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  1. #1
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    Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    Here are my deep thoughts on expensive bourbons:

    1. If you like it, buy it but attempt to try it first to avoid dissappointment after forking over that C-note.

    2. I have never tasted a bourbon worth $90 more than my AAA10yo or my Weller 12yo.

    3. In a blind tasting, could you pick out the $100 bourbon over the $40 bourbon? I find that there are significant diminishing returns once you hit the $30-$40 range. After that the higher prices usually are a result of limited availability and not necessarily better bourbon.

    4. If there was only one bottle of Elijah Craig 12yo in the world, and you wanted it for your collection, would it then be worth $100 for the same whiskey that now sells for $15?

    5. I have paid $90 for a bottle of bourbon and enjoyed it very much!

  2. #2

    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    1. I agree there, I only wish I had that opportunity more often.

    2. No bourbon I've ever bought hasn't been my first choice on at least one occasion.

    3. That's a tough call on the blind taste test. If I haven't had the bourbons in question before, all bets are off. I do agree with you that past a certain point (tends to be $50ish with AZ liquor prices) you're paying for limited availability.

    4. If it were an all time favorite bourbon, sure I would. As it is, I enjoy EC12, but it wouldn't diminish my quality of life greatly if I never tasted it again.

    5. Me too... and they're still almost full

    Steve

  3. #3
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    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    I have purchased premium bourbons, based on other people's likes, and hated them. I have purchased other bourbons, out of a whim or based on their bottle shape, and loved them.

    Most of my very expensive (over $40) bourbons have been disappointments... not because they were terrible, but, because they were not worth the price!

    I agree that a $35-$40 bottle of bourbon is about max for price/taste. There are very few bourbons that are top notch for under $20. However, there are a lot of very good bourbons for about $25-$35.

    I do a lot of blind taste tests with my bourbon-drinking buddies and we have yet each picked out our favorite, nor have we been consistent in picking out the premium bourbons from the placebo (cheaper) bourbons. As such, it really doesn't make sense for us to buy $100 bourbons when $40 bourbons have the same or similar quality.

    Basically, we can pick out a premium bourbon over a bad, cheap bourbon, but not a good ultra-premium bourbon over a good mid-priced premium bourbon.

    Does that make sense?

    Anyhow, I have found that I buy the bourbon I like. This is probably no different than 99% of all other bourbon drinkers! The other 1% buy their bourbons based on the shape of the bottle.

  4. #4

    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    1. True, but for some of us, impractical. One, I am not comfortable in bar/lounge settings, and even if I were, there isn't one with any kind of premium quality -- either its setting or selection -- readily available to me. I'm small-town folk.
    2.Also probably true. In fact, I don't love Hirsch 16yo all that much (it's okay, but I'd choose several other cheaper ones first), but I've gotten several bottles just because it's rare. I'm a collector, at heart, and a consumer at leisure.
    3. I don't know. I've never had a $100 bourbon. Both my Pappy 23s are unopened (see the bit about being a collector in #2). But, I agree with your basic premise, Jeff -- there are several 'cheap' bourbons (AAA 10yo, JB Black) I'd rather drink than the Hirsch, for example.
    4. Yes, if I wanted it for my collection. If I was going to drink it, I'd just move on to something else I like.
    5. I've only opened a relative few of my 'high-dollar' bottles -- Hirsch 16yo, Black Maple Hill 16yo, to give a couple of examples -- and have been generally disappointed. My enjoyment, as a collector, in owning such bottles comes, however, from their rarity. So I don't regret having them despite my disappointment in their tastes.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    I'm much more of a drinker than a collector. I buy Blanton's, Booker's and Kentucky Spirit rarely because they are just not enough more enjoyable to me than the $20 to $25 whiskies I usually buy.
    Incidentally, that $20 to $25 price point (here in Chicago anyway, your results may vary) seems to be the sweet spot as far as the industry is concerned. That's where the big boys all seem to be taking up residence, i.e., Jim Beam (Knob Creek), Brown-Forman (Woodford Reserve), and now Diageo (Bulleit). Plenty of other good ones in there too: Maker's, Buffalo Trace, Ezra B, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Russell's Reserve and Eagle Rare Single Barrel. That seems to be where the action is.

  6. #6
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    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    We enjoyed your thoughts! My feelings:

    1) As noted above, great in theory, tough in practice.

    2) I have similar feelings about Barton.

    3) You really hit the nail on the head with number 3. Confession: the most we've ever paid for a bourbon is about $60 in 2001 for a bottle of WT 12 year. With its current collectibility, though, it might go for $100 now, I guess. Still, even at $60: GREAT bourbon, but $20 better than Blanton? $30 better than Rare Breed? In a blind taste testing, would I be able to "taste" the price. I doubt it.

    4) Hmmm...I'd pay $100 for the last bottle of Barton or Fighting Cock, $60 for EC 12, and $150 for the last bottle of JD #7.

    5) And that's what it's all about!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  7. #7
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    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    >> 1. If you like it, buy it but attempt to try it first to avoid dissappointment after forking over that C-note.

    I have never spent that much on a bourbon. I have paid $80 each for a bottle of cognac and one of Grand Marnier. These were duty-free prices and they would have cost much more than that had I bought them at home. I enjoy them very much but these bottles are now 14 years old and neither is yet empty.

    >> 2. I have never tasted a bourbon worth $90 more than my AAA10yo or my Weller 12yo.

