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  1. #1
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    \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    An exchange between CL and Paradox in another thread reminded me of a question that came up over the last week or so.

    Like most of us I have become accustomed to seeing certain bottlings affixed with the "Single Barrel" designation. I understand that to mean that many barrels may be used to produce that bottling, but that the contents of each bottle comes from only one barrel.

    Recently I have seen two instances (both connected with Sam's and Buffalo Trace Distillery) where the term "Single Cask" was used. In one of these instances, namely the barrel proof, 20 year-old, Van Winkle Family Reserve, we were told that the entire bottling came from just one barrel. Now those of us on Sam's email distribution list have been reminded that the "single cask" designation is also being used for a bottling bearing the Bufffalo Trace lable. Somehow it seems unlikely to me that this bottling came from only one barrel, especially since, as I believe Paradox pointed out, the words "single cask" don't even appear on the label.

    My question is two-fold. What does single cask mean? Are we witnessing the genesis of a new market niche/descriptor?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  2. #2
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    Are we witnessing the genesis of a new market niche/descriptor?

    I believe what we are witnessing is the "Scotchification" of bourbon, if I can borrow that fom an older thread. IMHO, it is nothing more than marketing jargon, and the word "cask" probably seems "classier" to the dumbed-down masses.

  3. #3
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    Yeah, I agree with you on that Jeff. It sounds more 'classy' and maybe they're even hoping that scotch drinkers would be tempted to try this particular bottling of bourbon since the word cask was used...

    As for the Sams Buffalo Trace single barrel bottling. As I understand it, it is in fact a single barrel bottling. My best guess as to why there is no difference in the label: Too much time and money has to be spent to develop a new label just for that. Now I thought it would be nice if they put a sticker saying it was a single barrel on the side or something, but they didn't. There is a label that says it was done or picked by someone over there at Sam's, but still no reference to a Single Barrel bottling.

    All in all, both terms mean the same thing. Some business's may use it because they don't know better (more probable) or it is intential to try and make people from 'The Dark Side' (scotch people) interested in certain bottlings of bourbon. You've got to remember it was a private bottling, and maybe whoever chose the label design was a wine/scotch drinker and that's how they normally refer to a 'barrel'.

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    Jeff is on it here. I don't recall any one referring to the warehouses that dot the Ky. countryside as Caskhouses. It's a borrow from scotch. Barrelhouses I have heard reference to. So I guess now we are making Bourbon seem more scotch like and it may appeal to scotch elitists.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    It sounds more 'classy'
    I'll take exception to that Mark. It's been barrel for a few hundred years now and to change it to appeal to another group of spirits drinkers is phony as hell, Of course Proof is going the way of the horse and Buggy and we get ABV in it's place.

  6. #6
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    Sorry Bobby, I did not mean to us it sounds classy rather I meant it may sound more classy to Scotch drinking regulars...

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    You had me worried there for a minute!

  8. #8
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    I have a bottle of BT from Binny's. Here is what they say on the web site:

    "Buffalo Trace Bourbon-Binny's Hand-picked Barrel
    Another Binny's first, we have been hand-picking our own barrels of Buffalo Trace for almost a year now. Elmer T. tells us where to look and we pick the barrels that best fit the classic Buffalo Trace style: Rich, but subtle; spicy, with a long, soft vanilla finish. Look up elegant in the dictionary, there is a picture of this whiskey beside it."

    The bottle has a gold sticker that says "specially selected for Binny's by Joe C". I did a side by side with a previuos bottle of BT and really did not notice a difference. Both are good!

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    Damn straight, Bobby! And my username is staying put, too, I can tell you.

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: \"Single Barrel\" vs. \"Single Cask\"

    I hadn't thought of that! Once the new terminology is in vogue
    <font color="brown"> Cask_Proof </font>

 

 

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