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Kyjd75
07-15-2012, 06:58
David Driscoll has an interesting article about Black Maple Hill on his K & L blog. Read it here: http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/

Lazer
07-15-2012, 10:40
I feel personally insulted by his Ritt BIB comments. "A standard grade mixer." Excuse me, but Ritt BIB is one of the best whiskeys around. But what do you expect from California people? Their brains are fried from all that ... uhh.... sun exposure. :cool:

LostBottle
07-15-2012, 11:46
While there have been some past Black Maple Hill bottlings like the ryes and the 16 that were excellent, I am unsure what the current hype is about. The BMH Small Batch David is talking about in this article is mediocre at best and overpriced for sure; I prefer the "standard grade mixer" Rittenhouse BIB, regardless of price. Lastly, about the "magic formula", point 3 states "It's contents are unknown" and pitches this as a positive - this seems more like a negative to me.

CaptainQ
07-15-2012, 21:08
You guys can have my share of BMH. Last time I bought a bottle it tasted like the standard HH profile.

compliance
07-15-2012, 21:58
Is there really any demand for BMH? I have never seen anyone buy any or heard anyone talk about it other than those aged editions that are long gone. Most people stay away for all the reasons stated in the article. The premise that this is somehow a hot label sets off my BS detector, but I don't run the liquor store so what do I know?

PaulO
07-16-2012, 11:52
... The premise that this is somehow a hot label sets off my BS detector... It sets of my B.S. detector too. I think this article was written by the same guy that posted some one selling an old bottle of Old Fitzgerald for $1000 (for the person that wants real S-W) a few months ago. This was when all the crocodile tears and nonsense about VW was going on. The whole doomsday scenario where the world runs out of bourbon tomorrow is laughable. If I ever wanted to buy BMH, I could get it in about 15-20 minutes, any day but Sunday.

StraightNoChaser
07-16-2012, 12:09
I got the Small Batch BMH one time and it was pretty terrible. No way I'm dropping the coin for the 16 yr.

However I'd probably consider some of those older ryes they put out...

Happyhour24x7
07-16-2012, 13:34
huh, just one more proof that everyone's tastes are different- I love the Small Batch, and the 16YO is one of my top two or three whiskeys of all time; the only other thing that comes close is the 4R 120th and a particular Willett bottling called Suspension Bridge here in the DC area.

Happyhour24x7
07-16-2012, 13:35
as a matter of fact, now that we're talking about it, I'm thirsty....might have to go break into some.

BFerguson
07-16-2012, 18:38
Every bourbon has a story behind it. It's just that some stories are better than others.

Sadly, it seems that many stories nowadays just lack a whole lot of hard facts or straight truths. Too many are just shrouded mysteries or works of fiction.

Even sadder is that it generally seems the latter generally makes a better story.

But wh doesn't love a great story from time to time.........

B

ebo
07-16-2012, 19:11
Not sure if the story is true, but I can see the parallels with PVW, as far as the "cult following", "gotta have it" thing. I like PVW, and I think it's a great whiskey, but there is no reason for the circus it has become. I understand what the writer is saying about how the "circus" gets started.

Restaurant man
07-16-2012, 20:11
So the story is, it's not special. Snoozer or a story for a snoozer of a whiskey

White Dog
07-16-2012, 20:18
BMH 23yr Rye was special. The rest of it is spotty. I think he hurts his credibility by showing such love for the NAS Bourbon.

MyOldKyDram
07-16-2012, 20:21
It told me a story tonight. Not a classic, but not Twilight either. It's a good enough yarn.

BradleyC
07-16-2012, 20:56
I have a few friends on the retail side of things and they echo the same sentiment as Dave. BMH sells very well and sales keep going up. Marketing is a powerful factor when it comes to sales. BMH has done a good job at that just like the Van Winkles have. Some of the BMH releases have been quite good. They used to be priced much lower than the most recent 16 year, so that helped them sell. The 2 14 years that I have had were good and I really liked the 21. The ryes were excellent. I don't think it is fair to knock BMH for their lack of transparency. I believe it is the producers who don't want them to mention their sources for each given bottling. I can't imagine BMH is tremendously profitable. They just can't do enough volume for that to be the case. That being said, I think Mr. Joseph is just a like minded bourbon nut who runs the BMH line alongside the rest of his portfolio due to his own personal interest in the product. To his credit, he also started doing this before "bourbon was cool." I think he deserves a slight bit of credit for that since he isn't simply trying to cash in on the recent bourbon boom. BMH has put out some worthy bottlings in the past and I fully expect they will continue to do so. Other than the recent price jump the 16 year saw, I am a fan of BMH.

petrel800
07-16-2012, 21:26
How is the 16 year BMH? I've seen a few bottles lately, but have been mighty reluctant to plunk down $150 especially since $150 could buy you multiple bottles of great bourbons. I may be a sucker ever now and then for some of the tougher stuff to find, but $150 better be heaven in a bottle.

