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Sycamore Tree
12-23-2007, 18:25
Okay, I will throw this out pretty much knowing that I will be ruffling feathers (due to cognitive dissonance). First off I have a Masters Degree in Marketing/Advertising. So I have some credentials. Second, I defintely love Bourbon. Okay here goes. Fact #1-The best way to improve a brands image is come up with a gimmick and raise the price. The gimmick could be a fancy schmancy bottle and a different story (Glacier water, Single barrel, Distilled 6 times, Selected barrels, age etc...). you've got to have a story.
A long time ago a local "rot gut beer in Texas sold for $1.50a six. Then a slick firm took it over and raised the price to $7 a six and changed the name, and the label from Shiner Premium to Shiner Blonde. Same product different marketing. NOe the Yuppies drink it in mass. Let's look at Vodka. The frosted bottle has done a lot. It made Grey Goose, Chopin, Absolut and Belvedere become succesful overnight.
In a blind taste test-Old Milwaukee beat out the all the other Domestic beers.

People are programmed to believe that more expensive is better. I am the same way. Let's take Rowan's Creek. A relatively new Bourbon priced fairly steep. It has a hand scrawled label-(which denotes, small hand crafted, little and selct) Now Imagine they introduced it at $7 a bottle. Wouldn't you have a negative conontation of it being young and rushed and simple, with limited complexity. Now imagine it was priced at $70 a bottle. Now I believe your mind would be receptive to a deep, complex, taste with a multitude of flavors. We are predisoposed by name, story, bottle and price. I have actually read tasting notes from people obviously biased by its name...Bulleit-Rawhide leather, Sam Houston-hot, wildly spirited perfect for a texas Bar-b-que.

I mean if you like Bourbon, really like bourbon, you are gonna like every major brand out there for the most part. Yes bourbons do taste somewhat different. But many here dislike JB White, but love Bakers-including me. Why? Because my mind can't except the fact that $30 bourbon is the same as $10 bourbon.

Give me a bottle of Ezra Brooks-Let me name it Braxton Bragg Limited Preserve. Braxton Bragg demanded a whiskey that was cut from a specific mixture of grains, he was the ultimate whiskey connieuseur, We only make 1 barrel a year with this mixture"I'll put it in the most ornate bottle you ever saw and number them 1-100 and price it at $120. And I can guarnatee that the tasting notes and the perception of this bourbon would be different then Ezra Brooks. Why?
That is how our mind's decision making process works. We are set up to simplify the complex. Pricier is better, Cheaper denotes lack of care. slick label-better, fancy bottle-better.

Look for a brand that comes out fairly soon in a actually tree bark bottle.....

I mean we are talking about a simple process. 3-4 grains in a oak barrel.

Thus, I believe the most advanced tasters should be able to tell us which of the expensive bourbons are frauds and which of the cheaper whiskeys are as good and better than the most expensive whiskeys. The distillers will never tell you that it's all good-you've got to talk the big marketing firms that own the brands.


On a closing note...I own some expensive bottles of whiskey. Why? To impress my friends and to sometimes celebrate with excess and waste-knowing deep down it really ain't any better.

Sound off.

CrispyCritter
12-23-2007, 19:14
As a counterpoint, some whiskies have limited supplies - and as the whisky ages, it gets more expensive. Not only do we have to contend with the angels' share, but the warehouse space taken by a Sazerac 18 barrel could have yielded many times as much standard Ancient Age - and the mass-produced products are the distilleries' real bread-and-butter, in spite of enthusiasts like us. A mass-market bourbon like JBW is made by the truckload, while something like Sazerac 18 comes from precious few barrels.

IMO, $50-$60 is a fair price for Saz 18 - but I wouldn't consider paying $130+ for Rittenhouse 21, even if others might. There is a difference between Saz 18 and the ~6yo Sazerac, and I love them both. However, even though I consider the 18yo to be a better product, the Jr. is a much better choice for an everyday rye.

The beauty of a site like this is that we can compare notes, pick apart the marketing, and find products that offer good value - whether it's a "bang for the buck" daily pour like Weller 7 or Rittenhouse BIB, or a special treat like a Stagg or a VWFRR.

