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angelshare
06-19-2004, 19:38
We were in Pittsburgh this week and found a bottle of this. Anyone know it's story? I searched here but found nothing. Anybody ever seen it/had it? It was very inexpensive where I found it.

TNbourbon
06-19-2004, 20:50
Banker's Club 80-proof bourbon is currently sold online here:
T.R.T. International, Ltd. (http://www.usatrt.com/alcoh_e.html)
which notes its warehouses in New York, St. Petersburg (Russia, I presume) and Moscow. It appears to be an all-purpose brand, since they also list Banker's Club vodka, Scotch and rum.

cowdery
06-19-2004, 21:51
Scobeyville, New Jersey, is the home of Laird & Co., which makes Laird's Applejack. Presumably, they are the bottler if not also the actual owner of the Banker's Club brand, which is doubtless bulk bourbon from some Kentucky producer. The TRT price list shows the BC bourbon being available in liter and 1.75 sizes only, meaning it is intended as a well bourbon on-premise and a bottom-shelf "heavy user" bourbon off-premise. In other words, a commodity; probably the low price leader in the market. I mean, look at those prices (which are case prices, by the way). Local bottlers of commodity spirits, like everything else local, have really disappeared in recent years. I wonder how old that bourbon is? See if there is an age statement hidden somewhere, probably on the back. It will say something like "aged thirty-six months."

Then go back to TRT's home page and order me some wet blue leather.

angelshare
06-20-2004, 05:44
I looked over the bottle pretty thoroughly and couldn't find an age statement anywhere. The back label just has the Banker's Club logo with a UPC symbol. It doesn't show well on my photo, but the neck has a crest with the motto "Dieu avec Nous." Now, my French is rusty, but doesn't that mean "God with Us?" I'm not sure how to take that on a bourbon bottle.

We'll probably break this out for a tasting today. Just out of curiosity, can you get a rough idea of age by comparing color of known aged bourbon to it, assuming similar proof? In the bottle, compared to JB white, it looks a little dark to be only 36 months, but, at that price, it's hard to imagine it's much older.

I like the euphemism "heavy user" bourbon. Never heard that one. I guess it's a little more pleasant at a marketing strategy meeting to say you're targeting the "heavy user" demographic than the "alcoholic" demographic!

TNbourbon
06-20-2004, 08:43
If my remembrance of 'bourbon law' is aright, the lack of an age statement means it must be at least 4 years old.

boone
06-20-2004, 08:49
The UPC tells alot. Heaven Hill has two of them. The most common one (the first 5 numbers) 96749...

Usually, (but not all the time) if a age statement is not present it is considered four years old...That's on "Cat and Dog" bottlings. I will state that this is Heaven Hill's practice on labeling of product. I don't know the rules that other distilleries use.



http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

angelshare
06-20-2004, 09:38
Thanks, Bettye Jo. For what it's worth, this UPC is 84848 20120. Any help with IDing the source?

So, if I understand this correctly, there is at least a potential for a bargain, right? If a distiller sells someone reasonable quality whiskey (albeit young) at a bulk rate, and it gets bottled as is without tampering, you've just avoided paying for the logo?

For example, if JB sold this bottler bulk rate rate 4 yo whiskey, could I have purchased JB white for $8.50/liter? (I guess that's only a bargain if you like JB white, but you get the idea.)

cowdery
06-21-2004, 10:30
By law, any straight whiskey aged less than four years must carry an age statement. If a bottle doesn't carry an age statement, especially if it is a "bottom shelf" brand, the assumption is that it meets that requirement, but just barely.

A producer who is selling bulk bourbon, especially on price, will use that opportunity to unload whiskey that meets all legal requirements (which are no assurance of quality) but isn't up to the company's standards for its normal brands. In other words, it will be the worst whiskey they make. In the case of Beam, don't compare to Jim Beam white. Instead, compare to Old Crow.

