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  1. #11
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    Man, talk about over-thinking this stuff. While I agree with the basic premise and we all do this type of calculation, albeit imprecise and at a visceral level, when we decide what to allocate our limited dollars on, I think reducing it to a formulae would produce to many outliers and unexplained deviations from real world and entrenched opinions. For instance bvscfanatic's coments about proof bring up the question of overall flavor intensity and how that relates to things like proof off the still and barreling proof and level of chill filtering, if any. Case in point, I like Booker's. Many would say that Beam Black has a nearly Identical flavor profile. But as Chuck has stated elswhere, Beam now, and for some time (?), has distilled to brand, meaning that what is designed to become Booker's comes off the still at exactly 125* and goes into barrels at 125* while what is to become Black Label comes off the still a bit higher ( I can't remember the number that Chuck cited) and is watered down to 125* for barreling. Putting aside the "chill filtering factor", surely, this results in a diference in flavor intensity (when watered down to the same proof) even if the flavor profiles are esentualy the same.

    Not taking these things into account may give whiskys like WT a disadvantage when put against brands like OF which comes off the still at a much higher proof.

    But I admit, I haven't went through the math. I just like to drink the stuff.

  2. #12
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    I tend to think these factors work themselves out in the score. I will be the first to admit scoring bourbon is completely subjective. We have our own biases that naturally bring some bourbons to the forefront, but then if you think about it, their value in our minds (even if irrational) are reflected. If my findings result in anything, it will be an increased willingness to purchase bourbons I have already had since I know they are true values. For the last 6-9 months I have very rarely purchased the same bottle twice. Now rather than role the dice, I can put down $20-30 on a good value bourbon with a clear conscious.

    Plus it helps me convince the wife I am value shopping even when I drop 3 Hamiltons.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  3. #13
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    I'm with Brad on this: seems way overdone to me.

    I'm probably more than a little dense on this, but why should the highest cost bourbon necessarily have the highest rating. Price is determined by a number of factors, some of which have no relation to the quality of the product. (e.g., taxation and government regulation, market positioning by the manufacturer, etc.) For example, the WR Master Distillers Collection expressions are among the most expensive of bourbons. But, IMHO, they all would rate extremely low.
    Last edited by jburlowski; 01-04-2009 at 09:16.
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  4. #14
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    I don't think I am implying more expensive bourbon is (or even should be) better. But if you like two bourbons equally and one costs more then the other, the lower cost bourbon is obviously the better value. The better a bourbon is and the cheaper the bourbon is the better value it is. The only way to find values at any price is to normalize the scores based on price.

    If the "best" (as subjective as is) bourbon were $10 there would be no reason to purchase $100+ bourbons.

    It is all really supply and demand. If a bourbon is good, it can demand a higher asking price. If it is not as good it will only sell for a cheap price. Of course higher proofs are more expensive to manufacture, but if people won't pay a higher price for it, then a distillery would not want to continue to make it.

    thoughts?
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  5. #15
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    I picked my three favorites in my earlier post to reflect what suited me best in those price ranges, but I still pay more for some bottles, even though they are not a favorite because they are different or new to me. If I had to narrow my choices to only the best value in each category then I would be bored very quickly. To me, it's not about searching for the "best", and only buying that, but to explore the interesting differences. I can enjoy a bottle of Old Fiztgerald 1849 for $13 and a PVW20 for $100+ and while I am conscious of the price, it's not the only thing. When it comes down to it, I don't care about the proof, price or percent of rye, wheat or corn, it's when that combination gives me something to smile about.
    Fwisge For All!

  6. #16
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    Quote Originally Posted by jimibourbonhammered View Post
    When it comes down to it, I don't care about the proof, price or percent of rye, wheat or corn, it's when that combination gives me something to smile about.
    Well put.

    I think most of us drink what pleases us and also explore a bit. If not, then all these bunkers and long lists of open bottles would be significantly reduced in my mind.

