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boneuphtoner
01-16-2012, 13:30
A family friend of ours is getting married at the Galt House in Louisville this spring, and they are having an open bar with "top shelf stuff" available. Since I'm still a relative Bourbon newbie compared to some of you folks, I was going to use this opportunity to try as many different things as possible. The question is, what am I likely to have a selection of at this place? Two of the higher end bourbons that are not readily available and I'm not likely to buy without trying first (given the cost) include the Pappy van Winkle and the George T Stagg. Do you think an open bar at an event like this would have these available? I'm also planning on trying a bunch of other things as well, but I wanted to have realistic expectations going in.

angler82
01-16-2012, 14:03
I think there is a slim chance they have Van Winkle bourbon unless the wedding is a six figure event. For Stagg, I don't think there's any way a hotel would serve 140+ proof whiskey for a wedding. It would make for an interesting night though.

When I got married on Long Island several year ago, "top shelf" whiskey was Jameson. Even at the swankiest weddings I've been to (like in Martha's Vineyard or Wilton, CT) the best I saw was probably Basil Hayden or Makers

smokinjoe
01-16-2012, 14:09
I've never done it before, but I may crash this one...:D

barturtle
01-16-2012, 14:10
Give up on free, and just go down to Jockey Silks and buy yourself some of the stuff you've always wanted to try.

cowdery
01-16-2012, 15:31
Think about what the car rental companies give you when you rent a "full size" car and you'll get some idea what a hotel means by "top shelf."

But the point is well made that if the wedding's open bar doesn't have what you crave, the cash bar down the hall does.

boneuphtoner
05-28-2012, 22:47
Hey Folks,

Just got back from Louisville from the wedding and I can now tell you what top shelf stuff looks like at a Galt House Wedding. First off, this was a six figure + wedding, absolutely no question about it. And at the Galt house, the "bourbon" selections I was given were Crown Royal, Chivas Regal, and Maker's Mark. I say "bourbon" in quotes because two out of the three bartenders I approached called the Crown Royal and Chivas bourbon. Since I was in the heart of bourbon country, I was appalled at this lack of knowledge! :lol: :lol: :lol:

The happy couple had a pre-wedding party at Churchill Downs, and we had a slightly better selection...Maker's, Jim Beam White, Woodford, and yet again, in the "bourbon" category, I was also offered Crown Royal. WTF is it with these local bartenders who try to pass of Crown Royal as bourbon????

I did get to try some interesting selections at Jockey Silks at the Galt House. They didn't have Pappy 15, Pappy 20, GTS, or any of the WLR selections, which I really did want to try. They DID have Pappy 23, where I tried a half a shot ($20 for a half shot!!!) against one of my current standards, EC12. I enjoyed the Pappy 23, but I can't say that it was more enjoyable than EC12....different?...Yes definitely!...Better?...For what I could judge in a half shot comparison, not really. I liked the baked cinammon apple pie notes I got in the Pappy 23, but no way that I would pay exorbitant prices for this one.

While at Jockey Silks, I also got to try shots of Old Pogue and WT Kentucky Spirit, and I liked them both, especially the WTKS (although neither of them were better than EC12 for me). But what stole the show for me was the Four Roses Single Barrel. In spite of the fact that it is available in my area, I never tried this one since I had bought a bottle of the small batch, and although I really liked it, it wasn't as good for me as my standards EC12 and Weller 12. What a difference with the single barrel. I don't think I've ever tried a better whiskey. I tried it back to back with EC12, and unlike the Pappy 23, the Four Roses was clearly the better bourbon. It was that awesome! I have found a new standard in bourbons!

Kalessin
05-29-2012, 08:37
I think the effect you may be seeing is the difference between a catering bar and bartender and a full-time bar and bartender.

Catering often means that people who wouldn't ordinarily tend bar are pouring, and part-timers are usually far less knowledgeable about what they have. The bottles on the catering bars are usually all mass-market mid-shelfers (Chivas, Dewars, Crown Royal, JD, Beam White, Absolut, Tanqueray, Bacardi White, Cuervo), and a majority of people at catered events are drinking white wine or beer anyway. From my experience, most of the mixed drinks requested are highballs, and most of those were screwdrivers and gin and tonics.

Unless the bar bottle selection is specified by the customer, they get the standard stuff, and most people putting on a catered event don't want to think that much about the bar, except perhaps to try and limit the cost. The caterer says "we'll do four full bar open-bar setups for four hours, for $x per bar and let's go on to talk about the appetizers now".

Sad for bourbon country, but sadly standard for catering.

clingman71
05-29-2012, 13:42
Give up on free, and just go down to Jockey Silks and buy yourself some of the stuff you've always wanted to try.

Exactly what I was thinking. And while I would definitely consider high end pours, especially ones you'be never had, don't miss out on no longer available lower and mid level pours. Last fall at Jockey Silks I had AA BiB, and at Seelbach I had OCPR. I'd look long and deep at the list before simply targeting Pappy 23 and/or GTS.

ThomasH
05-29-2012, 14:34
I am attending a wedding next April, and I know the bar will be good. The wedding is my sisters and my parents are paying for the reception and want me to help pick out the liquor for the bar. Will be some items they don't normally serve whiskey wise I'm sure!

Thomas

boneuphtoner
05-29-2012, 14:45
I think the effect you may be seeing is the difference between a catering bar and bartender and a full-time bar and bartender.

Catering often means that people who wouldn't ordinarily tend bar are pouring, and part-timers are usually far less knowledgeable about what they have.

After thinking about what I saw, I think you are exactly right. Come to think of it....One of the "bartenders" during the first sit-down dinner the first night was there helping to prepare the buffet snack line the following afternoon. That all makes sense now.

BourbonJoe
05-29-2012, 19:47
I remember my first visit to Jockey Silks. It must have been 2004 or 2005. I thought "what a great place". Back then they had a bartender that really knew his stuff and gave you a large pour of bourbons that had long been out of production. What wasn't on the bar, he'd go in the back and bring some out. Couple that with sinking in Corinthian leather chairs and firing up a great cigar (yes, you could smoke in there then) it just did not get any better than that. Thanks for bringing back those memories.
Joe :usflag: