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  1. #21
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Oh no problem Erich and I didn't read it that way. It is true that some advertising is just puffery as it's termed - selling the sizzle with the steak - and some ends up being just empty formulae. But in the Bill Samuels story about trying to improve on the rye-recipe, there was always something about it that rang true to me, simply because of my own experience. And also, evidently bourbon is not America's leading spirit. Vodka far outsells it and even blended whiskey (including Canadian) does I believe. It's not just price, since a lot of bourbon is still inexpensive. It's palate, the traditional American straight whiskey taste, based on a rye-influenced mash, just doesn't appeal to a lot of people. True, there is a traditional market for it in the south and elsewhere simply because of history, so it carries on and indeed rye-recipe bourbon is still the majority type. But a lot of bourbon has little rye in it - BT has 10% as was noted in another thread - and I think JD and Dickel have less... True, the Beam bourbons have a respectable amount of rye in the mash and Jim Beam is a big seller. How many though drink those products neat? I suspect more people drink Maker's neat that Jim Beam. But anyway, I do believe Bill Samuels probably knew people, friends and others, who said, Bill, I can't drink that twangy stuff, it has a weird aftertaste, I can't accustom to it, and I like Canadian whisky and Cutty Sark better. So (I infer) Bill said, hmm how can I make a non-traditional product, but still within the bourbon precincts, that will overcome that? And he did. I am not sure about the bread thing although I believe he did think the experiments showed superiority of a corn-wheat mash for bourbon, but anyway the fundamental insight about rye recipe's limitations - perceived limitations of course - always rang true to me in part because of my own experience.

    I know people on this board who couldn't stand straight rye when they first tasted it and now really like it - they finally twigged to the taste.

    That's just my view, I must say though I tend (unless it is completely vacuous/ponderous/empty of meaning) to take ad claims more literally than many others here. Not sure why that is, I don't think I'm more credulous than the average person. I believe, especially in the context of a smaller company, that when the people behind it say something they genuinely mean it. I start from that assumption and find often no reason to depart from it.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-25-2010 at 10:50.

  2. #22
    Irreverent One
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by ErichPryde View Post
    ...wheat must taste better because wheat bread tastes better than rye bread? It's a bunch of crap.
    Sure is. Rye bread is better than wheat bread.

    Hot pastrami on rye, with melted Swiss cheese.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  3. #23
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbonv View Post

    When Maker's Mark was family owned, they deserved every bit of their reputation. Maker's from the 1960s and 70s was every bit as good as anything that came out of Stitzel-Weller. I wish I had a case of the Gold Wax 101 from the late 1970s.

    Mike Veach
    This is the first time I've heard any kind of comparision of MM to S-W.
    But I have done my own irresponsible speculation in the past.
    I've always thought MM could make great boubon, they did after all have the same type of still built for them by S-W people and Pappy gave Mr Samuels his recipe.
    I did not know until now that they use to make great bourbon.
    Thanx for the info Mike.
    ovh

  4. #24
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV View Post
    This is the first time I've heard any kind of comparision of MM to S-W.
    But I have done my own irresponsible speculation in the past.
    I've always thought MM could make great boubon, they did after all have the same type of still built for them by S-W people and Pappy gave Mr Samuels his recipe.
    I did not know until now that they use to make great bourbon.
    Thanx for the info Mike.
    StraightBoston was kind enough to send me a sample of MM from 1981 that I have yet to sample, as well as some older gold wax 101. I was very, very, overly fascinated (VVOF) with the gold wax. It tasted nothing like the bottle I had purchased earlier that day in a local store. It was superb. My girlfriend even said it was the best bourbon she had ever tasted.

    One thing I learned from the whole "test". Mike V knows what he's talking about.

  5. #25
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Open that '81 Makers! I remember it being a rich, brandy-like dram. It would be interesting to hear a side-by-side with the current issue. No question gold wax was great, but a comparison of the regular label from 30 years ago to now would be more interesting.

    Gary

  6. #26
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    I was born in 1981, so I've been waiting for a birthday for some reason. The problem is, there's a good 6 or 10 bottles in the closet with "Birthday" on the label. It could take a while....

  7. #27
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    I once was given a taste at Louisville Bourbon Society of some from the 70's and it was very good, just as I remembered it from then. Perhaps the person who gave you the sample has some and will offer a taste note.

    Gary

  8. #28
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Actually, I am going to get some Maker's later (current obviously) and give a taste note, it has been a while since I have had some.

    Gary

  9. #29
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    I was introduced to the pleasures of drinking straight bourbon in 1980 when an older gentleman offered me some MM (black wax I believe). He had picked it up while driving through Kentucky to a family gathering in Alabama and was real happy to have it and to share.

    For a long time all I knew was MM and I knew that I liked it. Many years later I discovered other bourbons and learned to appreciate the differences. Today, while I wouldn't turn down a glass of MM if you offered it, I don't spend my hard earned dollars on their brand any more.

    And as for personal tastes, my brother-in-law enjoys whiskey too - Canadian Club diluted 3:1 with 7-Up. So when we set down for a drink - I sip on my WT101, BT or 4R and he swills his CC flavored soda. And we both end up happy.

  10. #30
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    I agree with Gary's comments with regard to wheat Vs. rye and straight rye. For the most part, rye is less noobie friendly.

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon-n00b View Post
    My uncle is one of these people. The sun rises and sets on MM. I tried to expose him to OWA last fall, figuring he'd enjoy a different wheater, but it was "too strong".

    I suggested that he could add a little water to bring the proof down and he told me that he hated adding water to bourbon. He couldn't quite understand the point that MM doesn't come straight out of the barrel and into a bottle at 90 proof, so what difference does it make when the water gets added...

    Oh well, I probably won't bother him with anything like a PVW, WLW, OGD114, etc. If he is truly content with only MM and has no desire to look beyond it, more power to him. I tried.
    I find there's a lot of ignorance with regard to distilling proofs, barreling and bottling proofs.

    As to the rest of it, some men just can't be reached.....

 

 

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