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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis
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    227

    Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    As a newbie, I notice a lot of posts that allude to the fact that many bourbon brands were better decades ago. Just a few examples that come to mind are:

    - OGD bottled by ND is better
    - Make sure you get the PVW with the SW juice
    - Jim Beam White Label was better in the 70s

    What's causing this? Are they changing the formulas? Aging less? Cutting corners in distillation?

  2. #2
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Northern CA
    Posts
    1,159

    Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    There is a huge amount of discussion on this before and something I constantly think about as well.

    I think a big part is best described by Pappy's statement in this image where no business now a days would even consider.

    Cheers
    Hugh


  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    858

    Re: Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    A lot of us have found that you don't have to go to the upper shelf to find bourbon that is more than satisfactory. Though some brands have declined in quality, I still find considerable value in AAA, VOB, OWA, OGD, EC12, HH White, and...and... Once in a while, I spring for a $30+ bourbon but I am still quite happy with the value pours. Even if they ain't what they used to be. When I was young, I only dated women who were 10s. Now, if a 9.7 smiles at me, I'm a happy old geezer.
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  4. #4
    Guru
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
    Posts
    12,471

    Re: Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    Yes, a child's smile warms the heart, an attractive woman's smile warms everything.

  5. #5

    Re: Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    Nostalgia vs. The Modern World
    Art vs. Commerce
    Newfound Popularity/Demand vs. Time it takes to make quality product
    Massive Corporate Buyouts vs. Family Businesses

  6. #6
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    A pretty great state.
    Posts
    1,788

    Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    -Barrel proof, extra-aged whiskey is a thing that can be purchased these days, even if it's not on every shelf.

    -Specially selected single barrels are widely available.

    -Distillers are adding new expressions, experimenting with new production techniques like barrel finishes, etc, etc, etc...

    Why is bourbon getting better?

    ....anyways, just saying, don't be so quick to be a pessimist.
    Jim

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    227

    Re: Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighInTheMtns View Post
    -Barrel proof, extra-aged whiskey is a thing that can be purchased these days, even if it's not on every shelf.

    -Specially selected single barrels are widely available.

    -Distillers are adding new expressions, experimenting with new production techniques like barrel finishes, etc, etc, etc...

    Why is bourbon getting better?

    ....anyways, just saying, don't be so quick to be a pessimist.
    Perhaps my original post came out wrong. I probably should have used a different title. I'm not pessimistic at all. I've just noticed that quite a few people think the legacy brands aren't as good as they used to be. I know that there are a few cases where brands like Old Crow are no longer using the same mashbill, so I understand that criticism. I picked up a bottle of Bonded OGD a couple of weeks ago and I think it's great. Having read comments about the ND juice being better just made me wonder what I was missing.

    I couldn't be happier with the variety of the selection available today. Thanks to advice on this board, every bottle I've picked up in the last month has been terrific. No complaints here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Power
    It's because everyone would rather harken back to the "good old days." Also, enthusiasts in an industry would rather highly value things that they have and that the general public does not. It's the same in any industry from tequila to scotch to beanie babies. Retired ones were "worth more" and way better. I've had many chances to have "treasure bottles" of tequila or bourbon and I haven't found them to be hugely better. Some have been really good, but not really better than some of the best brands that are currently on the shelf.

    Bottom line: Fins something that you like at a price that you like and enjoy the hell out of it. Don't worry about what everyone says about discontinued or hard to find juices. Find something that you like, for a price that you like, and enjoy it.
    As a guitar player, the same thing exists amongst many guitar collectors. Every vintage guitar is great. Everything made today is substandard.

    Quote Originally Posted by squire
    The biggest flavor shift I think comes from barrel selection. In the past all the best barrels were blended into the House brands but now they are selected for the premium lines, single barrels, that sort of thing, and the regular brand's profiles have been reformulated accordingly.
    That's a great point that I had not thought of. That makes perfect sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh
    There is a lot of "the good old days" mentality but there was also an actual event, the glut. When bourbon sales crashed, it took a long time for distillers to adjust their production downward so they ended up with a glut of whiskey. Because they had too much, more mature whiskey was going into lower and middle shelf offerings. Now bourbon is more popular and supplies have tightened so younger whiskey is going into those same brands.
    That's another great point that I had not thought of.

    Thanks for all of the responses.

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    883

    Re: Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackinbox View Post
    As a newbie, I notice a lot of posts that allude to the fact that many bourbon brands were better decades ago. Just a few examples that come to mind are:

    - OGD bottled by ND is better
    - Make sure you get the PVW with the SW juice
    - Jim Beam White Label was better in the 70s

    What's causing this? Are they changing the formulas? Aging less? Cutting corners in distillation?
    It's because everyone would rather harken back to the "good old days." Also, enthusiasts in an industry would rather highly value things that they have and that the general public does not. It's the same in any industry from tequila to scotch to beanie babies. Retired ones were "worth more" and way better. I've had many chances to have "treasure bottles" of tequila or bourbon and I haven't found them to be hugely better. Some have been really good, but not really better than some of the best brands that are currently on the shelf.

    Bottom line: Fins something that you like at a price that you like and enjoy the hell out of it. Don't worry about what everyone says about discontinued or hard to find juices. Find something that you like, for a price that you like, and enjoy it.
    Tequila Tourist - Blog & Reviews
    Tequila Tourist on Facebook

    There's the right way, the wrong way and the Max Power Way!

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    562

    Re: Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    Bourbon is getting worse? What? Why wasn't I alerted to this fact?

    I agree with Max above. It's like my mom, always longing for the good old days of the 50's and 60's.

    As one of my students once told me, "Everything changes, and nothing stays the same, either."
    He made himself another drink and thought how much better the Perrier was than anything else you could put in whisky... Hemingway

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Markham, ONT
    Posts
    518

    Re: Why is Bourbon getting worse?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackinbox View Post
    As a newbie, I notice a lot of posts that allude to the fact that many bourbon brands were better decades ago.
    It's an age old phenomenon - everything in the past was better than the present and if we keep it up we're all going to hell in a hand basket.
    The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.*



    *attributed to Socrates by Plato

 

 

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