BradleyC
07-16-2012, 21:37
How is the 16 year BMH? I've seen a few bottles lately, but have been mighty reluctant to plunk down $150 especially since $150 could buy you multiple bottles of great bourbons. I may be a sucker ever now and then for some of the tougher stuff to find, but $150 better be heaven in a bottle.

To tell you the truth I have not tried the new 16 year small batch. I had the older 16 year single barrel and thought it was great. I don't remember the price I paid for that one, but it was much less than the current small batch 16. As I mentioned earlier I think the new pricing scheme is too high. BMH used to be priced much better than it is now. Someone please correct me but I think the 11 year was roughly $39 and the 21 year was $79-$89. I remember buying an 18 year rye for $79 and the 23 was $125ish. I would for sure buy any dusty age stated BMH's should I find more (especially the ryes).

smokinjoe
07-16-2012, 22:07
A good job at marketing? Really? Where? Honestly speaking, I wouldn't give most bourbon distilleries better than a "D-" in their marketing efforts, and BMH wouldn't even get a grade.

BradleyC
07-16-2012, 22:16
Their good job is their do nothing approach, limited distribution, and small production numbers. As human nature states, we want what we can't have. If something is limited or discontinued and it has a fancy label, people flock to it. Look at what sells vodka. I think this is the same consumer group that buys up the BMH Small batch. I'm all for it. Lead the sheep to these products so that the producers have more money to throw specialty barrels at us. It's a win win.

smokinjoe
07-16-2012, 22:21
The "do nothing approach...???" Hmmm.

BradleyC
07-16-2012, 22:25
The "do nothing approach...???" Hmmm.

It works wonders sometimes. I heard it on the internet so it's gotta be true!

smokinjoe
07-16-2012, 22:36
It works wonders sometimes. I heard it on the internet so it's gotta be true!

Well, Michael J. Flynn is going to be a Smash, then!!! :D

David D
07-16-2012, 23:10
Jeez, you guys can just email me, rather than speculate. At K&L, I sell 60 bottles of BMH in a day every time I get it back into stock. Then it's gone for weeks and weeks. The mystique of not knowing where it was made really gets to people - both positively and negatively. While we think that our little blogosphere and message boards influence overall whiskey sales, they don't. We could start an SB.com thread about how it's the worst whiskey in the world and it wouldn't make one bit of difference. If anything, it would only make people curious to try it. The word on the street in CA is that you need to get this Bourbon. Then you go to a store like K&L and, guess what, you can't get it. It's sold out. You go from store to store and everyone is out of stock. That makes people want it immensely. Maybe not on this forum, but we're not influencing overall sales here. We're all just passionate guys talking about whiskey. Just because it's an NAS whiskey doesn't make it a bad either. Weller Antique no longer has an age statement and I still think it's the best deal in Bourbon.

White Dog
07-17-2012, 10:37
Jeez, you guys can just email me, rather than speculate. At K&L, I sell 60 bottles of BMH in a day every time I get it back into stock. Then it's gone for weeks and weeks. The mystique of not knowing where it was made really gets to people - both positively and negatively. While we think that our little blogosphere and message boards influence overall whiskey sales, they don't. We could start an SB.com thread about how it's the worst whiskey in the world and it wouldn't make one bit of difference. If anything, it would only make people curious to try it. The word on the street in CA is that you need to get this Bourbon. Then you go to a store like K&L and, guess what, you can't get it. It's sold out. You go from store to store and everyone is out of stock. That makes people want it immensely. Maybe not on this forum, but we're not influencing overall sales here. We're all just passionate guys talking about whiskey. Just because it's an NAS whiskey doesn't make it a bad either. Weller Antique no longer has an age statement and I still think it's the best deal in Bourbon.

No one said NAS=bad. We could all rattle off many good NAS Bourbons. I only knocked this particular NAS, which many of us do feel is over-priced for what it is.

David D
07-17-2012, 11:05
No one said NAS=bad. We could all rattle off many good NAS Bourbons. I only knocked this particular NAS, which many of us do feel is over-priced for what it is.

Gotcha. I'm so used to the anti-NAS mindset that I assumed you meant in general. However, do you think people who like BMH lack credibility, as in they can't decipher quality?

White Dog
07-17-2012, 11:16
There's nothing inherently wrong with the Bourbon itself, but when someone buys NAS HH(probably) juice from BMH, they're paying profits to both BMH and KBD, which leads to the overly high price of $32.99, or whatever one is paying.

Why not get Fighting Cock for $17.99, or I'll also happily pay the extra Luxco tier for Old Ezra 7yr at $17.99.

But hey, you like it, and think it's worth it, so that's cool. We all have opinions.

