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cas
11-28-2007, 17:49
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/28/dining/28bour.html

Craig

polyamnesia
11-28-2007, 17:59
interesting, but seems less informative than it is at attempted entertainment...

i didn't like the way he continued the stereotyping of bourbon drinkers (as if that was possible) while acting like the stereotype was soon to vanish. not after this article.

not bad. but Wild Turkey didn't make their 'cut' ???:rolleyes:

ILLfarmboy
11-28-2007, 19:23
The article states: Bourbon is also not corn whiskey, which by law cannot be stored in charred oak containers. A whiskey can be distilled 100 percent from corn, but if it so much as kisses those charred oak containers it becomes bourbon.

Shouldn't that read: NEW CHARRED OAK CONTAINERS?

As far as the stereotype, what do you expect? Its the NY Times.

barturtle
11-28-2007, 21:06
Gee all I wanted to do was play "Name That Bottle" with their picture...sadly I lost, as I couldn't place them all.

MikeDS
11-29-2007, 06:51
Heh, I came here to post that article. Quite a nod to Knob Creek. I guess any perceived positive press is better than none?

Gillman
11-29-2007, 07:35
I find it of note that the New York Times is devoting so much coverage recently to bourbon and craft distilled spirits. This is a good article and will continue the trend of establishing bourbon - or re-establishing it - as one of the world's great spirits in what might be termed the official food and wine culture. I did wonder about or disagree with a couple of comments in the article: I was puzzled by the suggestion for example that the current spate of quality brands seems different, e.g., less corn-oriented, than in times past. My own tastings of bourbon from past decades suggests the palate of bourbon has remained the same overall. If anything some products of a generation ago achieved a smoothness and range of flavors not obtainable today (e.g., the output of the S-W still, the National Distillers Old Grand-dad and Old Taylor).

I think the reality is that the greatness of bourbon was overlooked in the broader culture: it was assumed something home-grown could not be world class. This is a common attitude found in many countries about their national produce: real ale was viewed without special interest in the U.K. even though it ranks with the greatest Chateau wines (IMO) for interest and complexity of flavor. The French were different about their great drinks, they boosted them and (quite properly) convinced themselves and the world of their greatness. But the French have always been different in this regard, they have a particular interest and indeed passion for "la table" (food and wine in general) which makes them view these things in a different light. This attitude has now transplanted to major urban centres such as New York and to sub-cultures around the world who know when they have something good: a recent example in Canada is the craze for ice wine which has established a niche in high end wine markets around the world.

But anyway all this coverage is only to the good.

Gary

NickAtMartinis
11-29-2007, 11:11
Heh, I came here to post that article. Quite a nod to Knob Creek. I guess any perceived positive press is better than none?


On the other end of the spectrum, the author made it a point to go out of his way to stomp on Maker's Mark, remarking, "it didn't even come close [to making the cut]."

Kendall
11-29-2007, 17:42
I was not impressed with the article. Just because you can drink
bourbon and write about it does not mean you know what you are talking about. If you like the taste, why worry what anyone else thinks. Maybe that is why there are so many choices. Makers Mark is very good for the money. Corner Creek is, by far, my least favorite choice of bottles. i currently have 30 botles in a fast growing collection.

gr8erdane
11-29-2007, 20:24
Actually I was pretty impressed by the article in that the panel was definitely not bourbon drinkers and their palettes differed in much the way bourbon drinkers like us differ in our opinions. How many articles have you read where they only discuss the findings of the panel as a whole ignoring personal observations? Bottom line is that it was very positive for our favorite beverage.

Kendall, obviously from your post and avatar you are a Maker's Mark enthusiast. I like it but disagree it's good for the money as I feel it's overpriced for what it is. That's my opinion. I think more than stomping on the brand they are making reference to the fact that it's probably the most advertised and recognizable brand name out there other than maybe Beam and saying that just because it's well marketed doesn't make it superior. And as far as WT is concerned, it was probably the regular 101 they tasted and not one of the premium bottlings like Kentucky Spirit or RB. And the average non-bourbon drinker is used to 80 proof liquors so the 101 proof to them was probably over the top. Obviously we would disagree.

