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  1. #1
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    NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    The majority of active users here often state that NDPs are not a good value either because you don't know what you are getting, they are overpriced, are repackaged versions of other house brands, are sub-standard barrels from known distilleries, or some combination of those reasons. On the other hand, the most coveted bottles in the bourbon/rye world seem to be from NDPs (PVW, Rathskeller, VWFRR, Willett, Hirsch, Black Maple Hill, Red Hook, etc.) The most confusing to me is Willett. It seems like most members really love Willett, but will knock Rowan's Creek, Noah's Mill, and other offerings from the same NDP (KBD.)

    If I didn't know any better I would say that it has to do with the rarity of the bottle more than anything else. What do you guys think?
    I've never tried GTS with any sort of soda. Maybe I'm missing out; but I'm OK with that.

  2. #2
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    Quote Originally Posted by smknjoe View Post
    The majority of active users here often state that NDPs are not a good value either because you don't know what you are getting, they are overpriced, are repackaged versions of other house brands, are sub-standard barrels from known distilleries, or some combination of those reasons. On the other hand, the most coveted bottles in the bourbon/rye world seem to be from NDPs (PVW, Rathskeller, VWFRR, Willett, Hirsch, Black Maple Hill, Red Hook, etc.) The most confusing to me is Willett. It seems like most members really love Willett, but will knock Rowan's Creek, Noah's Mill, and other offerings from the same NDP (KBD.)

    If I didn't know any better I would say that it has to do with the rarity of the bottle more than anything else. What do you guys think?
    Yeah I have issues with a lot of the KBD stuff.

    BMH built a rep based on (a) some truly outstanding age stated releases, and (b) a rash of articles declaring them the "Next" PVW. Now they can barely scrape together enough bourbon to release a few cases every 3 months of non-age stated (and anecdotally increasingly young tasting) product. They also have tried to increase their MSRP to ~60 per bottle.

    Noah's Mill dropped the 15 year age statement and the newer bottlings taste nothing like the older ones.

    Rowan's creek I never found to be that good.

    As for Willett - at least all the bottles are age stated. And just going on taste buds alone I've really liked the three bottles I've purchased, as well as the couple other older ones I've sampled in bars. They seem to at least be making an effort to "go legit" too with distilling their own stuff.

    I wish KBD would just cut the obfuscative brands like Rowan's etc and focus on the Willett name. But I guess there are people out there looking for them...so it's hard to blame them when they can sell non-age stated sourced bourbons for ~$50 per bottle.

    /End of rant.

  3. #3
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    NDP'S certainly can be good, my main knock is on new small distilleries claiming it as their own, and overcharging. A lot of these bottles taste very similar (LDI). I think what I would most like to see is mandatory source information on bottles, at least then you can make a better guess as to the contents.

    I also think if its your recipe/method, but someone else is making, that its a little different than buying bulk barrels, adding some local water or aging, and calling it your own.

  4. #4
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    That's the kind of reasoning that I don't understand. So, they used to have or currently have an age statement. So what? You still don't know where it came from (which seems to be the number one reason why people don't like NDPs.)
    I've never tried GTS with any sort of soda. Maybe I'm missing out; but I'm OK with that.

  5. #5
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    Quote Originally Posted by DrBob View Post
    I think what I would most like to see is mandatory source information on bottles, at least then you can make a better guess as to the contents.
    Completely agree on that note. I've noticed that a lot of bourbons have the DSP number on the case the bottles come in but obviously not on the bottles themselves. Would be great to see the DSP number required on the bottle itself, imho.

  6. #6
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    It's more a truth in labeling issue with me. For example, several years ago a bartender friend gave me (& some other regular brown spirits drinkers) free tastes of Rendezvous Rye both neat & in cocktails. We liked it so she started carrying it. Some other NDP products failed their tests. Some tasted just OK, but at $50+ retail, we all passed them by.

    In short, I like to know the spirit's provenance and likely characteristics (which is a major reason I browse SB's forums) before buying a bottle. Also, as long as JBB, VOBBIB, WT101, & even 4RSmB, etc., are comparatively inexpensive, the NDPs won't be my go-to. BTW, just what DOES "Estate Bottled" on Old Bardstown mean?

    That said, if a NDP product tastes good to me, I'll buy it and drink it.
    Last edited by Harry in WashDC; 01-26-2014 at 13:57.

  7. #7
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    Quote Originally Posted by smknjoe View Post
    That's the kind of reasoning that I don't understand. So, they used to have or currently have an age statement. So what? You still don't know where it came from (which seems to be the number one reason why people don't like NDPs.)
    I just don't like the bait and switch aspect of it.

    I don't particularly care what distillery a bourbon comes from if it tastes good to me.

    I just dislike that the company makes a rep on a specific product (e.g. Black Maple Hill and the 16/23/etc stuff they sold in the past), then uses the same name to sell something that isn't even close in flavor profile and likely not even from the same source.

    People complain about Sazerac dropping their age statements on some products. But at least we know it's the same recipe from the same distillery...

  8. #8
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Clavius View Post
    Completely agree on that note. I've noticed that a lot of bourbons have the DSP number on the case the bottles come in but obviously not on the bottles themselves. Would be great to see the DSP number required on the bottle itself, imho.
    I agree on this too, but I think the main reason against it is that the NDP would have to change labels once the source changed. I don't know how often that happens for a particular brand, but I'm guessing it could be a very expensive headache for some labels.
    Tyler

  9. #9
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    I have no great love for KBD but cut them a little slack. When they started there was a fair amount of well-aged bourbon and rye around: barrels that the big guys didn't really have a use for (even today most master distillers are reluctant to sell old whiskey although that is changing). Some of it just didn't match existing profiles, others (like some of the famous ryes) were distilled on contract and then never fulfilled. KBD made a business out of targeting what was a very small market with these extra-aged products, and the big guys were just happy to get rid of the stock.

    Fast forward to today. KBD's well has dried up, but they still have to sell something, especially if they want to ever see their own make come to market. I don't think they have a choice.

  10. #10
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    Re: NDP Contradictions/Hypocracy

    The reputation for Black Maple Hill was established by Julian Van Winkle when he was selecting the barrels and doing the contract bottling for this brand which was and still is owned by a company in California. After Julian teamed up with Buffalo Trace the contract went to KBD (Willett) and the stuff they bottle now is nothing like the gems Julian put out but he did such a good job the brand still has some buzz.

    I was introduced to Willett some decades back when I was in Toddy's Liquor store in Bardstown. Grabbing a hand full of KBD/Willett brands to round out my third case I was asked why those, to which I responded I didn't have a particular reason, just wasn't familiar with them.

    Laughing out loud the guys told me to put the Willett back because it was "exactly the same whisky" as the Heaven Hill brands on the shelf next to them that sold for 1/3 the price of the Willett.

    I have more than one objection to the approach taken by Willett or other NDPs but my primary one is I refuse to be cheated. When you hide sourced whisky in a fancy bottle and try to sell it to me pretending it's something special that deserves a premium price then you are trying to cheat me and that is something up which I will not put.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

 

 

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