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View Full Version : Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".



MacinJosh
04-08-2011, 13:27
Hey guys,

Stumbled across this article today. It was posted back in mid-March. Some of you might have already seen it (and yes Thad, I combed through the open threads and I didn't see one on this topic yet :p ).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/does-the-perfect-bourbon-exist/2011/03/01/ABBy9tY_story.html

What do you guys think? Does Harlen Wheatley have something up his sleeve and in the works to be released later this month? Something that goes beyond just the Experimental Collection?

As a huge Buffalo Trace fan (they set the bar and are the industry standard in my humble opinion) I certainly hope so. While I can't imagine better bourbons or ryes than The Antique Collection.....I for one would be thrilled to be proven wrong!

Let's hope it happens....

Josh

OscarV
04-08-2011, 13:54
I ain't holding my breath.
I don't think Buffalo Trace has anything that comes close to the best of WT or 4R.
Except for BT's Antique Collection the rest of their line up is to piney/grassy for me.
But they do put on a good show.
I will say havever they are better than the Old Forester/Woodford/Jack Daniels line and Jim Beams of the world.

Tony
04-08-2011, 14:20
Howdy Josh:

I hope you are great.

Thanks for sharing this, it was very interesting. Wonder what this will cost???

Best regards, tony

soad
04-08-2011, 14:25
They're wasting their time, I'm drinking the Holy Grail right now....OGD 114. Last night I drank the Holy Grail....Weller 12. The night before the Holy Grail was ORVW 107......

fishnbowljoe
04-08-2011, 14:47
Hmmm. :skep: I thought it was Weller Centennial.:rolleyes: Maybe they should start making it again. Dooooh! I forgot we already covered that in another thread. My bad. :grin: Cheers! Joe

CorvallisCracker
04-08-2011, 16:39
A number of semi random thoughts here.

First, seems to me that the goal of getting 100 points from Malt Advocate reflects an implicit assumption that such a rating would be compellingly persuasive. I think they're wrong about that. Although Hansell is a respected reviewer, he does not carry the same status in the whiskey community that Parker does in the wine community (and Parker's influence has diminished; more on that later). The serious whiskey drinking commmunity is small compared to the number of people who are trying to identify & buy top wines, and is, I believe, qualitatively different in that the former trust to their own evaluations much more than do the latter.

Second, just as no two consumers are likely to agree on every whiskey, neither are any two reviewers. Even if they got a 100 from MA, they would probably get less from Murray, Pacult, or BTI. Who ya gonna believe?

Third, reviewers reduce their own credibility when they hand out 100 point scores. Some years ago, the aformentioned Robert Parker gave 100pts to a Bordeaux, the 1990 Chateau Montrose. I happened to have acquired a half case of this as a futures purchase, getting them for $27 each (after the WA score was published, prices shot up to $150). I'd also bought a half case of the 1989 (94pts) and over the years pitted the two against each other in a number of tastings. It wasn't until 2008, when I opened the last of each, that the 1990 was judged better by a majority of those at the tasting. Even then, as good as it was, it was not the best Bordeaux I'd ever had (that would be the 1986 Lafite-Rothschild, which Mr. Parker gave a 99).

I can cite other examples.

As consumers themselves become more experienced, they replicate these results, and learn to trust to their own taste rather than rely on "experts". As I said before, I think most serious whiskey drinkers have already reached this point.

Finally, if you want to go by BTI (Beverage Tasting Institute, www.tastings.com (http://www.tastings.com)), the "perfect" bourbon has already been named: Pappy van Winkle 20yo, which is the only one to ever get 99 points (if you analyze the BTI scoring system you'll realize it's not possible to get 100 points). Do I think PVW 20 is perfect? Sometimes. Other times, it seems too woody. So much for perfection. :rolleyes:

BFerguson
04-08-2011, 16:43
Will is be something outstanding that they come up with, absolutely.

Will is be something that each one of will go "That was the best glass/bottle that I ever had in my life....." probably not, but it will still be a very fine glass, I'm sure of that.

Besides, the best ever, could have already existed, or may exist, or not even be barreled yet. That is the mystique. I can remember my dad saying, "No matter how good you are, there is always somebody better out there. You may never meet them, but they exist nonetheless.

The mystique of the perfect is what keeps most of us in the hunt and the love of what we do.

Ahhh....but the real question is, will I buy it when/if is comes out? Without a doubt!:grin:

NorCalBoozer
04-08-2011, 17:46
I find it weird that their basis for success is when Malt Advocate anoints it as such. It's hard to read that article and not sense that they are really on a marketing quest to find and badge something as a holy grail before someone else does.

White Dog
04-08-2011, 18:01
To get 100 from Hansell is "perfect" for Sazerac because then they will sell lots of Bourbon. Nothing more, nothing less.:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

tehbeardman
04-08-2011, 18:16
Perfect leaves a lot to interpretation as well. Perfect doesn't have to mean it is the most awesome super magically wet yourself best whiskey to ever grace this earth.

What if perfection is the best tasting well rounded whiskey at a value that can't be beat. Maybe they don't even care (much) about ratings?

I think most of us could agree that it is a marketing/talking point to easily create a buzz in the community.

Also, if they are trying to make the 'perfect' tasting bourbon, they need to be careful, because 'perfection' can be boring.

MacinJosh
04-08-2011, 18:32
Great points everyone. And I agree on the marketing ploy. MA isn't the end all be all in ratings.....although I'll freely admit to being a big fan of Hansell, Broom, Roskrow, Smith, and Bryson.

I think we all can agree "perfection" is subjective.....


Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

T Comp
04-08-2011, 19:06
Hey guys,

Stumbled across this article today. It was posted back in mid-March. Some of you might have already seen it (and yes Thad, I combed through the open threads and I didn't see one on this topic yet :p ).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/does-the-perfect-bourbon-exist/2011/03/01/ABBy9tY_story.html

What do you guys think? Does Harlen Wheatley have something up his sleeve and in the works to be released later this month? Something that goes beyond just the Experimental Collection?

As a huge Buffalo Trace fan (they set the bar and are the industry standard in my humble opinion) I certainly hope so. While I can't imagine better bourbons or ryes than The Antique Collection.....I for one would be thrilled to be proven wrong!

Let's hope it happens....

Josh


That's all I know but I will be there for the announcement.

They let this (http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/does-the-perfect-bourbon-exist/2011/03/01/ABBy9tY_story.html) out to the Washington Post.

Well Josh you got me on the topic but Chuck did link to the article in this thread on "Harlan Wheatley talks BT and Pappy" back on 3/16/11.
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=237921&highlight=washington+post#post237921 ;)


And sorry for being snarky about that previous KC thread but I'm blaming it on that Sunday Morning Coming Down Thing...at least I think it was Sunday morning. Peace. Thad.

cowdery
04-09-2011, 00:41
There's another thread about the Washington Post article and I think I posted there that I will be your eyes and ears at the unveiling of this product or products on Friday, April 29. Look for my post around noon. I love the smell of whiskey in the morning.

sku
04-09-2011, 08:40
There's another thread about the Washington Post article and I think I posted there that I will be your eyes and ears at the unveiling of this product or products on Friday, April 29. Look for my post around noon. I love the smell of whiskey in the morning.