Bottom line is that they made an effort and because they are not as well endowed in bourbon lore as we are they probably had little to go on when selecting their tasting lineup. Having a spirits sommelier as part of the group should have helped but even he would tend to have a little knowledge on every spirit and may have been limited in his bourbon knowledge. You can't know everything about everything.

Hedmans Brorsa
11-30-2007, 03:12
Actually I was pretty impressed by the article in that the panel was definitely not bourbon drinkers and their palettes differed in much the way bourbon drinkers like us differ in our opinions. How many articles have you read where they only discuss the findings of the panel as a whole ignoring personal observations? Bottom line is that it was very positive for our favorite beverage.

Good point!

I thougth the article was excellent, taking into consideration that it was written from an outsider´s view. The writer appeared to have done his homework, seeing as he was aware of, for instance, the pecularities of Virginia Gentleman.

The only thing I was a bit unsure about, was the comment that corn whiskey became bourbon as soon as it "kissed" new barrels. I thought corn whiskey could be aged both in new and used "containers".

craigthom
11-30-2007, 04:13
Corn whiskey can be aged in used or uncharred new barrels. Charred new barrels makes it bourbon.

squire
11-30-2007, 21:53
I picked up a tidbit from my wine tasting friends regarding a spirit tasting they attended. The winner in the Bourbon category was Makers Mark because, as it was explained to me, the wine aficianados didn't really care for spirits and Makers won because it was the least offensive. Thats to say it tasted best because it tasted least.

Regards,
Squire

TNbourbon
11-30-2007, 22:07
Funny, though, that while aware of the 'peculiarities' of Virginia Gentleman, the author seemingly is not aware that Michter's has been closed for two decades, and that the label is used by a NY-based company, Chatham Imports, using whiskey distilled in Kentucky. The claim that current Michter's is disitlled in PA is an outright falsehood -- and has no legitimate place is a news story, feature or otherwise.
We call that 'sloppy' reporting.

ILLfarmboy
12-01-2007, 07:59
I picked up a tidbit from my wine tasting friends regarding a spirit tasting they attended. The winner in the Bourbon category was Makers Mark because, as it was explained to me, the wine aficianados didn't really care for spirits and Makers won because it was the least offensive. Thats to say it tasted best because it tasted least.

Regards,
Squire

I wonder what those wine aficionados would think if a bunch of non wine drinkers pronounced Arbor Mist 'the best' because it tasted the least like wine?

All of this begs the question; why would folks who don't like spirits attend a spirit tasting? I can understand if it was to broaden their horizons. But they might have been honest about it and gave their rating with the caveat that because of their inexperience or general distaste for spirits they really aren't qualified to judge one whiskey from another. Then again perhaps this is just what happened.

Joeluka
12-01-2007, 08:09
I wonder what those wine aficionados would think if a bunch of non wine drinkers pronounced Arbor Mist 'the best' because it tasted the least like wine?



Probably the same thing you said. Who the hell cares what a bunch of Bourbon drinkers think is good wine!!!!!

whiskeyhatch
12-01-2007, 08:22
Funny, though, that while aware of the 'peculiarities' of Virginia Gentleman, the author seemingly is not aware that Michter's has been closed for two decades, and that the label is used by a NY-based company, Chatham Imports, using whiskey distilled in Kentucky. The claim that current Michter's is disitlled in PA is an outright falsehood -- and has no legitimate place is a news story, feature or otherwise.
We call that 'sloppy' reporting.