TNbourbon
12-23-2007, 19:24
...Thus, I believe the most advanced tasters should be able to tell us which of the expensive bourbons are frauds and which of the cheaper whiskeys are as good and better than the most expensive whiskeys. The distillers will never tell you that it's all good-you've got to talk the big marketing firms that own the brands...
Well, you've come to the right place, because this is where those tasters have been telling tales. We know here that Jefferson's Reserve (whether 15yo or not) is overpriced, and that Rittenhouse BIB rye is about the best value in whiskey.
But, the other side of the coin is, we're also the folk who overpay for ordinary whiskeys in order to taste them and proclaim -- or disclaim -- them. It's a dirty job, but...well, you know.
Want to know who wrote the book on American whiskey? He's here -- a lot (thankfully). Want a moderator who has (almost) whiskey literally part of his blood? Welcome to StraightBourbon.com. Want the resident (though not of the U.S.!) historian of whiskey tastes and procedures, who was -- or will be -- in another life, a bourbon distiller? He's here, too.
In short, you're preaching to the choir here. But, oh, what a Heavenly air!:bowdown: :pope:

Rughi
12-24-2007, 07:47
...But, the other side of the coin is, we're also the folk who overpay for ordinary whiskeys in order to taste them and proclaim -- or disclaim -- them. It's a dirty job, but...well, you know...

The prime motivation for many here is to taste the full gamut of tastes that bourbon can provide;at it's most cynical for Mad Men (which is an excellent tv series, by the way), novelty is the prime motivator.

I have bought one (or two or three) of every expression of BIB Heaven Hill whiskey I've seen (which is only about 5 for me, so far). I like the juice and am interested to see if there is much profile difference between the brands, between ages, between distilleries, etc. There is _no way_ HH could sell me a dozen bottles of one streamlined BIB that boasted every bottle was all the same, but the promise that each one might be selected differently might easily sell me a dozen bottles - and some of them will go for a higher price than the standard, too.

Price is really a buy/don't buy proposition; you either walk out of the store with it or you don't. It takes more profiles (or the believable promise of more profiles) in the form of new products, single barrels, special vattings, periodic runs, "vintages", etc. to increase sales to someone whose bunker is already more impressive than the liquor store's selection.

Roger

Tracy Hightower
01-02-2008, 03:47
Sycamore Tree,

I totally understand what you mean regarding marketing. Having been born and raised about 90 miles east of your location another good example of a poor quality product that marketers turned into a world renowned name was/is Lone Star Beer. It sucked growing up when it was all I could afford and I am sure it still sucks but it is after all the National beer of Texas.

As a relatively new member here myself I doubt very seriously that you ruffled any feathers except mine and if you did most of these guys would be too polite to tell you. I am more of a collector than a drinker and when I want an opinion as to something that will have a future value, I ask the people here. If I want something to drink, I ask the people here or I just read as I have found that most of my questions have already been answered before I ever thought to ask them.

I have come to admire and respect the opinions and great subject matter knowledge of many people here including the three that responded to your post and I have found that no amount of marketing genius or flat out bullshit will get past these guys. They know what they are talking about, they know what they like and they know what they do not like and they ALWAYS know when they are being bullshitted by a marketing campaign.

I agree with your point about how the mind works and Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance is definitely a marketers dream. I know a little about cognitive dissonance and under extreme stress that theory goes to hell and in my line of work it is in the aftermath of a stressful life-changing event that it comes into play. However, as you said, we are "programmed" that expensive is better and we are predisposed to name, story, price and bottle but not because of any hardwiring in the brain like cognitive dissonance but because of constant bombardment by marketers and the shortcomings of those that are willing to let others tell them what they should think or like and marketers use that hard wiring in the brain to create a dissonance of cognition. A few short months ago I admit that when it comes to Bourbon I too would fall under the marketers spell of expensive is better but I now have these guys to keep me in line. They have and are continuing to educate me.

I too have read tasting notes in publications that do show a bias however there are other factors at work there. It is usually the relationship between a publisher, his or her staff, advertisers, marketers and market share or subscriptions to said publication. It is a symbiotic relationship where one hand washes the other for the benefit of the publishers, staff, marketers and advertisers and not necessarily for benefit of the consumer. You will find none of that here. An example is your Ezra Brooks/Braxton Bragg example. I agree that the tasting notes and perceptions of this Bourbon would be different. Anywhere but here. We are as you stated set up to simplify the complex or to eliminate the dissonant cognitions but it is usually the marketers that create that complexity or dissonance to take advantage of the way our minds work, not the other way around.

