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cowdery
07-14-2011, 16:40
With regard to our occasional conversations about bottlers and marketing companies that pretend to be distilleries, I came across this quote from Pappy Van Winkle.

"It is very important to see these four words on a bottle: 'Distilled and Bottled By.' Because any fool with a funnel can bottle whiskey!"

Before someone points out that today's Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery is not, in fact, a distillery, note that they always fully and prominently disclose where their whiskey is made and have never done otherwise.

Bourbon Boiler
07-14-2011, 17:32
I personally don't have a problem with the companies that use LDI or other distilleries to make their product. I have a problem with those that go to lengths to avoid the disclosure. I don't expect anyone to advertise it, but some really seem to make hiding this fact an art.

Good quote, thanks Chuck.

cowdery
07-14-2011, 17:48
I agree. Bottlers have value but they have to be what they are and not pretend to be something else.

cas
07-15-2011, 16:34
I personally don't have a problem with the companies that use LDI or other distilleries to make their product. I have a problem with those that go to lengths to avoid the disclosure. I don't expect anyone to advertise it, but some really seem to make hiding this fact an art.

Good quote, thanks Chuck.

Agreed. I find myself increasingly avoiding these products largely because of the deliberate deception.
Craig

IronHead
07-15-2011, 17:39
As long as you like what's coming out of the bottle is it really that huge of a deal who put it there and where they got it?

That statement, of course assumes that we are past the shady practices of old rectifiers... :)

cas
07-15-2011, 18:37
As long as you like what's coming out of the bottle is it really that huge of a deal who put it there and where they got it?

That statement, of course assumes that we are past the shady practices of old rectifiers... :)

If it was superior product then perhaps not. But given the fact that the legitimate distillers/bottlers produce bourbon that is at least as good, I'm inclinded to support those who are the most forthcoming.
Craig

BradleyC
07-15-2011, 20:23
note that they always fully and prominently disclose where their whiskey is made and have never done otherwise.

Can you tell me exactly where any given bottle of Pappy 15 came from with certianty?


I've read a few conflicting theories on this here on SB.com

Bourbon Boiler
07-15-2011, 20:24
If it was superior product then perhaps not. But given the fact that the legitimate distillers/bottlers produce bourbon that is at least as good, I'm inclinded to support those who are the most forthcoming.
Craig

Exactly right. I'd probably give in if the more deceptive bottlers were $5 cheaper as well with the same taste. But the point is that in my book, they're coming to the plate with two strikes.

BMartin42
07-15-2011, 22:39
I just can't fault anyone for taking some leeway with advertising. I don't give a damn where it comes from. My only concern is taste vs. price. I am a strong subscriber to the "it's what's in the bottle that counts" camp. I couldn't care less where it is from as long as it tastes good. There are many whiskeys that I know exactly where they are made, the exact mash bill, etc. But I still wouldn't give you any of my hard earned $ because it tastes like crap. There are others that I have no idea who made it or mash bill but it is very yummy and the price is right so that is all that matters to me. God bless the free market. Choices are a great thing.

macdeffe
07-15-2011, 23:31
But if you like something it's nice to know where it's from, might give you an idea which bottle to buy next


The image of a bottler should be taken into concern as well. A few would bottle anything where as others are far more selective, thats my experience

It has a lot to do with what spirits each bottlers have access to as well

Steffen

AaronWF
07-16-2011, 00:42
For me, the bottom line is that the palate stretches far beyond the mouth. Taste is affected by knowledge, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and sometimes context adds depth. The more I know, the more completely I can judge. There's nothing cute about being coy in business nor in whiskey. It reveals the author as counting on the ignorance of their customers, and I don't appreciate it when I am assumed to be ignorant.

I'm no expert, and I still drink stuff whose origins I'm ignorant to, but I really don't need another name-brand to reference a history completely unrelated to the whiskey in the bottle other than the name.

cowdery
07-16-2011, 15:39
My philosophy is that a person who lies to me about something will lie to me about anything. That's why I avoid producers who I consider deceptive, regardless of how good their whiskey tastes. There is plenty of tasty whiskey available from people who tell me the truth, so I have no need to patronize (and thereby encourage) liars.

