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cowdery
11-19-2004, 16:09
In his new Whiskey Bible under Woodford Reserve, Mr. Murray magically reviews two products that do not exist, Four Grain and Personal Selection.

It is possible he tasted some of Woodford's experimental four grain whiskey, but that product has not been released, won’t have that name if and when it is released, and may not be the same whiskey Murray tasted if and when it is released.

He also reviews Woodford Reserve "Personal Selection." This is the Woodford Reserve version of buy-a-barrel. A customer (such as a bar or liquor store, but a well-heeled individual can do it too) selects one barrel from the Woodford County distillery (from a pre-screened range) and one from the Jefferson County distillery. These are then mixed together as a "Personal Selection" Woodford Reserve. Presumably, Murray tasted someone’s "Personal Selection," but someone else’s "Personal Selection" will be completely different.

That will teach you what happens when you read Jim Murray.

greenbob
11-20-2004, 11:59
That will teach you what happens when you read Jim Murray.



Yes, but isn't fiction the most profitable book genre?

cowdery
11-20-2004, 14:55
And within fiction, fantasy is a pretty popular genre.

Jono
11-20-2004, 21:20
Hmmm, but can I find:

“Bourbon, Straight – The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey” by Charles K. Cowdery. [2004, Charles K. Cowdery] (signed by Charles K. Cowdery)

....at "Deals" for $1.00!
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

I sense some professional rivalry here... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/stickpoke.gif

Chuck...I promise to add your tome to my collection along with some of the others mentioned in the Whiskey library thred...if I can find them. Bottoms up... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

musher
11-20-2004, 21:45
It'll probably be more clear once you get Chuck's book and read the chapter on why ratings are pure bull$*!%. This is, of course, a lot of what Jim Murray is about (rating whisk(e)ys).

cowdery
11-22-2004, 14:03
When I met Jim we had an interesting discussion on that subject. He feels strongly that someone (i.e., him) has to help the poor whiskey drinker and give them some guidance. Not only does he give numerical scores, but he grades the nose, taste and finish separately, then averages those three scores to arrive and the total score for the whiskey. He didn't really have an answer when I asked him how he determined that nose, taste and finish should have exactly equal weight in every case.

(My basic thesis is that it is all pretty arbitrary.)

I don't know how much professional rivalry there is, as I am but a fly on Mr. Murray's butt if you compare our sales, but I'm doing my best to catch up.

bluesbassdad
11-22-2004, 15:26
Chuck,

As a kid growing up in southern Illinois I sometimes saw and was even bitten by something the old-timers called a horsefly. It was several times larger than the common housefly and capable of getting one's attention, especially if it happened to bite a young skinny-dipper on the butt.

I'm tempted to introduce this critter and its behavior into your metaphor, but I won't. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

cowdery
11-22-2004, 17:59
I hope nobody here considers my jibe at Murray to be anything less than good-natured. I look forward to the day when he will consider me even a small nuisance, competition-wise.

Bamber
11-24-2004, 01:56
lol - I looked for these whiskies for ages. I guess the shops thought I had made them up as well !

clayton
11-24-2004, 09:01
The next version of the Whiskey Bible (2005) comes out next week.

I enjoy Murray's books, and I doubt I would be as enthusiastic about bourbon as I am today without the guidance he provided during my first explorations.

TNbourbon
11-24-2004, 11:14
I, too, have the current "Whiskey Bible". And, while I don't always agree with Murray's overall ratings/conclusions, I find the tasting notes themselves invaluable in directing evaluation of newly-tried whiskeys. It's a reference -- and just like you wouldn't base a paper or study on a single reference source, I don't use Murray exclusively for whiskey/bourbon info. But as a single reference, he is useful. I rely on Chuck's book, too, for common-sense, insider bourbon facts and opinions. The Regans' "Bourbon Companion", too. Then I make up my own mind, if I hadn't already to begin with.

