No matter how it shakes out I think we are the winners.
We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.
Another vote for 4R for the already stated reasons and just the fact that I have not only enjoyed but been impressed by the tremendous flavor of all the releases I have tasted. More than any other distillery 4R bourbons are the ones that get that WOW!! reaction from me. They have become the benchmark by which I judge everything else. There are many bourbons from many distilleries I like but I find that I love the 4R releases. When I taste something new I decide whether or not to purchase based on if I would get it if 4R was sitting next to it, 4R wins that battle the vast majority of the time, as such my growing collection is heavily slanted toward 4R and I don't see that changing anytime soon. The 10 recipes can cover such a wide range of flavors and the several I have had have each stood out as distinct and delicious bourbons on their own. That distinction in flavor and quality of flavor have made me a massive fan of Jim Rutledge and Four Roses.
I vote for Heaven Hill. ECBP was an extremely impressive release considering its quality and affordability, especially in this age of rising prices.
It's not too difficult to cut any number of distilleries out of the heard and sing accolades for them. Four Roses is certainly right up there. I don't think there's any question that JR is the MD to beat all MDs. On the other hand, I have to give a tip of the hat to Buffalo Trace as they continue to turn out delicious juice and I"m mightily impressed with the job they are doing following up on the Van Winkle line. That's not easy task and a high bar indeed that they seem as capable of doing as anyone else I can think of. I certainly agree that HH has stretched out this year with their older offerings and barrel proof offerings. For those of us that enjoy the bigger pours .. they've certainly stepped up to the plate in a big way. I think we've seen some interesting movement in this regard from Wild Turkey but I also think that the best is yet to come from them. Beam is actually tip toeing into the premium lines and showing hints of some excellent whiskey in those warehouses. We just need to see more of it.
I agree with Squire (as usual) .. and think we've been the winners this year.
Perhaps I've overlooked someone that's making good moves. Certainly some of the smaller "craft" guys are doing that. I'd be OK with Four Roses or Heaven Hill for the reasons above.
Without a dobut another vote for 4R. If I was restricted to only being able to purchase from one distiller and 4R was the one I'd have no complaints.
But I do like me some variety.
I want to pat all the major distilleries on the back...they are giving us phenomenal bourbons and ryes at lots of different price points
Something for everyone, good for us..
My vote goes to Balcones, who brought us a taste of the future in their fantastic Fifth Anniversary releases, garnered impressive awards throughout the year (much more than an average share), set in place huge expansion plans and began implementing them and most importantly, started delivering fantastic bourbon.
Another vote for Four Roses. Gimme their here and now over somebody else's future all day.