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View Poll Results: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

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  • Yes

    65 91.55%
  • No

    6 8.45%
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  1. #21
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I'd like to see all professional reviews done blind. If you've ever been in a blind tasting, you have probably been surprised at what can happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    I would be surprised if they didn't.

    let me respond to your two suggestions, and clarify my post a bit:

    Firstly, blind tastings have their place, but not in most official reviews. Why not review the whiskey based upon how old it is? A blind tasting shows all of us our true preferences, or our preferences at a moment in time, but not necessarily what a 18 year old whiskey should taste like. The point of a reviewer is to be impartial, and review a whiskey in comparison to its peers and taking into consideration things like age, proof, barrel finishing, &c, so that the average consumer can say to themselves "Ah, Elijah Craig 18 year got a 94, so that's what an 18 year old whiskey should taste like!" blind tastings don't exactly allow that.

    Secondly, no reviewer is truly impartial, however, I strongly believe that most of them do their best to be even when they are sent rare samples that the poor ol' consumer jus' can get. They're going to get rare bottles, we need to deal with it. The consumer's job is to figure out which reviewer's taste profile most fits their own.

    Thirdly, the distilleries absolutely send honey bottles to reviewers. the job of the distillery is to sell stuff. The question is how often it happens, not if. The question is is it just a harmless sample here that may effect their opinion on another product later, or is it intentional manipulation? If they can convince Pacult, or Hansell, or Murray, that their particular hooch is the best, they can throw labels on it that say so. Distilleries use those labels, even if they're out-dated. Most distilleries are more honest with their customers now, than they were 10 years ago, I'm sure, but that's only because it is easier to find accurate information and with social networking the monster it has become, it's way too easy to get trapped in a lie or a mis-statement. Most consumers want to think that their Pappy Van winkles are still something extra-special (as opposed to just really good whiskey), that their OWA is still seven, and that baby saz is 6. Most people on straightbourbon can handle the truth, and WANT it. would be more willing to buy things from David Perkins if he explicitly stated on the label, this whiskey came from LDI. More likely to buy more Willett Reserve if it stated it was distilled at Heaven Hill, or at D.S.P. 354.


    But let me condemn most of us here on straightborbon, as well. Sometimes we become so zealous in our quest for the truth, or in needing to prove that Pappy Van Winkle no longer contains S-W and is therefore inferior, that it drives distilleries to withold even more information, even more truth. People read straightbourbon, they respect our opinions. Pappy Van Winkle can lay a lot of credit for its success post mortem, for the legend that we helped create of S-W whiskeys here, and on all the rest of the social networking blogs and websites out there that talked about them.
    Last edited by ErichPryde; 02-25-2013 at 15:18.
    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I like to save up the charred bits in the bottom of the unfiltered stuff. When I have enough, I pour milk on it and eat it.

  2. #22
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    I guess I don't understand the premise of a distiller NOT picking the best of the profile offering in a single barrel release.I guess if you look at it this way,it would be a lot easier to pick the best of a batch versus the most average or norm of the profile in any instance.I know this statement is somewhat silly in nature but on the other hand quite true and we are speaking of a single barrel release.
    "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human."
    Larry Wachowski

  3. #23
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    900 barrels. One is a honey barrel, and tastes very good. 899 are mediocre? That's what I'm hearing y'all say?
    Not me. I think it's safe to say that some barrels would be better than others, but in general EWSB is EWSB. Is it possible that some of the best stuff gets distributed differently? Absolutely. Is it possible that the distillers bottle some for themselves at barrel proof? Sure. Is it possible that reviewers like Hansell and Murray only try the stuff sent to them by the distiller, and that the distiller sends the best to everyone to intentionally mislead everyone? Possibly? I don't know that I buy that.
    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I like to save up the charred bits in the bottom of the unfiltered stuff. When I have enough, I pour milk on it and eat it.

  4. #24
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    900 barrels. One is a honey barrel, and tastes very good. 899 are mediocre? That's what I'm hearing y'all say?
    Of course not, Joe. No one said that. But there's always some barrel variation, as we all know.

    The point is that HH is going to put their best foot forward and make sure that barrel 1 is one of the very best barrels that they've chosen for that vintage, and they'll make damn sure that that's the sample sent to Hansell. I certainly don't blame them for this. What company wouldn't do this?

    The point is that thinking that EW1B barrel #1 vs. EW1B barrel #123 are completely the same is quite naive, regardless of what some writers would have us believe.

