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,