camduncan
11-24-2004, 13:10
I picked up the 2004 Bible whilst I was in the UK last month... It was an invaluable resource when confronted with an entire rack of Bourbons & Ryes that I'd never heard of or had only read about in passing here on the list. I knew I wanted a bottle of ORVW (and price was the deciding factor in choosing the 10yo - my 'wish' was for a 20 or 23yo), but the bible guided me to the 13yo ORVW Rye, BT & Blantons. It also was what pushed me into trying an order from the US for a bottle of Sezerac & Stagg (they cleared customs yesterday http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif)
Having said all of that, I don't always agree with his tasting notes or ratings either. My own taste differs, and it changes from day to day. But I do enjoy sitting with a neat glass of bourbon and getting the Bible out to try and identify the different charactaristics..I also use the tasting notes here on the forum in the same way.

jbewley
01-04-2005, 21:11
Well, I decided to do the only fair thing I could. I ordered both Jim Murray's 2005 Whiskey Bible and Chuck's book from Amazon. When they get here, I plan to evaluate each of the two books based on (1) nose (does it smell paper-ey, cardboard-ey, or plastic-ey?), (2) Taste (mmh... wood pulp), and (3) Finish (i.e. does it papercut when I try the taste test?).

I have the 2004 Whiskey Bible, and while I don't agree with some of his ratings, just reading it has caused me to get off my butt and go out and try things that I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise.

What I find interesting is that I can't find the 2005 Whiskey Bible on the shelf anywhere. I didn't find a single Borders or B&N with a copy anywhere (as opposed to last year where I saw it everywhere), and I looked across roughly three states as I travelled. I wonder why no-one reordered? I'd rather see it on the shelf than some "Spanky Jankin's Yet Another Huge Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky" book.

- Jeff

gr8erdane
01-04-2005, 23:25
I picked up a copy of the 2005 Whiskey Bible just before Christmas and pretty much agree to disagree with Jim on many of our favorite bourbons but got a pretty good laugh on a couple of his listings. The absolute lowest I found was a 17 on a S***** called Dunglas on page 127. What a riot. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif

However, for the life of me I can't see Pappy 20 as a 78 while rating JB white an 85. As you will read in Chuck's book (which I heartily endorse), ratings are overrated.

cowdery
01-05-2005, 00:50
It was Amazon's idea to sell my book with Murray's as a 2-fer. It couldn't hurt. Briefly they had me paired with Sam Cecil's book. I'm sure this is all done by algorithms (named for their inventor, Al Gore) without human intervention.

If you go to Murray's book, it's paired with a Jackson. If you go to the Jackson it's paired with...another Jackson. Oh, what a tangled web.

camduncan
01-05-2005, 01:21
I picked a 2005 Bible up 2 or 3 weeks ago at a local store in Brisbane. Some of the ratings definately baffle me. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif Others seem to be taken verbatim from the 2004 edition.
I'm still trying to work out how Cougar Bourbon got a rating of 93 on page 249. Down here it's the substitute for Jim beam White as the 'house' bourbon in pubs when you order a Bourbon & Coke. If you want a Jim Beam & Coke, you usually pay more.

wrbriggs
01-05-2005, 06:01
I got it for Christmas. I'll have to check out that 17 rating.

Having also received a bottle of Pappy 20 for Christmas, it was the first bourbon I looked up. I was disappointed in its rating, but my first sip removed any doubt... I have no idea how it got a 78!!

TrueBarrel
01-06-2005, 13:09
Yeah, some of Murray's ratings are head scratchers. I don't have the '05 book, but in the '04 version he ranks Jim Beam Rye as 93, VW Rye 13 as 91 and VW Rye 12 as 90. I've never heard anyone but Murray claim that Beam Rye is better than (or anywhere near as good or high quality for that matter as) either VW ryes. Murray rates Saz a 96. IMHO, if Saz is a 96 (which I agree with) both VW Ryes can't be too far behind (some would argue they are equal to or better than Saz), and Beam can't possibly be 93. I'd even rank WT Rye (which Murray gives an 88) ahead of Beam. JMHO.

clayton
01-06-2005, 15:33
I fully agree about the puzzling rye ratings. I can't stand the Jim Beam Rye, but adore the Sazerac & VW Rye, and even like the WT.

