View Full Version : Old Quaker Bourbon
Just wanted to post a heads up for this bourbon. It was the first bottle I acquired on getting to California months ago and since I'm leaving this weekend I thought it would be appropriate to open it up and give it a try before leaving.
At four years old and 80 proof, I was very reserved in my expectations which were blown away by the actual product. Now this was a pre-metric pint that I imagine dates from the late 60's or early 70's, but it was amazingly rich and full flavored for an 80 proof bottle. There was a very nice balance between the corn sweetness and the wood smokiness. It was also very smooth and not overly "kicky" for a young whiskey. I shared it with my co-workers and everyone was impressed by it.
My girlfriend found the nose very fruitcake-like. It compared very favorably to the current JB Black. I encourage anyone finding old bottles of this whiskey to grab them and give it a try.
I don't know if they were barreling it at lower proofs, or letting it sit longer than four years, or not filtering as much flavor out of it, or what. But like I said, I didn't expect it to come up with as much flavor as it did.
I thought that was the only Old Quaker I had managed to find, but then I remembered that I have a quart of the six year boxed up somewhere. So now I have something to look forward to, as well as something to keep searching for.
In a recent conversation with some distillers, the subject came up (not of Old Quaker, but of how American straight whiskey was made several decades ago). They said proposals to make a low distillation proof, low entry proof whiskey are floated from time to time but are always nixed by the bean counters. The 1950s Old Forester I tasted week before last was distilled 1948-1954 and came off the still at a little over 100 proof and went into the barrel the same way.
They said proposals to make a low distillation proof, low entry proof whiskey are floated from time to time but are always nixed by the bean counters.
Screw the bean counters. :smiley_acbt: :hot:
It was the first time I heard that word, ever. You learn something new every day.
Exposure to that expression is apparently more a function of environment than time. I first heard it in 1974 at Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, California, USA. It was directed at me.
I recall the year because that's when I switched from being a field engineer to doing program planning and control for the development of specialized test equipment to support our mainline products. Part of that job involved setting down detailed task schedules and then monitoring actual accomplisments. The engineers I worked with came to appreciate the assistance I, an engineer myself, was able to provide in breaking down complex tasks.
The other part consisted of planning the manpower and labor costs, and then monitoring the actual expenditures and preparing variance reports. It was that part of the process that evoked the appellation, "bean counter". At first I resented the obvious intent to trivialize a function that was necessary to the success of the business. Eventually I came to hold it as a reminder that cost/schedule control is a function that must be applied at just the right level of detail if it is to realize its goal. A practitioner who attempts to establish more control than is cost-effective deserves to be called "bean counter."
I don't know enough about the whiskey business to understand the management process. I just hope that the so-called "bean counters" in that industry take a sufficiently long-term view. For example, if the folks in charge of Wild Turkey revamped Russell's Reserve as part of a plan to ensure the long-term profitability/survival of the enterprise, then I'm all for it. If it was done to increase profits in the next reporting period without regard for the long-term effect, then a term even more disdainful than "bean counters" is appropriate.
To my knowledge the term means an accountant and by extension, people who work with figures and profitability issues. Initially the reference was humorous, I would think; later it became somewhat derogatory but in a funny way. The term ambulance chaser for a lawyer had a similar origin, I would guess.
I'm a bean counter by trade, but also a homebrewer and bourbon-lover, and I say screw the bean counters ( Yeah, that's what I said Pamela, screw the bean counters, heh, heh, heh,,,)
I tell ya, I don't get no respect....even from myself!
There is pressure in all business at all times to cut costs and improve return on equity, and also though to innovate technically, which means quality can sometimes be maintained at a lower cost. Distilleries are no different. Really I think it depends on the business model of each one. Each one has to decide what its quality profile is for its products. There will be some variation in that which gives room to manoeuvre. E.g., the age of the whiskeys in a brand can sometimes be reduced safely. The bean counters will always do their job and that is normal for all businesses (and we can't run business without them, as the lawyers). But it is the job of the QC department and other management who work on the brand profiles to ensure a certain quality. Sometimes I think they get too far removed from the product, and probably big companies are more liable to it than smaller although smaller companies often face different pressures which can lead to product changes too. I think by and large in the bourbon industry, the surviving companies have, each in their own way, kept the product fairly integral. I think there are two reasons for this, first, the regional nature of the industry (hence a certain pride and competitiveness which keeps the products good or at least ensures some good ones are in the range), and second, the fact that bourbon is regulated in its production which ensures a certain minimum quality.
Randy, good to hear you are a homebrewer in addition to your interest in bourbon. A number of us here are interested in beer and some (not me) brew at home and very well, as I can attest.
There's some good beer threads in the "non-whiskey alcohol" forum on the board, or you can create a new one. Of course sometimes beer intersects with whiskey, as e.g., the area of stouts aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Sometimes we just talk beer on its own.
What styles of beer do you like to brew, or buy in the market? I am a fan of porters and stouts and also Goldings and other English-hopped pale ales.
Exposure to that expression is apparently more a function of environment than time.
You´re probably right about this, Dave. My english comes first and foremost from fiction, rock magazines and history books, where I gather that an expression like 'bean counter' are unlikely to figure to a great extent. I also doubled by the confusion by at first reading counter as in 'over the counter' (i.e. a counter full of beans).
Thanks for exemplifying in such an extensive manner!
"Extensive" is my middle name! :grin:
As further proof I submit the following. The word "counter" has many other common usages, as well. I started to enumerate a few of them, but I changed my mind after I consulted this link (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&defl=en&q=define:counter&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title), which contains several meanings that are new to me.
I can think of other compound words (of the same form as "counterpunch") not listed there. "Countermarch" is a maneuver (different from "to the rear, march") whereby a formation of marchers reverses the direction of march. "Countermand" is the action of revoking a previous instruction or order. "Counteract" is the action of resisting or neutralizing some other action, as in "the anti-venom immediately began to counteract the effect of the snake's bite."
I am so glad that I was never faced with the chore of learning English as second language.
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