The only award I'm concerned with is how well I rank it.
The only award I'm concerned with is how well I rank it.
Winston is enduring thus quite well, but I don't see the purpose of the abuse. He said that they've won all of these awards… they have. Its easy to see which winners are available… they have a nice website that presents this quite clearly. Now, he's detailed they're plans for releasing the rest.
What's wrong with tooting your horn about what others have awarded. While it might not indicate that their offerings are better than all others, it does demonstrate that someone thought that they were better than a lot if others. The fact that they so consistently high rated at so many competitions might be a good indication that they're onto something. It might even indicate that they make some good (perhaps exceptional) products. The real proof is whether you are willing to take a chance on their products and whether you like it and can recommend it to others (i.e. offer your own informal award).
I've been interested in Balcones ever since my first taste of True Blue. I became a fan after my first taste of Texas Single Malt. I've been following their releases ever since a tasting event where I sampled their entire line. At first, I wasn't too find of Rumble, but a taste of Rumble Cask Reserve really opened my eyes.
My suggestion is to pick up a bottle and I would begin with Baby Blue. My next step would be "1" (Texas Single Malt). If you're not impressed yet, then their stuff may not be for you. If you're not hooked yet, then move on to Brimstone if you're a fan of smoke; otherwise, move on to True Blue or Rumble.
Even better, attend a tasting if Chip comes to your area. Listen to his explanation of how he crafted each whiskey and why. Learn about their future plans and sample some if their upcoming or rare whiskeys (or rum). You'll come away with an appreciation for the craft that they represent, the part that Texas is playing in this craft and the potential possibility that you've just met a great distiller from the new generation of names that will be like those that are passing on from the previous generation.
Personally, I'm sold in their products. I'm still not a big fan of Rumble and I may not be impressed with some of their future offerings, but I am impressed with their vision, their product line and all that they've accomplished (not awards, but he success that I've experienced with their whiskeys). The fact that they've done so well with a single barrel of bourbon (a first try, if you will) is astounding. Just think of what Chip might accomplish with more practice!
Awards and ratings are helpful to me in choosing what I'm going to explore next. By the way, I include the re commendations that I glean from SB. I have a limited budget and I try to make every dollar count, so these recommendations are an important help in narrowing the field and finding some "sleepers" and rare gems. I heartily welcome these new awards from NYC… not because it tells me what's best, but because it helps me to identify some promising candidates for my cellar.
This NYC competition is new for me, but I've had some success with recommendations from others that have guided me well. I'll keep an eye on this competition in the future and see how it goes. I think others would be served well to consider these awards in a similar fashion.
Winston, you're an effective evangelist for a great line if whiskeys. I'm expecting much more and I'm sure that others will be similarly impressed at some point. Keep it up!
Balcones is one of the few "micros" actually releasing compelling and quality products. In fact, more than a few offerings have been first rate spirits, IMHO. Yes, I'm a Balcones fan boy and count Winston and Chip as my friends - but I was friends with Winston before Balcones and had mad admiration for Chip's products from the first time I met him and sampled them. I have a few limited bottlings that I literally covet they so damn good.
I must reiterate quickly that we do not send honey barrels to competitions for our core offerings. The competitions receive the exact same batches that make it to retail. If we send a special barrel, such as the 1200 Brimstone, it is denoted as such, and typically the standard offering is submitted as well.
5 of 7 entrants were not your core products. So 71% of your entrees into this competition were possible 'honey barrels' entries.
It's also important to note that there's a big difference between a "honey barrel" of a a core offering (which would be cheating...) versus calling a product something completely different and openly acknowledging it's a one-off experimental cask.
71% is an inaccurate number anyhow, because all but 1 product has a COLA label approval and all are - or will be - for sale. Does the fact the movies open to critics or have red carpet openings before the general public can see them piss you off? How about critics who can get screener copies of TV shows before they are out, or book manuscripts. How is it wrong to debut something for taste makers and influencers ahead of a general release? Get over this angle... it's moot.
If you don't like awards like this, that's your right - I kinda think they are stupid and don't really put much (if any) stock in them short of best in show type awards, which means something, to me. But the fact is this is a standard marketing practice in this and many industries. And it's the 2% geeks like us that get our panties in a bunch about it. I don't like them - but I've got bigger windmills to tilt at like Pappy-gate 2013.
Gentlemen, please, let's not single out stupid people, that's profiling.
What I said in last post was that 5 of 7 were not core products. 5/7 = 71.4% - my math is accurate. The fact is things often change from the time they show to 1st previewers until they make their real debut. I have friend that is well known cigar reviewer blogger. She once gave a pre production sample a glowing review. When the actual product was released the cigar construction was totally different and not as good.
As far as COLA labels, I still don't see COLA for the 2 rums that were entered into this competition as described, which would make 3 products. I've pointed this out and so has another and I'm still waiting on response. At this point, basically moot because this competition allows that.
These award things serve a purpose, and while many of them have a certain "douchery" to them, in terms of winning ("everybody gets a trophy/medal"), some are good. Some are great (Malt Maniacs Awards for example - multiple qualified judges, all blind, no pay for play).
I still disagree that winning best in show at most any of these - as long as you can't buy the win - is an achievement, and whether there was 18 or 18,000 bottles produced isn't the point - it's about the spirit being judged. Yeah, I get that it's annoying to have something win that most mere mortals can't ever get (FWIW: I wasn't able to get a bottle of Bourbon myself, and these guys are my friends!) - but their win in this situation, is the inspiration for Balcones to make more. They never started out to make a "bourbon" per se - but with this kind of success, you can be assured they'll want to replicate it and make money off of it.
But... when they release it, and it's a different batch from a different barrel, etc. - if they still hang to the award for this particular spirit, then yes, that's a bit disingenuous, but from a marketing standpoint you have to admit it would be really hard to NOT take advantage of it, right? It's not "right" - but it's not a crime, it's just shallow. And that's something if you called them out on it, I think the vast majority of people would be on your side.
I think that being excited about a win at a fairly good quality competition is more than reasonable, and I don't blame any producer for puffing up a bit, especially if all their stuff did well. That said, keeping what the wins means in perspective is probably more important than the win.
#### all done.