I just got the 2005 edition (delivered about 10 minutes ago). The rye reviews seem unchanged with the exception that Fleischmann's Rye (a Barton product) has been added and receives a 93.

George T Stagg is again "Whiskey of the Year."
Sazerac 18 is "Rye of the Year."

Gillman
01-06-2005, 16:59
I wonder where he found Fleischmann's rye, I have been searching high and low in many locales and never seen it.

Gary

jbewley
01-06-2005, 19:49
I wonder where he found Fleischmann's rye, I have been searching high and low in many locales and never seen it.


If you find it, let me know.. I'm really interested to see what it's like. I keep meaning to try some Fleischmann's blended based on your suggestion, but can't find anything but 1L bottles around here, and I'm not sure I'll like it a whole liter worth http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

After enjoying VOB, I suspect that Barton's business strategy is to sell dollar bills for ninety cents. Count me in!

- Jeff

wrbriggs
01-09-2005, 18:09
The more I read, the more I become convinced that Jim Murray was smoking crack during some or all of his tastings. He rates Canadian Club above Pappy 20. I know that ratings of this sort are very personal, but honestly... I'm speechless.

clayton
01-10-2005, 16:25
Well, he does make some qualification that cross-category comparison of ratings is not going to be useful. The ratings are supposed to be relative to other products in that category, not to completely different whiskies.

wrbriggs
01-10-2005, 16:59
Well, he does make some qualification that cross-category comparison of ratings is not going to be useful. The ratings are supposed to be relative to other products in that category, not to completely different whiskies.

Well, ok... he also rates the standard Ezra Brooks bottling 1 point above Pappy (79).

At least in my humble opinion, that's some serious crack smoking.

clayton
01-11-2005, 09:06
Yeah... there might be some crack involved in that instance.

Hedmans Brorsa
01-20-2005, 11:05
I got my 2005 copy about a week ago and while I didn´t expect a whole new book I have to express a certain disappointment about the occasionally sloppy updating.

Those weird Woodford reserve bottlings are still featured. What´s the point of listing products that the prospective buyer of this guide cannot get? Also, we still get to read that the 10yo Dickel is the only one to be seen on the shelves. This is simply not true. Both the No. 8 and 12 have been readily available for at least a year from most specialist shops in Europe. The 10yo, in contrast, seems to be pretty rare even in the US.

I still think it´s worthwhile mainly because there is no rival, at least that I know of. His literary style, a field where he easily outshines his rivals, suffers somewhat from this suppressed format, though.

P.S has anyone had the opportunity of trying that Austrian oat whisky? I´ve written twice to the guy who makes it but, alas, no reply. In a world where a new single malt distillery seems to have popped up every time you wake up after a nap, it is rare to find something truly innovative. Pity he doesn´t feel like sharing it with more people.

chasking
01-20-2005, 14:49
What´s the point of listing products that the prospective buyer of this guide cannot get?



http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/soapbox.gif

This is my biggest gripe with Murray's books. So many of his reviews seem to say something like:

"Well, this whiskey is pretty good, but nothing like the stuff they made for two weeks twenty years ago. Now that was great whiskey! [Murray waxes rhapsodic in describing whiskey nobody can buy.] You may still be able to find a bottle buried in a barn somewhere." (He doesn't mention it, but if you can find it it will cost $1500.)

While there were no doubt exceptional whiskies that are no longer available, there is plenty of great whiskey available at any given time, even if it is not exactly the same in all respects as the stuff of days gone by. So, maybe Black Bowmore or that old version of Old Fitz that is occasionally extolled here were truly remarkable, but what possible up-side is there to dwelling on it, especially in a current guide? It only risks discouraging new enthusiasts, who may wrongly believe that they can't get the really good stuff anymore.

I'd bet that somewhere, today, some distiller is filling a cask of whiskey which, in X years, will equal anything that has come before.