My understanding is that Pappy 20 and 23 are all SW, but any other Van Winkle might contain SW, Bernheim, or BT. I wouldn't expect them to be more specific than that because the proportions likely change from bottling to bottling. BT has always made wheated bourbon from time to time but began making it in earnest in 1999. BT (hence Van Winkle) only has the Bernheim stock obtained in 1999 and hasn't had access to it since.

So, Pappy 15 and Lot B are probably mostly Bernheim. Lot B, age stated at 12 years old, is probably going to be more and more BT. Old Rip 10 is probably all or mostly BT now.

rbtrost
07-16-2011, 15:51
I believe in truth in advertising we need a few things in life to believe in. I also enjoy visiting places where the products I buy come from so I will stick with those for now.

White Dog
07-17-2011, 20:45
My philosophy is that a person who lies to me about something will lie to me about anything. That's why I avoid producers who I consider deceptive, regardless of how good their whiskey tastes. There is plenty of tasty whiskey available from people who tell me the truth, so I have no need to patronize (and thereby encourage) liars.

My understanding is that Pappy 20 and 23 are all SW, but any other Van Winkle might contain SW, Bernheim, or BT. I wouldn't expect them to be more specific than that because the proportions likely change from bottling to bottling. BT has always made wheated bourbon from time to time but began making it in earnest in 1999. BT (hence Van Winkle) only has the Bernheim stock obtained in 1999 and hasn't had access to it since.

So, Pappy 15 and Lot B are probably mostly Bernheim. Lot B, age stated at 12 years old, is probably going to be more and more BT. Old Rip 10 is probably all or mostly BT now.

:skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep:

I love Van Winkle products, and I'm not trying to jump on their case, but if they truly, as you stated in your opening post, "always fully and prominently disclose where their whiskey is made," would you have to make the statement that "Pappy 15 and Lot B are probably mostly Bernheim."

"probably mostly?" If they were as upfront as you say in your first post, they would simply put it on their website, but they don't. Again, I'm not trying to jump on the Van Winkle's case, I'm just saying.

White Dog
07-17-2011, 20:52
I just can't fault anyone for taking some leeway with advertising. I don't give a damn where it comes from. My only concern is taste vs. price. I am a strong subscriber to the "it's what's in the bottle that counts" camp. I couldn't care less where it is from as long as it tastes good. There are many whiskeys that I know exactly where they are made, the exact mash bill, etc. But I still wouldn't give you any of my hard earned $ because it tastes like crap. There are others that I have no idea who made it or mash bill but it is very yummy and the price is right so that is all that matters to me. God bless the free market. Choices are a great thing.

So if you discover a secondary or tertiary bottler's product and fall in love with it, you have absolutely no intellectual curiosity as to where it comes from?? :skep:

cowdery
07-18-2011, 08:08
:skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep: :skep:

I love Van Winkle products, and I'm not trying to jump on their case, but if they truly, as you stated in your opening post, "always fully and prominently disclose where their whiskey is made," would you have to make the statement that "Pappy 15 and Lot B are probably mostly Bernheim."

"probably mostly?" If they were as upfront as you say in your first post, they would simply put it on their website, but they don't. Again, I'm not trying to jump on the Van Winkle's case, I'm just saying.

You miss my point. "Disclosure" means they disclose their sources and business practices, which they have done. It might be nice if they went a step further and labeled every bottle with the source of the whiskey in that bottle and, if from multiple sources, the percentage from each, but that would pose practical problems and goes beyond mere 'disclosure.'

My point is that, yes, Van Winkle is a non-distiller producer, but they've never pretended to be otherwise.

BMartin42
07-18-2011, 09:50
So if you discover a secondary or tertiary bottler's product and fall in love with it, you have absolutely no intellectual curiosity as to where it comes from?? :skep:

Be as skeptical as you like. As long as I enjoy the whiskey and personally believe it is a fair price, then NO I really don't care where it comes from. I've never understood the fascination. When I have a great steak I don't track down the farm it came from to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. Same concept applies here. I'll go back for more as long as 1. It tastes good, 2. It is a fair price, and 3. It is consistent.