I also agree that if you like Bourbon, really like Bourbon that you will like every major brand out there for the most part. IF, your audience were those "Yuppies that buy it in mass" or Texas. But your audience is Straight Bourbon dot com which consists of primarily a group of people who love Bourbon and do not let a marketing agency or a distiller tell them what they like and price and packaging have nothing to do with what they purchase. It is strictly about the content. Regardless of how the mind works you will not put any $7 Bourbon in a $70 package and get by these guys (and gals btw). Their tasting notes are not influenced by anything but their tastes and I have seen a few here take a distiller or two to task a few times.

Me, I am still getting my education. In blind taste or nose tests I can tell Bourbon from a Scotch but not Bourbon from Bourbon. I cannot as yet pick out the subtle differences in taste or aroma but that comes from experience and that is why I am here because when it comes to Bourbon there is a wealth of knowledge and experience here like no other. I hope to one day have the knowledge and experience that exists here.

To the yuppies who buy Bourbon or other items "en mass" the marketers tell them what they like and the yuppies listen. The ladies and gentlemen here however tell the marketers and distillers what they like and the marketers and distillers listen.

You might think from my comments that I do not like marketers or marketing. I understand that it is necessary as I am one of the owners and founders and sit on the board of 2 corporations. We have been marketing our companies ourselves for years and do not underestimate or put ourselves above our customers. We check our ego at the door and quite often use self-depreciating humor successfully and we never bullshit our customers. We do not assume our customers are stupid and not that you do but as was stated you are preaching to the choir here and it is one hell of an educated choir who I am proud to be a member in waiting.

Welcome to StraightBourbon.com

pepcycle
01-02-2008, 06:50
All that marketing BS aside. Expensive is better is the crutch of the lazy.

There is no substitute for sampling many and preferring a few.

Again, the new crutch of the lazy is the internet.

What's the best whiskey? Google It!!!!

He who controls the search engine, sells products.

If you don't know about something, use someone else's opinion.

Not Here, and not for me.

I use tasting notes like movie reviews. Gets me in the ballpark. I prefer my own impressions to anyone else's and recognize the bias of certain tasters.


You ruffled my feathers by implying that free will and indepent thought are non-existent.

Ya, I wanna try a whiskey that costs $100 a bottle to find out what makes it tick.
I wanna taste $8/bottle whiskey too for the same reason.

Marketing can sell someone the first bottle, but its up to the buyer to make the choice the second time. If the label, story, price are better than the value, then shame on him.

I'll buy Barton's 100, 6 YO before I even consider Batch 1 of Woodford Four Grain.

Gillman
01-02-2008, 09:15
I can only speak for myself but I buy - or more accurately, repeat purchase - based on my own assessment of the product. I first read of Rittenhouse rye in Jackson's 1987 whisky book (World Guide To Whisky). I bought it and enjoyed it and its heritage - the low price was just a bonus. I was one of the first to mention the brand here and boost it. I think Baker's isn't worth the price charged (of course some disagree). It's a good whiskey but not a great one IMO although it is clearly better than JB White: first, it's higher proof; second, it has a finer taste. I agree it is similar in style.

I have no qualifications in advertising and cannot speak to the coginitive effect of a nice package and fancy name: I am sure I've bought stuff based on that but (here's the point): once burned twice shy.

Gary

ILLfarmboy
01-02-2008, 11:02
....
Marketing can sell someone the first bottle, but its up to the buyer to make the choice the second time. If the label, story, price are better than the value, then shame on him.


Absolutely!

I have purchased exactly one bottle of OF Birthday bourbon (blue neck foil and neck tag), one bottle of Blanton's and one bottle of Baker's and a whole host of scotches precisely because, regardless of price or marketing hype, they didn't live up to my expectations.

Virus_Of_Life
01-02-2008, 15:45
I don't think I even understand the point of the original post. Was it just simply to say that we'll pay more for something because of marketing, if so and as I believe was already well pointed out, you couldn't be more wrong with this group of people. Sure to some extent you get what you pay for, but a perfect example is Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Many here would take the 15 over the 20 year, doesn't mean either is "better" just preferred and as others can explain better than I it costs more to put out a 20 year old bourbon than a 15 year old.