David D
07-17-2012, 11:21
There's nothing inherently wrong with the Bourbon itself, but when someone buys NAS HH(probably) juice from BMH, they're paying profits to both BMH and KBD, which leads to the overly high price of $32.99, or whatever one is paying.

Why not get Fighting Cock for $17.99, or I'll also happily pay the extra Luxco tier for Old Ezra 7yr at $17.99.

But hey, you like it, and think it's worth it, so that's cool. We all have opinions.

That's true. That's why it's good to know where it comes from, hence why I wrote the article. I'm glad we can share opinions here openly.

cowdery
07-17-2012, 11:27
Driscoll, like any large retailer in a major market, has a good feel for market trends, even more so for being in always trendy No. California. Some of the other posters here are in the business too and have their own assessments. I appreciate that he told it like it is about BMH, that it's a non-distiller producer (NDP) that won't or can't reveal its sources, and that scarcity and perceived scarcity are driving the market. You can't give BMH much credit for any of this. They are the beneficiary of forces largely outside of their control. Driscoll also does a good job of describing the brand characteristics that make BMH a good candidate to be the next Van Winkle.

The older folks among us have lived through two very different periods. In the pre-boom era, we had tons of good, cheap, glut-era whiskey from numerous NDPs, some better and more ethical than others. We could buy whatever we wanted at will, whenever we wanted, and turn our noses up at the rest. Was that the golden age? Maybe, but it wasn't sustainable. Now whiskey is hot and newbies are flooding the market looking for 'experts' to tell them what is 'the best,' so they can avoid any heavy lifting on their way to connoisseurship. Plenty of self-proclaimed 'experts' have appeared, eager to oblige. They don't try to educate, they can't, they don't know anything. Instead they just pass along recommendations they have heard, like Van Winkle.

Since they need a second act, the search is on for the next Van Winkle. It has to be expensive to be good, and hard to get, the older the better, high proof is good too, and a Van Winkle-like back story doesn't hurt, as it can be boiled down to a few easy-to-remember bullet points. BMH is as good a candidate as any.

And so a fool and his money are soon parted.

In addition to availability problems, the loss of age statements, and higher prices; other unpleasant by-products of the current boom have been flavored whiskeys (honey, cherry, cinnamon), white whiskeys, celebrity whiskeys, and quasi-whiskeys (blended whiskey, spirit whiskey).

On the other side, how great is it that the LDI 95% rye finally saw the light of day, even though it took a creepy outfit like Templeton to do it?

I'm old, and crotchety by nature as you all know, but I know dynamism usually accompanies success. They need each other. So we need to embrace change in general, even if we choose to reject some of the specifics.

dridge11
07-17-2012, 11:28
I've only had the 16 year and the regular NAS small batch.

I'm not a big fan of the small batch - too much banana, has nothing to do with the NAS cause I'm a huge OWA fan.
I think the 16 year is really quite delicious and as a result, I have another in the bunker. Probably not worth $150 but at $100-$120 I dig it.

White Dog
07-17-2012, 11:37
That's true. That's why it's good to know where it comes from, hence why I wrote the article. I'm glad we can share opinions here openly.

Just read your NAS piece, and I must say that at least on SB.com, your premise rings false. Most of us are rabid fans of OGD, OWA, FR1B and plenty of other NAS bottlings. Just because someone slams a particular NAS sku, doesn't mean they hate on all NAS.

David D
07-17-2012, 11:52
Just read your NAS piece, and I must say that at least on SB.com, your premise rings false. Most of us are rabid fans of OGD, OWA, FR1B and plenty of other NAS bottlings. Just because someone slams a particular NAS sku, doesn't mean they hate on all NAS.

I wasn't really refering to SB.com on that point. Mostly, I was refering to emails I get from people who think that brands like Ardbeg Uigeadail, Black Maple Hill, or Kilchoman are rip offs because they charge high prices for young whiskies. I do a lot of purchasing for small tasting groups who have very strong opinions about what they will or won't drink. I was, however, refering to a few SB.com posters calling the piece BS, saying that BMH is relatively easy to get and wondering why anyone would want it anyway. It most definitely is a the hot ticket here in NorCal.

What's funny is that while we've been typing our responses, someone came in and asked for BMH. When we tried to recommend OWA as an alternative (since we're always out of stock on BMH now), he walked out. It was either BMH or nothing. That was my real point. When you said you could buy Fighting Cock instead for less money, it was no different than what I said to the gentleman only minutes ago. "You can get OWA for $20 instead!" No interest, however. "Nothing's better than BMH for the money." Exact words. No joke.

yountvillewjs
07-17-2012, 11:55
I can confirm David's experience -- BMH is really popular here in NoCal, I've seen it.

Trey Manthey
07-17-2012, 13:10
"Nothing's better than BMH for the money." Exact words. No joke.

