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  1. #1
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    It seems to me that...

    It seems to me that bourbon (or whiskey in general) is one of the few industries where the consumer base demands honesty. Maybe I'm more aware of our priority in truth due to my involvement with this community, as well as the industry. Anyone else agree or disagree? I'm sure there are plenty of examples that would negate my point, but it's interesting to observe how the bourbon community holds honesty in such high regard, compared to other consumables.

    Or maybe it's just us? Maybe we're just the types that are concerned with pedigree, we want to know what blades of grass our cow ate before it was slaughtered, we want to know the name of who sewed our pants together, we want to know what square mile our coffee beans were harvested from...

  2. #2
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    I think you're right - it's us. I think that the group on this forum is more interested than the consumer market at large, in part because (and this is not intended to sound arrogant) we're more educated about the process, the difference in mashbills, and other variables that influence the final product. Jim Beam is the best selling bourbon in the world, yet I don't know anyone who drinks more if it than anything else (or ever drinks very much of it at all!) Even with the current growing interest in bourbon and whiskey, I don't think the education level is growing at the same clip.

    I'm personally interested in knowing as much as I can because I think it gives me a better chance to pick a bottle I've never tasted and have a rough estimate as to how much I might enjoy it. But on the flip side, bottles I have from NDPs that blow my hair back aren't loved any less because I don't know where they came from. I think they just stand less of a chance of my buying blind before I've tried them.
    Gary
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough." - Mark Twain
    "Because Whiskey Matters!" - David Perkins

  3. #3
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    Winston when it comes to the honesty issue I simply want to know what I'm getting. If a NDP like Michters sells a 10 year old sourced whisky for three times what the source charges for the same stuff under another label I want to know why I'm being charged so much.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  4. #4
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Winston when it comes to the honesty issue I simply want to know what I'm getting. If a NDP like Michters sells a 10 year old sourced whisky for three times what the source charges for the same stuff under another label I want to know why I'm being charged so much.
    But Michter's is distillery of the year, with that in mind it shouldn't matter where the whiskey comes from

  5. #5
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    As for the rest there's an undeniable interest in the product and how it's made but we're no different from the watch collectors who can speak knowledgeably at length about a very expensive high end watch that uses a sourced movement identical to ones used in much less costly brands and keeps no better time.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Balcones Winston View Post
    ... but it's interesting to observe how the bourbon community holds honesty in such high regard, compared to other consumables.
    Perhaps if the alcoholic beverage industry was forced (by law) to conform to the same labeling/nutritional listing requirements as other consumables we would stop asking for so much "honesty".

  7. #7
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    portwood has a good point. We have consumer laws to protect us with foodstuffs and consumables and very stiff fines when those laws are violated. Whisky labels should at least be mandated to disclose the DSP who actually made the product.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  8. #8
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    portwood has a good point. We have consumer laws to protect us with foodstuffs and consumables and very stiff fines when those laws are violated. Whisky labels should be mandated to disclose the DSP who actually made the product.
    Completely agree. Working retail, I've noticed that the DSP number is almost always on the case the bottles are shipped in (at least with whiskey). Not sure if it's required by law. But I don't see what the big deal would be to put the DSP somewhere on the bottle itself as well.

  9. #9
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    Or if it's a mingling of barrels from different distillerys, listing them in order of percentage would not disclose any proprietary formulas.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  10. #10
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    Re: It seems to me that...

    I'm with those who look at primarily bottle contents. I don't really care where it comes from or who makes it/mingles/ages or whatever.

    More laws won't really help because there are too many variables to capture.

    Many years experience tasting has convinced me of the following:

    1) You can't always be sure who makes what. For some years after its fire, Heaven Hill had make distilled at Jim Beam and Brown-Forman - when these whiskeys came out, no one knew for quite a while (except IIRC for Ritt bond and even then only after a period when older labels were still being used, because someone drew it to the attention of the company).

    2) Companies sometimes age the product in warehouses owned by others, or in their own rick houses which may be spread across half the state. Each will confer a different character. Then they are combined to make something that will often change character over the years for this or other reasons.

    3) Weather changes all the time and this inevitably will affect the whiskeys over typically the 4-6 years aging most get. It can affect the cereals being grown.

    5) Yeast can subtly change character.

    6) Market conditions may mean the whiskey you get is younger or older than a few years back - sometimes stated on the label, sometimes not.

    7) Each bottle of a brand is in my experience somewhat different than the last one. Sometimes I won't buy a brand for a time because it's going through a blue period shall we say. (Apologies to Picasso). I felt this was the case some years ago when almost all brands of BT seemed to have an earthy loamy dank taste - that's been over for some time. But when I bought brands that had that taste (IMO), what did it avail me to know it was from BT in Frankfort?

    8) Industry sales of labels and businesses mean that stock sometimes goes to the buyer - so what you get may have been made somewhere else. I believe this was so with Weller 107 and I've never liked the brand as much since the old Distillery No. 1 stock apparently was exhausted. (And some of that was older than 7 years towards the end supposedly, so how could that taste like something exactly 7 years old?).

    There are other reasons but these are the main ones. I wish I could get that 18 year old BMH rye, the one bottled for that small California outfit (can't recall the name). That was great whiskey! Don't care where it's from, never did although it was interesting to hear speculation about it.

    It's the whiskey and it can come down to a bottle by bottle decision even for the same brand, much less where it's from that gives me any real assurance.

    Of course this is my view and people are entitled to take the opposite one or not buy non-identified brands, that's their choice, I seek only to explain why IMHO knowing what the label states, or seems to state, often is bootless to the experience the drink will actually deliver.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 08-25-2013 at 12:44.

 

 

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