Not knocking your credentials, but I'd expect someone with a masters degree to show better use of the language and know the difference between except and accept.

craigthom
01-02-2008, 17:25
I have bought one (or two or three) of every expression of BIB Heaven Hill whiskey I've seen (which is only about 5 for me, so far). I like the juice and am interested to see if there is much profile difference between the brands, between ages, between distilleries, etc. There is _no way_ HH could sell me a dozen bottles of one streamlined BIB that boasted every bottle was all the same, but the promise that each one might be selected differently might easily sell me a dozen bottles - and some of them will go for a higher price than the standard, too.

Speaking of which, there's a green labeled Evan Williams BIB sold only in Georgia. I'll be down there week after next. Want a bottle of that to add to the collection? Fifths run about $11-$12, but there are smaller bottles available.

NickAtMartinis
01-02-2008, 19:33
Okay, I will throw this out pretty much knowing that I will be ruffling feathers (due to cognitive dissonance). First off I have a Masters Degree in Marketing/Advertising. So I have some credentials. Second, I defintely love Bourbon. Okay here goes. Fact #1-The best way to improve a brands image is come up with a gimmick and raise the price. The gimmick could be a fancy schmancy bottle and a different story (Glacier water, Single barrel, Distilled 6 times, Selected barrels, age etc...). you've got to have a story.
A long time ago a local "rot gut beer in Texas sold for $1.50a six. Then a slick firm took it over and raised the price to $7 a six and changed the name, and the label from Shiner Premium to Shiner Blonde. Same product different marketing. NOe the Yuppies drink it in mass. Let's look at Vodka. The frosted bottle has done a lot. It made Grey Goose, Chopin, Absolut and Belvedere become succesful overnight.
In a blind taste test-Old Milwaukee beat out the all the other Domestic beers.

People are programmed to believe that more expensive is better. I am the same way. Let's take Rowan's Creek. A relatively new Bourbon priced fairly steep. It has a hand scrawled label-(which denotes, small hand crafted, little and selct) Now Imagine they introduced it at $7 a bottle. Wouldn't you have a negative conontation of it being young and rushed and simple, with limited complexity. Now imagine it was priced at $70 a bottle. Now I believe your mind would be receptive to a deep, complex, taste with a multitude of flavors. We are predisoposed by name, story, bottle and price. I have actually read tasting notes from people obviously biased by its name...Bulleit-Rawhide leather, Sam Houston-hot, wildly spirited perfect for a texas Bar-b-que.

I mean if you like Bourbon, really like bourbon, you are gonna like every major brand out there for the most part. Yes bourbons do taste somewhat different. But many here dislike JB White, but love Bakers-including me. Why? Because my mind can't except the fact that $30 bourbon is the same as $10 bourbon.

Give me a bottle of Ezra Brooks-Let me name it Braxton Bragg Limited Preserve. Braxton Bragg demanded a whiskey that was cut from a specific mixture of grains, he was the ultimate whiskey connieuseur, We only make 1 barrel a year with this mixture"I'll put it in the most ornate bottle you ever saw and number them 1-100 and price it at $120. And I can guarnatee that the tasting notes and the perception of this bourbon would be different then Ezra Brooks. Why?
That is how our mind's decision making process works. We are set up to simplify the complex. Pricier is better, Cheaper denotes lack of care. slick label-better, fancy bottle-better.

Look for a brand that comes out fairly soon in a actually tree bark bottle.....

I mean we are talking about a simple process. 3-4 grains in a oak barrel.

Thus, I believe the most advanced tasters should be able to tell us which of the expensive bourbons are frauds and which of the cheaper whiskeys are as good and better than the most expensive whiskeys. The distillers will never tell you that it's all good-you've got to talk the big marketing firms that own the brands.


On a closing note...I own some expensive bottles of whiskey. Why? To impress my friends and to sometimes celebrate with excess and waste-knowing deep down it really ain't any better.

Sound off.


I feel the same way. Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's better. Creative marketing can fool just about anyone, me included of course.

Lately, I've been doing blind bourbon tastings to find what I like best. It's very helpful in determining, unbiasedly what bourbons I favor. First, I started with the VW line. I put the ORVW 10 up against the PVW 15 and the 15 won (I was actually surprised by this). Then I pitted the PVW 15 against the 20 and, once again, the 15 won out.

The other night, I did the same with a line of Wild Turkey's I have. I chose a blind tasting with WTRB, WTKS and WTAS. I did three blind tastings in one sitting. Mixed results appeared between #'s one and two but all three times the WTAS came in last. Since then, I haven't hoisted a glass of WTAS until tonight.