Production standards being what they are today, there is very little bad bourbon produced but the worst of what is produced finds its way into bottom shelf distributor brands that are sold on price. The product is targeted to a customer who is highly price sensitive and doesn't care about quality. In the not too distant past, when there was a bourbon glut, you could get lucky and find something decent on the bottom shelf. For the most part, that no longer is the case.

angelshare
06-22-2004, 05:11
As always, thanks for the lesson, Chuck!

I tasted the Banker's Club on Sunday. Over ice, it was not horrible, just kind of lackluster. Funny you made the Old Crow analogy because it reminded me of Old Crow while I was having it - simple, light, slightly sweet with a little bite at the end, a harsh finish. I like the label, though!

So, to use Beam as an example again, how does this work? They have a batch of whiskey at some phase of production that is supposed to turn into Old Crow, a bulk order is placed, and it is diverted to become Banker's Club instead?

Or is Old Crow a "default" brand for the whiskey that doesn't make the JB white grade and, therefore, no whiskey is predestined to be Old Crow, but a certain predictable quantity winds up in a bulk order/Old Crow category?

Or is there a batch of suboptimal whiskey that doesn't even make Old Crow standards laying around waiting for a bulk order to come?

cowdery
06-22-2004, 13:11
I agree about the label.

As for your question, I can't really answer it. For the most part, except as there are specific recipes for certain products, a given barrel of bourbon isn't predestined to be a certain brand. In the case of Jim Beam, something like 90 percent of their output is sold as standard Jim Beam white label, so there isn't a lot that slips through either below or above that, and yet Old Crow is clearly not the same as Jim Beam white. The difference is most likely age.

Aging costs money, so the younger you can sell a whiskey the better off you are financially. If a buyer is looking only for the cheapest thing he can get that is legally bourbon, the seller probably just selects some barrels that are barely legal. I don't think they deliberately go looking for crap or have a few barrels already designated as crap to go to when the time comes, but I'm making a few assumptions here.

Maybe those are some insights but not a full answer.

angelshare
06-23-2004, 07:33
In the case of Jim Beam, something like 90 percent of their output is sold as standard Jim Beam white label, so there isn't a lot that slips through either below or above that, and yet Old Crow is clearly not the same as Jim Beam white. The difference is most likely age.



This really puts into perspective the volume of whiskey that JB produces. After all, I have never perceived in VA ABC stores a "shortage" of JB Black, Beam's choice, or Old Crow; furthermore, I don't remember a time when any of the small batches were in short supply either. If all those brands have to come from the remaining 10%, and they have never run low on any of them, that small percentage must still be big volume!



Maybe those are some insights but not a full answer.



Maybe not a specific answer to my specific question, but I think you painted the big picture pretty well. To me, that's even better!

cowdery
06-23-2004, 13:05
The actual figure (I came across it after I made the post) is more like 5/6 of what Jim Beam produces is sold as standard Jim Beam white label, with everything else they sell (including bulk sales) coming from the remaining 1/6. They are, after all, operating two distilleries. They are certainly the largest bourbon producer but are probably second to Brown-Forman in overall whiskey output.

Does Jim Beam sell bulk whiskey? What I am discovering about the bulk whiskey market the more I investigate it is that nobody sells bulk whiskey, except when they do.

gr8erdane
06-23-2004, 19:34
Chuck,
When Bobby and I were peering into Beam's Rackhouse, there were barrels stamped with Knob Creek on the heads. I guess those were the choice barrels culled at the four year or whatever mark from the rest of the herd by the master distiller?

cowdery
06-23-2004, 20:05
Yeah, Bobby has told me about that. Was it the official "tourist" rackhouse? It's possible they stamped them thus just for the benefit of tourists. Something like what you said is also possible. My guess would be that everything is "the same" until it comes time to start pulling barrels for White Label. Since whatever is left after they bottle White Label has to supply everything that is going to continue aging for use later in products like Black Label, Knob Creek, Booker's, etc., maybe they decide then. It's also possible that because Knob Creek must be at least 9 years old, they make sure they don't put any bottles destined for Knob Creek in hot parts of the warehouse where they might age too quickly. The only reason they would be designating barrels right out of the still would be recipe differences, but after four years it's possible they could decide "that's going to be Knob Creek."

