If you wow us first, you'll have our attention, but if you don't, and it would appear that you haven't based on the responses, then you lose us as steady customers. If you had released some cask strength, then the connoisseur's would be praising your efforts.
If you charge more for higher proof, you still keep your margins intact, so please explain your business plan as stated above. Sorry to be a pain, and I mean no disrespect, but I'm just trying to understand.
I haven't been particularly impressed any time I've tried AE. And at $40+ this is one bottle you won't find on my bar anytime soon.
I would pay $40-50 for a CS version.
I'm in wine distribution. I've worked with hundreds of producers at countless trade shows, as well as tastings for civilians. Most people will never tell you what they really think to your face. You'll hear nothing but praise at things like Whiskey Fest, so take it with a grain of salt.
Sorry to be so prickly, but I am the White Dog.
I was at the Binnys in Downers Grove, IL 2 weeks ago (in Downers for business, so HAD to finally stop by for the first time ever). I was amazed at the bourbon selection (especially since truly diving into bourbon only a year or two ago). I saw a few bottles of AE in a cart, but no prices. I asked a gentleman about it while holding a select barrel of Knob Creek. He said it was $49 and asked me if I wanted his opinion. I said sure and he said take the AE above everything except the highest end stuff in the place. I did and I really enjoy it. Good flavor (I still don't know if I can specify flavors yet) but I really enjoyed the finish. Definitely the best finish of anything I have had (I have been working hard this last year to try everything I can).
After getting his opinions of several other bottles I had thought about, I mentioned that I was impressed by his selection. He said there is a reason for that....he liked bourbon (suggesting he was the manager or owner). Not sure what his name was though.