Mark

shyster512
01-02-2008, 20:11
Mark-
It appears that your tests actually disaffirm the thesis of Mr. S Tree. There is a difference between the taste of bourbon, and the value is determined by taste and not necessarily price. The real answer to the hypothesis is that taste does not equal price. There are good (even great) expensive bourbons and there are not so good expensive bourbons. Heck, there are good value priced bourbons and there are not so good value priced bourbons.
Your PVW 15 is a prime example. It has a very distinctive taste that is pleasurable and found in no other bourbon that I have tasted. I really like it as apparently do you. I would buy it at its current price or at $20.00 per bottle. Selling it at a cheaper price would not prevent my purchase of it (actually I would buy much more).
Fancy packaging and pricing may fool me to purchase a product one time, but if it is bad bourbon, it is bad bourbon and I will not purchase it again.
P.S. We may be beating a dead horse here.

NickAtMartinis
01-03-2008, 15:07
Mark-
It appears that your tests actually disaffirm the thesis of Mr. S Tree. There is a difference between the taste of bourbon, and the value is determined by taste and not necessarily price. The real answer to the hypothesis is that taste does not equal price. There are good (even great) expensive bourbons and there are not so good expensive bourbons. Heck, there are good value priced bourbons and there are not so good value priced bourbons.
Your PVW 15 is a prime example. It has a very distinctive taste that is pleasurable and found in no other bourbon that I have tasted. I really like it as apparently do you. I would buy it at its current price or at $20.00 per bottle. Selling it at a cheaper price would not prevent my purchase of it (actually I would buy much more).
Fancy packaging and pricing may fool me to purchase a product one time, but if it is bad bourbon, it is bad bourbon and I will not purchase it again.
P.S. We may be beating a dead horse here.


PVW 15 for $20?! Maybe I misunderstood that part of your post but if I didn't then that's some very cheap 15. And good for you!

My purchase of PVW 15 was $44.99 or in that area.

melting
01-03-2008, 16:19
This doesn't belong here, but I'm going to post it anyways because it's going to save me some money. Anyways Elijah Craig 18 year old goes on sale in NH today for $23.99. I'm going to buy about 10 bottles and save myself 90 bucks. Kind of like the way my girlfriend saves us money when she goes to Macy's when they have a sale. Anyways, if you're in the area and like the 18 year version, now's the time to pick some up.

Chris

Kendall
01-03-2008, 17:41
Mr.Ed and Mr.Hightower,
Thank you for the great post.
Sometimes I know what I want to say but can't seem to write it to where it reads the way I feel. You both seem to have read my mind.

Sincerely,
Kendall Hawn

Sycamore Tree
01-03-2008, 18:18
Don't get me wrong, I could sit and listen to all the pros here for hours and I would pay the tab. I believe much knowledge is to be gained by all-especially the leaders in the field. But do we hate Jb White becuase it is so mass produced? It is the number #1 selling bourbon after all. Perhaps it is actually good. When bourbon was limited in brands back in the 80's was it bad?

Years ago. Coors beer was limited regionally in availability down here. Because of this Coors was well sought after. People would travel hundreds of miles just to bring back this Coors beer. Not a finer gift was given than a case of Coors beer here in Houston. Now it is available Nationally and no one really thinks much of it. If I got a case of Coors beer, I would think they thought of me as having Plebian tastes or perhaps a"guzzler". In fact Coors regular has been supplanted by Coors Light for years now and Coors regular is a bit of a dead brand. The point here is that Rare, Exclusivity denotes Good and Readily Available denotes Average.

I challenge the leaders to tell us the truth.

I believe here is where I can find the person who says Old Charter 8 is better than Woodford Reserve-if it really is. Or Evan Williams Black is better than Elijah Craig.

As a side note

I myself went to a party a few days ago and bought over a bottle of Russells Reserve. Why not a cheaper brand? Because I was trying to imprress a bunch of fancy types and they would of thought of me as a poor redneck. I mean I have this impression that Rebel Yell is for wild crazy Lynrd Skynrd types. Why? Because of the name.

But if you have tried virtually every bottle of whiskey out there and blinded taste test them all and were confident in your convictions than we can all go to a party and say I have tried them all and this "Old Crow" is the best-and not blink!