I understand the frustration at being "lied to" (i.e. Templeton). I likely wouldn't buy something that they made completely false claims such as that, but if they don't claim anything that is untrue and just don't "disclose" where their whiskey comes from, then meh I just don't care. If you do care, then good for you. Simply don't buy the product. It is the beauty of the free market. Although I wonder if you hold all manufacturers to the same standards? Do you know where your green beans were grown, processed, and canned? Do you know where your flour was milled & bagged? I don't see the difference. It's a consumable product.

stevegoz
07-18-2011, 10:24
Do you know where your green beans were grown, processed, and canned? Do you know where your flour was milled & bagged? I don't see the difference. It's a consumable product.

There's a pretty wide chasm between "stuff we consume" and a lifestyle product like bourbon. Though the good folks at flourenthusiast.net and greenbeanlovers.com might disagree. :lol:

cowdery
07-18-2011, 11:56
When I have a great steak I don't track down the farm it came from to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. Same concept applies here.

Right. Well, half right.

In that case, you'll go back to the same restaurant. It's the restaurant or butcher, not the farmer, in whom you have invested your trust. But what if you are made to think you are investing your trust in a distiller and that person turns out to be just a bottler. Same level of trust?

If a producer says, "I'm a bottler, not a distiller, and I can't or won't tell you who the distillers are, but my whiskey is very good and I'd like you to try it." That's great. Not a thing wrong with that. I might prefer to know where it's from but then it is just "intellectual curiosity," not a deal breaker.

Pappy's point, and my point, is not about knowing the source of the whiskey per se. It's about knowing that the entity in whom you have placed your trust deserves your trust.

nivto
07-18-2011, 12:23
Pappy's point, and my point, is not about knowing the source of the whiskey per se. It's about knowing that the entity in whom you have placed your trust deserves your trust.

Maybe the quote from Pappy was just taken out of context, but that doesn't seem to me like the point he was trying to make.

sku
07-18-2011, 12:32
Right. Well, half right.

In that case, you'll go back to the same restaurant. It's the restaurant or butcher, not the farmer, in whom you have invested your trust. But what if you are made to think you are investing your trust in a distiller and that person turns out to be just a bottler. Same level of trust?

If a producer says, "I'm a bottler, not a distiller, and I can't or won't tell you who the distillers are, but my whiskey is very good and I'd like you to try it." That's great. Not a thing wrong with that. I might prefer to know where it's from but then it is just "intellectual curiosity," not a deal breaker.

Pappy's point, and my point, is not about knowing the source of the whiskey per se. It's about knowing that the entity in whom you have placed your trust deserves your trust.

And actually, it's a growing trend for restaurants to list on the menu where they source their meat and produce from.

nivto
07-18-2011, 12:41
And actually, it's a growing trend for restaurants to list on the menu where they source their meat and produce from.

I do make it a point to support these restaurants. It's much more important to me to know who grew/raised the food on my plate then it is for me to know who produced the whiskey in the bottle. However, I do always appreciate disclosure on the part of the bottler and more often than not find the information to be very useful knowledge.

cowdery
07-18-2011, 20:54
I'm interpreting Pappy's quote. You're all free to do the same. In the context of his era he was responding to the same kinds of issues.

White Dog
07-18-2011, 21:51
Be as skeptical as you like. As long as I enjoy the whiskey and personally believe it is a fair price, then NO I really don't care where it comes from. I've never understood the fascination. When I have a great steak I don't track down the farm it came from to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. Same concept applies here. I'll go back for more as long as 1. It tastes good, 2. It is a fair price, and 3. It is consistent.

I understand the frustration at being "lied to" (i.e. Templeton). I likely wouldn't buy something that they made completely false claims such as that, but if they don't claim anything that is untrue and just don't "disclose" where their whiskey comes from, then meh I just don't care. If you do care, then good for you. Simply don't buy the product. It is the beauty of the free market. Although I wonder if you hold all manufacturers to the same standards? Do you know where your green beans were grown, processed, and canned? Do you know where your flour was milled & bagged? I don't see the difference. It's a consumable product.

Here's the difference: I simply find it fun to discover the source of the whiskey I drink. My curiosity is not tied to some type of "lifestyle choice" or politics. I have fun being a connoisseur, and make no apologies for that term. That's why I visit this site.

And while I like green beans, I'm not a connoisseur of green beans, so i don't track the provenance. If I did, I'd be a member of the Straight Beans forum.