Gillman
01-21-2005, 06:26
On the point of writing about unavailable products, this does appeal to some who have the historical interest. Even if, as is almost certain, I will never taste the old pot still whiskey made by the original Midleton distillery in Ireland, Jim Murray tells me in his book on Irish Whiskey what it was like. A stone demi-john survived in a pub basement and was turned into 33 bottles, one or two of which may still be for sale (at Milroy in Soho, London, for 400 pounds or so). This is pre-1960 Irish pot still, when it was made not just with malted and unmalted barley, as today, but also small amounts of rye, wheat and/or oats, and well, as it was in the "old days" (fortunately renewed for every generation http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif). Murray's high praise: "Sensational ... massive pot still character with the unmalted barley forming a firm counter to the softer toffee and malts that are drifting about ... fat, oily creamy start then zap: the pot still hardness kicks in with a magnificent follow through of rich cream toffee and malt ... astonishing, glorying in the oily beauty of the old wash still". So, this gives a vivid picture of what the old stuff was like. I agree that merely to catalogue tasty treasures one will never get the chance to try is boring and beside the point, or the main point, but some reference to rare or experimental products can be helpful to give a larger context for those who seek this. I should say I haven't seen, but am trying to find, his latest book where he talks about the special versions of Woodford Reserve. So I can't comment specifically on that book but he mentions a good 10 or so rare whiskies in his book on Irish spirits and I did not find this gratuitous or a distraction. I agree too he is a skilful writer. Michael Jackson, who is working on a new version of his World Guide To Whisky, is still first in my view in the British pantheon but Jim Murray is very good too and of course different in style. There is an "excitement" in his writing that is appealing, he is always the eager student, not just the confident teacher, someone always willing to learn and impart his knowledge (Jackson too but in a different way).

Gary

Hedmans Brorsa
01-21-2005, 11:16
You have many valid points as usual, Gary, but have you really seen Murray´s whiskey bible? It´s so small that it easily fits into the inside pocket of your jacket. The purpose of it is clearly to be a shopping partner.His book about Irish whiskey is in another league, altogether.

I, too, enjoy reading about rare and discontinued whiskies (even if it can be a painful experience for a completist like me http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif) but in a book that to all purposes are constructed as a buying guide, I feel that it´s wrong to flaunt products that clearly do not exist.

Gillman
01-21-2005, 12:13
I haven't seen the book, I hope to pick it up soon. I did enjoy the Irish Whiskey book a lot. Anyway it is really extraordinary how so many people are taking an interest in American whiskey, that of course is all to the good (and hopefully does not bode ill for continued good prices!). It is good to see this interest, much of which originated in Britain (I mean books written from the consumer point of view) but really there is no substitute for books on bourbon and other American whiskies being written by an American. Good as a foreign tome may be, the native almost always will have a surer feel for his or her own country's products and the context in which they arise. An exception is Michael Jackson's writing. He has spent so much time in the U.S. since 1980 or so he practically qualifies as a resident. Plus, he has an unusually wide and thoughtful perspective that allows him to "nail" many key attributes of local drinks and foods. But my point being, we should encourage our local writers, they will usually have a fuller understanding of local production, all things being equal.

Gary

jbewley
01-22-2005, 07:38
I've spent the past few weeks reading both Murray's 2005 Whiskey Bible and Chuck's "Bourbon, Straight".

