Cape Cod Bourbon Report
I just got back from a short vacation to Cape Cod, where I managed to hit over a dozen (perhaps almost two dozen?) liquor stores along the way. The Cape is really a strange place as far as bourbon is concerned. For one thing, there are liquor stores EVERYWHERE - it's really quite amazing. And there are quite a few good ones - probably about a third of the stores I stopped in had pretty good bourbon selections. A few even had great bourbon selections! I'm guessing there is substantial demand for bourbon during tourist season, and they just maintain what they haven't sold until the next summer.
There are also quite a few older bottlings and oddities, at least for New England. I saw a lot of Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve, in both the tall(er) bottles and the shorter W.L. Weller Centennial-style bottles. Saw Weller Centennial a few times, a lone bottle of VSOF 12, Elmer T. Lee, various Buffalo Trace small batch & single barrel bottlings, Ridgemont Reserve (a whole display on sale for $20ish/bottle at a store on Rt. 6 near the Salt Pond Visitor Center), EWSBs of various ages, etc.
By far the best liquor store on the Cape is Luke's, which is actually a chain of four stores. See: http://www.lukes1.com/. The two best locations for bourbon are the Brewster and West Yarmouth locations, though the West Harwich location has a pretty good selection as well (including two EWSB 1988s). These locations had a very large selection of bourbon, including all of the current bourbons in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (including Spring and Fall '05 Stagg - though not at the same store), A.H. Hirsch 16 yo (red & gold wrapper, 3rd release), Pappy 20, Evan Williams Single Barrel 1988, etc. They also have large 1.75L bottles of Eagle Rare SB that I haven't seen before - these bottles are unusual in that they are enlarged versions of the tall & thin wine-bottle style Eagle Rare SB bottle, and appear humongous. They had some ORVW 15/107 at the Brewster location, but I cleaned them out of that, though it's possible there's some sitting in a back room somewhere that wasn't put out.
The store manager of the Brewster store, Roland Babineau, is responsible for their large bourbon collection. He's not only a bourbon afficionado, but also a very friendly & helpful fellow. When he learned I was into bourbon, he invited me to a back room of the store for an impromptu tasting of the EWSB 1988 and the A.H. Hirsch 16. He also explained how it was that several of the stores still have bottles of EWSB 1988 - it's from a barrel that Luke's had bottled when it was released and they still have a few cases left in the warehouse, though it's almost gone. I'd definitely recommend giving Roland a call if you're doing any bourbon shopping on the Cape. The number for his store is 508-896-2324.
If you are looking for the EWSB 1988, either contact me directly (I picked up a case of 6, and most are available for trade) or go to the Brewster location, which had 3 bottles remaining after I left, or the West Harwich location, which had 2 bottles. I don't think they had any of the EWSB '88 at the West Yarmouth location.
The Brewster & West Yarmouth locations had the oversized 1.75L bottles of Eagle Rare SB - the Brewster location even had a few wrapped in the Eagle Rare imprinted tissue paper. The Brewster store did not carry Eagle Rare 17 for whatever reason, but had at least 5-6 bottles of the Fall 2005 George T. Stagg and William Larue Weller, and I think the Sazerac Rye as well. The West Yarmouth store only had one or two bottles of each of the antique collection, including one Spring 2005 Stagg. The Brewster location also had many (a dozen or so) bottles of A.H. Hirsch 16 y.o. (red & gold foil, 3rd release) for about $80. They each had one bottle of Pappy 20 in a glass case with the expensive scotch & other liquors - the West Yarmouth store also kept their lone bottle of Hirsch in that case. Many other fine bourbons were also available at both locations.
Prices on the Cape (even at Luke's) tend to be a bit inflated, but usually aren't awful. However, the stellar selection at some stores - and occasional treasure trove finds - offset that a bit. For bourbon drinkers in New England, the Cape can be a great place to find items that are normally only available several hundred miles to the south.
I found the VSOF12 at Swan River Liquor in West Dennis, MA - I picked up the last bottle they had. They have a pretty good bourbon selection, including some Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve in the older, taller bottles, if I remember correctly.