Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 57
  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    156

    The real Golden Age is coming

    I expect that someday, a producer will make great bourbon (and other) whiskeys that are: (1) made from the most interesting strains of organic grains that have been (2) fermented by the most intriguingly compatible yeasts before being (3) distilled by methods that preserve the richness and complexity of the beer and (4) fully aged in specially sourced barrels cut from exceptional, tight-grained wood (5) with masterful regard for each variable that impacts the aging process along with (6) copious sampling to identify the honey barrels and satisfying vattings, which are (7) bottled without filtration or other modification and (8) marketed with full disclosure of every relevant fact a whiskey nerd/geek/lover would want to know–including the characteristics of the water used, which I left out of the above description. It may happen in phases (and already is to some extent), but my hope is for a large leap forward at one time through a combination of all or nearly all of these key elements.
     
    I also expect that not too long after these whiskeys are introduced, the interest in today’s most hyped bottles will plummet sharply, and other producers of "premium" whiskey will feel tremendous pressure to up the quality and transparency of every aspect of their game. In the meantime, people like John Hansell and his colleagues will feel obliged to become little more than apologists for the laggard whisk(e)y makers. We will understand, because they cannot very well limit their enthusiastic praise to the tiny subset that is setting the new standard without losing nearly all interest and ad revenue–but we will still condemn them with righteous zeal.
     
    And all the talk of how the whiskey golden age is behind us will stop amongst people who know anything about what’s going on. (The equivalent will happen with whisky, but I think it will take longer as they are behind the curve with their E150, second-hand wood, etc. Although the efforts with bere barley are promising.)
     
    That is my vision, at least. Naive? Misguided? Moronic? Feel free to tear it apart. Or tell me about your vision.

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    320

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    I think this would be close to the definition of true "craft" distilling. Rather than just doing things on a smaller scale than the major producers, do each step with care and don't skimp on the age and proof. It would be analogous to what the craft beer movement has done with respect to the big beer producers. I think a couple of the craft distillers will get there, but most won't have the patience and/or capital to do it. And also, most of the buying pubic doesn't care about these things - yet.

  3. #3
    Guru
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Commonwealth of KY
    Posts
    3,137

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    So BTs "Holy Grail" then, yeah?

    Could eventually happen, but I'd wager the entire bottom falls out before anyone distillery truly achieved that goal, let alone all of them. Maybe one day, but most of us won't live to see it.

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Markham, ONT
    Posts
    490

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    The vision of the OP can only happen IF every consumer attached the same value to all of the possible variables. If that were to happen then every distillery would be producing and selling virtually the same product. Good luck with that ... and welcome to socialism if it were to ever happen.

    The reason we have so much variability is that each company has decided to sell products that focus on certain variables (proof, age, ingredients, yeasts, char levels, etc) based on estimated demand.

    All the items - with the exception of filtration and full disclosure - are subjective all of the major distillers would argue they already do all of that in some combination in at least some of their (premium) products!

    Ultimately, the perfect product is different for every person. It is impossible (or very cost prohibitive) for anyone to sell anything on that basis.
    Last edited by portwood; 06-12-2013 at 12:26.

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    O'Fallon, MO
    Posts
    438

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    Basically, when I read the OP I thought, "Really, how much better can bourbon get, and would anyone want to pay for it?" The point portwood makes about the different emphasis consumers place on different variables is totally valid. Most consumers, myself included, are gonna say, "Who cares, as long as it tastes great!"

    When I can buy OGD114 for under $19, and several different 10+ yo 1Bs from HH for just 6-7 bucks more, would I really want to spend double or triple that, or more, for the "perfect" bourbon? I might buy one to try, but after that? No guarantee that "perfect" would mean "great taste."
    Last edited by black mamba; 06-12-2013 at 13:09.

  6. #6
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Charleston, WV
    Posts
    1,445

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    Quote Originally Posted by black mamba View Post
    No guarantee that "perfect" would mean "great taste."
    Maybe it would mean "less filling"?


  7. #7
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
    Posts
    11,543

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    Good point about taste. Even if all the criteria were met there's no guaranteeing the outcome.

  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    156

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    "The vision of the OP can only happen IF every consumer attached the same value to all of the possible variables."
     
