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  1. #11
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Compromise beats lying cause you don't have to remember what you said.
    or keep looking over your shoulder

  2. #12

    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    Sorry to get off topic but size doesn't matter, it's what you do with it.

    The biggest diff between large and small stills is volume. Distillation column length and how one handles the distillation head to control heads and tails of distillate is what's most important. Technique and experience plays into this to control quality.

    Wait, what are we talking about?

  3. #13
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    I don't think this applies to micros/NDP's only. Even the big boys like Jim Beam and WT want you to think their products are handcrafted.

  4. #14
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    So are we saying they are both liars and cowards? I think of a poltroon (the classic manifestation being Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC KCB KCIE of course!) as a coward more so than a liar. Of course they can be liars as well but that isn't a requirement.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  5. #15
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    Who rose to the rank of Brigadier General Sir Harry Flashman in the same ironic comedic sense that some third rate politicians have become presidents and prime ministers.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #16
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Who rose to the rank of Brigadier General Sir Harry Flashman in the same ironic comedic sense that some third rate politicians have become presidents and prime ministers.
    Indeed he did! Although Flashman occasionally did something useful, even if he hadn't intended to. Can't say as much for most politicians, third rate or otherwise.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  7. #17
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    I care about distilling out proof, not the kind of kit used to fractionate the alcohol. A wide variety of apparatus was used historically, it is all a question of scale and efficiency, nothing more. People use all kinds of images to sell their wares and selling is an honourable and necessary job without which we would have none of the fine products offered for our delectation here. IIRC, a Willett bourbon issued a few years ago has an image of a pot still on the label although that part of the process was not unique (a steam column was probably involved) and everyone in the business amongst the old-established producers uses them. You could read the image as mimicking the bottle shape, but again why the shape? Because the producer thought, I assume, it lent a note of tradition. In fact, that bourbon was distilled out under 160 proof in equipment which mimics, for that purpose, the old double pot stills. Even sans doubler a column can be adapted to function to all intents and purposes like a pot still, maybe better (that 159 proof bourbon from the Versailles pots - three of them no less - is pretty feisty, even at 5-6 years old, which is why, I believe, WR is mingled with column still make). I am good with it and the still stuff for those who favour those images is selling the sizzle with the steak, an age-old tradition in American, or any nation's, business. The old Michter (in Pennsylvania) did the same thing, they spoke of a pot still whiskey too even though it seems they used a column and doubler for their typical products.

    The NDPs who use similar imagery to sell bourbon or rye are doing nothing new but anyway what they are saying again is we make a product in the tradition of the pre-column still whisky-makers, and they do. They are saying in a marketing fashion that we aren't GNS makers.

    Now, if some of them show a pot still on the label or in ad copy and distill out at over 160 proof - if they are selling something other than bourbon or rye - well then I would express a personal preference that they not do that, but if some do, it doesn't exercise me greatly. A pot still is an image of distillation, it evokes hard liquor, whiskey or other. We remember it from cartoons as kids, the moonshiner spoofs and all that.

    Anyone who wants to know in detail how a product is made can do research and usually find out or get pretty close. And if you can't, ask the producer. If he won't tell you, don't buy it if that is your wont.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 11-30-2013 at 18:47.

  8. #18
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    Gary, you are so polite, one of the things I appreciate about your posts.

    I don't assume the producer of Willet Pot Still Reserve thought the shape of the bottle lent a note of tradition. In fact I believe it was an intentional misrepresentation on their part to make customers believe the whisky in the bottle was actually made in the small pot still so prominently displayed on their web site. It wasn't.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  9. #19
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    They are good marketers, that's all it is in my view. We here (at SB) have a level of understanding of still technology that is way beyond what the average buyer understands, it is easy to forget that. In fact, while I don't include Willett's in this, many here and you not least Squire surely understand how stills work and the subtleties of the standards of identity far better than many NDPs.

    I am sure the average buyer with a mild interest in whiskey or spirits in general looks at the antique copper pot stills or the term itself in the most general way, it is a shorthand for him for liquor and many producers appeal to that understanding lurking half-unconscious in the folk memory. It is like the barrel with three x's marked on it: booze! We here tend to read way more into it than is done by the general market (IMO).

    It is an old tradition in whiskey-making - and in business as I said - to sell the sizzle with the steak anyway, it is "puffery", permitted exaggeration.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-01-2013 at 04:55.

  10. #20
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    Re: Of Pot Stills and Poltroons

    If a distiller shows a picture of a still - I as a consumer expect that picture to be of the still on which they make their spirit - be it rye, bourbon, wheat or malt, etc, whisky. So if a brand is buying new make from Indiana I better not see a picture of Vendome's finest Copper Pot Still on their website. After that taste and cost are what matters to me. I've tasted really good spirit from a tiny little pot still with a rectifier and I've tasted really bad spirit off of massive column stills and massive pot stills.

    At a certain point I care because if a craftsman who makes excellent whisky isn't doing it efficiently enough, then they won't be in business for very long. Marketing is marketing - I think it is more effective with at least a grain of truth, preferably more than one or two grains. That being said there have been all too many successful marketing campaigns and brands that have built their business on double-speak, myths, fairy tales and plain bald-faced lies. I'd like to think those tactics are becoming less effective with the much easier access to information but I'm afraid that is just wishful thinking.

 

 

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