Glad to hear it Chuck. I know you'll give us the real deal.

ethangsmith
04-10-2011, 07:46
This certainly does seem like an ambitious undertaking, but I don't think they will be successful in their plan. Like has been said already, everyone has their own tastes. I've had quite a few different Buffalo Trace products and I've ended up dumping most of them down the drain. To me, they all tasted moldy, acidic, and very industrial. Too harsh and obnoxious. So would I like this "perfect" bourbon they're going to unveil? Will I like it more than my all-time favorite Old Grand Dad BIB? I highly doubt it. And I'm sure I won't be the only person that feels the same way. I'm sure the bourbon will get high praise from many in the industry and be a fine bourbon, but to call it "perfect" is going a bit far to me. There are quite a few people saying Weller 107 is near perfect, but I dumped my bottle down the drain. Even the smell turned me off. So I guess the gist of what I'm getting at by saying all this is that it's pretty high-and-mighty to even attach the word "perfect" to a bourbon that hasn't even been bottled yet! Sounds like Buffalo Trace's fame is going to their heads. I wish them well in their endeavor and I hope the bourbon is an excellent bourbon, but I just wish they wouldn't be so seemingly full of themselves about it.

Parkersback
04-10-2011, 08:51
There are quite a few people saying Weller 107 is near perfect, but I dumped my bottle down the drain.

Don't they sell ginger ale where you live? Sweet vermouth? :skep:

I can see not liking it much, but down the drain? Are you trying to drive Fishbowl to an early grave by telling us this? :lol:

JohnHansell
04-10-2011, 09:24
I think it is a worthy effort, and I respect BT for undertaking an ambitious project to create the perfect bourbon. I know from what Mark Brown has told me, he's been working on this for many years.

If I were him, I'm not sure I would have chosen the same whiskey writers' reviews to formulate the "perfect" bourbon. (I think there are better whisky reviewers than me that BT didn't choose.) Still, it will be interesting to see what the end result tastes like.

I am not going to the press event--Chuck is covering it for Malt Advocate. That's probably for the best, given that I might feel a little uncomfortable watching him explain how he dissected whiskey reviews (including mine) to formulate a perfect whiskey.

Mark always said he wanted to create a whisky where Paul, Gary and I would each give it a 100 rating. He has his work cut out for him--the highest rating I ever gave a whiskey (orwhisky) is 97.

sku
04-10-2011, 11:47
Mark always said he wanted to create a whisky where Paul, Gary and I would each give it a 100 rating. He has his work cut out for him--the highest rating I ever gave a whiskey (orwhisky) is 97.

John, do you feel like this puts you in a difficult position as a professional reviewer? Is it awkward to have someone saying outright that they forumulated a bourbon to get a 100 from you? It seems like they are trying to break down a reviewer/product wall in some ways. I guess now you know what it's like to be Robert Parker.

ethangsmith
04-10-2011, 11:58
Don't they sell ginger ale where you live? Sweet vermouth? :skep:

I can see not liking it much, but down the drain? Are you trying to drive Fishbowl to an early grave by telling us this? :lol:

There are plenty of brands of sodas and things to mix it in around here and I did do that a few times. But it just ended up sitting around and I eventually dumped it so I had more space for my bottles of Bookers and OGD 114. At the time, if I would have known there were people that actually like the stuff, I would have been more than happy to see it go to someone who appreciates it! It's been a long time since I had another Buffalo Trace product on my shelves and my tastes have changed a lot (whiskey-wise) but there was something in all of the bourbons I tried that just made me nauseated. I'm very leery about trying any other because of those experiences. While Buffalo Trace may very well end up making the perfect bourbon for most people, I'm not so sure it's going to be MY perfect bourbon.

tmckenzie
04-10-2011, 15:34
Send it to me next time, I love bt's products.

TNbourbon
04-10-2011, 16:23
Here's the problem I have with even a 'quest' for a perfect bourbon, as Mark Brown proclaims: who's going to buy it?
By and large, I'd posit, it's NOT going to be the bourbon drinkers most eligible and likely to enjoy it (and I'd argue a large portion of them reside on this forum!). I think it's most likely to be a handful of tasters -- like John Hansell, Pacult, Regan, our own Chuck Cowdery, Lew Bryson, who have samples provided to them -- and the collectors with enough money to seek out and enjoy owning one-of-a-kind, expensive items.
Or, will Buffalo Trace -- once they've concocted this 'perfect' bourbon -- manufacture and market it in Jim Beam White-like quantities so that all of us can afford and enjoy it?
Yeah -- the latter scenario doesn't seem likely to me, either.:skep:
Also, I could offer many comments, questions, and doubts about how to even determine a 'perfect' bourbon, but you guys seem to have that angle pretty much covered already.
Two points, finally: it's damned disheartening to suspect that only rich guys and insiders will be able to afford and obtain this so-called "perfection" -- but, it has ever been thus, so I can live with that; and, unless and until I get to taste and affirm it, I simply won't believe it's better than the 'perfect' bourbon I once received in a trade with Preston Van Winkle (an unfiltered, barrel-proof sample of 21+yo "Pappy", described here: http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=91237&postcount=1, and here: http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=91402&postcount=1).
For me, anyway, it ain't perfect until it beats that one!:bigeyes: :shocked: And, I'd bet I'm more the rule than the exception in having an experience and attitude like that. So, Mark Brown is kinda wasting his rhetoric, isn't he? (Probably not wasting his time, though. I'm sure there's money in it. We're here talking about it, aren't we?)

cowdery
04-10-2011, 19:53
Let's not piss all over this until we have a little better idea of what it is, shall we?

Of course it's an attempt to create buzz and sell product.

And since we're all of legal drinking age, I doubt anyone here is naive enough to think the 'perfect bourbon' will, indeed, be achieved. We're not children. We're capable of approaching this realistically while still allowing a little room for wonder.

No, it won't, in fact, be perfect but it might be interesting. It might be fun. It might be cool. It might be something to legitimately talk about. It might even, and this is the most ambitious part, move the ball and genuinely change the industry.

You have to admit that as something new to release in the spring goes, it's ballsy. That's really all we know at this point. They're sticking their necks out. And by debuting it to writers and not to distributors and the rest of the trade, they're trying to go directly to the people with it, which shows a lot of respect for the people here.

No, I haven't drunk the Kool Aid. I have yet to be presented with the Kool Aid. But I'm willing to keep an open mind and allow my fancy to be tickled.

fishnbowljoe
04-10-2011, 20:02
It would be nice to try some at the Gazebo Friday night Chuck. :rolleyes: Invite the folks from BT to stop by. What better place for them to get some feedback. :grin: Joe

silverfish
04-10-2011, 20:08
John, do you feel like this puts you in a difficult position as a professional reviewer? Is it awkward to have someone saying outright that they formulated a bourbon to get a 100 from you?

I was wondering the same thing. I imagine Chuck and the others are
professional enough to not be swayed when someone presents them
with "Here, give this a try. We think it's our perfect, 100 scoring
bourbon." but I wouldn't envy anyone put in that position.

CaptainQ
04-10-2011, 20:13
I was wondering the same thing. I imagine Chuck and the others are
professional enough to not be swayed when someone presents them
with "Here, give this a try. We think it's our perfect, 100 scoring
bourbon." but I wouldn't envy anyone put in that position.

Tough job, but somebodys gotta do it.:o Glad it's not me.

cowdery
04-10-2011, 20:56
It would be nice to try some at the Gazebo Friday night Chuck. :rolleyes: Invite the folks from BT to stop by. What better place for them to get some feedback. :grin: Joe

You read my mind.