All that said, though. I think the tourist explanation (or something similarly for show) is the actual one. Here's why. Everything in the rackhouses is controlled by computers, using the barrel serial numbers. If they wanted to allocate certain barrels for Knob Creek, they would simply do it in the computer. There's no reason to go through the rather labor-intensive, not to mention primitive, step of stenciling the name onto the barrel head. I think they did it for tourists or customers or someone else they think will want to see barrels that say Knob Creek on them.

gr8erdane
06-23-2004, 22:32
Hmmm, never thought of myself as a tourist. Wait a minute, bermuda shorts, sandals with black socks, polo shirt buttoned up all the way, camera around my neck, sunglasses big enough to cover half my face, OH MY GOODNESS, I WAS a tourist! I feel so used. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif

jspero
10-12-2006, 07:00
I had never heard of this one, so I picked up a bottle in Harrisburg, PA last weekend when I was there for a car show (actually in Hershey, but I stayed in Harrisburg). I haven't tried it yet, but probably will at some point when I do a bottom-shelf line up. It was $9.00 for a liter and looked the same as the pictured bottle. If it tastes like crap, I can always mix it for parties, I guess.

Has anybody else tried this since the last post in 2004?

As an aside, I was not too impressed by the PA state store prices. I found them to be average to high compared to prices in Maryland. The selection was about average with the typical standbys. I was surprised to see they had a LOT of Eagle Rare, including about 10 of the 1.75 liter bottles (at about $45).

Jay

Gillman
10-12-2006, 08:07
I was thinking about Chuck's post from 2004 about bottom-shelf bourbon. There are still exceptional values at the lower end of the range. Rittenhouse BIB, especially the DSP 354 version, is better than many bourbons and ryes I've had costing 3 times the price or more. That discontinued version of Virginia Gentleman I mentioned reecntly is very good whiskey, and the current VG still is.

Bad whiskey used to have almost an "off" taste, either very congeneric or from barrels that imparted a non-standard taste. I recall from the 80's and earlier Bellows bourbon, which I found almost undrinkable at the time even mixed. That was then, I think the brand survives as part of the Beam family and I suspect it contains today bourbon at least as good as Crow or Taylor (which are not premium class but certainly are sound drinking).

So it is rare to find a bourbon today that is hard to drink. One I don't like at all is Ancient Age aged 36 months. The most inexpensive Heaven Hill-branded whiskeys (the white label, I find) are pretty feisty-tasting. (On the other hand the black and gold label Olde Heaven Hill BIB is excellent value). But in general there is little whiskey sold today at a good price point that isn't very tolerable if not excellent.

Gary

straightwhiskeyruffneck
10-12-2006, 08:34
i find it hard to believe that jim beam, old taylor, old gran dad, old crow, baker's, booker's, basil hayden and knob creek are all the same whiskey.
just all aged differently. at very least, there's an OGD/basil hayden recipe thats different, probobly with more rye. and i know for a fact that beam used to make old crow with far more sourmash backset than its other whiskies, because dr. james crow invented the sour mash process. when did they end this practice? there has got to be more to it than just age.

BourbonJoe
10-12-2006, 08:36
I gave a bottle of Banker's Club to Dawn (Luvtohunt) last year. I think she tasted it. Perhaps she would like to comment.
Joe :usflag:

barturtle
10-12-2006, 10:16
there has got to be more to it than just age.

Aging is one of the most important processes in the production of whiskey. Each warehouse and each floor in it will alter the aging of the barrel...build two warehouses side-by-side on a hill, and one warehouse may block the morning sun for the other-while the latter blocks the afternoon sun for the former. One may get the prevailing winds while the other doesn't. The higher floors will be hotter than the lower floors in any given warehouse. The distillers know this and use it to their advantage to produce whiskies with differing profiles using the same mashbill. Add to this varience in age (not just the minimum age but the marrying of various ages) and proof and you can end up with vast ranges of flavor profiles.