    A "bang for the buck" analysis of bourbon is helpful if you are trying to help people decide what to spend their limited dollars on. It' a great tool for the public but maybe not so important to the expert.

    Still, I do like to entertain myself from time to time and my earlier post on a system of systems approach isn't really a serious idea but more of an exercise in fun while trying to see if these things we like in bourbon are quantifiable or can be qualified in a logical way.

    I like Kickert's approach but then there are many subjective things like flavor, style, bottle art, aroma that can only be logically settled with statistical analysis. It's important to find a correlation between the mathmatical approach and what 31 or more people say is their favorite aroma in bourbon, for example. No one really needs to agree or disagree on a particular item to insert into the formula as long as a valid sample is made.

    The nice thing about it is no one has to agree. If a sample of opinions are taken and then expressed in a valid math expression then the probability of selecting a bang for the buck bourbon by using the formula increases your chances of making a good decision.

    Is it over-engineering? Of course it is. We already know what we like and we buy it. But....there is always that unexplored territory that we like to tweak and make our own using a little tool that validates our intuitive thought.

    Finally, the great thing about math analysis is we can write an expression that will prove the outcome we have already selected. Our feelings of well being once again validated, it's time to head for that favorite place and have a drink (statistically proven to be the best decision we made all day.)

    Okay, I'll quit now before someone gives me a cyber @$$ kickin.

    Happy dramming!
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  7. #17
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    It was my understanding that there would be no math.
    bibamus, moriendum est
    Sipology Blog

  8. #18
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Dramiel McHinson View Post
    Finally, the great thing about math analysis is we can write an expression that will prove the outcome we have already selected. Our feelings of well being once again validated.
    Dan, this is exactly right! I love all of the math and thought that went into this, but in the end it's all based on personal taste, so the bottles with the better values will end up being the bottles one likes more.
    The other thing is that I can't really see myself adjusting my purchasing habits based on value.....to extrapolate: if I don't like it, I won't buy it again. If I DO like it, I'll buy it again -- if there are two bourbons that I like equally well, I may choose the cheaper one, but of there are two bourbons of comparable prices and I like one better, I'll pick that one even if it costs more.
    When I first started drinking bourbon, my favorite was Knob Creek. When I thought that was too expensive I bought EC12 because it was almost $10 cheaper and the bottle looked equally fancy....in the end, I ended up liking the EC12 better. In this sense, the value equation would be doing its job. I guess for me, I would pick the lowest cost bourbon that I like the most and use that as the control.
    Ben, really interesting stuff, man, keep up the good work -- a great conversation starter if nothing else.
    "A person can work up a mean, mean thirst after a hard day of nothing much at all . . . "

    Andy

  9. #19
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    Andy, I think you are exactly right.

    Any calculation of value is based on quality and quality is based on personal preference. In my list OGD BIB is listed a horrible value because I hate the stuff. For many other people, it is a great value because the love the stuff. Any one attempting to make claims of value for people other than themselves is treading on thin ice.

    I happen to have very limited resources to spend on bourbon. On average I spend less than $30 a month and often around $20. I also very rarely repurchase bottles I have already had. This formula helps me feel better about buying bottles again because it mathmatically reassures me I got a good bang for my buck.

    If anyone else has a database with prices and and ratings I would be interested to see how this works on another data set.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  10. #20
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    Re: Calculating Bourbon Cost vs. Value

    This is a very educated post and most is over my head. Here is a little calculation I use. If I hear a good review on a bottle of bourbon, I head to the store. If I have the money for it, I buy it. If not, I buy something I have wanted to try that is in my price range. If all else fails, I buy something I know I like in my price range. No real calculations going on there except what is in my wallet and what is on the sticker. For what it is worth, I like OWA107 and Old Forester Signature both for the price and their proofs. Both are pretty dang tasty too.
    Rye, The Spice Of Life.

 

 

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