NorCalBoozer
04-11-2011, 16:24
We all geek out and taste and post textual reviews about a lot of old bottles...but we really don't use a 100 pt scoring scale (that i am aware of). Generally, at most, it seems to be certain flights of things we throw together and rate within the 6 or 8 things in that flight.

A question...are old bourbon's ever reviewed and given scores by industry reviewers or magazines? Seems like all the ones I see are for present day releases.

Would be quite interesting, if a present day bourbon gets a high score...that there is least a comparable database of reviews from all the stuff from the past...If John or someone gives a new BT product a 100...well that's all well and good....but how does that compare to a '65 VVOF? Maybe the whole 100 point scale is currently skewed because a lot of the stuff from pre 1970 isn't included in scoring up to now?

fishnbowljoe
04-11-2011, 16:59
Yes, the perfect bourbon does exist. I know that for a fact. I've found it several times. :skep:

When I first joined here, my mission was to find two perfect bourbons. The smoothest, sweetest one, and the most in your face, high proof one. I must say that I found both. More than once.

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is bourbon on the palate of the drinker. Like others have said, it's all subjective. I have given up my "quest" for the perfect bourbon. I'm at the point now where I've begun to appreciate and enjoy different bottlings no matter what. Usually. :rolleyes: Yes, there are a few stinkers out there, but virtually every bourbon has something good to offer.

FWIW, my list (in no particular order) of perfect bourbons includes:

Weller Centennial
WLW
GTS
Binny's Weller 12
Everett's Weller 12
Pappy 15
Willett's 28 yr old
ER 101
Etc...etc...etc...

Know what I mean Vern? :lol: Cheers! Joe

kickert
04-11-2011, 17:09
Know what I mean Vern? :lol: Cheers! Joe

I know what you mean... and my list is very similar.

JohnHansell
04-11-2011, 19:12
There's a reason why I have never rated a whiskey (or whisky) higher than 97. It's 35 years worth of whiskey-drinking perspective--and knowing that the best whiskey on the market now may not be the perfect whiskey (or even close to it).

Josh
04-11-2011, 19:16
Saz already owns two perfect bourbons: Very Old Barton and George T. Stagg.

cowdery
04-11-2011, 20:48
If Buffalo Trace says they have produced the perfect bourbon then that's hubris, but if they say that continues to be their quest, even if they say this project has moved them in that direction, then I think that's appropriate and exactly what we want from our distilleries.

MacinJosh
04-12-2011, 08:33
Josh, I agree. For me, the George T. Stagg is about as good as it gets.

However, I admit to being relatively new to whisk(e)y (<10 years) and most likely have not sampled the vast range that the majority of folks here have.

My goal is to remedy that in the future. :-D


Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

CaptainQ
04-19-2011, 20:42
Ten day and counting.....:shocked:

Can't wait. :woohoo:

cowdery
04-28-2011, 20:54
It's late and I'm tired and I have to get up early tomorrow to go drink more whiskey. I can tell you what it's all about but I don't need to because it's all explained here (http://www.singleoakproject.com/). So check it out. It's pretty cool.

Haven't tasted any of it yet. That's tomorrow.

jinenjo
04-28-2011, 21:06
Sounds intriguing to say the least. Did I miss it, or were the ages of the oak trees mentioned somewhere? Also, the lower entry proof certainly got my attention. Old growth oak used for barrels and low entry proof is something I've been speculating as a golden combination.

cowdery
04-28-2011, 21:09
Sounds intriguing to say the least. Did I miss it, or were the ages of the oak trees mentioned somewhere?

All about 150 years old.

jinenjo
04-28-2011, 21:32
I'll show some ignorance here and then ask, what is the average age used for modern barrels?

Neat
04-28-2011, 21:51
for the nite owls out there: bt's press release detailing the first release (what barrels, availability and price) is already out: http://www.singleoakproject.com/uploads/press/2011-04-28-Buffalo-Trace-Unveils-Single-Oak-Project.pdf

RegChumpington
04-28-2011, 22:09
375 mL. Guess I know what we won't be seeing in SoCal, or at least not at reasonable prices. ;)

RyanL
04-28-2011, 22:34
Interesting concept and I can appreciate what they are trying to do in their quest to find the perfect bourbon. However, this feels like a pretty gimmicky way to sell lots of 10 year old bourbon(saw something about 8 years too so 8-10 years, I don't even know) at fairly jacked up prices. They are trying to get customers to buy as many different ones as they can afford/find and rate them and that's fine but at $46(SRP) per 375ml bottle it seems more about making money than truly trying to get everyone to taste several different ones. I personally can't see myself buying any of this unless I went to a tasting and a certain one just blew me away. I hope good things come of this and they are able to make a nearly perfect bourbon somewhere down the road. I guess I'll just have to wait to taste it though when that day actually comes.

fussychicken
04-28-2011, 23:25
So lets see here, in effort to be able to "interact" and "compare" and more imporantly "earn points" (oh goodie! points!) I'm gonna probably want to buy all 192 of these suckers right? Hmm, maybe some math is in order

192 styles x $46.35 = $8,899.20

Haha, who am I kidding?!?! There is no way these BTECs in disguise will go for $46.35. Maybe this is more accurate:

192 styles x $75 = $14,400

Start saving your pennies now bourbonites!!! Smells like the Diageo Managers’ Choice whiskeys that have gone over so well in the enthusiast community.... (http://www.whatdoesjohnknow.com/2009/09/03/new-diageo-whiskies-the-managers-choice/) Hell, I guess it is cheaper than a couple of cases of PWV15 though! Hahaha, am I right fellas?!?!?!

Oh, and BTW, I would be stoked about the lower barrel entry proof if that meant it was actually distilled out to that proof instead of being watered down to 105 before barrel entry. Chuck can you get a clarification on this?

cowdery
04-29-2011, 05:00
Entry proof is entry proof. No change of distillation proof.

Trees are usually 75-100 years old so these are a little older.

Quantities are too small for them to make a lot of money. Marketing intent here is mostly about buzz.

MacinJosh
04-29-2011, 05:12
Was anxiously awaiting your post Chuck. Thanks for the link.


Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

kickert
04-29-2011, 05:21
for the nite owls out there: bt's press release detailing the first release (what barrels, availability and price) is already out: http://www.singleoakproject.com/uploads/press/2011-04-28-Buffalo-Trace-Unveils-Single-Oak-Project.pdf

Interesting idea... I like the shotgun approach to be able to identify the effects of variables, but I think too much emphasis has been placed on the specific tree. There are so many other variations I would like to see played out (like more variance with mashbills or a couple options with barrel proof). They mentioned different warehouses, but no talk of the how warehouse location could affect thing.

To me, the specific tree is the one variable that you can't duplicate. Sure you might get a honey barrel, but how will the aspects that made that barrel be identified and repeated (beyond ring count and top v. bottom).

I love the vast experimentation in order to find winning combinations, but at the end of the day I think the variables that can be duplicated are taking a backseat to the single tree novelty.

LikeItWasSodaPop
04-29-2011, 10:19
I've just been re-watching Lord of the Rings, so the whole Two Towers sequence with the talking trees -- the Ents! -- takes on a lot of meaning here.

I agree with the poster above that the single tree stuff is a mis-step. I got a little bitchy when someone suggested (in my thread about the worst bourbon I've ever tasted) that there is no such thing as bad whiskey. I think that's bullshit. But the idea of "perfection" rankles me to the core. I do really respect the BT experiments as a formal matter, and I really like the idea of getting people to discuss them and evaluate them.

