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  1. #31
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    867

    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    John,

    Once again thank you for a very interesting contribution. Iīm truly flattered to receive such an extensive reply.

    About the brand names : this may be trivial bordering on the ridiculous but what I would like to see is a label that says : Elijah Craig 12 years old, distilled at the Heaven Hill distillery, and so on. I donīt have anything against Bourbons christened in honour of historically important persons - on the contrary, I find it charming. To immortalize the late, great Albert Blanton is no more than the proper thing to do but why on earth canīt it read : Blantonīs single barrel, distilled at the Ancient Age distillery (or is it Buffalo Trace? This is another thing that leaves me in a state of confusion)?

    I may be wrong here, but I think that connoisseurs (or rather people that aspire to be connoisseurs or even people who like to think of themselves as connoisseurs)want a clear picture of the origin of the whiskey. Love it or loathe it, the single malt criteria for connoisseurship has become the all pervading one (at least in Europe, but judging from the number of american Single malt-homepages that I found, I suspect that this is becoming a reality on the other side of the pond, as well).

    You are of course right about product names being as much a European phenomenon. This is even more true for the Cognac industry than the (rather small) Irish whiskey production. What is really interesting here is the way Cognac has taken a backseat to Single malt and how they (or at least some of the distillers) are trying to counter this scottish onslaught.

    For ages, Cognac has leaned heavily upon established brands without any cares about stating age and (specified) origin on the bottles. There is even a weird french law that stops most of the distillers from doing this. (donīt ask me about details). A lot of the smaller Cognac-makers has realised that, part of the explanation for Cognacīs relative fall from grace (in Europe, that is) has more than a little to do with the unprecedented success of Single malt scotch. Some of these small but exclusive distillers have now been granted the rights to go into details concerning age, harvest area, aging process, barrels etc. Which, of course, on a crooked path, leads us to the point I was trying to make in my first letter. Best wishes,

    H.B.




  2. #32
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,597

    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    The best example I know of a distiller being reluctant to reveal the true origins of a whiskey when the "rightness" of doing so was starring them in the face is UDL/Guinness (now Diageo) with their "Rare Bourbons" collection of a few years ago. (But let's not get Mike Veach started about the geniuses at his former employer.)

    Because UDL was formed by acquisitions, and many of the companies it acquired were themselves formed by acquisitions, UDL found itself owning lots of odd lots (i.e., small quantities) of whiskey from many different distilleries, most of which were defunct. These included both bourbon and straight rye. Many were quite old.

    The normal practice had been simply to dump these odd lots into the mix for a cheap bourbon or blend, but then they hit on the idea of bottling them and emphasizing their rarity, so as to command a high price. Including the actual history of the whiskey would have been an obvious way to emphasize the genuine rarity and authenticity of the whiskeys and I know the suggestion was made, because I made it, but instead they dreamed up "brand" names that had nothing to do with the actual whiskey in the bottle. It was a terrible missed opportunity.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  3. #33
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Posts
    499

    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Just as an FYI, Blanton's is produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery and while it is named in honor of Col. Blanton, it also represents the type of bourbon he hand selected for his own use. All Blanton's is pulled from the middle floors of Warehouse H, since this is where the Colonel thought the best bourbon resided. So it not only honors the man, it also represents his work (so to speak).
    Elmer T. Lee is another example. Elmer selects his own bourbon, which he thinks is the best we produce. The product honors him and he, like Blanton, are more than just marketing devices for selling spirits.

    Ken


 

 

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