Nebraska
10-12-2006, 11:06
That discontinued version of Virginia Gentleman I mentioned reecntly is very good whiskey, and the current VG still is.




Hey Gary, what version was discontinued? I couldn't find your post mentioning that.

Gillman
10-12-2006, 16:27
Mark, I am referring to the white label, the one that states on the neck "The Bourbon of Virginia" and on the main label shows three squires in front of a Georgian-era, porticoed mansion. On the back label, it states that the bourbon is distilled in Kentucky and redistilled in Virginia. I believe the current 80 proof (and 90 proof, The Fox) VGs are distilled only at Buffalo Trace (how many times I do not know) but are aged exclusively in Fredericksburg, VA.

cowdery
10-12-2006, 17:56
As Timothy explained well, whiskey can come out of the still, go into two barrels that go into different warehouses, and after an identical period of aging they can taste very different, so when I say the difference is "aging" I don't mean merely the duration but also the location. In addition to location, the wood itself can make a significant difference.

Gary, do you have some reason to believe that Smith Bowman has discontinued the practice of redistilling the white dog it gets from Buffalo Trace before barreling it? That's what they were doing both before and after the BT acquisition and I haven't heard anything to suggest that they stopped.

Also, I would not refer to Rittenhouse as a "bottom shelf" brand. It is is the same price range as Jim Beam Rye and Old Overholt, and comparable to many "standard" bourbons, such as Jim Beam white. It could be that in Canada you don't have true "bottom shelf" bourbons. Here, in a large liquor store, you will find several bourbons (and vodkas, etc.) literally on the bottom shelf, in plastic 1.75 liter bottles. Often these are private labels. Even something like Ten High is a step above these true commodity products.

One thing that occurred to me recently is that many of these bottler brands may actually be vattings of whiskey from several different distilleries, not necessarily because they are trying to make something good, but simply because they are using whatever they have. So long as it is all bourbon and all made in one state, it can be called Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

As for when whiskey becomes a "brand," in recent years as extra-aged products have become more popular, producers have gotten involved in "wood management" in ways they never did before, so that Beam may very well decide at barreling that a particular barrel is going to become Knob Creek, so that its 9 years of aging can be optimized.

As for the formulas Beam produces, I can assure you that Beam makes two Bourbon formulas, the standard Jim Beam formula and the high-rye Old Grand-Dad formula. In addition to different mash bills, they use different yeast strains. Everything Beam makes except Grand-Dad and Basil Hayden is from the Jim Beam formula.

Gillman
10-13-2006, 02:17
Chuck, thanks for mentioning that you are not aware that redistillation in Virginia has stopped for Virginia Gentleman. I thought I had read somewhere that it is all distilled at BT now and only aged in Virginia. I can't recall where I read this and I must be wrong, i.e., if you are not aware the practice has changed, then I stand corrected on this.

With respect to bottom shelf, certainly I agree that Rittenhouse is not bottom shelf in quality as I said in my post (I rated it as good or better than many bourbons selling for three times the price).

I was thinking of the local Bardstown market where, if memory serves, Jim Beam was selling for more money than Rittenhouse. Again if I am wrong on this I am happy to be corrected. In my mind too I was comparing Rittenhouse in price to, say, Buffalo Trace, which is about 7-8 dollars more per bottle. But I see what you mean about bulk-type products which may be combinations of whiskey from different distilleries and the kinds of brand names they use which are not well known, like the Banker's name and Rittenhouse is above that class to be sure, but broadly because of its very reasonable price, I thought it should be placed under the mid-shelf such as Buffalo Trace, Beam White and of course Black, and so forth. My sense is the market has reoriented to bourbons of about $10-15, those in the 20's, and those $30 and above. But I stress and this was the point of my post: quality is variable in that range and there are excellent values at the lower end and some not so good ones at the higher end.