There's this weird thing ... would you rather discover "perfection" or be told that something is "perfect"? I think the beauty of this forum is in the discovery. I love Four Roses Marriage 2008. It sort of smells like my grandmother's basement. The effects -- on me, and me alone -- are magical. I could honestly give one half of one shit what anyone thinks about this bourbon. It is, next to PVW 15, my favorite. If you don't like it, I don't really care. So the idea of "perfection," which really just connotes "consensus" is really stupid.

RegChumpington
04-29-2011, 13:55
There's this weird thing ... would you rather discover "perfection" or be told that something is "perfect"? [...] So the idea of "perfection," which really just connotes "consensus" is really stupid.

I respect BT's willingness to try crazy stuff - it's only through the what-ifs that potentially new and serendipitous things are found. And I won't begrudge them their right to sell those as limited releases (in some cases, of course, wishing we'd see more out west). But I think you're right - this really seems to point more in the direction of being something that could be marketed as "the bourbon drinker's bourbon" or "america's favorite bourbon" or something, since it seems to be based upon consensus.

I don't think I could think of a one-size-fits-all, always-right bourbon (or for that matter, *any* drink, alcoholic or not). In that regard I think this will shake out a pretty good bourbon but sometimes I want black cherries and dark fruits, sometimes I want wood, sometimes I want rye spice, sometimes I want wheat mellowness.

It kind of smacks of those discussions I have with fellow musicians - "xyz performance was more accomplished and was technically flawless but I prefer abc".

One could argue this could wind up producing a semi-bland, focus-grouped result.

wripvanwrinkle
04-29-2011, 15:40
I think that the entire emphasis upon the "perfect"/"holy grail" aspects of this exercise are overstated. At best this is an attempt to quantify the importance of a set of variables. At the worst, it is nothing more than a marketing stunt. This is exactly the kind of spectacle that ensues when the ideas of a few geeks find their way into the capitalizing hands of product marketers.

Personally, I view this as an interesting release of some fairly expensive single barrels. I look forward to comparing my notes with others.

As for anyone that is seriously considering trying them all...more power to them. I can't wait for the inevitable hunting for that one "must have" honey barrel though.

dmarkle
04-29-2011, 18:13
I see this as an opportunity for good whiskey bars. I tend to think that being able to offer a "flight" of these bourbons in small pours could be hugely popular.

As to buying my own bottle, though, I'm not so sure. I haven't jumped on the BTEC wagon for that reason. I think this is one of those, "I'd sure like to try it, but I can't bring to buy it for myself" kind of things.

RegChumpington
04-29-2011, 18:19
I see this as an opportunity for good whiskey bars. I tend to think that being able to offer a "flight" of these bourbons in small pours could be hugely popular.

As to buying my own bottle, though, I'm not so sure. I haven't jumped on the BTEC wagon for that reason. I think this is one of those, "I'd sure like to try it, but I can't bring to buy it for myself" kind of things.

Turn it upside down. What if it was made available solely through 2oz samples, say $4 per, pre-buy as many as you want, mail order only?

TNbourbon
04-29-2011, 18:29
Mark Brown goofed by interjecting the word "perfect" into the conversation. What if he DOES manage to make the best bourbon I've ever had? And, then, next year, he (or someone else) issues something I like better?
Which one's "perfect"? Both? Neither? If multiples are allowed to be "perfect", then maybe something I've already had is already "perfect", no? In which case, what's the big deal if BT manages 'another' perfect bourbon?
Is perfection singular, or can it be plural?

(Just as an aside, there have been 20 "perfect games" pitched in the 135-year history of Major League Baseball.)

ebo
04-29-2011, 18:31
Interesting idea... I like the shotgun approach to be able to identify the effects of variables, but I think too much emphasis has been placed on the specific tree. There are so many other variations I would like to see played out (like more variance with mashbills or a couple options with barrel proof). They mentioned different warehouses, but no talk of the how warehouse location could affect thing.

To me, the specific tree is the one variable that you can't duplicate. Sure you might get a honey barrel, but how will the aspects that made that barrel be identified and repeated (beyond ring count and top v. bottom).

I love the vast experimentation in order to find winning combinations, but at the end of the day I think the variables that can be duplicated are taking a backseat to the single tree novelty.
It won't. I know a thing or two about wood. Every tree is different... even the ones growing in the same stand. Minerals in the soil will have a lot to do with it, as will exposure to sunlight, how crowded the stand is, etc...

At the saw mill: is the log being flitch cut, quarter sawn or rift sawn? 6 months of air drying is NOTHING. It can take up to three years to air dry lumber, depending on how thick it was sawn. There are so many variables just in the age of the tree, soil it is growing in, the sawing and drying process............. it is virtually impossible to repeat anything.

It's cool that BT is trying something new, but I seriously doubt they can come up with a consistent product with this "single oak" project.

dmarkle
04-29-2011, 18:38
Turn it upside down. What if it was made available solely through 2oz samples, say $4 per, pre-buy as many as you want, mail order only?

Another awesome idea. Or box 'em up in a convenient gift box sampler for the Christmas season.

dmarkle
04-29-2011, 18:40
Mark Brown goofed by interjecting the word "perfect" into the conversation. What if he DOES manage to make the best bourbon I've ever had?

Wait, BT is going to be giving away free bourbon? :grin:

BFerguson
04-29-2011, 18:40
i do think that what they are doing really is worthwhile. BUt perfection will never be achieved, Even if you polled the audience here, you would get a wide variety of ideas on what perfection is.

Over the years, every distiller has done this, but probably never to such a extent. They knew which yeast batched worked the best, and refined them over the years. The water was always key point too. It had to be of great purity and of the right mineral type. I'm sure they also had particular cooper and farmers that they liked to work with. And on and on and on........

BUt when you really think about it, they are just too many variables to take complete control of to insure the perfect barrel. And now way could you replicate this from barrel to barrel.

In the end I really do appreciate what they are doing. Push the limits, expand upon the conventional notions of what should be done.

In the end, they will probably stumble on a couple of new things that will take products to the next level. It makes it a really exciting time to be a bourbon drinker!!

And besides, it makes for great conversation fodder on the forum.

B

ebo
04-29-2011, 18:55
At the very least, I'm sure there will be some great bourbon to come from this. If it could be replicated on a consistent basis, no one would look forward to the next offering. The "unknown" in all of this is what will keep us waiting for the next "single oak" offering. There will undoubtedly be some exemplary bourbon produced... as well as some duds. If nothing else, it will create another "collector" niche.

cowdery
04-29-2011, 21:14
I'm not going to go chapter and verse on the posts since my last one. I think what's lacking here is a full understanding of what this project is really about. That's not a criticism of anyone. I just spent the better part of two days wrapping my head around it and talking to the people who have worked on this project for a decade.

I'm sure not there yet. There is no reason you should be.

This thing is really deep and the only reason they're putting it out is to please people like the people on this board. Yes, they are a profit-making business that exists to make and sell whiskey. But this is real science in which they are giving you and me an important chance to participate, so give it a chance.

I don't want to take this too far -- it's also supposed to be fun -- but it's deeply geeky and was created by and for people who care as passionately about American whiskey as you do. It may not be "perfect" (ironically), but it is sincere.

What I experienced today, tasting the first release set of 12, is that they have compressed the number of variables for each release. One bottle teaches you nothing but any two bottles will teach you something really cool. You can, for example, taste two whiskeys in which the only variable is grain coarseness. Everything else is controlled for, and I mean everything, and they do taste different.