A few things I've noticed:
1. Numeric ratings - Chuck is dead right on this one.. you just can't quantify a whiskey with a number between 1 and 100. You might be able to argue that X is better than Y, but not to everyone. The flipside is that it's nearly impossible to carry a book without numeric ratings around a liquor store and buy products, unless you've read the book. And text paragraphs don't make nearly as good of an endcap as "Rating: 91!". If you don't see numbers, you have to ...like..read the book and stuff. Man, this is hard. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
2. Murray & Bourbon: Based on Murray's ratings, I can't tell if bourbons: (a) are just more similar across the board than other whiskies, (b) are of a higher average quality than other spirits, or (c) are harder for Jim Murray to differentiate between. As I thumb through other sections in the Whiskey Bible, I tend to note a lot more ratings in the 50-75 range, whereas almost the entire bourbon section is rated between 80 and 90. Personally, I'd love to see the average scores by section, just for grins.
3. Other Options?While some things annoy me about Murray's Whiskey Bible, it's the only one of its kind that I've found. I don't use it to decide what to like/dislike, but I find that it's a good reference to get a general impression of a whiskey. Besides, when I want comprehensive reviews and tasting notes of bourbons and ryes, I usually come...here.
4.Whiskey Count: It's fairly obvious that the more whiskies someone reviews in a "Definitive Whiskey Bible", the more useful the book appears from a marketing perspective. So you end up with reviews that are probably 2-3 years old (including ones for things that were never released), some of which say things like, "It's much better this year" two years in a row. Otherwise, you'd have 30% less whiskies reviewed in the book.
5. We fergot Grampa!: Um. Old Grand-Dad. 86 Proof. BIB. Heck, feel free to go sample some Martian ten-grain version. But a book on American whiskies just isn't the same without it. If you can find time to say mean things about Colonel Lee, you could probably find time to say nice things about Old Grand-Dad. Or say something mean. Just say..something.

Personally, I'd like to see an American Whiskey guide along the same basic concept (tasting all commonly available whiskies), with a fresh review of everything done annually. But I can't see it making enough money to stay alive.

Chuck's book was obviously the more useful resource in terms of bourbons. His text descriptions of various bourbons actually got me to go try something I hadn't considered.. I bought a bottle of Evan Williams 7 year, and I was very impressed for the money. As far as a middle-of-the-road bourbon, I loved it. It lacks just a little bit of refinement, and that works well for it. And I'd always have viewed it as "yet another JD knockoff" on the shelf if it hadn't been for Chuck's book.

- Jeff

wrbriggs
01-22-2005, 07:42
I too was extremely disappointed at the lack of Old Grand Dad in Jim Murray's book. I received it as a gift, and I'm hoping to get Chuck's book, as well as the Van Winkle's book "But Always Fine Bourbon". My problem is that whenever I have extra cash to burn, I buy bourbon instead of books about bourbon. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Gillman
01-22-2005, 08:23
Since Murray is based in Britain, I am sure he just couldn't get a hold of a bottle of Old Grandad 86 in time for his publishing deadline. I agree this whiskey is a standard-bearer for bourbon. It is very good although perhaps not quite as good as 15-20 years ago (as discussed earlier in these boards). As to why his ratings for bourbon are generally high, I think it is Jeff's nos. (a) & (b). Bourbon generally is a top-quality drink, and also, the range of flavors amongst the bourbons of today at any rate is narrower than for Scotch and Irish whiskies. I would add a third possible element, which is the allure of the foreign, the different. Murray, who is a Briton interested in whisky, naturally I think would tend to find foreign straight whiskey exotic and valuable. This explains possibly his high regard for American rye whiskey, for example. He also rates many Canadian whiskies highly even though they are not straight whiskies. Okay, we'll take the compliment. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif He is dead on on Schenley OFC though, it is fine traditional blended Canadian whiskey and I reacquainted myself with it due to his writing. On numerical rating vs. textual description, well, both are helpful. I have learned something from every book I have bought on whisky.

Gary

musher
01-22-2005, 08:25
2. Murray & Bourbon: Based on Murray's ratings, I can't tell if bourbons: (a) are just more similar across the board than other whiskies, (b) are of a higher average quality than other spirits, or (c) are harder for Jim Murray to differentiate between. As I thumb through other sections in the Whiskey Bible, I tend to note a lot more ratings in the 50-75 range, whereas almost the entire bourbon section is rated between 80 and 90. Personally, I'd love to see the average scores by section, just for grins.



How about (d) all of the above?

