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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
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    Jun 2004
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    Seattle, USA
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    239

    Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    Some local friends and I are considering starting a monthly whisk(e)y tasting night. We have no problem coming up with themes (bourbons, ryes, Scotch, Irish, Canadian, Japanese, bourbon vs. rye, bourbon vs. Scotch, etc etc).

    This question is more about logistics. Say we wanted to have at least three bottles present at each monthly event. Assuming these were new bottles (not taken from anyone's personal supply), what is your feeling about an equitable way to distribute costs?

    Some options:
    1. One person (me, probably, at least to start) would buy everything. Attendees would pay a fraction of the total cost, depending on how many people attended. Problem: Who keeps what's left of these community bottles?
    2. Attendees bring bottles. Some kind of lottery (?) is used to assign who brings what. Whomever brings the bottle keeps what's left. Problem: Some bottles are spendier than others.

    I'm sure there are other ways of doing this that make sense. Has anyone done something like this before? What would your preference be if you were attending?

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Oct 2003
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
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    580

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    Set a min/max range and each take a turn at the ATM. The host suppling the hooch determines the evenings type (Bourbon/wheat, bourbon/rye, scotch, etc) and the host keeps what he bought.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,604

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    One rule that seems to be pretty customary in this sort of this is that the host keeps the partials. Most states have open container laws so it is prudent as well as courteous.

    As for allocating the costs, one simple idea would be to establish a "club" with regular, fixed "dues," then purchase your supplies from that fund. The treasurer could also be the club's official purchasing agent, or the host could buy and be reimbursed by the treasurer.

    The rationale for this is that it allows you to spend a fixed, predictible amount each month on this particular avocation, while permitting wide variability in the expense of each session. You just have to set your dues high enough so that your fund always remains in the black.

    If you want to, you can rebate any surplus at the end of the year, or give it to charity, or buy everybody a nice bottle of something, or just roll it over. The advantage of this, especially if the club tends to live within its means, is that you may from time to time be able to justify an extravagance that you couldn't normally afford.

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
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    Dec 2004
    Location
    Decatur GA
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    322

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    I have no experience, but might try to do some version of your # 1. If everyone chipped in equally, a post-tasting drawing to see who gets to choose in what order what to take home could be fun. Should work out fairly well over time, depending on numbers of tasters and bottles, assuming no one is going to worry too much about only getting one leftover bottle in a year, when Joe got 3, or how much $ each were.

    I see Chuck mentioned open container laws, and I'd seen previous mention of that on the board. That prompted me to look up GA's statute, which forbids an oopened bottle in "the passenger area." That is, fortunately and wisely, defined to allow storage in the trunk, or even the "way back" in an SUV. Maybe your state's is similarly written.

    Bob

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
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    Jul 2004
    Location
    Oklahoma is OK
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    422

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    If you are pulled over after a tasting event, an open container is probably the least of your worries.

  6. #6
    Guru
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    May 2003
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    Moscow Mills, MO
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    2,507

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    I would think that you might set a "salary cap" of spending for the bottlings where every member who gets their turn at being host has the same outlay and the host pays for the bottles and keeps the leftovers. Say you put a 100 dollar cap and it's bourbon night, you could have a 50 dollar bottle a 30 dollar bottle and a 20 dollar bottle. On a rye night with the limited bottling you could have a bonus of four, a 40 dollar, a 20, a 15 and two 12s. And so on. For a night where you want a higher value, two could combine their turns and share the leftovers. That way you could have a 100 dollar bottle, a 60 and a 40 say.

    Then again, you could have the everyone divvies up equally each time and the leftovers are considered community property and are used in future tastings against other types or for a special event gathering.

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
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    Oct 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    182

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    Clayton, every couple of months, my colleagues get together for a meeting at which we drink some single malt sc**** and then we BS and talk department politics. We have been doing this since 1987 or so (that's when I was first invited to the "meetings", if I remember rightly) and we have evolved to a fairly simple format: I serve as treasurer and buy whatever I feel will be novel, in that we have not tried it before, and interesting. People chip in whatever they please, and I record it in a spreadsheet (OK, anal retentive, I know). Then, when we meet, I bring the stash, both new bottles and leftovers, and we have at them for the compotation (this is what the word "symposium" used to mean). Any leftovers are stored for next meeting. Turns out that the folks with the highesst salaries do not always chip in the most , but we don't care: folks chip in what they want/can afford and we go on from there. At the next meeting, I will bring the first ever bourbon! I have some thoughts in mind, to head off a possible Makers Mark threat, but what would SB.COMers suggest? Cheers, Ed V.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Sep 2002
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    Toronto, Canada
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    9,075

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    Ed, I would bring Jim Beam Black Label. It is very well-balanced with a good, fruity-oriented flavour. In malt whiskey, Dalmore would be its analogue. I'd be interested in your colleagues' reaction. Of course, you will have to inform them of what to expect. Bourbon should be viewed on its own merits and has its own taste characteristics, but to people not fully aware of what it has to offer, I would compre it as I say to Dalmore, or maybe Bowmore Darkest, or Macallan, or Abelour.

    Gary

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    182

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    Gary, at this point, we have had about 100 single malts, including Macallan 18, 1976 and 1978, Aberlour A'bunadh batch #6, and amazing Ardbegs: VOA, Ardbeggeddon, Ardbeg 1975, Lord of the Isles, etc. I brought a Van Winkle 13 rye and it was very well received (one colleague even ate the rye in the packet Julian attached to the bottle). I was thinking of a Hirsch 16 or Stagg 2003 (with a splash of branch), or maybe Elijah Craig 18. I want a "kill" shot on this: if my colleagues like it, then a whole new universe of tastes opens up, and I can go "hog wild" (what the hell does this mean, anyway) in picking new bottles to try. Cheers, Ed V.

  10. #10
    Enthusiast
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    Sep 2004
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    Burlington VT, USA
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    336

    Re: Ways to run a monthly tasting event?

    How about ORVW/(Pappy?) 15 yr old? Or Blanton's? Those are the two I use to introduce non-bourbon drinkers to bourbon. The Blanton's works quite well with folks used to lighter (Canadian or Irish) whiskeys. The Pappy 15 works for people looking for more flavor.

    I've never had Stagg, but that would probably work well also. Especially the '04 Stagg, since you will have the added ammunition of telling the Sc**** drinkers that it's Jim Murray's whiskey of the year.

 

 

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