Think about this. You can taste two bottles of Blanton's, from two different barrels, and know that any difference you taste is coming from the barrel, but you can't know what it is about the barrel that is causing the difference. With this you know, because the only difference is that one is fine grain and the other is coarse, for example. Everything else about the distillate and barrel is the same. Hell, all of the wood is from the same tree. (That's the point of 'single tree.')

You know what makes a huge difference? Whether the wood came from the top of the tree or the bottom of the tree. Who knew?

That's pretty cool.

I will add this. If you think it's possible to overstate the importance of the barrel to American whiskey, you know very little about American whiskey.

Neat
04-30-2011, 06:54
chuck, i was thinking about whether or not to be on the hunt for another limited edition bourbon (VERY limited edition) and you just convinced me to gas up the truck, goto the atm and find another hiding place inside the house!:slappin:

the bt press release says the first release should be in the stores at the end of may. it's only a month from now but the manager at the big store here has not heard anything about the single oak project - he wasn't aware of it until i told him. he's still dealing with ticked off customers venting about the spring pappy release.

that's a cool acorn.

Leopold
04-30-2011, 09:30
I'm sure not there yet. There is no reason you should be.

This thing is really deep and the only reason they're putting it out is to please people like the people on this board. Yes, they are a profit-making business that exists to make and sell whiskey. But this is real science in which they are giving you and me an important chance to participate, so give it a chance.


If you don't mind, I'd like to give a perspective on this from a small American whiskey producer.

What they are doing here, and have been doing with their other projects is so....totally... if you'll pardon the expression, badass.

As a fellow craftsman, operating at a much lower level (i've only been at this for 15 years), I don't care about the end result. That doesn't concern me. I look at distilling whiskey as a verb, not a noun. In other words, I'm much more interested in the process than I am what does in the bottle.

This is, in relative terms, one of the largest whiskey distilleries in the world. Yeah, they aren't Diageo, but BT is a large shop. And what they're doing is so very Rock and Roll. They're saying, "right. ***ing watch this, mates", and flexing their formidable creative muscle.

It's so very cool. And I'm so very proud that they're out there showing what American distilling is all about.

My unasked for advice is: enjoy that they're playing their song to you. Not the general market, not on the advice of their bean counters.... but they're doing this for you, and most certainly, themselves as craftsmen.

Unreal.

dmarkle
04-30-2011, 09:33
What they are doing here, and have been doing with their other projects is so....totally... if you'll pardon the expression, badass.


And what's really amazing is that it all started over 10 years ago. That's one long project. Kind of cool to see a guy start a project he knows he may not (and apparently did not) see finished. Wow. Making whiskey sometimes seems like building pyramids or something.

HP12
04-30-2011, 09:56
As I read thru this thread, it's apparent that distillers demonstrate their fascination, passion, curiosity with research and experimentation in order to create a unique identity with desire to please and strive for perceived perfection in their craft.

This pursuit is no different than what other top end professionals strive to achieve such as entrepreneurs, chefs, liquid chefs and entertainers to name a few examples.

"We don't know what we don't know, but it's worth trying to find out".

kickert
04-30-2011, 11:08
What I experienced today, tasting the first release set of 12, is that they have compressed the number of variables for each release. One bottle teaches you nothing but any two bottles will teach you something really cool. You can, for example, taste two whiskeys in which the only variable is grain coarseness. Everything else is controlled for, and I mean everything, and they do taste different.

In this light, I think you are exactly right... I guess my initial hesitation has been with the language of "perfection" and the the talk of isolating all the factors to create the perfect bourbon. Not sure whose language this was, but it is unfortunate.

What they have done is pretty incredible, but it has to be cast in the appropriate light. This is much more "experiment" than a "pennical product" and that I love.

sku
04-30-2011, 11:48
I'm not going to go chapter and verse on the posts since my last one. I think what's lacking here is a full understanding of what this project is really about. That's not a criticism of anyone. I just spent the better part of two days wrapping my head around it and talking to the people who have worked on this project for a decade.

I'm sure not there yet. There is no reason you should be.

This thing is really deep and the only reason they're putting it out is to please people like the people on this board. Yes, they are a profit-making business that exists to make and sell whiskey. But this is real science in which they are giving you and me an important chance to participate, so give it a chance.

I don't want to take this too far -- it's also supposed to be fun -- but it's deeply geeky and was created by and for people who care as passionately about American whiskey as you do. It may not be "perfect" (ironically), but it is sincere.

What I experienced today, tasting the first release set of 12, is that they have compressed the number of variables for each release. One bottle teaches you nothing but any two bottles will teach you something really cool. You can, for example, taste two whiskeys in which the only variable is grain coarseness. Everything else is controlled for, and I mean everything, and they do taste different.

Think about this. You can taste two bottles of Blanton's, from two different barrels, and know that any difference you taste is coming from the barrel, but you can't know what it is about the barrel that is causing the difference. With this you know, because the only difference is that one is fine grain and the other is coarse, for example. Everything else about the distillate and barrel is the same. Hell, all of the wood is from the same tree. (That's the point of 'single tree.')

You know what makes a huge difference? Whether the wood came from the top of the tree or the bottom of the tree. Who knew?

That's pretty cool.

I will add this. If you think it's possible to overstate the importance of the barrel to American whiskey, you know very little about American whiskey.

Okay, that's the best description I've heard of this so far, which does make it sound interesting. Are the trees listed on the label in a way that you will know if you have, for instance, the top or bottom of the same tree?

cowdery
04-30-2011, 14:56
When you buy the bottle, all you will know is its barrel number. Then you can go to the website to get the full provenence of that barrel. I have no doubt that when this gets going people will post the provenence of each barrel here.

As for the whole 'perfection' thing, I'm going to blame that more on the Washington Post's Jason Wilson, who wrote the article that began this thread. He was there Thursday and Friday. It's not really his fault but I gave him a lot of shit and told him I was going to blame him for everything, so there it is. :)

The quest for the perfect bourbon is an over all distillery mission. Nobody expects to get there, but would be thrilled to make progress in that direction. Remember, this is a business where consistency and same-as-it-ever-was is a core value. BT is just trying to say we can be committed to that but also to improvement. Nothing wrong with that.

Let me put the span of this thing in perspective. Yesterday we planted a white oak tree on the grounds at BT in honor of Ronnie Eddins, longtime warehouse supervisior at BT, who died last October. It was Ronnie who went to Missouri a decade ago and selected the trees for this project. Everyone at BT recognizes that they are working on projects that still will be going long after they are not.

ebo
04-30-2011, 16:11
Chuck, what do you think is going to happen from all this single oak/tree experimentation? I understand perfectly well how different wood and parts of a particular tree can/would affect the spirit being stored in it.

It is an absolute truth that whatever comes from this can almost 100% NOT be replicated. If the mission is to learn about the various parts of a tree and how it affects the spirit, I can understand that. If they think they can come up with a way to produce a consistent result with this...... not gonna happen.

I'm not against any of what they are doing. I'm all for it. But, I can't see anything that will come of it other than some nice, "unique" bourbon here and there.

I guess what I'm asking is: what does BT hope to gain/do/accomplish with this undertaking?

Leopold
04-30-2011, 16:26
What leads you to believe that this can't be replicated? Or, rather, any less repeatable than any other line whiskey out there?

ebo
04-30-2011, 16:42
:grin:
What leads you to believe that this can't be replicated? Or, rather, any less repeatable than any other line whiskey out there?
Because no two trees are alike. Similar, yes, but not the same. You might get a similar tasting spirit from trees taken from a specific stand in the same general area. But, go a few acres from that specific area and I can almost guarantee you those trees will have a different mineral content and a different grain structure.

