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  1. #21
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    How can it be cheaper John? The whiskey in a bottle of Blanton's comes off the same stills at the same rate of labor as does Benchmark. Ken Weber stated that it costs "a few dollars a liter" to produce. Your argument is empty.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  2. #22
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    Linn,

    (1) Single barrels, by definition, exceed the requirements for bonded whiskey. No fair using Blanton's as an example.

    (2) Bonded whiskey has to be from a single distiller and produced in a single year (actually a single half-year). Non-bonded whiskey can be from different years, and even from different distillers. What do you think happens to all these barrels of product that are bought and sold among the distilleries? Is there a new label created for every small sale? No, of course not. They're all dumped together and bottled. That can't happen in a bonded warehouse. *ONLY* with bonded whiskey (and single barrels, of course) can you be assured of where the whiskey came from.

    (3) My argument is solid as a rock. It doesn't take a saint to make or sell really great bourbon, and in many cases those who have done so weren't.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  3. #23
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    Well San Jaun you do got that right! So what if other investors did know about L&G? What are they going to do? Sell their shares in a first rate profitable company? A company that makes money no matter what the market as a whole is doing? Those that really understand what makes America great would only buy more while the price was down. Can we invite Owsley Brown II to our fun raiser?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  4. #24
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    No I'm not Mike! I'm comparing the same damn bourbon to each other! Why in hell would I want to pay more for an an 8 year old when I can get a 12 year old for less????? I tired the OF BIB last year in Kentucky. Good but not great. The 12 YO VSOF is a great bourbon. Why in the world would you think that I or anyone would pay more for a lesser product?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  5. #25
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,621

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    I came back here to the top of the page to reiterate why I started this thread. What I find really interesting about this is that there are only two ways to get a bourbon that you know was "produced in the same distilling season by the same distiller at the same distillery." One is to buy a single barrel bourbon, the other is to buy a bonded bourbon.

    Bonds, per se, have not been an enthusiast product but by that argument, they should be.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  6. #26
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    Ken, first of all please forgive me for not answering right away. You posted your message just about the same time I was writing an answer to Mike. I posted and went on to the next topic and never noticed that your message had slipped in. Once you leave a topic, all the [IMG]/wwwthreads/images/new.gif[/IMG] signs disappear even if you didn't read all the messages. If Linda hadn't pointed it out I'd have never known.

    Most of the discussion, and the references to the 110-proof version, can be found (not surprisingly) in the RYE forum. I've quoted a few edited messages here as samples. I should point out that the general gist of the discussion was that the 90-proof was excellent and maybe better than the higher proof, but there WAS indeed a higher proof originally released to the media.

    In your message you said, "...If economics determined what we produce, we would not have developed our current 17,18, and 19 year old offerings. In addition, with a shelf price of under $40, obviously making a killing did not enter into the equation. We wanted to present the market with fine old whiskies that we knew the masses would not like, rather, we were simply catering to those who have a great love for whiskey."

    I couldn't agree with you more. Those points are not wasted on those of us who love fine bourbon and who hold a deep respect for Buffalo Trace for doing that. And for others who recognize our interests. But your points are also in direct opposition to what you said about customers voting with their pocketbooks. Sazerac isn't taking a bath on these brands. Quite the contrary -- the entire line is sparkling with the amount of publicity they're generating. Nor is Buffalo Trace alone in this. Heaven Hill's Elijah Craig and Evan Williams Single Barrels are another example. Julian Van Winkle's wonderful 15-year-old and Even Kulsveen's Johnny Drum of the same age retail for even less. None of these fine folks are losing money by selling us the liquor we want.

    While it may be true that pocketbook voters in America won't tolerate the sort of prices the Japanese must endure, if we're given a quality product for a reasonable price we'll buy it. As you pointed out to Linn, the difference in production cost between 90- and 100-proof bourbon is negligible; there's already more variation in retail price from store to store than that, so pocketbook voting can't be a factor there. And MY point was that, if the quality of the whiskey were really the same, 100-proof BONDED bourbon would be (slightly) more profitable, due to tax deferral, than non-BONDED. But note that I said "if the quality of the whiskey were really the same". I don't think the pocketbook-carrying public made the decision at all; I think accounts with entirely too much authority (or more likely CEOs with entirely too much investor-orientation) has made that decision for us, based on the principle that we'll still buy the product even it isn't the best the distillery is capable of producing.

