PDA

View Full Version : 20 yr aged bourbons???



Billy Bourbon
01-15-2012, 00:13
This is my first thread fellows. Would an Old Grand Dad, Very Old Barton, Evan Williams or Old Forester be up on par with a Pappy van Winkle 20 year, if and if, they were allowed to mellow in the barrel for 20 years? If so, why do these other labels not kick it up to twenty year? What is happening here? If not, why?

Clavius
01-15-2012, 00:53
I can't speak as to whether or not those brands would be on par with Pappy if aged for that same amount of time. Others here would know better. However, I doubt any of them would be as successful commercially as Pappy has become. Pappy Van Winkle, quality of the bourbon aside, is a marketing triumph.

JayMonster
01-15-2012, 06:17
We sometime have an inflated sense of our opinion on the bourbon market as a whole. The question is, if they did in fact invest the time, money and warehouse space to age something like OGD, would people that drink it be willing to pay up for it? I mean (from what I have been told here), Basil Hayden is aged OGD, and it isn't exactly setting the world on fire, so if you were to age it another 12 years, would ANYBODY be willing to pay the price that makes it worth it for the distiller?

Conversely, would the name and image of the brand prevent people from paying up because the public perception of a brand? (the same reason aged OGD is called Basil Hayden?)

we don't know the answers to tjese questions... But I bet the distillers do.

ethangsmith
01-15-2012, 07:02
I could see OGD being very good at 20 years. You can draw a comparison on the Wild Turkey line. Starting with the 4yo 80pf and moving eventually up to the American Spirit, you can see the progression a high rye content bourbon will make. If OGD were to follow the same path, it think at 20 years, it would be a phenomenal bourbon- at 100 proof.

fricky
01-15-2012, 07:59
Not everyone likes 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle. Those that do not like it, dislike heavily wooded bourbons. Most distillers believe that bourbon peaks in 6 to 8 years. Why risk losing so much volume in 20 years and result in an expensive bourbon that may not be popular? Also, if you are currently selling all of the bourbon you produce, why take up space for another 12 to 14 years with something that may be undrinkable or at best, appeal to a smaller group?

Old Lamplighter
01-15-2012, 08:09
Would an Old Grand Dad, Very Old Barton, Evan Williams or Old Forester be up on par with a Pappy van Winkle 20 year, if and if, they were allowed to mellow in the barrel for 20 years? If so, why do these other labels not kick it up to twenty year? What is happening here? If not, why?

Although not the only factor & explanation, I think to a large degree the 'bottom line' is the bottom line. These labels/distilleries/companies don't really have to do it to turn more profit. Of course, we as aged bourbon & rye seekers would love it. However, we don't represent the majority of consumers out there. We command some influence, some dollars...but, not nearly the muscle the average JB, JD, VOB, EW, MM, etc., consumer demands & purchases. Currently, these companies most likely just do not view such ventures/risk as a possible improvement to their bottom line & rewards. If one visits a large retailer in a large urban area as I sometimes do, all you have to do is stand there a while or converse with a store clerk while observing the average bourbon buyer. Most could care less about age and quality. In fact, many will make a purchase decision based on nothing but price, an established label (JD), or nothing more than what "someone told me".

Lately, I have even talked to a few of them as they made purchase decisions. The remarks & decisions are usually along the same lines...something cheap, something for mixing, under $15-20. A couple of weeks before Christmas, a young lady asked me & a store clerk what we would recommend: her boyfriend told her "to get something good, but cheap". She ended up with Benchmark based on what the clerk advised. Not a knock on Benchmark, but, I told her to make sure to have something good to mix with it...IMHO of course.:grin:

Now, I find myself in a digression too far off the subject. If you consider each of the labels you mention, the companies behind them already do so well in the marketing or reputation of said labels, there is really no reason to leave it aging for a lengthy number of years such as 15-20. As has been stated here many times, the cost of maintaining & aging those barrels is higher....and, who knows how much is going to be left after the angel's share? It just does not make economic sense for them is basically the way I see it.