I'm calling it. Whiskey of the Year. :pope:

sutton
07-17-2012, 13:10
I can confirm David's experience -- BMH is really popular here in NoCal, I've seen it.

That is curious - I've seen it on shelves quite a bit on the East Coast (the NAS small batch) - why do you think it is so popular in NoCal? Was something written about it recently that has so many people looking for it?

David D
07-17-2012, 13:29
That is curious - I've seen it on shelves quite a bit on the East Coast (the NAS small batch) - why do you think it is so popular in NoCal? Was something written about it recently that has so many people looking for it?

It's in all the hot bars, who use it for their cocktails. It's a great label and people are used to seeing it when they go out. That excitement has carried over to the retail market big time. It's no more popular than it used to be, it's just that now there's less of it. When that happens people start going crazy

BourbonJoe
07-17-2012, 13:29
I have had the 11 y/o, 14 y/o, 16 y/o bourbons and the 18 y/o rye. All were very good. All were very expensive. I still have some bunkered. I don't like the new NAS stuff.
Joe :usflag:

Trey Manthey
07-17-2012, 13:30
As David expounds in his latest post:


People buy Black Maple Hill because they like it. They buy it because it's now hard to get. They buy it because some bar in downtown San Francisco uses it for their house cocktails. They buy it because it's cool.

I agree with point #3 in particular, although that may be concentrated to Bay Area folks who have been influenced by the hype of places like Bourbon & Branch and The Rickhouse. On my last visit in February, I had had friends who had never had any interest in whiskey falling over themselves to take me to these bars. Establishments like this have fed the flame of overnight whiskey connoisseurship more than any marketing plan, and they are popping up all over. On some levels it's great ("Hey, I can get a good Old Fashioned!"), but for people wiping their eyes after awakening from the dream that was the "Whiskey Golden Age", it just seems like there's noobs everywhere sucking up the good juice, making prices jump and supplies dwindle. However, if you don't like a label like BMH, you might take it as a good sign that the trend followers have "lost the scent" and are chasing hype more than quality.

soonami
07-17-2012, 13:58
...Establishments like this have fed the flame of overnight whiskey connoisseurship more than any marketing plan, and they are popping up all over. On some levels it's great ("Hey, I can get a good Old Fashioned!"), but for people wiping their eyes after awakening from the dream that was the "Whiskey Golden Age", it just seems like there's noobs everywhere sucking up the good juice, making prices jump and supplies dwindle. However, if you don't like a label like BMH, you might take it as a good sign that the trend followers have "lost the scent" and are chasing hype more than quality.

The "problem" with people hyping up a so-so product like BMH is that if these consumers are used to paying $35-40 for an average product, they'll be more than happy to pay $35-40 for Old Weller Antique, EC12, EWSB, 4RSmB...when they eventually try something else or when the tastemakers move onto the next "it" bourbon. It will definitely make the prices jump across the board over time because demand will increase, but there is a 5-10 year lag to get the supply to meet it.

Another thing I've seen this in the craft beer world with lots of hyped, small, limited releases with large price tags ($35-50/750ml or 22oz bottle) prove to breweries that there is a significant market for expensive beers. In general, this increases prices across the board because breweries know they can charge more when, for instance, Three Floyds will sell out 30,000 bottles of stout for $15 and another 3,000 bottles of barrel aged stout for $50 all in one day! And they make people buy a $10 ticket just to be able to buy the beer! Lots of savvy breweries don't charge prices based on cost, but demand and maximizing profits.

Although I love being able to get craft beer almost anywhere I go in the NorthEast, the prices keep rising higher and higher as demand increases and availability has decreased to the point that at almost every store I need to personally know the owners or managers to be put on a secret list for some, once common, seasonals. I hope this is not the case with Bourbon because it would be a shame not to be able to have easy access to the brands I like at a reasonable price

David D
07-17-2012, 14:03
The "problem" with people hyping up a so-so product like BMH is that if these consumers are used to paying $35-40 for an average product, they'll be more than happy to pay $35-40 for Old Weller Antique, EC12, EWSB, 4RSmB...when they eventually try something else or when the tastemakers move onto the next "it" bourbon. It will definitely make the prices jump across the board over time because demand will increase, but there is a 5-10 year lag to get the supply to meet it.

Another thing I've seen this in the craft beer world with lots of hyped, small, limited releases with large price tags ($35-50/750ml or 22oz bottle) prove to breweries that there is a significant market for expensive beers. In general, this increases prices across the board because breweries know they can charge more when, for instance, Three Floyds will sell out 30,000 bottles of stout for $15 and another 3,000 bottles of barrel aged stout for $5 all in one day! And they make people buy a $10 ticket just to be able to buy the beer! Lots of savvy breweries don't charge prices based on cost, but demand and maximizing profits.