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I very well could be), but isn't consistency of taste achieved by blending different barrels, at this time? Isn't this why Single Barrel releases very in taste from previous releases... because of the difference in the wood they are stored in? I don't see any difference from that and what BT is doing with single trees. If I'm misunderstanding, I'm all for being set straight! :grin:

jinenjo
04-30-2011, 16:57
Entry proof is entry proof. No change of distillation proof.


That's very disappointing to hear. Why wouldn't they want to adjust that to make, hopefully, another promising variable?
I don't mean to sound like a naysayer. I'll look forward to tasting it, if it comes my way. I also applaud such a unique and, dare I say it, pioneering, idea.

So, how did it taste, Chuck?

Leopold
04-30-2011, 17:03
:grin:
Because no two trees are alike. Similar, yes, but not the same. You might get a similar tasting spirit from trees taken from a specific stand in the same general area. But, go a few acres from that specific area and I can almost guarantee you those trees will have a different mineral content and a different grain structure.

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I very well could be), but isn't consistency of taste achieved by blending different barrels, at this time? Isn't this why Single Barrel releases very in taste from previous releases... because of the difference in the wood they are stored in? I don't see any difference from that and what BT is doing with single trees. If I'm misunderstanding, I'm all for being set straight! :grin:

You're not misunderstanding, IMHO, and very well put.

Blending is what makes all whiskies, beers, and wines "repeatable".

But I think that BT might "find" something by meticulously stripping down the barrel down to the not only the tree, but the part of the tree. I can tell you that a prominent American cooper chuckles at the notion that there's a consistent difference between #3 and #4 char. When you think about using an open flame that's four feet tall, you realize that the charring is likely to be all over the place, statistically and practically speaking.

So I guess what I meant was that this isn't really less repeatable than any other small barrelling. And in fact, they might figure a few things out regarding barrels and oak along the way by looking at every little thing.

Neat project, don't you think?

ebo
04-30-2011, 17:16
You're not misunderstanding, IMHO, and very well put.

Blending is what makes all whiskies, beers, and wines "repeatable".

But I think that BT might "find" something by meticulously stripping down the barrel down to the not only the tree, but the part of the tree. I can tell you that a prominent American cooper chuckles at the notion that there's a consistent difference between #3 and #4 char. When you think about using an open flame that's four feet tall, you realize that the charring is likely to be all over the place, statistically and practically speaking.

So I guess what I meant was that this isn't really less repeatable than any other small barrelling. And in fact, they might figure a few things out regarding barrels and oak along the way by looking at every little thing.

Neat project, don't you think?
Yes, definitely a neat project. If the learning from all the "little" differences is the goal, I would say it is a fantastic project.

cowdery
04-30-2011, 18:29
The rye recipes ones taste more or less like Buffalo Trace. The wheaters are not quite Weller, but they're good. All of them are good, I liked some better than others.

One thing they plan to do is have consumers review and rate every whisky, so each will have a score, and one will win. They intend to replicate that one, in terms of duplicating its specifications, and that will be the Single Oak Project product going forward (with, I assume, an interlude for proper aging).

Yes, the idea is to learn what variables cause what differences and which combinations of variables are most pleasing to -- you. That's ultimately what they expect to get out of it.

RyanL
05-01-2011, 00:15
OK, I gotta admit it sounds a lot better after reading Chuck's posts. I still however, am pretty hesitant to buy these because I feel like it's going to be pretty hit or miss on what I'm buying and how much I will like it and unless I'm getting all 12 bottles(which I wont be) then getting 3 or 4 seems less exciting to me. If a local store did a tasting of all 12 though I would certainly go, as like I stated before, I think its a great concept, its just not very practical or affordable to be able to try more than a couple of these on your own.

kickert
05-01-2011, 05:37
OK, I gotta admit it sounds a lot better after reading Chuck's posts. I still however, am pretty hesitant to buy these because I feel like it's going to be pretty hit or miss on what I'm buying and how much I will like it and unless I'm getting all 12 bottles(which I wont be) then getting 3 or 4 seems less exciting to me. If a local store did a tasting of all 12 though I would certainly go, as like I stated before, I think its a great concept, its just not very practical or affordable to be able to try more than a couple of these on your own.

I hear ya... Just as some of these barrels are probably going to be very good, some are going to be not-so-good. I am too pour to buy up a bunch of these hoping to get the good ones. This is the type of experiment I would love to be a part of, but honestly the only way I could do it would be if these came in even smaller sizes than 375. I would gladly pay for a 12 pack sampler of minis!

Parkersback
05-01-2011, 07:14
For me personally, this is too complicated. I mean, I really appreciate that this sort of investigation and experimentation and innovation is going on, but I'd rather that it happen behind closed doors, or at least with a small, select group of folks. I sort of assume(d) that this kind of thing is always going on, I'm just curious as to why they've made it so public.

I enjoy the challenge of trying to keep up with new releases, comparing older expressions of a whiskey to the newer expressions of the "same" brand, tracking where things were sourced or bottled, comparing brands within the same distillery (speaking of which, I tried KBSB the other day, and it was OK, but the most interesting thing to me was how much it tasted like the last glass of JBB I had, but at barrel strength). I like learning about and tasting whiskey: as Oscar as wryly noted, it's a pretty fascinating, "hobby."

But if I'm reading all this right, BT essentially just released 192 different "brands" of $70 bourbon, and now they want us to sift through them and tell them which one is the best?

As an illustration, I can tell my wife about the WT expressions: "Hey, here's the standard 101, but this bottle is called Russel's Reserve, it's the 'same' whiskey, but aged 10 yrs, as opposed to 6, 7 and 8 of the standard. RR used to be 101, but now it's 90, etc." It's a little complicated, but I can sort of wrap my head around it, and thus hers.

But 192 bottles with 7 variables or whatever?

It sort of overwhelms me, and does not fill me with fervor to rush out and start buying up these $70 experiments.

wripvanwrinkle
05-01-2011, 09:24
Hi Parkersback,

I find your response really interesting in that it codifies 2 issues that I have been thinking about: the complexity and the diversity.

For me, the breaking down of the variables is really neat. I really like that the distillers are acknowledging a set of consumers that increasingly want to understand their product in a more technical way. Although I believe that the sum is more than the whole of its parts, I really enjoy understanding the parts. Is that geeky? Sure, but then again, I’m a geek.

There is going to be an unobtainable number of different releases…but that is fantastic. I won’t be able to try them all, but who cares? I love that sense of diversity! Each experience will be something unique.

Yes, this is a hobby…but people hobby in different ways. The example that I have been thinking of concerns our national parks.

Some people visit each park, enjoy it, get a “passport stamp”, and move on. Their experience is in comparing the parks.

Some people visit one park, become fascinated by its geothermal and geological aspects and focus forever inward on the subtle details of volcanism and granite formations. Their experience is in how it works.

I think that BT has only missed the mark with respect to the marketing. They should have just targeted this at the geeks. Although the website doesn’t really focus on the “quest for perfection”, I have clearly experienced it through other feeds (such as the Driscoll interview with Harlen Wheatley). This thin veneer of “respectability” does little to widen the audience. It only detracts from what makes it fun.