What is the smoothest whiskey out there? Probably Crown Royal. But for one it is a blend and two it lacks character, depth and substance. It is basically sugar water to me. But a 18 year old kid can drink it and not grimace.

Anyways, I appreciate all you afficionados, as I aspire to be one. My goal is to one day really know that Bulliet is better than Ezra Brooks. But the only way to do that is to do a Blind taste test. And I haven't the time or the Money-yet.

TNbourbon
01-03-2008, 19:01
...But do we hate Jb White becuase it is so mass produced? It is the number #1 selling bourbon after all. Perhaps it is actually good...

In this case, I'd say you start with a false premise: while we disparage Jim Beam White in comparison to most other bourbons, few of us have labeled it "bad". Quite the contrary, as a personal example, see here:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=73766&postcount=51
or here:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=94424&postcount=81

So, in one sense, you've discovered not so much that we've been hood-winked, but rather that we aren't.


...I believe here is where I can find the person who says Old Charter 8 is better than Woodford Reserve-if it really is. Or Evan Williams Black is better than Elijah Craig...

Again, you're right -- you can find those statements right here, quite often. But, you seem to begin from the vantage point that you can't. Why? If you look back over the myriad old threads here, you'll discover that most of us find at least the middle batches of Woodford Reserve variable and unremarkable, while EC 12 is a 'love-it-or-hate-it' bottling, and the 18yo an acquired taste because of its woodiness.

I've also stated on more than one occasion here -- not promoting my own viewpoint, mind you, just not going to speak for others (they're all quite capable of speaking for themselves:cool: ) -- that I my least favorite Wild Turkeys are the Russell's Reserve (even when it was 101 proof) and the much-praised Rare Breed.

So, I guess I'm not figuring out what it is you want to find us saying here that we haven't already said many times over.:skep:

ILLfarmboy
01-04-2008, 10:07
... But do we hate Jb White becuase it is so mass produced? It is the number #1 selling bourbon after all. Perhaps it is actually good. When bourbon was limited in brands back in the 80's was it bad?


I suspect JB White is as popular as it is because most of it is consumed as a mixer especialy in Coke. while I'm not a bourbon and Coke kind of guy I will say it makes a better bourbon and Coke than many brands I enjoy neat. Counterintuitive? I think so, but I got to go with what my taste buds tell me.

melting
01-04-2008, 14:35
Well, you didn't ruffle my feathers much. I'm of the same opinion that others have shared here prior to my post. I'll try anything reasonably priced at least once. If I care for it I'll probably have it again sometime. No amount of marketing is going to tell me if something is good or not.

As for the more expensive products I will quite often use some other members comments as a general guide. It's quite easy when you see what they prefer and compare it to what you tend to enjoy.

A recent example would be the Wild Turkey American Spirit. It's $89.99 around here. I thought about buying some seeing as the standard WT 101 and WT Rye as favorites of mine, and WT Rare Breed is dynomite at about $26.99 on sale. After reading the posts it was quite obvious to me that I could not justify spending that kind of money on something with mediocre reviews.

Another would be Old Grand Dad BIB. On sale it runs at $13.49 and it's a steal. It gets no marketing whatsoever, but it flies right off the shelves around here.

Chris

miller542
01-04-2008, 22:50
Anyways, I appreciate all you afficionados, as I aspire to be one. My goal is to one day really know that Bulliet is better than Ezra Brooks. But the only way to do that is to do a Blind taste test. And I haven't the time or the Money-yet.

Who says Bulliet is better than Ezra Brooks? you? SB.com? the four roses marketing people?

I prefer Bulliet to Ezra Brooks, only because I prefer high-rye bourbons, but that doesn't make it better than Ezra Brooks. There are also many out there that don't like Bulleit but do appreciate Ezra Brooks. You will find hundreds of other examples like this on this site including the others that have already been posted.

The true way to tell, like you suggested, is to do blind taste-testing. Or, just drink what you like - because you like it - and not because of the story, the eliteist price, or the pretty bottle. And while you are drinking what you like - because you like it- just forget about all those others with the convoluted story, the eliteist price, and the pretty bottle and enjoy your drink!

I wonder why this thread was even started and what it contributes to this site. This has been discussed so many different places so many different ways it's not even funny. The whole thing sounds strikingly similar to the premium vodka debate, which we have also discussed a time or two!

miller542
01-04-2008, 22:55
Coors beer was limited regionally in availability down here. Because of this Coors was well sought after.