Gary

cowdery
10-13-2006, 12:55
I don't know for a fact that they're still redistilling the BT white dog at VG, but I haven't heard that they aren't, so I really don't know. I prefer to believe that they are, although the last time I spoke with Joe Dangler we talked about aging and how he prefers pallatized to racking, distilling never came up, and it was late in the evening and we were both pretty far into our cups.

The thing about Rittenhouse is that there really isn't any rye on the true bottom shelf, even though it and several ryes are priced very attractively. I don't know if they even offer a 1.75 ml. If they do, I've never seen it.

As for price, around here I think Jim Beam white and Rittenhouse BIB are pretty close, although Beam is often on deal. Also, I'm looking at the whole price point thing from a business perspective, which really doesn't take quality into consideration, so in a sense we're talking about two different modes of comparison.

Gillman
10-13-2006, 13:21
Fleischmann's rye would qualify I think as a price rye.

Gary

FlashPuppy
10-13-2006, 20:55
Fleischmann's rye would qualify I think as a price rye.

Gary

Is their any realation between them and the yeast manufacturer?

barturtle
10-13-2006, 22:35
Is their any realation between them and the yeast manufacturer?

A long time ago, in a galaxy....oops...the answer is...at one time, yes

cowdery
10-14-2006, 17:51
Fleischmann's rye would qualify I think as a price rye.

Gary

Good point, almost like a vestigial organ.

luv2hunt
10-14-2006, 21:58
I gave a bottle of Banker's Club to Dawn (Luvtohunt) last year. I think she tasted it. Perhaps she would like to comment.
Joe :usflag:

Yup, we opened it :) We open everything! We have to try it to decide if we want another bottle or not!!!

I think we decided that it was a Barton product. Must be young, alcohol nose, not much flavor, too much burn, odd taste in the finish. Sorry, but I didn't really like it. I used alittle in cooking and took the rest of the bottle to the festival this year. Didn't anyone else taste it?

Dawn

Nebraska
10-14-2006, 23:03
Dawn and Jon, that's what I love about this place. You open it, taste it, share tasting notes. I really have come to enjoy many people here, but you guys are right there in the top notch.

I'm trying to work on over coming giving my opinion on selections and posts like yours help a lot. I'm really good about if I've got a bottle that I open it. I just need to get past the I might not taste the same thing that everybody else taste phobia.

gr8erdane
10-15-2006, 01:08
Well, I must admit that I was intrigued by that bottle on top of the TV in Dawn and Jon's room and poured myself just a smidgen. All I can remember is that I developed quite a drinking problem afterward. I kept lifting the glass and missing my mouth and leaving a wet spot on the parking lot outside....

JeffRenner
10-18-2006, 20:23
Fleischmann's rye would qualify I think as a price rye.


Good point, almost like a vestigial organ.

And Stephen Foster. As I have posted before, both are very similar in style but I find Fleishmann's to be really, really good, and Foster to be definitely lower shelf. Furthermore, the last Foster I saw on the shelves in Wisconsin was three-year-old (as opposed to the previous unstated, i.e., four-year-old minimum), which can't be good.

Jeff

cowdery
10-18-2006, 22:18
Yes, Foster too.

I think it's also safe to say that Wisconsin appears to be the only place where there is sufficient rye volume for there to still be a market for a commodity rye.

I'm about an hour from the Wisconsin border and do get up there from time to time. I wouldn't mind investing a couple of hours in a rare ryes run, but I'm getting the impression that you have to go up into the northernmost parts of the state to find this. Is that impression accurate?

And to think that the last few trips I made up there, all I stopped for was cheese and sausage.

FlashPuppy
10-18-2006, 22:23
And to think that the last few trips I made up there, all I stopped for was cheese and sausage.

Off topic, I know, but you didn't happen to stop at the Mars' Cheese Factory did you Chuck?

cowdery
10-18-2006, 22:39
Off topic, I know, but you didn't happen to stop at the Mars' Cheese Factory did you Chuck?

I have. There are many, many, many others, however.