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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    So from what I understand, when a particular bottle of something is "Joe's Discount Liquor Specially Selected", it simply means that the store was given samples from a few different batches of a 'small batch' release, and from those samples they could select which batch would be bottled for their store... correct?

    Do these typically vary greatly from one 'selected' barrel to another, or not much at all? I get that with anything smaller batch or single barrel there WILL be variance, but I don't know if there's a difference between, say, "generic" (for lack of a better word) EC12 and a specially selected bottle.

    Or maybe I'm WAY off and that's not what it means at all?

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    In my limited experience with any pvt selected 'standard juice/barrels' bottlings, the only one I've found to have much variation is Buffalo Trace. I've had good, bad & ugly with BT pvt selections. The TPS 4RSB seems to be a cut above other 'standard' 4RSBs I've tried. At same time though, I hate to use that word in same sentence as anything bottled by 4R because it's all been a cut above IMHO.
    Last edited by Old Lamplighter; 01-14-2013 at 10:57.
    "I think I'll just stay here and drink"
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  3. #3
    Trippah and Admin
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    Distilleries are shy about allowing selections like those to be made outside of the standard profile for a label.

    As I can think of a small number of Binnys selections that were profile outliers and were very popular, there are probably more.

    The best way to find out is to buy and try.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  4. #4
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    Quote Originally Posted by jwacky View Post
    So from what I understand, when a particular bottle of something is "Joe's Discount Liquor Specially Selected", it simply means that the store was given samples from a few different batches of a 'small batch' release, and from those samples they could select which batch would be bottled for their store... correct?

    Do these typically vary greatly from one 'selected' barrel to another, or not much at all? I get that with anything smaller batch or single barrel there WILL be variance, but I don't know if there's a difference between, say, "generic" (for lack of a better word) EC12 and a specially selected bottle.

    Or maybe I'm WAY off and that's not what it means at all?
    Your correct in that typically a retailer is sent a number of samples - they are usually from different barrels that would have gone into the dump that made the batch. Because the manufacturer wants to have all the bottles of say EC12 or Eagle Rare taste pretty much the same the samples are usually pretty similar and usually not outside the shelf profile to any great degree. Since the samples are selected at random there is no guarantee that any one of them will be any better than the standard bottling, in fact they all might be in some small way inferior. Because the retailer needs product for his shelf he will pick one and proudly proclaim it a "specially selected". For the reasons mentioned it may or may not be "better" or even very different.

    Some retailers work harder at it than others - TPS comes to mind - and you can count on their selections being a little different than the shelf version - if it is "better" .... that's for you and your palate to decide.

  5. #5
    Guru
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    It depends to some degree to who is doing the selection and what sales muscle the store has. Binny's, Specs or TPS is in a much better position to get something a bit unique than a single retail store in my neighborhood.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    My dad was an engineer for an appliances manufacturer. One time we were talking about something and he pointed to a nearby appliance. "Do you know why that says, 'Heavy Duty'?" I began to speculate about heavier gauge steel, thicker hoses, whatever. He stopped he. "It says 'Heavy Duty' because some marketing guy thought it would sell better if it said 'Heavy Duty.'"

    As he was about most things, he was right.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    Talking about Dads, I remember that when I was a kid, mine always specified "heavy duty suspension" when he bought a new car. (Today, more often than not one "orders" a new car: can someone explain the nuance to me? Could it be from the fact of leasing not buying outright?).

    This was at a time when you had to pay extra for that. I hope he wasn't flim-flammed.

    Gary

  8. #8
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    Chuck,

    I loved the story about your dad. It warmed my heart. Thanks for posting it.

    Will

  9. #9
    Moderator
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    I pretty much agree with what everyone here has said. I'm lucky in that I live fairly close to a store that does one or two private barrels selections each year. (I'm also fairly close to Binny's. ) The one store I go to has been gracious enough to allow me and another member to participate in tasting barrel samples for a couple of their picks. It's fun, but not as easy as one would think. We were asked for our input, but they had already pretty much decided on what their picks were going to be. Sometimes we were in agreement, and sometimes we weren't. I have to say that IMHO, every selection they've done has been at the very least, a little better than the standard bottlings. More often than not, their bottlings have been noticeably better. This is one of those stores that, like Sailor22 said, works harder at it.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum are stores that might have a distillery select a barrel especially for them, and they don't bother with tasting any samples. Sometimes it might be good, other times maybe not so good. An example of this is a store I visited in another state a few years ago. At the time, one of my favorite bourbons was "ABC" bourbon. (I'm substituting ABC to try and be nice.) I stopped in at this store, and low and behold they had ABC bourbon on sale. It was around $7 cheaper than what it generally sold for at that time. And it was a private selection to boot! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I was thinking about buying a case of it. Hell, I even had my wife's blessing. I wasn't sure what to do because they had a couple of other things on sale that I really wanted too. I decided to only purchase one bottle of ABC bourbon, and the others that I wanted. After all, I could go back for more ABC if it was great. As it turned out, I'm glad I only bought one bottle of the ABC bourbon. To be blunt, it was pretty bad. It didn't even come close to tasting anything like any bottle of ABC bourbon that I'd ever had before, or since. I got lucky on that one.

    So, to quote from the movie Forrest Gump, My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." As a generality I think that most private selections will be at least a little better than their normal counterpart, but there's always a stinker barrel lurking in the rickhouse. Callmeox pretty much summed it up. The best way to find out is to buy and try.

    Cheers! Joe
    " I never met a Weller I didn't like"

  10. #10
    Taster
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    Hoboken, NJ
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    Re: Major differences when something is "specially selected?"

    in my limited experience, i have come across a difference between specially selected and private selection. FR comes to mind as one where they have their own private selection labels, but i have also seen stores claim that a single barrel with no private selection label was specially selected by the store. They could be telling the truth, though, as Chuck points out, it could also be marketing by the store. I have also seen bottles in stores with a sticker not from the distillery saying "specially selected by XYZ liquors" and this again reads to me as marketing as opposed to actually going through the process of private selection. I would like to know from anyone who works at a distillery if they would ever allow a store to go through the whole tasting process and then not buy a whole barrel, thereby not getting their own private selection label but perhaps being able to purchase some whiskey from a certain barrel. Does that happen?

 

 

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