StraightBoston
07-19-2011, 06:26
So if you discover a secondary or tertiary bottler's product and fall in love with it, you have absolutely no intellectual curiosity as to where it comes from?? :skep:

I do (mostly because it can help me find other related products that I may also enjoy.)

I actually have great respect for Even Kulsveen's skills at selecting and blending OPWs (other people's whiskey) -- equal or superior to the master blenders of Scotland -- and some of my favorite bourbons have been sourced through KBD.

However the lack of knowledge about the source of a given bottling makes me suspicious of going back to the well to purchase a replacement bottle -- especially at the higher prices that most NDPs charge. I just have no certainty that the next one will be anything like the first (Black Maple Hill is a good example of that to me; Sam Houston even more extreme.)

Julian and Preston are a special case -- while I may not know the source, I know the recipe and the vintage and trust their barrel selection prowess. The S-W may have left the younger bottles (but then again, my only VW disappointment was the first edition of Pappy 15 after ORVW 15, which even Julian admitted was aged a few months too long!)

DeanSheen
07-19-2011, 06:57
And while I like green beans, I'm not a connoisseur of green beans, so i don't track the provenance. If I did, I'd be a member of the Straight Beans forum.

Bears repeating.

I'm all about farm to table but it's whiskey time people! Focus.

BMartin42
07-19-2011, 09:20
Here's the difference: I simply find it fun to discover the source of the whiskey I drink. My curiosity is not tied to some type of "lifestyle choice" or politics. I have fun being a connoisseur, and make no apologies for that term. That's why I visit this site.


The "fun" argument is the best one I've heard for wanting to know. This I can understand. If that is what you want to do for fun then God Bless & enjoy by all means. This is one of the few times I have seen it articulated that way.

It seems many skip the fun and go to anger over not knowing as if they are somehow "owed" the information. Many independent bottlers are small companies just trying to put a product out there that will make them money. The bottom line is what is important to small companies & I'm sure they make their decisions on what & how much info to share based on that. It affects what food they put on the table, where their kids go to school, etc. They have made a decision not to share certain info because they believe it is in their self interest. I don't know if that is the correct decision, but if you don't like it simply don't buy the product. They don't owe you anything.

I think it is really easy to forget that we connoisseurs/enthusiasts/snobs if you will are only a tiny part of the overall market. There are only a few thousand of us here, and far far fewer than that who are active. Some of the big companies can take time & money to cater to us (FR LE's, BTEC's, etc.). I doubt the small independent bottler with 10-12 employees, most of whom are family are really that concerned about us.

I absolutely love the post I quoted above. To me, bourbon should be above all else fun. Just my opinion but if it leads to anger or bitterness, then I personally would step back & re-evaluate my hobby. But, to each his own.

PaulO
07-19-2011, 10:07
This topic reminds me of the company that shows little elves baking their cookies and crackers inside a hollow tree. But seriously, I have enjoyed some bourbon where the actual distiller was unknown to me. I have no idea who is the original source of Josh Brooks, or Wathens. Mostly I enjoy BT and HH products, now and then some Old Grandad. One of the great things about bonds is disclosure on the label; DSP numbers.

barturtle
07-19-2011, 10:29
Do you know where your green beans were grown, processed, and canned? Do you know where your flour was milled & bagged? I don't see the difference. It's a consumable product.

Canned? Cans are for beer, not veggies.

Milled and bagged? Not always, but often I do.

Josh
07-19-2011, 11:20
Most of the anger I have seen around this topic has been when someone says "I don't buy Old NDP Reserve b/c I don't know where it comes from or I don't like the way they operate". The NDP defenders then come out of the woodwork and accuse that person of being holier than thou or bring up all kinds of examples of maketing puffery on the part of distiller producers or the Van Winkles and then accuse that person of being a hypocrite. It's rarely someone saying "don't buy this or that" it's usually someone saying "you should buy this and that b/c if you don't, you're a big phony."

StraightBoston
07-19-2011, 11:58
It seems many skip the fun and go to anger over not knowing as if they are somehow "owed" the information. Many independent bottlers are small companies just trying to put a product out there that will make them money.