Although I love being able to get craft beer almost anywhere I go in the NorthEast, the prices keep rising higher and higher as demand increases and availability has decreased to the point that at almost every store I need to personally know the owners or managers to be put on a secret list for some, once common, seasonals. I hope this is not the case with Bourbon because it would be a shame not to be able to have easy access to the brands I like at a reasonable price

Soooooooooooo true. I'm happy to see other people chiming in on this.

LongBeachScott
07-17-2012, 14:17
I have never tried BMH, but I see it on the shelves in the stores I shop in here in SoCal and it doesn't seem to fly off of them.

Still, if it is the hot bourbon elsewhere, I wouldn't be surprised. It's a good-looking bottle. It's expensive. It would be unfamiliar (and therefore exotic) to a lot of people. The only thing it needs is some buzz and, WHAMMO, it is exclusive. If it is a big deal in San Francisco or New York, it will probably be flying off the shelves here soon. And I wouldn't be surprised if the people buying it in droves are buying the first bottle of bourbon they have bought since buying bottom shelf stuff in college. I won't resent them for it and if they offer me some while swearing it is the finest bourbon ever made, I will happily try it and form my own conclusions.

yountvillewjs
07-17-2012, 14:44
The "problem" with people hyping up a so-so product like BMH is that if these consumers are used to paying $35-40 for an average product, they'll be more than happy to pay $35-40 for Old Weller Antique, EC12, EWSB, 4RSmB...when they eventually try something else or when the tastemakers move onto the next "it" bourbon. It will definitely make the prices jump across the board over time because demand will increase, but there is a 5-10 year lag to get the supply to meet it.

Another thing I've seen this in the craft beer world with lots of hyped, small, limited releases with large price tags ($35-50/750ml or 22oz bottle) prove to breweries that there is a significant market for expensive beers. In general, this increases prices across the board because breweries know they can charge more when, for instance, Three Floyds will sell out 30,000 bottles of stout for $15 and another 3,000 bottles of barrel aged stout for $5 all in one day! And they make people buy a $10 ticket just to be able to buy the beer! Lots of savvy breweries don't charge prices based on cost, but demand and maximizing profits.

Although I love being able to get craft beer almost anywhere I go in the NorthEast, the prices keep rising higher and higher as demand increases and availability has decreased to the point that at almost every store I need to personally know the owners or managers to be put on a secret list for some, once common, seasonals. I hope this is not the case with Bourbon because it would be a shame not to be able to have easy access to the brands I like at a reasonable price

Is this any different than any other boom-bust cycle? I've seen this in wine and I have no doubt it is happening here. Taken a look at eBay lately? My guess is that we are probably nearing the peak and by this time next year, things will be very different. Will there now be more bourbon buyers (ie: people that find out there is more to it than nasty ass Beam White?) - yes. But enough to drive prices through the roof, seeing to it that every new release is rarer than hen's teeth - doubtful. The other thing -- the quality of the cheap bourbons in the market is high. Rittenhouse for $15/btl (in some markets) is like stealing. OWA, W12 -- a product that takes up warehouse space for 8-12 years, then is 3-tiered with markups all the way and still only $25? No one wants to see higher prices, but in many cases I think the market is just reaching equilibrium.

thezenone
07-17-2012, 15:04
It's very hard to get here in the Central Valley as well as northern California. Seems to fly off the shelves whenever I do see it somewhere. For around $30 I thought it was average and would much rather spend my money on OWA. If it was closer to $20 I might give it another shot.

soonami
07-17-2012, 16:16
Is this any different than any other boom-bust cycle? I've seen this in wine and I have no doubt it is happening here. Taken a look at eBay lately? My guess is that we are probably nearing the peak and by this time next year, things will be very different. Will there now be more bourbon buyers (ie: people that find out there is more to it than nasty ass Beam White?) - yes. But enough to drive prices through the roof, seeing to it that every new release is rarer than hen's teeth - doubtful. The other thing -- the quality of the cheap bourbons in the market is high. Rittenhouse for $15/btl (in some markets) is like stealing. OWA, W12 -- a product that takes up warehouse space for 8-12 years, then is 3-tiered with markups all the way and still only $25? No one wants to see higher prices, but in many cases I think the market is just reaching equilibrium.
I'm sure the admins of SB.com will tell you that membership is constantly growing as is the number unique page views per day.

I don't think we are anywhere near the peak.

There is a trend in Philly now like NYC and SF for more artisanal cocktails using fine spirits, not just the flavored Vodka-tinis of the Sex and City 00's. At cocktail lounges like Farmer's Cabinet or Franklin Mortgage in Philly, but also a newer fine-dining restaurants, bistros, and beer bars lots of really nice whiskeys and cocktails are being pushed. I think craft beer is the best comparable. Even in a city as craft beer crazed as Philly, there is not enough to satisfy people, in the past year probably 8 new small breweries and brewpubs have opened. In almost every bar and restaurant within a 25 mile radius you're likely to find craft beer on tap. Even places like Pizzeria Uno participates in Philly Beer Week!