(By the way, if I have offended anyone that thinks that this is cool effort...but is not a geek...don't worry...you *are* a geek...you just don't know it yet.) :grin:

mosugoji64
05-02-2011, 21:50
This project, along with the information posted here, has been fascinating. While I agree that these releases will be nearly impossible to replicate, which would make them a source of frustration should the results be very good, I am interested to see what BT does with what they learn. Making bourbon regularly in this way would be prohibitively costly and likely never happen, but they may learn some things that produce an exceptional product. Whatever the results, I applaud their efforts. :thankyousign:

MacinJosh
05-03-2011, 12:36
All I know is after seeing John Hansell's picture up on Facebook last night.....I'm chomping at the bit to get my hands on these!

~Josh

fussychicken
05-03-2011, 15:20
Wow wow wow. So much unfiltered love in this post. I never thought I would be the cranky old man here!



I'm sure not there yet. There is no reason you should be.

This thing is really deep and the only reason they're putting it out is to please people like the people on this board.

I call BS. This "project" shows BT's total lack of understanding of how their limited offerings are distributed and sold.

12 bottles each release that will probably go for about $70 a pop? Really BT? And there are 16 (192/12) releases of this? The stress that the honest distributors and retailers are feeling is palpable. I can already predict the email update from our favorite local retailer David from KL wines: "Oh man, I have been getting so many emails about this, so you guys are just going to have to fight it out in the store..."

I'm sure someone will reply something along the lines of "BT isn't expecting you to purchase all of them." And again I say BS. What do you think their "points" system is encouraging?

And please don't say some snarky line like "that's how capitalism works!" We all know that a huge chunk if not the majority of BT's limited editions get sold through back channels and bid up on eBay. And as a result, the real capitalism will be when BT manages to piss off all their previously loyal enthusiast customers who then stop purchasing their products.

BT, it is great you did 192 experiments. But asking us to spend $10-15k to try them all? Not cool. You should have narrowed it down to something more reasonable. If you really really wanted to let us try all 192, that is great too. But don't do it at $70+ a pop, and don't fracture it. Make it a tasting "kit" where I could have gotten groups of this in smaller bottles like 187ml or smaller all packaged together so I don't have to track down 192 bottles.

Is it cool to experiment with all these variables? Absolutely. Do I applaud the guys like Ronnie Eddins who made this project possible? Absolutely. Did I wish this was handled better? Absolutely.

trumpstylz
05-03-2011, 15:28
I wonder what the largest gap between one variable is- the part of the tree- coarse or soft, etc?

gburger
05-03-2011, 17:57
From the press release I read, the bottles are 375ml and will retail for $47 each.
Not sure if any will make it to Texas or not.

sku
05-03-2011, 18:07
Anyone know what the abv is on these or is that one of the variables?

callmeox
05-03-2011, 18:22
Anyone know what the abv is on these or is that one of the variables?

It appears that they are all 90 proof.

TNbourbon
05-03-2011, 18:30
For me personally, this is too complicated. I mean, I really appreciate that this sort of investigation and experimentation and innovation is going on, but I'd rather that it happen behind closed doors...
But 192 bottles with 7 variables or whatever?..It sort of overwhelms me, and does not fill me with fervor to rush out and start buying up these $70 experiments.


...I call BS. This "project" shows BT's total lack of understanding of how their limited offerings are distributed and sold...

Yeah, that's kinda where I am, too. Even at a dozen or so releases at a time.
If I 'get' the notion of these offerings, they're 'single tree'-barreled whiskeys. Is this right, or not?
If so, well, then how can they ever duplicate the one I love? I mean, THAT TREE is already used up! And, if they're going to tell me, "Well, we can find another tree just like that one!", they aren't really all that unique, then, are they?
If these types of experiments add to the distillery institution's knowledge, great -- I'm all for 'em! But, as a commercial offering, it's just a gimmick to get some return on research. They could probably do just as well -- opinion- and substance-wise -- selling the barrel to the KBS. Consumers will only be teased so long before they just shrug and give up. (I did that after just two releases of the BTEC.)

Josh
05-03-2011, 18:35
I think it's a very cool idea. I think the criticisms have a little validity, but I think the whole project would lend itself well to group tastings like those at the gazebo or at other gatherings. It's all about figuring out how the aging magic happens.

fishnbowljoe
05-03-2011, 20:11
I'm gonna say it again. All they have to do is make Weller Centennial again. :grin: Joe

RyanL
05-03-2011, 20:24
I think it's a very cool idea. I think the criticisms have a little validity, but I think the whole project would lend itself well to group tastings like those at the gazebo or at other gatherings. It's all about figuring out how the aging magic happens.

Yes, and that is great for a community like this one that can organize a get together/tasting of 12 or more different ones but for a single individual that isn't wealthy he will probably never taste more than 2 or 3 of these tops(out of all 192). That is about 1-1.5% of their release that will be tasted by your every day bourbon drinker. It just seems like a 100ml 12 bottle set or something similar would have been the way to go for at least some of the release if not all of it. Assuming they are really trying to accomplish what they say they are.

kickert
05-03-2011, 21:20
In a nutshell: Cool project... but needs to be released in multi-sample packs to truly make it worthwhile.

I would love to participate, but if I can't compare barrels to barrels, then any ratings/notes will be meaningless.

unclebunk
05-04-2011, 06:09
The perfect bourbon does exist! It's the one in my glass.:grin:

chefnash51
05-04-2011, 09:11
I'm gonna say it again. All they have to do is make Weller Centennial again. :grin: Joe


Yes, I thought the perfect bourbon was already made... and they killed it :frown:

DeanSheen
05-04-2011, 09:15
Yes, I thought the perfect bourbon was already made... and they killed it :frown:

Get this man an IBS shirt quick!

(Illinois Bourbon Society)

IowaJeff
05-04-2011, 10:22
I think its a great project and the 'quest for the perfect bourbon' is laudable. BT is currently producing some of the best american whiskeys on the market and this shows that they are not content to just sit back continue the status quo--they want to make better products and different products. I seriously doubt BT is making much money off of it Of course the end goal is (or should be) to make money, but I think there is a genuine desire at BT to get a great product out of this project. Of course I would like to try all 192 and won't be able to, but we as consumers should feel lucky to be included in this type of experimentation at all. They could have done it on a smaller scale behind closed doors and only had BT and industry professionals involved. And since the goal, I assume, is to bring a product to market that appeals to a broad range of drinkers, solicting reviews from a broad range of drinkers makes sense.

It's a great time to be a whiskey drinker. With this project from BT in addition to their other products; HH's great line and annual PH collection; Jim Beam doing a 120 proof sb KC, devil's cut, and who knows what else in the works; MM46; etc, the big boys in the industry are really stepping out and trying new things.

chefnash51
05-04-2011, 12:40
Get this man an IBS shirt quick!

(Illinois Bourbon Society)


Size L ... for flexing purposes. :lol:

MacinJosh
05-04-2011, 12:44
When I initially posted this thread I had no idea it would take on a life of it's own. Everyone on both sides of the fence has raised some outstanding points. Again, thanks everyone for contributing!

Here's what I had in mind. As a member of a local whisky club, I've met a few other locals that share my passion for whiskey. Over time, I have developed a more personal relationship with a select few of them. I agree with the criticisms regarding price and the amount of bottles/releases. 192 is a lot. Most of us don't have $10,000-$15,000 of discretionary income to spend on a whiskey experiment. And if we did, most of us would find divorce papers next the the stacks of whiskey. :-) But I thought maybe a few of my buddies (6 or so) could each track down 2 unique bottles out of the 12, and then have a small, private sampling where we all taste and compare. That way you minimize the costs and the time spent trying to hunt these gems down. And even at $70 each, $140 isn't going to break the bank.

I've yet to share this "master plan" with my "6 buddies", but I see no other solution for anyone interested in this project. To try and acquire all 192 by yourself seems like a monumental task unless your first name is John and your last name is Hansell. I don't know about you guys, but BT isn't beating down my door with whiskey samples. For the average "non-whiskey writer/non-high profile enthusiast" out there, this seems like the best plan to me.

Now let's just hope Tom, Dale, Aaron, Pat, and Terry agree. *grin*


Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

BradleyC
05-04-2011, 13:18
It sure would be nice if they would package it as a set of 6 different minis or 200 mL bottles. Personally, I"m probably going to sit this one out. Paying $140/750ml for an "experiment" that no one knows is any good is crazy to me. I can't think of any other 10 year bottle that I would pay that for. If you go to a restaurant when a chef is trying out new things for a menu, those are either heavily discounted evenings or free altogether (minus the booze). I view this as a similar concept and don't understand the markup. The Antique Collection price hikes have been a hard enough pill to swallow. Then you throw in the BTEC (if you haven't given up on those already), then the EH Taylor Series, and now this. It is starting to feel overwhelming and would be too much effort to keep track of all of those.

callmeox
05-04-2011, 13:48
$140.00 per 750? The price keeps going up every few posts. At that pace I expect them to hit a C note each when they finally hit the shelf. :cool:

I believe the press release quoted the MSRP at $47.00. Can you blame BT for (assumed) retailer markup?

BradleyC
05-04-2011, 14:04
I just saw the $70/$140 in Josh's post above. I think he might have been saying "even if" they are $70/bottle. There is about a $20-$25 price swing on the antique bottles around here now, which leads me to believe there will definitely be retailer markup. Sorry to mislead with my pricing comments.

Even if they are $50, that would be a $100 750ml bottle. I could save $30 buy buying a 17.5 year Stagg that is 54 proof higher (assuming this project will be 90pf).

I like the concept, I just don't like the pricing or packaging.

MacinJosh
05-04-2011, 16:13
Yeah, I was assuming $70 each (or 2 for $140 for my "group/buddy experiment"). Each person would buy two unique bottles for $140. Then when all 6 people got together, you'd have all 12.

Most affordable way I can think of. Divvy up the cost.


Josh

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fussychicken
05-04-2011, 23:26
I believe the press release quoted the MSRP at $47.00. Can you blame BT for (assumed) retailer markup?

Absolutely I can.

callmeox
05-05-2011, 03:40
Absolutely I can.

If you find the price to be a barrier to enjoying the program, perhaps you would be better served by a product on a lower shelf.

I think the whole exercise is damn cool and I am excited to participate with the 3 or 4 bottles that I will buy from the first batch.

TomH
05-05-2011, 05:12
$140.00 per 750? The price keeps going up every few posts. At that pace I expect them to hit a C note each when they finally hit the shelf. :cool:

I believe the press release quoted the MSRP at $47.00. Can you blame BT for (assumed) retailer markup?

Scott, I think Josh's call on pricing is about right. I think once released they will be priced from $47/bottle (where they will quickly disappear from the shelves) to $79/bottle (where you will find them on the shelves but where they will also finally disappear). This would duplicate the pricing of BTEC bottlings at retail.

I won't comment on the "who do blame for markups" since that post would probably belong in PRC where I don't play.

Tom

callmeox
05-05-2011, 05:32
FWIW, I was quoted a price of 55 and change per bottle and I am comfortable with that considering the effort that BT has put into the product. That's also what I paid for my recent BTEC bottles.

If your local retailer jacks the price up, you know where to complain. If my source is comfortable with that margin, others are gouging.

cowdery
05-05-2011, 14:10
Buffalo Trace says they don't like it when retailers jack up the price and they do what they can to avoid it. No reason to doubt them, as they don't see a penny of the mark-up.

But I wouldn't be so sure this will go like that. I'm not sure people will know what to make of this. It doesn't have the usual markers of something people have to have, like extra age or extra proof. It's not even something exotic like the other experimentals. Unless you're into the project, it's just ordinary 8-year-old, 90 proof bourbon. For that you expect to pay $25-$30/750 ml, not $46.35/375 ml.

So the suggested retail might hold and the eBay pirates may be disappointed. Remember, although there will only be 400 cases, the second release of 400 cases will drop in August, the third in November, and so on.

BourbonJoe
05-05-2011, 14:39
I never bought any of the BTEC stuff and I won't buy this. The market is already saturated with overpriced bourbons IMO.
Joe :usflag:

sku
05-05-2011, 19:25
Remember, although there will only be 400 cases, the second release of 400 cases will drop in August, the third in November, and so on.

That's a really good point. Are people really going to be rushing to get all 12 bottles every three months for the next few years. I wouldn't be surprised if some of this stuff sat on the shelf. Though, I guess people rush to get the Pappys every time there is a release.

DeanSheen
05-05-2011, 20:31
I never bought any of the BTEC stuff and I won't buy this. The market is already saturated with overpriced bourbons IMO.
Joe :usflag:

I agree with the second part. The first part though is convincing me that I have a case of "bourbon dissonance".

Bourbon Dissonance...... the new Nervosa!

Bourbon Boiler
05-15-2011, 18:18
I am looking forward to this, although I echo the comments that packaging them as a "sampler" would have been better. I suspect that the average taster (most of us) will not give feedback, and the feedback received will be ignored unless there is a very strong reaction. I would guess the experiment was lined up for a few internal and a few external tasters to give comments, in hopes that BT would learn something. The fact that it's shared with the consumer is 100% marketing, not part of the experiment.

MacinJosh
05-16-2011, 16:04
Update by John Hansell: http://www.whatdoesjohnknow.com/2011/05/16/buffalo-traces-new-single-oak-project-part-1/


Josh

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2highcal
05-16-2011, 18:57
John has tasted them all? I wish I were John

ODaniel
05-16-2011, 19:12
This sounds like an awesome project, right up my alley. I love seeing how different variables affect the taste and in what way - and I would be interested in getting as many bottles as I could... at a decent price. However, at $46 for a pint, all of a sudden I don't care anymore.

Ian S.
05-16-2011, 19:17
This sounds like an awesome project, right up my alley. I love seeing how different variables affect the taste and in what way - and I would be interested in getting as many bottles as I could... at a decent price. However, at $46 for a pint, all of a sudden I don't care anymore.

The price is rough. In order to collect all of these, you're looking at almost 10k dollars for 375's. :skep:

gburger
05-18-2011, 19:52
I got some extra money from a contest at my work.
I ordered a case of the project, all 12 different bottles. The store that I buy from always gives me a deal and does jack up the price.
I am supposed to get them this week.
Am I dumb to buy all of these? I do want to try them all.

MacinJosh
05-19-2011, 12:34
Wow, what a couple of lucky guys! A very cool gesture by John and Malt Advocate.

http://www.whatdoesjohnknow.com/2011/05/19/buffalo-trace-single-oak-project-sample-giveaway/


Josh

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Bourbon Boiler
05-21-2011, 09:00
Wow, what a couple of lucky guys! A very cool gesture by John and Malt Advocate.

http://www.whatdoesjohnknow.com/2011/05/19/buffalo-trace-single-oak-project-sample-giveaway/


Josh


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Impressive indeed. Congrats to the winners if they happen to browse here as well.