I find it interesting to compare and contrast the SMSW independent bottlers with the bourbon NDPs -- in a sense they seem to have very similar business models and markets. In the Scotch world, the provenance of the whisky (even if obfuscated) is one of the key selling points, whereas both parties in the bourbon world seem to prefer that nobody know where the whiskey came from.

SMOWK
07-19-2011, 14:14
Many independent bottlers are small companies just trying to put a product out there that will make them money. The bottom line is what is important to small companies & I'm sure they make their decisions on what & how much info to share based on that.

Who's up for lobbying their congressman to force bottlers to put the DSP on all bottles? I thought the unregulated private sector always provided a superior product.

WsmataU
07-19-2011, 15:31
Who's up for lobbying their congressman to force bottlers to put the DSP on all bottles? I thought the unregulated private sector always provided a superior product.

Congress doesn't need any more excuses to keep from doing the important work on their plate:slappin:

PaulO
07-20-2011, 08:15
I do like Old Rip Van Winkle. I very seldom have it in the cabinet because I very rarely see any in the stores. When I do find it; it is nearly $40 (and that's the 90, not the 107).

cowdery
07-20-2011, 15:02
There's nothing wrong with different people caring about different things. Most care about honesty, I think. Some just don't care that much about provenance. I may care about provenance more than most because the history interests me so much. We're all different (some are just more different than others :).)

SMOWK
07-20-2011, 18:24
Congress doesn't need any more excuses to keep from doing the important work on their plate:slappin:

Isn't that the truth.

It's nice to know who made the whiskey, from what, how old it is, the list goes on...

I don't like people lying to me, but if the whiskey is good, I'm going to buy it. If they refuse to tell me where it came from, or do weird things to make it seem like something it isn't, that sucks too. But again, if the juice is good, there's nothing you can do about it.

jcg9779
07-21-2011, 22:50
I do like Old Rip Van Winkle. I very seldom have it in the cabinet because I very rarely see any in the stores. When I do find it; it is nearly $40 (and that's the 90, not the 107).

That would be nice to see....the ORVW 10/90 is $45 here in Atlanta!

craigthom
07-23-2011, 10:25
Do you know where your green beans were grown, processed, and canned? Do you know where your flour was milled & bagged? I don't see the difference. It's a consumable product.

It does piss me off that store brand products are labeled as "packaged for" or "produced for" but lack the source of the product, yes.

Heck, it bothers me when they just list the address of the corporate headquarters for name-brand products and not the city where the product was actually produced.

So, no, there is no difference. I want disclosure.

MarkEdwards
07-23-2011, 18:15
It does piss me off that store brand products are labeled as "packaged for" or "produced for" but lack the source of the product, yes.

Heck, it bothers me when they just list the address of the corporate headquarters for name-brand products and not the city where the product was actually produced.

So, no, there is no difference. I want disclosure.

And marketing weasel phrases, like, "made WITH aged cheddar cheese", which is not the same as "made OF aged cheddar cheese", for a current example that just pisses me off.:hot:

cas
07-24-2011, 09:30
And marketing weasel phrases, like, "made WITH aged cheddar cheese", which is not the same as "made OF aged cheddar cheese", for a current example that just pisses me off.:hot:

What about 95% fat free..., or similar language; what does that mean?
Craig

barturtle
07-24-2011, 10:38
What about 95% fat free..., or similar language; what does that mean?
Craig

Reminds me of my fav: 2% milk. You would think it only has 2% of the fat of whole milk, but in actuality Whole Milk could be called 3.25% milk.

MarkEdwards
07-24-2011, 11:32
Reminds me of my fav: 2% milk. You would think it only has 2% of the fat of whole milk, but in actuality Whole Milk could be called 3.25% milk.

Or 20% chance of rain. If it rains, what is the other 80%? :rolleyes:

craigthom
07-24-2011, 14:28
Reminds me of my fav: 2% milk. You would think it only has 2% of the fat of whole milk, but in actuality Whole Milk could be called 3.25% milk.

Yes, whole milk is 96% fat free.

Special Reserve
07-24-2011, 14:41
Yes, whole milk is 96% fat free.

More like 96.75% fat free. I avoid the whole issue by not drinking milk. I only use milk when making scalloped potatoes. Then I use whole milk.