I challenge the leaders to tell us the truth.


1. Simple economics, scarcity increases value.

2. The old "Emperor's new clothes" You won't find any of that around here

bigtoys
01-07-2008, 20:10
My comments, as I finish up a small glass of Rowan's Creek during halftime of the BCS game. I decided to search SB.com for comments and immediately fell upon this recent thread. I can't even remember why I bought the bottle, but I thought it was a pretty good bourbon for the money; I think I paid about $30.

First, I think the best test is a blind tasting, but I bet most of us rarely do it. I did it with orange liquers to see which one I would like in margaritas and could definitely tast differences between Cointreau, Gran Marnier and Gran Torres. For "real" science, you'd have to even repeat the "experiment" a few times to see if you're consistent. With scotch, I can fairly consistently tell the peaty Islay ones (Lagavulin, Bowmore) from Talisker (which is smoky, not peaty) from the "regular" ones like Macallan or Highland Park. Also, I have some 25 plus year olds that cost hundreds, but usually end up feeling like it's diminishing returns for the money. Even Pappy 23 is a little strong for my taste.

I know I bought my first Pappy 20 on the recommendation of Dave at Binny's Highland Park as a gift for someone who liked Booker's and Baker's and I wanted to get him something "different". Some time later, I bought myself a bottle and loved it. I've never blind tasted it, however. I like the 15, too. As I said above, I'm so-so on the 23, but I'll probably try to get a bottle of the next bottling--no more overpaying on ebay, however.

I have unopened WT Rare Breed, Russel's Reserve and Kentucky Spirit (and an unopened American Spirit) that I plan on tasting some night with a few guys, some of which, I guess, should be blind.

Side by side, there are definitely differences. Bourbon, scotch, gin, tequila. But most are good, as someone previously noted. I remember a newsmagazine TV show that blind tasted vodkas--the pricey Grey Gooses vs the basic Smirnoff's--the results were hilarious, as people who would only drink a premium, like GG, preferred other brands and actually disliked GG. When mixing, the differences become much less important. That for a spirit that is, by definition, tasteless.

How about wine?? There's gotta be a lot of prejudice if you're not blinded. I'd be impressed by a "real" expert who can blindly identify a wine.

Just got back from Hawaii and could only get Jack Daniels or Jim Beam, so I got the JD. On the rocks, I loved it. Brought back good memories of simpler times. Absolutely no complaints. No thinking with each night cap "wish I had my Pappy".

If you're still with me, and I know I haven't said anything earth shattering, I googled "best bourbon" as suggested in an early post in this thread. My hypothesis was that if someone did this, they'd fall upon us at SB.com and find "the truth"--or at least a lot of opinions and information. And if they were serious, they'd register and beocme one of us. Anyway, the first two sites are both bluekitchen.net, one of which says best bourbon, best vodka, best gin,....Number three was gift worthy bourbons from Nov 2007 nymag.com (#1 Michter's, #2 Parker's Heritage--hey, I haven't heard of this one,...check it out; most were common, except for Black Maple Hill. No Pappy, Jefferson). Google number 4 was yahoo answers and the intro says the authour is partial to Beam and Knob Creek.

Finally, google site number 5: Straightbourbon.com FAQ. It mentions van Winkle. Hopefully, a googler would recognize this as the best site to go to for "real" information and, as I said, become one of us.

Since I started this looking for notes on Rowan's, it's important to note that google site number 6 is for Noah's Mill, bottled by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Inc., who also bottle Rowan's Creek. A similar very basic looking label connoting a "non-commercial" philosophy.

On another thread here at SB, show us your stash, there's a picture of Flatlander's 4 bottles: JD Single Barrel, van Winkle Lot B, Pappy 20 and Weller. As I said there, that's a great collection. No waste/excess. I'd maybe add 1 or 2 more and you could never be wanting for much more, unless you just want a bunch for variety for variety's sake. I fall into that category, but as I empty certain bottles out, they won't be replaced.

Thanks for listening/reading. Cheers!

pepcycle
01-08-2008, 08:49
"I have unopened WT Rare Breed, Russel's Reserve and Kentucky Spirit (and an unopened American Spirit) that I plan on tasting some night with a few guys, some of which, I guess, should be blind."

That's some serious blind tasting, when the participants actually are blind. :slappin::slappin: