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Sweetmeats
12-05-2007, 07:59
"When bourbon bides its time

RARE: In the past several years, Americans have caught up with international connoisseurs in appreciating our long-aged bourbons, whose delicacy and complexity compares with Scotch and Cognac.

Long-aged, the spirit becomes complex and nuanced. But it's as rare as it is exquisite. Snap it up now, while you still can."

http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-bourbon5dec05,1,3652932.story?coll=la-headlines-food

NorCalBoozer
12-05-2007, 09:18
on one hand i am very happy that American Bourbon is now getting it's due.

on the other hand I'm not happy because more customers means higher prices and tougher to find bottles.

oh well, at least i was able to bunker a decent amount in the last couple years.

cowdery
12-05-2007, 10:31
It's a good article, well-informed.

Solomon2
12-05-2007, 11:33
D--n! THe secret is out...I was going to pick up some BMH 21 from a store I knew was trying to get rid of it, now it's gonna be gone by the time I get there.

OscarV
12-06-2007, 07:47
That was the best bourbon article I have ever read from a newspaper.
It gave a very informative capsule of recent bourbon history.
Glad to see that older aged bourbon is going to be on short supply in the short run, even if that is for a few years.

cowdery
12-07-2007, 00:21
They may be a little too optomistic about the future. Long-aged bourbons probably will be a permanent part of the landscape, but we'll never again (or at least probably not in our lifetimes) experience another "golden age" of long-aged bourbons like the one the glut produced, the tail end of which we are living through now.

Virus_Of_Life
12-07-2007, 15:32
They may be a little too optomistic about the future. Long-aged bourbons probably will be a permanent part of the landscape, but we'll never again (or at least probably not in our lifetimes) experience another "golden age" of long-aged bourbons like the one the glut produced, the tail end of which we are living through now.

Chuck, you are really making me re-think a lot of things I have passed up on recently as I had pretty much decided to quit stock piling things unless they were super rare or limited. Now it sounds like older bourbons (and Rye), at a good price, are going to be super rare real soon. It would be real interesting to track the price of a few fairly common items over the next 5 - 10 years and see how the price increases. Something tells me a simple pleasure like Weller 12 year isn't going to be had in the low $20 range for long...

Looks like I might be driving to Kentucky again next weekend! ... And I had almost paid off those credit cards! :slappin:

Pharaoh
12-07-2007, 15:49
They may be a little too optomistic about the future. Long-aged bourbons probably will be a permanent part of the landscape, but we'll never again (or at least probably not in our lifetimes) experience another "golden age" of long-aged bourbons like the one the glut produced, the tail end of which we are living through now.I had signed on specifically to ask you (and others) what you felt the reason was so MUCH whiskey was made in the 80s. Glad to see you've already begun to waxing poetically before I could ask.:lol:

Was it really a complete buying collapse that left all that unused whiskey to age? Did they see something that wasn't there and run off tons more than was previously necessary? Particularly confusing is the amount of rye lying around. There didn't seem to be a market to match then and no sign of a grand future on the horizon, thus no real reason to make it. Was much of this whiskey hoped to be sold off to some foreign companies and perhaps become "Canadian" whisky or something else blended or what was the original plan in making what seems to mainly be the results of poorly predicted quantities?

cowdery
12-07-2007, 17:17
Let me tackle rye first. It may be an illusion that there is a large amount of rye around. Even right now, at this moment, rye is being talked about a lot more than it is being bought and drunk. That goes for very old ones as well as current production. If a couple of distilleries in the mid-80s made one day too much of rye (a day's production, depending on the distillery, is a couple hundred barrels), that could account for all of the old rye we've been seeing for the last decade or so. Down to cases, that actually appears to be what happened. For example, a lot of what is being sold today is from a single batch intended for the Cream of Kentucky brand.

To understand how the distilleries over-produced so much, you have to understand how out out-of-whack everything was after Prohibition, then WWII. After the war, demand was huge and the distilleries (because of the aging cycle) couldn't keep up with it. It was like that all through the fifties and sixties. People looked into their crystal balls and saw nothing but blue skies ahead. The dark clouds started to appear about 1972 but not everyone was willing to see them for what they were. Then it was like trying to stop an aircraft carrier. It took awhile for it to sink in and for people to realize they had too much whiskey. They kept expecting there to be a quick dip followed by a recovery and the recovery never happened. When a lot of the commodity producers simply collapsed, that bought time for everybody who remained. Only in the late 70s did the remaining producers start to drastically cut back on production. Things didn't get better so each year the shutdowns were longer, the layoffs were deeper.

It got better only because it basically hit bottom. Lots of people went out of business, producers consolidated. Then sales were flat for several years. Then the export thing started, some but not all of which was this very old whiskey that no one in America wanted but, lo and behold, the Japanese did. Export sales continued to grow, then only about ten years ago, super-premiums started to move the needle domestically and overall domestic sales began to grow.

I think it was in about 1995 that I noticed the amount of whiskey being entered annually was about the same as what was being dumped. For many years before that, more whiskey was dumped every year than was made, working through the glut. By about 1995, current production had normalized but the glut whiskey, too old to even be blended away in current production, was finding a market and working its way through the system.

Currently, the distiller-producers have identified the long aged bourbons they want to continue to offer, and they are planning accordingly, so things like Weller 12 and Elijah Craig 18 aren't going away. Whether or not BT will be able to continue the Antique Collection may be another question. And we already know that many of the products from non-distiller producers are either going or gone.

squire
12-08-2007, 14:27
Ah yes, i remember when a friend switched from 10 yr old Charter to no age statement Kentucky Tavern which cost a fraction of the former and was really very good stuff because of the aged whiskeys used in its makeup.

Squire