    In the case of Sazerac Rye (and the other two as well), I think the question of bonding is moot -- these were never bonded to begin with and their ownership history is far too compicated. So really the bonded vs non-bonded issue doesn't apply to them. I only brought it up to show that enthusiasts *DO* care about a few proof points difference and some of those who are paid to help shape consumer opinion are quite vocal about it.

    I'm glad you took no offense; I certainly meant none -- especially to you. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday.

    =John=

    <font="courier new">
    ************************************************** *****
    Subject Re: Pleasant Surprise!
    Posted by jvanwinkle
    Posted on 11/6/99 12:14 PM

    Lew,
    I also tried the 18-year Rye. I found it close to my 13-year rye. Mashbill seems to be similar. It was over 100 proof as sampled, and I thought mine came off quite a bit smoother(of course I would)...

    ************************************************** *****
    Subject That 18 YO Rye from Buffalo Trace
    Posted by LewBryson
    Posted on 1/15/00 1:36 PM

    More dirt on this fabulous whiskey; some good news, some not-so.
    First, it will be out in the Spring, and labeled as SAZERAC RYE...
    The good news: available nationwide, not just in KY.
    The not-so-good news: They've decided to knock it back to 90 proof, instead of the 110 we sampled at WhiskyFest. I'm not a fiend for high proof whiskey, but when something is THAT SMOOTH and good at high proof, it does not seem smart to me to dilute it.

    ************************************************** *****
    Subject MA review of Sazerac Rye
    Posted by Bushido
    Posted on 4/14/00 07:16 AM

    Lew and all,

    As you can no doubt fathom, I am a little peeved about the whole marketing thing with the Sazerac Rye. Does anyone else feel that the publication of tasting notes for the Sazerac Rye in MA are just a tad misleading? Granted, I have absolutely no problem with the content of the review nor do I resent publication of tasting notes for whiskies which are not generally available to the public.

    However, in this case we have an advert at the front of the magazine announcing the imminent arrival of the Sazerac Rye, in its sadly diluted form, and a review of a different whiskey (the full cask strength version) with the same name in the back...

    ************************************************** *****
    Subject Re: MA review of Sazerac Rye
    Posted by Bushido
    Posted on 4/19/00 08:30 AM

    Not receiving a reply here, I went to the horse's mouth, so to speak. John [Hansell, of Malt Advocate Magazine] assured me it was a typo and the result of having samples (and reviews) of both the full strength and watered down versions in the office at the same time. The review in MA is for the watered down version soon to be in stores (in Kentucky).

    ************************************************** *****
    Subject Re: Sazerac Rye
    Posted by Bushido
    Posted on 11/10/00 05:58 AM

    I tasted the "dilute" version which will be on sale to the public at WhiskyFest last week. It is, in a word, fan-freakin'-tastic.

    ************************************************** *****

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  7. #27
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    Chuck when we look at the upper end of the market at non single barrel bottlings such as Woodford Reserve; Russell's Reserve, Knob Creek, and Very Special Old Fitzgerald how would making then Bottled In Bond make them any better than they already are?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  8. #28
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    Linn, please excuse me for jumping in here (I know you're mainly looking for Chuck's response), but I think you've come up with at least one good example in Woodford Reserve and I don't want to let it slip by...

    Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select, as you know, *can't* be sold Bottled-in-Bond because it was not made at the Labrot & Graham distillery. It may be (and certainly is) a very high-quality bourbon, but for BIB purposes it might just as well have been purchased from Heaven Hill's bulk stock. And, wonderful as it may be, when the copper pot-still, tiny-batch, hand-crafted version from L&G's own stills is bottled, only bottles filled with that one alone will be able to be Bottled-in-Bond. Of course, the more important part of the BIB thing isn't covered by this example, since all the versions we're talking about here are excellent. But you should note that, even though no one specifically claimed anything deceptive, for five years now less-informed customers than ourselves have been buying Distiller's Select bourbon which they believed was made at the Labrot & Graham distillery. And unless the new bourbon from Labrot & Graham is bonded, you really aren't going to know if your bottle contains only that product or maybe only 10% L&G and 90% Old Forester (and yes, I certainly HOPE I'm exaggerating for effect here).