I also question the value of a rating for a one sample of a single-barrel bourbon. I would like to see single-barrel bourbons have reviews of several different samples to see what sort of range that particular product has.

ratcheer
01-22-2005, 13:07
My problem is that whenever I have extra cash to burn, I buy bourbon instead of books about bourbon. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif



Good point.

Tim

Hedmans Brorsa
01-23-2005, 05:12
I too was extremely disappointed at the lack of Old Grand Dad in Jim Murray's book.



All bottlings of OGD are available from most, if not all, specialist shops in Europe. Mr. Murray shouldn´t have encountered any problems in obtaining any of them.

Lest someone would believe that I´m spearheading a Jim Murray-backlash, I have to state firmly that his "Complete book of whisky" is second to none within its chosen field. A new edition would be most welcome! His smaller books on bourbon, Irish and blended Scotch are also well worth hunting out for. (They are gradually becoming somewhat outdated, though.)

Interestingly enough, while enjoying huge popularity in Denmark, Jim Murray is a rather unknown entity here in Sweden (none of his books are translated). When I got into bourbon in a big way back in -99 I actually didn´t know who he was.

I have to say, though, that after my first faltering steps into this world (meaning : trying the very few bourbons available to me locally) his book "Classic bourbon, Tennessee & rye" became an invaluable companion to me. I simply cannot envisage how I would been able to navigate through the American whiskey world without this helpful tome.

jbewley
01-25-2005, 17:47
I actually hadn't even considered the fact that Jim Murray isn't based in the US, so a lot of Gillman's points make tons of sense to me.

Even with all of my whining, I still think Murray's Whiskey Bible is well worth the money, and I'll continue to buy new ones every year.

If nothing else, it's the only thing I've found approaching a roadmap to what ends up in most of Heaven Hill's bottlings, even though I tend to wonder if it's as simple (or consistent) as the Whiskey Bible suggests (i.e. HH 80 proof is in brands X, Y, Z, .., while 6 yr 80 proof is in P, D, and Q).

Anyway, lest a casual reader think that I'm knocking Murray's book, I'm definitely not. As soon as you have a copy of Chuck's book, go grab a copy of Murray's. Then gripe about numerical ratings with the rest of us. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

bluesbassdad
01-25-2005, 20:29
Somewhere in all of this is the germ of an idea for Chuck's next book. It's essentially an adaptation of the way Car and Driver magazine used to do road tests of multiple vehicles by their entire staff of testers.

He assembles a number of friends and associates, let's say a nice, round number, such as 10, all of whom have been drinking and/or tasting a wide range of bourbon for many years and all of whom can write a simple sentence, drunk or sober. (Gee, do you suppose he knows where to find such people? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif )

Then he get in touch with all of his contacts in the industry and presents them the opportunity to have their products reviewed in his book. All they have to do is pony up a few bottles of each product they sell -- no strings attached.

All the taste-testers assemble at some midwestern location for a week or two to taste, drink, take notes, discuss and individually rank order the bourbons in each category. (Oh, I left out the part about establishing categories. By price range? Top, middle or bottom shelf? I don't know. Let Chuck figure it out.) Is the publishing business lucrative enough for Chuck to cover the group's travel expenses out of his whopping advance? No? I didn't think so. I wonder how many cots would fit in Chuck's living room? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Every tester must write at least some specified number of words about each bourbon tasted, with a higher bogie for the tester's top three favorites in each category.

Each bourbon is also assigned a numerical rating that consists solely of its average ranking within its category among all testers. I probably wouldn't assemble them into an ordered list; I'd leave that to the reader, who hopefully will read every review and not just focus on the winner in each category.

How many people would buy such a book? If the number is large enough, maybe Chuck will write it. If the idea were to spark enough interest hereabouts, perhaps Jim would lend the StraightBourbon.Com name to the title.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

TNbourbon
01-25-2005, 20:45
...He assembles a number of friends and associates, let's say a nice, round number, such as 10, all of whom have been drinking and/or tasting a wide range of bourbon for many years and all of whom can write a simple sentence, drunk or sober. (Gee, do you suppose he knows where to find such people? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif )



Oh, Chuck,http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif have I mentioned I spent 25 years as a newspaper reporter (references available)? Will writehttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/soapbox.gif for bourbon! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

gr8erdane
01-25-2005, 20:58
Personally, I'd love to have all the master distillers and distillery spokesmen gather and answer one question. If you had to drink only one bourbon bottled today that did not come from your own distillery, which one would it be?

dgonano
01-26-2005, 21:01
Chuck's article on prohibition distillery operaters is the highlight of the current "Malt Advocate" publication.

