Large scale "Hand Selected"-"specialty bottlings" as opposed to "Single Barrel" bottlings...good, bad, or, who the hell cares?
These Specialty or hand selected bottlings seem to be showing up more and more lately. Certainly I'm more aware these days from personal exposure but also from others posting their findings here on the SBdotcom site.
My first question is this...Are the special bottlings "SPECIAL"?
I don't have a bottle of W L Weller HC 10yo Frankfort to compare to the BevMo "hand selected for" edition. I have tasted the latter and find it to be quite delightful, but I digress. And, although I can get my hands on the two editions of Knob Creek (and not having done that) my focus is on the background of "special or hand selected" for the larger, retail chains.
Recent/past postings about the problems with single barrel bottlings centered on the complaints and disappointments from the "customer" regarding the fact that it (the whiskey) didn't taste the same as the OB version...well Duhhh!
More specifically, I learned from a statement made by our own Randy Blank a last falls single barrel selections being made at BT and it was, to my best recollection, something like;
"This barrel here shows something out of the ordinary, it has everything good that the other barrels show but with a distinctive bonus, setting it apart from the others, I like this distinctive difference, I think we should buy this one too!" (Well, we did, but again I digress)
My point leading to my second question;
Do these "Special" bottlings hold the same level of potential for disappointment to the less knowledgeable consumer in the general marketplace much like the person who bought a "Single Barrel" bottling and complained of the difference....?
Or my third question;
Is the basic flavor profile of that given whiskey unchanged from the "baseline" profile of the distillery flavor profile or, does the bottom line boil down to a fancy gold sticker installed as a "BevMo-Corporate-Ego-Marketing-Tool"?
Now, BevMo has a large ability because of its' selling power, and I don't mean to single them out in a negative way...quite the contrary. I believe that companies like BT and Beam pay attention to these larger retailers, but do they run any risk when making "special" or "different tasting" bottlings?
Your thoughts please...
I don't know if anyone from Beam or BevMo looks in here, but Ken From BT does....What do guys you think?