View Full Version : Safeway Select, Aged 8 Years
While I was on vacation, (the reason, btw, that you all haven't heard from me in a couple weeks,) I happened to be in a Safeway supermaket in Phoenix, AZ. I was perusing the shelves of BOOZE, (which isn't sold at grocery stores in WA,) and I stumbled across what was, to me, a strange thing. Safeway Select brand straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey, aged 8 years, 86 proof. Now, I know that Safeway doesn't operate a distillery in Kentucky. Well, I looked at it, in its stately, tall square bottle, and it had a nice color to it, and said it was eight years old, and best of all IT WAS ONLY $10.99 !!! I bought it and put a purposeful dent in it, but had to leave the remainder with my in-laws. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif I thought it was pretty darn good. If it were available in my area at that price, it would be my every-day bourbon, no questions asked.
My question to you knowledgeable bourbonophiles is, of course: What is this bourbon, really, when not packaged and sold as Safeway Select brand?
Well, the rule in the past has always been: when in doubt, assume it's from Heaven Hill. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
What's the label say?
I'd say the same thing, if in doubt assume HH. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif What does the label say as to where it was bottled etc, that will help alot in telling...
I always used to say, "when in doubt, assume Heaven Hill," but these days I'm not so sure. It's very hard to pin down, but there are indications that there is more private labeling and bulk whiskey selling going on with some of the other distilleries than I ever imagined. I wouldn't rule anyone out. I'm especially disinclined to automatically blame Heaven Hill for any particularly bad whiskey I encounter (my recent review of Yellowstone, for example).
Unfortunately, it's very hard to get the distilleries to talk about this and, when they do, I think there is a fair amount of dissembling. It could be that the marketing types we talk to don't really even know the extent of it. Private labeling is one thing -- the labels are in the label room and everybody in the bottling house sees what is being run -- but bulk sales could easily stay below the radar.
The information that has led me to these new conclusions has come from our able spies on the ground. I encourage them to pass any information they may obtain to me privately so I can pass it on while protecting their identities.
Glass bottles huh? There are no Safeways in St Louis, the two local chains Schnucks and Dierbergs each have their own labels but unfortunately they are in PLASTIC bottles. I guess I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I just can't go the plastic route yet.
What's the label say?
I don't have it in front of me. I was on the road, and couldn't take the open container in the fambly van. I did glance at some bottling information on the label, but I didn't write it down, and now I can't remember what it said.
Maybe one of you folks who has access to it on a regular basis could take a look next time you're at Safeway. Hell, at $10.99, I have no reservations about recommending you try it. It was a sturdy, full-flavored bourbon; better than anything else I've spent eleven bucks on.
Earlier I made a reply to this post, but it was so confused I had to remove it. I did a little looking around, and here's what I know.
The Safeway select brand shares proof, age, bottle, and place of supposed origin with a bourbon called "Joshua Brook"; another fine product of San Jose, CA. The bottle is the same as BT's "Benchmark SB" product (isn't that one extinct?) Joshua Brook is carried by a few of the independent grocers around here.
I'm going down to Safeway to get a few things this morning. I'll pick up a bottle and try it tonight.
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