Chuck knows his stuff!

angelshare
01-27-2005, 04:49
If you had to drink only one bourbon bottled today that did not come from your own distillery, which one would it be?



That's a great question. If you could get them to answer it honestly, it would be a fun and informative read.

Bamber
01-28-2005, 05:39
I've spent the past few weeks reading both Murray's 2005 Whiskey Bible and Chuck's "Bourbon, Straight".
(snip)
2. Murray & Bourbon: Based on Murray's ratings, I can't tell if bourbons: (a) are just more similar across the board than other whiskies, (b) are of a higher average quality than other spirits, or (c) are harder for Jim Murray to differentiate between. As I thumb through other sections in the Whiskey Bible, I tend to note a lot more ratings in the 50-75 range, whereas almost the entire bourbon section is rated between 80 and 90. Personally, I'd love to see the average scores by section, just for grins.
say..something.
(snip)
- Jeff



I have to say this has been my personal experience with regards Scotch and Bourbon. Scotch for me has a much wider variety of styles and a much wider variety of quality. I've loved nearly every Bourbon I've tried, but there are plenty of Scotches that have left me really dissapointed.

Scotch has a bigger standard deviation http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Another thing is that with bourbon, I feel you generally get what you pay for. The antique collection, and older Van Winkle products are just stupendous. With Scotch, I often prefer the standard 10YO to the older bottlings, which is helpful as I'm not a rich man http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gillman
01-28-2005, 13:38
I certainly agree, excellent article and nice photos and layouts.

This issue also has a letter to the editor which argues a view, somewhat contrarian in malt whisky circles, that there is nothing wrong if a distillery sells a vatted malt under its own name, i.e., despite the fact it contains whisky made by other distilleries.

Not a bad letter, written by some guy from Canada, in fact. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

In addition, Michael Jackson writes an article giving capsule opinions, deftly expressed as always, on a series of bourbons. Looks like he is re-engaging with bourbon after a long spell doing great work in the malt whisky field.

An excellent issue, with much more, too.

Gary

Gillman
01-30-2005, 10:50
I just bought Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible 2005. This is the second edition, I hadn't read the first. The second one has 700 more entries for a total of 3000 whisky entries!

It is a pocket-style guide, a handbook giving capsule descriptions of the world's whiskies. Its scope is impressive, he covers not just the traditional regions but also Continental Europe, the Antipodes, South Africa and numerous other out-of-the-way places (for whisky).

Yes, he misses one or two brands (Old Grandad was mentioned earlier on this board in this regard, also, he omits unaccountably the great Very Old Barton of Barton Brands) but he must cover a couple of hundred or so brands in the bourbon section alone, almost everything we ever speak about here and then some (e.g., items under various brand names that go to European markets, that four grain Woodford Reserve (which sounds delectable by the way), etc.).

As I indicated earlier, Murray has an infectious way of writing, as if he is tugging your sleeve, ("hey man, you HAVE to get this and even if you can't find it I GOTTA tell you about it"). At the same time he is self-deprecating, recounting e.g. when a long-retired sales manager for Johnnie Walker told him after a tasting that his remarks were, "a load of bollocks". (Some people who view things a certain way take offence when a fresh perspctive is offered, why?).

It is remarkable someone can taste whisky around the world, at the pace he must keep, and keep track of it so well. The book is well-organised with a table of contents that is clear and easy to follow; the book in general is layed out very well. No clutter, the information is very accessible. Since this is not a narrative-type book he only sketches the whisky styles (and not all of them) and gives little production-related or business background. His focus is to describe in a few lines what is in, stunningly, 3000 bottles and he does that very well. The introduction does reflect some interesting, rather idiosyncratic views on recent developments in the whisky industry. I disagree with him on the Cardhu vatted malt matter but otherwise find much to agree with in his comments.