  5. #25
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    900 barrels. One is a honey barrel, and tastes very good. 899 are mediocre? That's what I'm hearing y'all say?
    Here's one example of the 100 point scale:

    http://www.maltadvocate.com/whisky_reviews.asp?Search=Y

    A Good/Very Good bourbon would rank 80-89.

    Giving EWSB a 93 or 95 rating would be to rank it among the best examples of whiskey produced. I don't see where anyone is suggesting that EWSB is a mediocre bourbon. Most of us agree that EWSB is a good to very good whiskey. As such it should receive an rating somewhere in the 80s.

    Barrel #1 of each year's release may very well be an Outstanding/Classic whiskey and merit a mid-90s score. The novice consumer sees these 93/95 ratings and thinks to himself... Wow... EWSB must be one great pour. I must go buy a bottle. I doubt that the bottle he buys would merit anything close to those ratings handed out by experts. And there's the rub...

  6. #26
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    People who have nothing to hide should have no fear of disclosure.

  7. #27
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by ErichPryde View Post
    Not me. I think it's safe to say that some barrels would be better than others, but in general EWSB is EWSB. Is it possible that some of the best stuff gets distributed differently? Absolutely. Is it possible that the distillers bottle some for themselves at barrel proof? Sure. Is it possible that reviewers like Hansell and Murray only try the stuff sent to them by the distiller, and that the distiller sends the best to everyone to intentionally mislead everyone? Possibly? I don't know that I buy that.

    I would not say that they're trying to "mislead," but rather to get a leg up with a great score.

    You think that Robert Parker isn't shown the best barrel samples from wineries? Of course he is. Historically people like Hansell and Parker will deny this, as it shows the fallacy behind score reviews, which is their bread and butter.
    Last edited by White Dog; 02-25-2013 at 15:31.

  8. #28
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    900 barrels. One is a honey barrel, and tastes very good. 899 are mediocre? That's what I'm hearing y'all say?
    Not what I am saying but I would guess that barrels made in such large quantities, like many things, end up on something approximating a normal distribution of "goodness" such that there many average barrels, some good ones and some bad ones.

    Barrels.jpg

    Presumably the Master Distiller can recognize the good ones and those 900 are the best he can find.

    But of those 900 hundred barrels it is still likely a spectrum of what is really good and what is even better, at least to the Master Distiller. And if he can tell which is which and he wants to get the best review he can wouldn't it make sense to select the one he thinks is the best of the best to send out for review and generate buzz? The #1 barrel might not turn out ot be be the absolute best. And there might be 10 or 20 or 50 that are as good or better. Or even 500 if that curve is really flat on the left end. So maybe barrel number 624 slips through and proves to be as good as #1 or #5 or #10. And maybe I as the consumer can't really tell the difference from #1 to #900.

    But it seems pretty good odds, if he knows what he is doing, that the barrel the Master Distiller picks to be nitpicked by the "experts" is in the top 2-3% of what he regards to be the best of the best.

    I damn sure would!
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    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  9. #29
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by ErichPryde View Post
    Not me. I think it's safe to say that some barrels would be better than others, but in general EWSB is EWSB. Is it possible that some of the best stuff gets distributed differently? Absolutely. Is it possible that the distillers bottle some for themselves at barrel proof? Sure. Is it possible that reviewers like Hansell and Murray only try the stuff sent to them by the distiller, and that the distiller sends the best to everyone to intentionally mislead everyone? Possibly? I don't know that I buy that.
    Agreed, E. If HH or any distillery would randomly pick just any Single Barrel to send to industry reviewers, I would have to seriously question their sanity. Yes, those selections would be the Best of the Best/Honey Barrel of their sample mix was. I'd do it, too. But, the tone of the conversation on this and the other thread from some here, is that the #1 Barrel is significantly "different", and not at all "representative" of what the general public receives, based on certain reviews. Not representative, as in not even close. I can only reach the conclusion that their implication is that the sample provided by HH, and/or the reviews by Chuck and Hansell, are lacking integrity.
    JOE

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    "Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama

  10. #30
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    Agreed, E. If HH or any distillery would randomly pick just any Single Barrel to send to industry reviewers, I would have to seriously question their sanity. Yes, those selections would be the Best of the Best/Honey Barrel of their sample mix was. I'd do it, too. But, the tone of the conversation on this and the other thread from some here, is that the #1 Barrel is significantly "different", and not at all "representative" of what the general public receives, based on certain reviews. Not representative, as in not even close. I can only reach the conclusion that their implication is that the sample provided by HH, and/or the reviews by Chuck and Hansell, are lacking integrity.
    They don't lack integrity, just credibility. There's a difference.

 

 

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