View Full Version : Pax Bourbona
<html>With such tasty, excellent relative newcomers around like Woodford Reserve, Russell's Reserve, EWSB, Jack Daniel's SB (I know, not bourbon), Knob Creek and so many others, we must truly be in the Golden Age of bourbon. Do we owe it to technological advances in the industry, the overall increase in family wealth over the past two decades, the way single malt whisky (scotch) took off in the 80's? Was it all of the above or something else? Or perhaps Prohibition and the few decades that followed were a bump in the road, a Dark Ages in Bourbonia.
If we are in Pax Bourbona, are there any barbarians approaching the gates? Will flatlining cash cow table whiskey sales undermine a distillery's profitablility to the point where they can't stay in business or will the surge in superpremiums be able to hold them up? Will the barbarian hordes from the north (e.g. Diageo) continue to snatch up and decimate other venerable brands?
Whatever the case is, these times are truly sweet for the bourbon lover.
Nunc est bibendum.
John, that is a thought-provoking post. I can't answer any of your questions, while I do agree that there are more wonderful bourbons available right now than any time I can remember (and, my bourbon memory goes back to the mid-sixties).
I will offer a few observations, though. I can't remember drinking anything I would call "super premium" until around 1976, when a friend was buying Glenfiddich and Glenlivet scotches. I was, at the time, blown away that anyone other than the super-rich would spend $35 for a bottle of whiskey. But, they were exceptionally smooth and tasty.
Of course, a great part of my partaking in the current splendid bourbon offerings is that I am now wealthier than I could ever imagine back in 1976. But, I still have a hard time spending more than $35 for a bottle of whiskey. Witness my recent postings where I pined all fall about buying a $45 bottle of Blanton's, finally breaking down and doing it "for Christmas".
Back in 1990, I did splurge and spent about $80 each on a bottle of Remy-Martin XO cognac and another of 150th Anniversary Grand Marnier (I still have at least half of each bottle). But, I was out of the country and these prices were MUCH lower than I could get them at home. Also, I had no children at the time, while I now have two in private school.
I think expensive gin is just crazy, but there certainly seems to be a market for it. And expensive vodka is completely absurd. Again, there seems to be a huge market.
Hell, I would think that just between the 250 or so of us here at straightbourbon.com, we would be raising the level of bourbon sales. I feel like I'm holding up my end.
Finally, I have received many positive comments from friends far and wide when I mention that my new hobby is "tasting bourbons".
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by ratcheer on Sun Jan 13 18:11:15 2002 (server time).</FONT></P>
JR I have to agree with you that we are in what you call "Pax Bourbona". The superpremium brands is where the real profit lays for distillers.It's also the best bourbon I've ever tasted.Somewhere there is a thread that Chuck Cowdery started on "The Golden Age of Bourbon" that would be worth a review. The topic is a good one and with many new forum members it appears to me that many of them are here due to the renewed interst in bourbon as a result of those very same superpremium brands.
Prohibition; the Depression, and World War Two all hurt the bourbon industry. The men that distil bourbon are a tenacious lot and those that overcame that adversity are now providing the world with the best tasting whiskey of our lifetime.
Have Shotglass. Will Travel.
My theory, expressed at length in a recent Bourbon Country Reader article, is that the bourbon industry has only recently (the last decade or so) achieved a kind of stability where the business is actually profitable and sustainable. This is the first time in the last 100 years when that really could be said. That's the gist of it.
<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>
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