I'm 27 and I remember when Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA were $7-8 each, so it wasn't that long ago. In Philly, admittedly with crazy state alcohol laws, these 6-packs now run at least $10, but I've seen them as much as $15 and they are still being sold. Whiskey prices will do the same because if the distillers and bottlers see that their products are in demand and retailers are selling them for more, then they'll charge more to the retailer, which will then pass on the price increase to the consumer. Many of the most popular craft breweries like Stone, Dogfish, and Three Floyds have kept increasing prices while pulling out of markets! Let's not even talk about the limited releases that are only released at the brewery where you have to buy lottery tickets, or wait overnight in line to buy. Unlike most of the highly prized bourbons which are distributed, many of the top 100 rated beers on the ratebeer or BeerAdvocate websites are beers that are sold only at the brewery on a special release even or only in one bar in Scandanavia... Imagine if OWA was available only once a year at a ticketed release party at The Party Source, that's how the craft beer game is now

yountvillewjs
07-17-2012, 16:54
I'm sure the admins of SB.com will tell you that membership is constantly growing as is the number unique page views per day.

I don't think we are anywhere near the peak.

Only time will tell which one of us is correct. That said, I think we are both in agreement that this is an unsustainable uptrend, one not likely to continue forever.


There is a trend in Philly now like NYC and SF for more artisanal cocktails using fine spirits, not just the flavored Vodka-tinis of the Sex and City 00's. At cocktail lounges like Farmer's Cabinet or Franklin Mortgage in Philly, but also a newer fine-dining restaurants, bistros, and beer bars lots of really nice whiskeys and cocktails are being pushed. I think craft beer is the best comparable. Even in a city as craft beer crazed as Philly, there is not enough to satisfy people, in the past year probably 8 new small breweries and brewpubs have opened. In almost every bar and restaurant within a 25 mile radius you're likely to find craft beer on tap. Even places like Pizzeria Uno participates in Philly Beer Week!

While the growth phase of the curve is similar, I don't think they are that comparable at all. Beer is more socially acceptable, cheaper and lower in alcohol. It also doesn't require additional, hard to get and expensive permits. My wife loves beer & wine -- bourbon is strong, too alcoholic for her. She is a member of a very large part of our society, much larger than those that drink bourbon. And the cocktail craze is terrific, also a trend. And look deeper into the cocktail upswing -- it is a trend built on blending of many inputs, of which bourbon is only a small percentage. By that I mean -- they are cocktails, drinks built with fruit, sweetners, soft drinks, other items to hide the very flavors we bourbon drinkers seek.


Imagine if OWA was available only once a year at a ticketed release party at The Party Source Then it would be called Pappy Van Winkle. :)

Smithford
07-17-2012, 17:22
overnight whiskey connoisseurship
This is my new favorite expression. I've been watching in silent contempt while this phenomenon takes over my city. Witness here (http://www.nowtoronto.com/food/story.cfm?content=167436) and here (http://www.thegridto.com/life/food-drink/hoarding-alert-corner-creek-bourbon/).


However, if you don't like a label like BMH, you might take it as a good sign that the trend followers have "lost the scent" and are chasing hype more than quality.
I think this forum is more than capable of throwing them off the scent. We should all secretly agree to stop talking about Weller and start propping up something like Rebel Yell just to see what happens. Mr. Driscoll thinks that this forum doesn't influence sales, but I beg to differ. If a rumor were to start here about one of the K&L Wines locations getting a special early allocation of Pappy this summer, he'd have to report back how many people were in the lineup tomorrow morning. :70358-devil:

T Comp
07-17-2012, 17:27
I'm sure the admins of SB.com will tell you that membership is constantly growing as is the number unique page views per day.

I don't think we are anywhere near the peak.

There is a trend in Philly now like NYC and SF for more artisanal cocktails using fine spirits, not just the flavored Vodka-tinis of the Sex and City 00's. At cocktail lounges like Farmer's Cabinet or Franklin Mortgage in Philly, but also a newer fine-dining restaurants, bistros, and beer bars lots of really nice whiskeys and cocktails are being pushed. I think craft beer is the best comparable. Even in a city as craft beer crazed as Philly, there is not enough to satisfy people, in the past year probably 8 new small breweries and brewpubs have opened. In almost every bar and restaurant within a 25 mile radius you're likely to find craft beer on tap. Even places like Pizzeria Uno participates in Philly Beer Week!