    I agree.

    >> 3. In a blind tasting, could you pick out the $100 bourbon over the $40 bourbon? I find that there are significant diminishing returns once you hit the $30-$40 range. After that the higher prices usually are a result of limited availability and not necessarily better bourbon.

    Well, the Pappy 20 I had a shot of was damned good. Was it better or significantly different from Rock Hill Farms? I had them a couple of years apart, but to my memory, they were very similar.

    >> 4. If there was only one bottle of Elijah Craig 12yo in the world, and you wanted it for your collection, would it then be worth $100 for the same whiskey that now sells for $15?

    No.

    >> 5. I have paid $90 for a bottle of bourbon and enjoyed it very much!

    Not me. See above. My record high bourbon purchase was $46 for Kentucky Spirit. I have enjoyed it very much. But I don't think it is $20 better than Russell's Reserve.

    Tim

  8. #8
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    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    Here are my deep thoughts on expensive bourbons:

    1. If you like it, buy it but attempt to try it first to avoid dissappointment after forking over that C-note.
    From a collector’s standpoint, there are bottles I buy without first trying them just because of their rarity or in the case of some, because I cannot try them first. (Example - Export bottlings like ones from Japan) There have been a few bottles I bought knowing they were not great or spectacular but still purchased simply because of the 'collectability factor'.


    2. I have never tasted a bourbon worth $90 more than my AAA10yo or my Weller 12yo.
    You chose 2 very, very good bourbons there Jeff, especially for their price points but I have had some bourbons that I liked better even at a much higher price. For example, Hirsch 20 year old. After having had the opportunity to try the new Hirsch 16 (most recent bottling with the foil) next to a bottle of Hirsch 20 there was a difference. Not much, but still a difference. The older 16's, to me, were much more similar to the 20. Anyway, comparing Hirsch 20 to Weller 12 year at say $100 and $20 respectively, I would have to say the Hirsch 20 is definitely worth it. Again, these are just my opinions, but for some special occasions I think the difference in price and enjoyment is worth it.


    3. In a blind tasting, could you pick out the $100 bourbon over the $40 bourbon? I find that there are significant diminishing returns once you hit the $30-$40 range. After that the higher prices usually are a result of limited availability and not necessarily better bourbon.
    I agree with you that for most bottlings the price point that seems to keep me from buying bottle after bottle for daily drinking is $40-50. Yeah, higher prices usually are a result of limited availability but sometimes I don't mind paying a little extra for certain bottles. I know, don't tell them that! Even though my example is an export bottling, Wild Turkey KY Spirit Single Barrel Barrel Proof is something I do not mind spending more on. With the exception of Russell's Reserve, I'm not all that big of a WT fan, but there is something special about the whiskey in those bottles. And for me the extra $$ are worth it.



    4. If there was only one bottle of Elijah Craig 12yo in the world, and you wanted it for your collection, would it then be worth $100 for the same whiskey that now sells for $15?
    Again, from a collector's standpoint, Yes. For the average person, no.


    5. I have paid $90 for a bottle of bourbon and enjoyed it very much!
    Oh Hellz Yeah!

  9. #9
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    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    Well,I guess I am more like Tim. I really enjoy collecting the higher priced bourbons. While I open a few, most just sit on a shelf.

    However, just like all my SB.com comrades, I enjoy many lower to mid-priced bourbons. Old Forester100, ORVW 10 and EC 12 are some of my favorites.

    Yes, I overpay for many of my purchases but I am not complaining. In reality I expect to pay more for older aged whiskey. Just as long as it's not from rotting barrels.

    Any way I seem to purchase many more bottles than I can ever consume. I believe we all do that, don't we.

    By the way, I need a list of the brands to buy when at the festival in September. Please advise.



  10. #10
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    Re: Deep Thoughts by Jeff

    After taking your deep thoughts and compounding them deeper with my own deep thoughts, followed by the double dose of Exedrin for the headache they caused, then added the others comments to this point and REALLY got the old melon to throb. But here are my thoughts:

    1. Like some of the others, there just aren't any places I've found close to home with any assortment of bourbons. From time to time I journey to Randalls in Illinois and they sometimes have a bottle at their tasting bar I feel the need to sample. Mostly though, as I have been bitten so thoroughly by the bourbon bug, if I want it bad enough, I buy it and then try it. So far, few have disappointed me.

    2. I haven't paid that much for a drinker yet (White Bison was for collecting and is to date the only one I haven't sampled that I've bought) and doubt that I would.

    3. Unlike so many that get giddy at the thought of blind taste tests, I just don't see the logic or the attraction of it. To me, each bourbon I have tasted has its pluses and minuses and so far few have had the minuses win. I'm never going to be a master distiller so I don't need to be able to tell one from the next. I just enjoy whatever I pour for myself or have the good fortune to have placed before me by a generous host. I can enjoy a ten dollar bottle as much as a 100 dollar one when I'm with company I enjoy.

    4. If there was only one, I'd pay 100 for it and then either auction it off or donate it to a bourbon museum. Talk about a collector's item.

    5. I may never know about the taste of a 90 dollar bottle but rest assured, if I did buy one, good or bad, I'd enjoy every drop. Chances are, it would be bought to commemorate a special occasion and would be shared with all who would appreciate that occasion. Even if it tasted like Georgia Moon.

 

 

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