Back to his mention of rarities, he offers a taste note of, "Old Overholt 1810". Does the brand extension sound unfamiliar? It is a long-gone, high proof version of Old Overholt sold (I believe) before the 1970's. He identifies the maker as, "Michter", so he knows the original Michter's supplied rye whiskey for a time to National Distillers even though (I am quite sure) Michter's name wasn't on the bottle. He gives this kind of insider knowledge freely particularly regarding numerous non-obtainable (or almost non-obtainable) Irish whiskeys; personally, I find this historical angle of great interest. Regarding the 1810 Overholt, he states he has heard one can still find bottles in, "backwoods" stores. I wish. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif But anyway the book is very good, well worth the price (under $20.00 U.S.) and a must-have for the serious whisky fan.

I find he is accurate in palate, e.g., he says Seagram 7 Crown is not quite what it was - something I concluded recently before reading this book based on a comparative tasting. He is a big fan of Jim Beam Black, so am I. As for any book of this scope, I find I disagree with Murray sometimes but not too often. E.g., he names Stagg World Whisky of the Year for 2005. I admire the products of Sazerac Brands but have never quite discerned what people see in the brand. But 99% of the time Murray is spot-on with (for what it is worth) how I see things.

He loves what he does, clearly, and does it very well. I thought he is a Briton, and clearly he is based in England and has been for years, but he states (in the rye section) that he used to live and teach soccer in Maryland in the 1970's, so maybe he is an American by birth, I don't know.

A book not to miss.

Gary

Gillman
01-30-2005, 20:58
I hasten to add: Jim Murray does review Very Old Barton, at pg. 260. He gives it a high score and likens it to sweet green tea with a kick from the rye. He also likes Ridgemont Reserve a lot.

Gary

Hedmans Brorsa
01-31-2005, 04:43
I thought he is a Briton, and clearly he is based in England and has been for years, but he states (in the rye section) that he used to live and teach soccer in Maryland in the 1970's, so maybe he is an American by birth, I don't know.



Somehow I always took it for granted that he was English but I have to confess that I don´t have any biographical details to back it up.

I checked with the two most extensive online databases that I´m familiar with : Ebsco host and Biography resource center but there´s was nothing on him (a lot of stuff about an American sportswriter with that name, though.).

Consulting old classics like "The international who´s who" and "Who´s who in the world" yielded no results, either. A reminder, perhaps, that the whiskey world still can be considered an esoteric field.

My colleagues at the interloan section are professionals when it comes to reference questions like this. I´m tempted to engage them...

Hedmans Brorsa
01-31-2005, 04:45
On the other hand, people like Chuck who has actually met the guy, should be able to tell. If he´s a dyed-in-the-wool Englishman then the accent would give him away immediately.

bluesbassdad
01-31-2005, 10:33
. . .(a lot of stuff about an American sportswriter with that name [Jim Murray], though.).



This quote gives me a surge of nostalgia. Rather than hijack this thread, I will indulge myself in an Off-Topic post.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

cowdery
01-31-2005, 14:20
As nearly as I can tell he's English, but very soft-spoken so the accent is not obvious. I'm reluctant to draw conclusions like that based on so little evidence. Sorry.

Edward_call_me_Ed
03-19-2005, 08:23
Hello All,
I just ordered the 2005. I really enjoyed the 2004. Mostly, if he rates a whiskey in the upper 80's or higher I find that I enjoy it as well. I don't always agree with him when he says that whiskey A is better than whiskey B. All in all, it was very helpful to me. It was the Bible for a while, now it is more like the Apocrapha, authoritative, but not quite Holy Writ.
Ed

dhooch
04-28-2005, 20:25
That struck me as ODD, also, (to say the least). http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smiley_acbt.gif