I'm 27 and I remember when Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA were $7-8 each, so it wasn't that long ago. In Philly, admittedly with crazy state alcohol laws, these 6-packs now run at least $10, but I've seen them as much as $15 and they are still being sold. Whiskey prices will do the same because if the distillers and bottlers see that their products are in demand and retailers are selling them for more, then they'll charge more to the retailer, which will then pass on the price increase to the consumer. Many of the most popular craft breweries like Stone, Dogfish, and Three Floyds have kept increasing prices while pulling out of markets! Let's not even talk about the limited releases that are only released at the brewery where you have to buy lottery tickets, or wait overnight in line to buy. Unlike most of the highly prized bourbons which are distributed, many of the top 100 rated beers on the ratebeer or BeerAdvocate websites are beers that are sold only at the brewery on a special release even or only in one bar in Scandanavia... Imagine if OWA was available only once a year at a ticketed release party at The Party Source, that's how the craft beer game is now


Only time will tell which one of us is correct. That said, I think we are both in agreement that this is an unsustainable uptrend, one not likely to continue forever.



While the growth phase of the curve is similar, I don't think they are that comparable at all. Beer is more socially acceptable, cheaper and lower in alcohol. It also doesn't require additional, hard to get and expensive permits. My wife loves beer & wine -- bourbon is strong, too alcoholic for her. She is a member of a very large part of our society, much larger than those that drink bourbon. And the cocktail craze is terrific, also a trend. And look deeper into the cocktail upswing -- it is a trend built on blending of many inputs, of which bourbon is only a small percentage. By that I mean -- they are cocktails, drinks built with fruit, sweetners, soft drinks, other items to hide the very flavors we bourbon drinkers seek.

Then it would be called Pappy Van Winkle. :)

Nice thoughts from both of you. I tend to agree with youtvillewjs that we are near a peak and there will be some fallback due to the "difficult" nature of whiskey in all aspects. Of course some things are here to stay and Van Winkle cult status will be one. Demand outside the US is probably the real wild card as it has been before.

soonami
07-17-2012, 17:29
There was a time when beer in America was considered to the cheap drink of the lower class that respectable people might only partake of during ball games or a summer BBQ. Perception of beer has changed overtime and I think this will hold true for Bourbon as well. Most people that have only drunk Bud Light will find Dogfish 60 Minute IPA too bitter, too hoppy, etc. However, it is one of the most popular craft beer brands in America and Dogfish cannot make enough of it to satisfy all of its markets. I don't think Bourbon will reach quite that level, but there is a huge potential market still out there. Specially when people realize, per drink, bourbon at $25 a bottle is a better deal than a $15 6-pack or $8 bomber

darylld911
07-17-2012, 20:00
Some of this may be regional. I've passed BMH many times in the Atlanta area because I hadn't tasted it yet (and try to avoid paying more than $30 for something I haven't tasted after buying some rather expensive bottles only to learn they're not in my wheelhouse). Someone posted in another forum about stores having bottles of Handy on the shelves for under $60, when here in Atlanta they're gone shortly after they arrive for more than $70. Scarcity does cause people to pay more (or buy more) of something, as it inflates their perception of the value (and we measure "value" in products as what someone is willing to pay for that product - whether others think it is of greater or lesser quality).

BFerguson
07-17-2012, 20:27
I completely agree with you on the regional point, and it might have been me that mentioned the Handy also. Up here, there just isn't the rabid market for many of these products. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly a core group of folks who are keen to these, I see the want requests posted up in my local store for the seasonal hard to get items, but unlike other areas, there are no lottery's, or masses of people waiting in line for the release. And we certainly don't have the cocktail craze either, at least in my town.

I can't even begin to imagine the mass competition some of these areas get with the population they have in the area. It makes me feel fortunate to have the opportunities that I do.

But on the flip side, some things still are out of reach. I'll probably never taste a Bowman or some of the other regional release items.

B

Restaurant man
07-17-2012, 22:15
Well, Michael J. Flynn is going to be a Smash, then!!! :D

Cant find the "Flynn" in stores near me joe so it must be good. Gonna drive to Bama tomorrow and try to fill my trunk. Thanks for the tip!

darylld911
07-18-2012, 09:46
Cant find the "Flynn" in stores near me joe so it must be good. Gonna drive to Bama tomorrow and try to fill my trunk. Thanks for the tip!

Wait a minute . . . was this the stuff everyone was talking about at the last GBS meeting (it was late in the evening, so my memory is fuzzy . . . but I thought that this is what the goat picked in a blind taste test?)

And I have never seen this either! I'm heading to eBay to snatch it up before the prices run up to high!! :D

smokinjoe
07-18-2012, 10:25
Wait a minute . . . was this the stuff everyone was talking about at the last GBS meeting (it was late in the evening, so my memory is fuzzy . . . but I thought that this is what the goat picked in a blind taste test?)

And I have never seen this either! I'm heading to eBay to snatch it up before the prices run up to high!! :D

Not to worry. Jimmy is in South Carolina as we speak, picking his own private barrel of this...There will be plenty to go around.