I don't know about OGD, VOB or OF, but there is a 23yo EW product that is sold outside the U.S. From time to time one appears or is mentioned here. That opens up another tangent: the overseas market appears to pay whatever these companies ask for young & old bourbon. If these producers do make anything else in addition to EW23 as far as longer-aged bottles, about the only place to make steady, consistent and profitable sales of it is overseas. There is so much corporate decision-making well beyond & higher than the distillery executives and master distillers onsite in KY or elsewhere. Except for perhaps Julian, these guys/gals we talk to from time to time likely have nothing to do with what is aged, how long it is aged, what/how much is released, where it goes, etc., etc.

Sorry it this is a bit choppy and hit & miss. Fighting a cold, cold medicine, etc.:drinking: As normal operating procedure on this end....just my 2 cents and humble opinion. Now, I'm going back to bed until kickoff time.:22:

clingman71
01-15-2012, 08:37
We sometime have an inflated sense of our opinion on the bourbon market as a whole. The question is, if they did in fact invest the time, money and warehouse space to age something like OGD, would people that drink it be willing to pay up for it? I mean (from what I have been told here), Basil Hayden is aged OGD, and it isn't exactly setting the world on fire, so if you were to age it another 12 years, would ANYBODY be willing to pay the price that makes it worth it for the distiller?

Conversely, would the name and image of the brand prevent people from paying up because the public perception of a brand? (the same reason aged OGD is called Basil Hayden?)

we don't know the answers to tjese questions... But I bet the distillers do.


Basil Hayden might set the world on fire at 100 proof.

woodisgood
01-15-2012, 09:02
One cannot discount the importance of:

—mash bill, the quality of the individual ingredients, and how they've been prepared
—type & quality of the barrels used for aging
—the warehouse its aged in, including placement in the warehouse
—the distiller and his skills, and ability to have patience + concern for quality over twenty years

Skimp on one of these and the profile is affected. I have respect for any bourbon whose history extends back decades, whether its $20 or $250, so I cast no aspersions on any of the brands you listed. I'm merely suggesting it isn't easy matching the profile of a classic bourbon simply by more aging.

JayMonster
01-15-2012, 09:17
Basil Hayden might set the world on fire at 100 proof.

Even if it costs, say 20% more?

American Bourbon drinkers are by and large... Frugal.

smokinjoe
01-15-2012, 13:18
Frankly, if someone were to offer me my choice OF Signature, OGD 114, VOBBIB, EWBIB, and Pappy 20, I'd probably pick each one 20% of the time. Even if at the same price point. I would just say, don't read too much into increased aging. Like WIG posted earlier, it's just one part of the total picture. And can in fact, degrade a whiskey, rather than help it.

cowdery
01-15-2012, 13:21
Any bourbon has the potential to taste great at 20 years and, similarly, any bourbon has the potential to taste awful at that age. There are things you can do, as the producer, to improve the odds, mostly by aging selected barrels in a low, interior part of the warehouse where they will tend to age slowly. But even doing that, it's hit or miss. Very old bourbon, even the best examples, isn't for everyone, and some of the very old product on the market isn't very good.

sailor22
01-15-2012, 13:54
As has been stated here many times, the cost of maintaining & aging those barrels is higher....and, who knows how much is going to be left after the angel's share?

I think the industry typically expects about 3.5 to 4% of a barrel's volume given to the angels every year, on average. Some groups picking barrels have noticed that "light" barrels or those that have a lot more angel share than typical seem to have more intense flavors.

Sugars don't leave the wood and migrate into the juice at a uniform rate from barrel to barrel. When the sugars are depleted the biggest thing the barrel gives the Bourbon is added wood harshness. After the sugars are depleted there is about a six month window before the harshness begins to appear. That's the ideal time to dump it. If it is stored in the bottom of a cool warehouse it might be best at something near 20 years, or maybe not, the other variables previously mentioned would come into play.

bad_scientist
01-15-2012, 14:05
Basil Hayden might set the world on fire at 100 proof.