    I don't mean to sound like a preacher with this. I'm an appreciator of fine bourbon, and all these whiskeymakers produce fine bourbon. I feel there may a bit more deception practiced throughout the industry than is necessary, but I don't really hold that against anyone. I *DON'T*, however, see any particular need to pretend it doesn't happen.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  9. #29
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    Thank you so much John for making my point more clear. Woodford Reserve does not meet the criteria to be "Bottled In Bond". So what. How would that make it any better?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  10. #30
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: \"Straight\" vs. \"Bonded\"

    "... Thank you so much John for making my point more clear. Woodford Reserve does not meet the criteria to be 'Bottled In Bond'. So what. How would that make it any better?"

    Linn, I don't want to carry this further in the forum because I don't want to get people into a brawl over cheating and dishonesty and a bunch of stuff that really isn't all that important. That's why I'm sending this private.

    You and I are talking about different things. I have no argument with you that being bonded doesn't make the whiskey any better. I never did disagree with you over that. What I mean is that being bonded requires a level of honesty that (frankly) most distillers would prefer to avoid today. Advertising Woodford Reserve as if it were made at Labrot & Graham when it isn't is not really "lying"; the ads never come right out and say it was made there. But the clear intention is to fool the customer into thinking he's buying one thing and then selling him something else. If you ordered a glass of Russell's Reserve and they brought you a glass of scotch and said "Here's your Russell's Reserve, sir", you'd be righteously pissed. Even if it was outstanding scotch.

    I could give more examples. All the distilleries do it. You're smart and I know you know this is happening.

    They trade product back and forth, and then put their own name on it and treat it as if there's no difference between MAKING it and OWNING it.

    Some establish a reputation with an 8-year-old bourbon, identified with a big "8 Years" on the label, and then switch to a cheaper 6-year-old and change the label only slightly to "No. 8 Brand".

    Some make a big deal of the fact that when this small batch of 18-year-old rye is gone there will be no more -- but neglect to mention that there is plenty of 17-year-old that will be 18 next year. And 16-year-old for the year after that, and so forth, just like any other product. In fact, that particular batch of 18-year-old was ONLY released to media and special contacts. The product didn't go on sale to the public for a year later, when the much larger 17-year-old had become 18. Check the dates on the postings.

    Some talk about baking loaves of bread to find just the right yeast, when both the mash recipe and the yeast was given to them by another distillery -- twice, since they ruined it the first time.

    Some, when they run out of the excellent rye-style bourbon they purchased from a defunct distillery's stock, simply begin bottling a 20-year-old version of their other, wheat-style bourbon without changing the label at all, and without any hint that the prizes and awards they tout were given to a completely different bourbon than what you'll find in the bottle you just forked over $75 bucks for. Not that the whiskey you get out of that bottle isn't outstanding -- it is -- but it isn't the bourbon you chose to spend your money on. And if you don't like wheaters, you might not like it at all.

    The list could go on and on.

    I'm really not condemning these people. It's just the sizzle. I feel better if they'll come clean when questioned directly, and some have, but I wouldn't expect them to do that in a public forum. That's why I don't want to push it there. Many (maybe even most) readers would not be able to enjoy a fine bourbon if they felt the distillery was less than perfectly honest. I don't really know why. We don't expect car salesmen or manufacturers to be that way. Nor stereo dealers, either (otherwise there'd be no need to replace that 1968 amplifier that was 100% accurate at every frequency from 20 to 22K). Maybe it's because bourbon is a food product, I dunno. As far as I'm concerned its just the sizzle. But I think pursuing it will only make people feel uncomfortable and defensive, and I don't want to do that.

    For our own purposes, I agree with you that bonding bourbon doesn't make it any higher quality than unbonded. Will you agree with me that bonding bourbon does help to guarantee that you're really getting what you think you're buying?

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

 

 

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