    I respectfully disagree. Everyone need not care or agree for this come about. At most there would need to be an increase in how much some of these elements are valued--and I would contend both that there is a great deal of latent demand (think of all the "foodies" around these days, after all), as well as a great deal of potential demand that would be created by awareness of a supply of products that embody these qualities. If marketing that is essentially based on bullshit can create huge demand, why couldn’t marketing that is based on something far more substantive?
     
    "If that were to happen then every distillery would be producing and selling virtually the same product. Good luck with that ... and welcome to socialism if it were to ever happen."
     
    What I am advocating is actually an increase in variety. Right now, for instance, nearly every bourbon on the market uses #2 dent corn bought as a commodity. In my vision, the grain would be an integral focus and additional source of variety, and many types would be grown, bred, and experimented with, with many of the most interesting finding their way into the bourbon. (As I mentioned, I think the bere barley forays over in Scotland have been interesting. What Balcones is doing with blue corn is pretty cool as well. Finally, those producers who supposedly buy only non-GMO corn deserve some recognition as well. It’s a start. "Estate grown" grains may never be considered as economically viable as estate grown grapes or agaves, but then again why not?) In my vision, there would also be more experimentation with yeast, leading to more variety. And let’s not forget the wood. For a long time we have been losing the ability to taste whiskey aged in old growth barrels, and only recently have the detriments of kilning been realized. The trend is toward emphasis on wood quality as well as variety, and in my vision this would continue with even greater force.


    "The reason we have so much variability is that each company has decided to sell products that focus on certain variables (proof, age, ingredients, yeasts, char levels, etc) based on estimated demand."

    I think it is just as much, if not more, the other way around. Companies generally try to differentiate products in order to create demand for them and build the brands, not simply as a response to pre-existing demand for those precise characteristics. Some of these differences are real and are things bourbon enthusiasts actually care about, others are completely bogus, and many are something in between–like age statements and char level, which give us some information but not enough to know their full significance in the absence of other details. As many have observed, much of marketing has been about making a big deal out of small differences. If companies felt pressure to be more transparent about the key details at each step, they could not easily hide behind such claims. The end result: more, rather than less, variability.

    "All the items - with the exception of filtration and full disclosure - are subjective all of the major distillers would argue they already do all of that in some combination in at least some of their (premium) products!"
    If a major distiller were already using grain that is organic or meaningfully different in strain or quality, I think they would promote this fact. As for the wood, so far as I know pretty much all the barrels are coming from one of two sources, and unless you are Brown-Forman, from the same groups of trees and the same cooperage. The guy behind Forty Creek up in Canada did something interesting when he specially sourced 90 of his barrels from big, tight-ringed Canadian white oak, and it seems to show in the result. I would love to see bourbon producers do something similar. And more experiments like BF’s leaky maple barrels.


    "Ultimately, the perfect product is different for every person. It is impossible (or very cost prohibitive) for anyone to sell anything on the basis of perfect"
    Let me clarify, I am not arguing for "the" perfect product, but for a range of products based on increased accountability and attention at every step of the process. There will always be a subjective element, but I hope we can agree there is a lot of room for upping the quality, transparency, and variety.

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    156

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    I can identify with everyone who expresses the sentiment "who cares, when whiskey is already this good and affordable?" Indeed, Bourbon is one the few products capable of making me feel proud to be ‘merican. And if you saw how many bottles of OGD 114 and 1792 are currently seeking shelter in my cellar, you would believe me when I say I really like and respect what’s already/still being produced. Yet my overactive imagination cannot help but foresee a quantum leap, and cannot help but believe that greater things are around the bend (and not necessarily at an outrageous price).

  10. #10
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    O'Fallon, MO
    Posts
    438

    Re: The real Golden Age is coming

    I believe that even if all the variables you cite would be addressed at the same time (almost completely unlikely) it would hardly achieve a quantum leap. Technology has put such ideas into our minds, but in the organic world things move forward in small steps, not leaps. Even if addressed at the same time, all 8 of the variables would be perfected at different rates over time through trial and error, if ever. Given enough time, enough interest and enough capital, the product could be improved, but very slowly.

    Look at the wine world. New methods and "science" abound, but still the first growth Bordeaux wines command the most respect and the highest prices.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. PHC 2010 BS or PHC Golden Anniversary
    By autiger23 in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 04-15-2011, 19:56
  2. Golden Age?
    By **DONOTDELETE** in forum History
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: 03-15-2004, 22:08

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top