I'd buy it without hesitation at $40 or less.

JayMonster
01-15-2012, 14:22
I'd buy it without hesitation at $40 or less.

I guess that needs to be adjusted by locarion. The 80 proof runs just over $40 here in NJ.

bad_scientist
01-15-2012, 15:18
I guess that needs to be adjusted by locarion. The 80 proof runs just over $40 here in NJ.

Now that's one overpriced bourbon...

barturtle
01-15-2012, 15:55
I mean (from what I have been told here), Basil Hayden is aged OGD, and it isn't exactly setting the world on fire,


I would bet good money that they sell vastly more Basil Hayden every year than Van Winkle sells 20yo (or possibly more than the entire VW line)

bad_scientist
01-15-2012, 15:57
I would bet good money that they sell vastly more Basil Hayden every year than Van Winkle sells 20yo (or possibly more than the entire VW line)

I think the whole VW line is just ~7000 cases per year.

Young Blacksmith
01-15-2012, 19:17
Interesting question, and here's one idea.

Heaven Hill. They do Evan Williams and Elijah Craig. Ages vary between 4 years and 18 years. Same mash, same distillate, the only difference is warehouse location and age.

Now, how does EC18 compare to Pappy 20? I don't know, as I have not been able to try a Pappy. But I can walk into a few stores around this relatively cheap bourbon budget area and get an EC18.

JayMonster
01-16-2012, 04:20
I would bet good money that they sell vastly more Basil Hayden every year than Van Winkle sells 20yo (or possibly more than the entire VW line)

Exactly my point... Now age that BH another 12 years and raise the price accordingly. If sales then drop to Pappy levels, what benefit is that to the distillers?

The ultra-premium certainly has a niche market, but that is what it is... A niche.

Josh
01-16-2012, 11:25
Not everyone likes 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle. Those that do not like it, dislike heavily wooded bourbons. Most distillers believe that bourbon peaks in 6 to 8 years. Why risk losing so much volume in 20 years and result in an expensive bourbon that may not be popular? Also, if you are currently selling all of the bourbon you produce, why take up space for another 12 to 14 years with something that may be undrinkable or at best, appeal to a smaller group?


Frankly, if someone were to offer me my choice OF Signature, OGD 114, VOBBIB, EWBIB, and Pappy 20, I'd probably pick each one 20% of the time. Even if at the same price point. I would just say, don't read too much into increased aging. Like WIG posted earlier, it's just one part of the total picture. And can in fact, degrade a whiskey, rather than help it.


Any bourbon has the potential to taste great at 20 years and, similarly, any bourbon has the potential to taste awful at that age. There are things you can do, as the producer, to improve the odds, mostly by aging selected barrels in a low, interior part of the warehouse where they will tend to age slowly. But even doing that, it's hit or miss. Very old bourbon, even the best examples, isn't for everyone, and some of the very old product on the market isn't very good.

What they all said.

I agree that it would be nice to see versions of some low or mid-shef bourbons and ryes at double-digit ages (like Old Forester, Old Grand-dad, VOB). But some of my least favorite premium whiskeys are those in the 16+ yr range. Not a fan of the Pappy 20, 23, Eagle Rare 17, Sazerac 18, KBD's Vintage line or even the 4R Single Barrel 100th anniversary bottle. Elijah Craig 18 is the only one in that age range I can really say that I like, and even those are hit or miss. The Van Winkle Rye is very good too, but it's not something I can drink all the time and its stated age is only 13 so we can't rule out some 13 y/o stuff in the mix.

Anyway, I would love to see more creativity on the part of some distillers, but older is only better up to a point, that point usually being 15 yrs.