Bmac
07-18-2012, 11:01
They had BMH and I had always wanted to try it...but then suddenly the reviews started to paint a poor picture. I have had my fair share of buying for label recognition only to find the juice inside to be mediocre or requiring months of air time to enjoy.

So I passed on it and now it's gone. I have no idea if it will ever return.

AaronWF
07-18-2012, 11:36
Great conversation here. I remember when I started getting deeper into bourbon a few years ago, there were still a few bottles of the older BMH lineup around. They were recommended to me and commented on that there would be no more of them, as their barrel supply had run out. Still, without having tasted them, I wasn't about to spend the $120+ premiums for them. I remember being a little confused when I was told that they were from California while labeled as KSBW and KSRW, but of course that's the gap between most semi-knowledgeable retail clerks and budding enthusiasts green enough to listen to them.

This is very much a transitional time for NDPs, because all the old stock they had access to in the late 90's/early 00's that were distilled in the 80's are gone. With the bourbon boom in full effect, they have to scramble to find juice to fill their labels, and they can't hope to find whiskey with identical and in many cases even similar profiles to what they were able to cheaply acquire before. BMH, Michter's, Vintage (well, most of KBD's labels I guess), VW; these are brands built on whiskey made in a different era who have every incentive to play down that fact as they move forward. It's difficult to see a label change quality so drastically from one year to the next, but it's just a fact.

NDPs aren't the only ones whose products can change in quality from one season to the next, but I would expect far more variability from a brand when you don't know where the juice inside was distilled.

MyOldKyDram
07-18-2012, 11:42
Just saw a half dozen or so bottles in a store in my neck of the woods.

Bmac
07-18-2012, 11:54
Great conversation here. I remember when I started getting deeper into bourbon a few years ago, there were still a few bottles of the older BMH lineup around. They were recommended to me and commented on that there would be no more of them, as their barrel supply had run out. Still, without having tasted them, I wasn't about to spend the $120+ premiums for them. I remember being a little confused when I was told that they were from California while labeled as KSBW and KSRW, but of course that's the gap between most semi-knowledgeable retail clerks and budding enthusiasts green enough to listen to them.

This is very much a transitional time for NDPs, because all the old stock they had access to in the late 90's/early 00's that were distilled in the 80's are gone. With the bourbon boom in full effect, they have to scramble to find juice to fill their labels, and they can't hope to find whiskey with identical and in many cases even similar profiles to what they were able to cheaply acquire before. BMH, Michter's, Vintage (well, most of KBF's labels I guess), VW; these are brands built on whiskey made in a different era who have every incentive to play down that fact as they move forward. It's difficult to see a label change quality so drastically from one year to the next, but it's just a fact.

NDPs aren't the only ones whose products can change in quality from one season to the next, but I would expect far more variability from a brand when you don't know where the juice inside was distilled.
What fantastic points you have there! It's easy to forget that most of these bottles were over 10 years in age when bottled. They built a reputation for great tasting bourbon and now there is no guarantee and they are banking on name alone at present.

This is probably what fueled the entire Pappy thread where it was felt the quality would suffer from old SW juice to new BT make.

sailor22
07-18-2012, 11:58
Wouldn't it be nice if these rectifiers would change the label in some way when the contents changed. Doesn't seem to be a problem for the folks at Compass Box or High West. Even most of the craft guys give you a batch number.
I have enjoyed a few BMH expressions over the years and some of the KBD labels but I'm dissappointed neither make it easy to know when the contents have changed. Thinking of Vintage 17 as an example.

To David's original point - yes it does look like BMH is becoming the next big thing. There is a lot of buz locally and I'm in the provinces compared to SF.

soonami
07-18-2012, 11:59
...these are brands built on whiskey made in a different era who have every incentive to play down that fact as they move forward. It's difficult to see a label change quality so drastically from one year to the next, but it's just a fact.

NDPs aren't the only ones whose products can change in quality from one season to the next, but I would expect far more variability from a brand when you don't know where the juice inside was distilled.
I think the general worry with enthusiasts like us with NDP's without major Distillery support (like the Van Winkle's have) is a general decline in quality. The age and quality of many of their products likely will continue decrease with time as supplies dwindle. Prices will probably increase as there is definitely a sustainable demand. Although the flavor profile might subtly change so that few will notice the differences from consecutive batch to batch, I think some will find the juice from a 2009 bottle to be superior to a 2015 bottle. At the same time the prices will continue to go up.

Even distiller brands like Weller Antique and SR, Basil Hayden, etc are even losing age statements. Although these bourbons seem to be maintaining the same quality now, what will it be like in 5 years? The reaction time required for a distiller to respond to a sudden increase in demand is so slow that it's hard to imagine there ever being enough good, old stock, to be stainable for long. Maybe that's why Elijah Craig moved to a 20 expression for 2.5x the price, because they couldn't continue to sell EC18 at the same rate so they jacked up the price and will probably sell almost as many bottles.