OldTown Liquor it's self.

Pappy 15 is difficult to find almost everywhere right now, but they said they are releasing more in a couple months. Down in my neck of the woods, BTAC is pretty easy to find, except the GTS, I only know one place that has a small stash of 2010.

Special Reserve
02-05-2011, 06:24
Pappy 15 is difficult to find almost everywhere right now, but they said they are releasing more in a couple months. Down in my neck of the woods, BTAC is pretty easy to find, except the GTS, I only know one place that has a small stash of 2010.

In MI the distribution is crazy. I haven't seen any since the fall but last Thursday I went into a store that I visit occasionally to check their inventory and even though they did not have any PVW 15 before Christmas they have a bottle on the shelf last week. The owner said to me that he got two in earlier that week and there are no more.

When you find a store that carries a good inventory just check back from time to time you never know when you will get lucky. (Where have I sensed that before?)

barturtle
02-05-2011, 06:58
Yes, I agree, being in Indianapolis is a plus to be within a few hours drive (both ways) of some hard-to-find bourbons. Hard to complain about that, just wish they were more accessible for those - on a whim moments!!


What? Louisville and Chicago are both within "on a whim" distance. Heck I've done Chicago and St. Louis from KY "on a whim" (not at the same time, mind you). Impulsive and irrational, yup, hence "whim":slappin:

birdman1099
02-05-2011, 08:43
What? Louisville and Chicago are both within "on a whim" distance. Heck I've done Chicago and St. Louis from KY "on a whim" (not at the same time, mind you). Impulsive and irrational, yup, hence "whim":slappin:


Agreed.... I'll make Louisville trips on my lunch hour... er.... lunch afternoon !!!!:grin:

Josh
02-05-2011, 09:20
It's worth noting that the Cinci area is about as far from Indianapolis as Louisville is, and has a couple fine liquor stores on the Kentucky side, namely Cork and Bottle and Party Source. PS is a big store with lots of selection, including Willets and BTECs. C & B is a chain of smaller stores but their private bottlings, esp. the Four Roses SB Barrel Strength selections, are killer.

Also, they're not on the level as Binny's (but they're better than anything we have here), but Kahn's (Indianapolis) and Vine & Table (Carmel) have good selections and private bottlings as well, assuming you haven't already checked them out.

TomH
02-05-2011, 10:22
Not to give away our Indy secrets, but as much as like Kahns and V&T for most things.....21st Amendment stores (especially northside stores) seem the best place for locating BTAC.

Tom

snowrs
02-05-2011, 12:06
One of the liquor stores here has 3-4 bottles of Handy and about a case of ER17 but no WLW or GTS of course.

squire
02-05-2011, 13:08
Welcome aboard Chuck, I'm in much the same situation in that I have to drive to find some of the hard to get stuff. Worth the effort for me and an excuse to get out of town.

birdman1099
02-06-2011, 06:34
Not to give away our Indy secrets, but as much as like Kahns and V&T for most things.....21st Amendment stores (especially northside stores) seem the best place for locating BTAC.

Tom

Actually... the best place to find BTAC is in your basement !!!!:grin:

Special Reserve
02-06-2011, 06:43
Actually... the best place to find BTAC is in your basement !!!!:grin:

Post of the year!

SMOWK
02-06-2011, 07:42
Actually... the best place to find BTAC is in your basement !!!!:grin:

The water table is about 8 inches underground where I live. What do you know? I peeked in the closet and found some! :cool:

TomH
02-06-2011, 08:20
I got about 3 inches of water when the sump pump failed (its happened 3 times over the years). It did moisten the labels on a couple of cases that were on the floor at the time but no damage to the whiskey (can't say the same for the baseball card boxes that were on the floor). Everything is now above high mark level on shelves.

barturtle
02-06-2011, 08:48
Actually... the best place to find BTAC is in your basement !!!!:grin:

Basement, bedroom, kitchen, guestroom...

PaulO
02-06-2011, 08:52
Welcome Chuck, I know exactly how you feel. Even if you go to Louisville, or Chicago you won't find everything all the time. Without traveling too far, I have probably had the best luck finding less common items at Kahns in Indy, and the main Big Red store in Bloomington. I have seen BTAC and some other good stuff also at the 21st Ammendment on South Keystone. Happy hunting:cool:

cowdery
02-06-2011, 12:04
People helping people is the sb.com way.

TomH
02-06-2011, 12:37
Basement, bedroom, kitchen, guestroom...

It's never in the guestroom, since that's where the grandson (4 YO) stays. He hasn't noticed the bunker yet and I prefer it stays that way. His father destroyed some great scotch and armanac growing up when he added water to hide the fact he had consumed some.