Are we reading the same article? The author clearly states that the A. H. Hirsch 16 yo "was among the last batches of whiskey distilled at Michter's Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pa., which closed in 1989. The name Michter's lives on as a brand, but is distilled in Kentucky." While not providing precise details, I think he covered this important note within reason. Did I miss something?

squire
12-01-2007, 08:50
Hi Brad, they attended because they were invited. Actually the tasting was a prelude to dinner with wine which followed. I've hosted a number of wine tastings myself (wasn't at this one) and will sometimes use a vertical sampling of something stronger (port, cognac or the like) to add dimension to the evening.
Regards,
Squire

craigthom
12-01-2007, 13:04
I had a tasting over the holidays with my brothers, my sister in law, her brother, and his wife. Mostly because, thanks to you guys, my rate of purchase is far exceeding my rate of consumption, and I had to do something to cut down on the quantities.

We did a flight of wheaters first, with Weller Antique 107 (a couple of the nine year old single barrels), OF BIB, Maker's, Lot B, and WLW '07, and the Maker's was the favorite of the majority. Part of that was probably proof, but I think the "unoffensiveness" was the biggest factor. That's exactly what they are trying to do.

(After we got to the rest the "I'm going to buy some of that!" choices were the Stagg '07, ND OGD BIB, and Rittenhouse BIB. As it should be.)

barturtle
12-01-2007, 13:08
Mostly because, thanks to you guys, my rate of purchase is far exceeding my rate of consumption,

You're welcome:cool:

craigthom
12-01-2007, 13:14
I'm working on it (right now, in fact, and next week looks to be fairly bourbony), but I think I just need to quit buying so much.Now that I think about it, the Maker's may also have done well because those six were our first straight whiskeys of the days, and I doubt many of the crowd were used to that. By the time we got to the ryes everyone had gotten used to the base taste and were ready to find nuances. And ready to take a nap.

gr8erdane
12-01-2007, 23:53
My vote is for Mogen David 20/20. It has a consistency that doesn't matter which direction it's going in your gullet.

squire
12-02-2007, 00:13
Good one Dane and good luck in your 'dusty' hunting. Last time I was in Denver was a decade ago and didn't find much in the way of Bourbon in the several stores where I looked, did find some great beers though.
Regards,
Squire

Hedmans Brorsa
12-02-2007, 03:51
I find it hard to believe that wine aficionados, if these people really fit that description, would have such limited scope. This is not the impression I´ve gotten from experienced wine tasters.

Sweden´s No. 1 wine expert, Bengt-Göran Kronstam (who has won many international prizes) loves whisk(e)y. He even did an excellent write-up of Buffalo Trace in Sweden´s biggest morning paper, a couple of years ago.

Let´s face it. MM tends to receive high accolades from people without preconceived notions (The NY Times team were an exception, though). Also, it always gets high scores from notable writers like Jim Murray and Michael Jackson.

MM is nowhere near my top 5 (although my latest bottle saw a dramatic increase in quality) but it is simply not as bad as so many here wants it to be. I am unable to pinpoint the problem, however. Peer pressure, perhaps? High visibility?

squire
12-02-2007, 09:38
Hedmans I'm not talking about professionals, the people in my anecdote are my friends and neighbors. Neither are they dummies, quite the opposite in fact, as they are all well educated professionals. I would not presume to criticize them personally just because they don't share my interests in distilled spirits. We who consume whiskey straight and then discuss and write about it are very much in the minority of consumers in general.

The point of my story is that these are precisely the affluent sort that Makers has targeted by providing a Bourbon that doesn't challenge the palate and arrives in a classy package. I'll give you an example, last Christmas a friend of mine who drinks only single malts brought me a bottle of Makers as a gift. He knew I liked Bourbon so he picked out what he perceived to be the best. A fellow who can afford anything in the market bought into the illusion created by Makers marketing because he simply doesn't think about Bourbon and so follows the common perception. This also put me in an uncomfortable position because I could not correct his perception without also criticizing his gift.

That and Makers pricing itself as the best when in fact it isn't is my gripe.

Regards,
Squire

polyamnesia
12-02-2007, 09:58
good point, squire.

i actually don't think MM is terrible at all. i'd love a free bottle myself! but i do wonder, is MM really all about making great bourbon? or are they really comfortable with selling decent stuff that does allow others to continue to pull the wool over their own eyes...those bottles ARE attractive.

i would hope every bourbon maker would be going for quality. but then, i do slip into mega-naivete at times...:rolleyes:

anyways, the article is good for bourbon in general.

i still, though, read it as being more entertaining (and poor at that) than informative (average at that).

Hedmans Brorsa
12-02-2007, 14:34
Hedmans I'm not talking about professionals, the people in my anecdote are my friends and neighbors.

Thanks for pointing that out. Reading between the lines I suspected as much. Hope you didn´t read it as a put down of your friends.

Of course, I never see all these marketing gimmicks over here. In Sweden MM is just another bourbon. Even less so, considering that it is only available as a special order item and thus never seen on the shelves.

Unlike many people here, I seem to be born with a sort of non-disliking tasting gene, since I have yet to try a bourbon that I dislike. Mind you, all these budget offerings from Barton are not available to me. :)

gr8erdane
12-02-2007, 15:25
Actually, I believe that MM is making exactly the product they want to and good for them. The present marketing and merchandising came after they were an established brand. I don't remember ever reading that anyone hated the product, just that many of us feel it's overpriced for what it is. Who knows, if not for the cost of marketing that they do so well with, the price might be more on line for those of us who think they mark it up too high. I might have actually opened the only only bottle I've ever bought (on sale) and ENJOYED it. As it is, I'm a bullheaded old fart who refuses to open it because I said I wouldn't one time.

Of course I would open it at the request of a guest though.

squire
12-02-2007, 17:47
Hedmans thats interesting. I didn't know Makers was special order in your area. Does that make it more desirable to your fellow Bourbon drinkers?
Regards,
Squire

smokinjoe
12-02-2007, 17:49
Repeat three times...Maker's Mark makes everything they sell, and they sell everything they make. Maker's Mark makes everything they sell, and they sell everything they make. Maker's Mark makes everything they sell, and they sell everything they make.

:toast:, to them.

JOE

squire
12-02-2007, 18:30
Dane is right to point out there is substance behind the style. I was introduced to Makers at a tasting hosted by Bill Samuels Jr. back in the 70s. Based on that meeting I used and gave as gifts Makers almost exclusively for the next 15 years. I even clipped out the famous front page article in the Wall Street Journal. It was a chance meeting with Mike Veach while visiting the Getz in the early 90s that opened up to me the broader world of Bourbon.

Regards,
Squire

Hedmans Brorsa
12-03-2007, 05:59
I didn't know Makers was special order in your area. Does that make it more desirable to your fellow Bourbon drinkers?
Regards,
Squire

Well, it might. Anything that´s obscure has a potential for being "exotic". On the other hand, bourbon is not a big issue in Sweden. I think the interest for it has risen marginally during the last five years or so but that doesn´t really amount to much.

Looking at the five different shelves for whisky at my local liquor store, American whiskey takes up the smallest space.

The order would be:

1) Single malt Scotch
1) Blended Scotch
3) Canadian whisky
4) Irish whiskey
5) American whiskey.

cowdery
12-04-2007, 17:36
That Canadian whisky outranks both Irish and American is surprising. I know we've talked about it before, but it does seem odd, and little Canadian whiskey is sold outside of North America.

Hedmans Brorsa
12-05-2007, 10:08
That Canadian whisky outranks both Irish and American is surprising. I know we've talked about it before, but it does seem odd, and little Canadian whiskey is sold outside of North America.

Please note that this is based on the size of the shelves at my local liquor store. Then again, I think it is pretty representative, all the same.

Canadian whisky has, if not always, then at least for a very long time, been a big seller in Fennoscandia. And, as I´ve written before, despite the fact that it (probably) outsells both American and Irish, it is on the decrease due to changing drinking habits.