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Thread: Holy Grail

  1. #11
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    I think Holy Grail means something different to different people. Some collect bottles because they are collectors and may not open them unless they have an extra. Some open everything. Some want to taste history, e.g., I was curious about Old Taylor and Grandad in the 70's when National Distillers made them partly because I remember them being very good then. So I got some and tried them. I do think they were better than the equivalents today but primarily I was interested to try them to see if they matched what I remembered from that time. Some people seek prized bottles said to be very good and rare - Hirsch 16 and 20 are both. I agree with Chuck that rarely though will there be a "eureka" taste and that most older bourbons are not better just because they are older. The reason in my view bourbon flavors don't dramatically change or vary is because bourbon is legally defined (as to how it is made): even changes over time in production methods, yeasts, etc. can't really alter its fundamental approach. As good as the new BT Experimental bottlings may be, it's still bourbon. The same for S-W bourbon from the era when its distilling-out proofs were lower. I've had some fine tastes (e.g. an Old Weller from the 60's) but it is still bourbon whiskey. I feel I've vatted up samples as good as the best oldies I've tasted. So, I believe everyone has their own definition of Holy Grail. But just to "answer the question", I'd say that the Stagg Fall '05 bottle (which I've now tasted from a few times, it is a friend's bottle) is or is very close to the best bourbon I ever had and if I saw a bottle on the shelf I'd buy it.
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-09-2006 at 06:34.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    There are people -- you know who you are -- who are on a quest for the whiskey version of the holy grail, that one bottle that stands above all others.
    My "holy grail" is not a bourbon at all, but a rye. Sherwood Maryland Rye was produced in Westminster, MD at some point. A (the?) rick house and some other buildings still stand and are used for other purposes today (one of them is an EXCELLENT Italian restaurant). I'd love to find a bottle in good shape just to try the home town product.

    Based on my admittedly limited experience, I tend to agree about older bourbons. They are a little too woody for my taste. I tend to prefer something in the range of 10-15 years. Older does not always equal better to me.

    Jay
    Saturday night I was downtown
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    Sitting in a nest of bad men
    Whisky bottles piling high
    - The Hollies

  3. #13
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    Too Late to Edit, So Here Goes . . .

    Upon later reading I see that my post needed a "wink" emoticon after the first sentence. I was in an impish mood when I wrote it, but it surely doesn't read that way. I was trying to suggest that sometimes a sour grapes attitude is a useful way to deal with the scarcity of a product.

    The only note of seriousness that crept in is the reference to the relative prices of Wild Turkey 12 y/o and Rock Hill Farms. IMO, one's first bottle of WT12 might be worth, say, $100, just for the new experience. It might even turn out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, I would be surprised if anyone decided that it's worth two or more times the cost of Rock Hill Farms for subsequent purchases.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  4. #14
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    though even there older is not necessarily better. The Hirsch/Michter products happen to be older bourbons that are very good, as are the Van Winkles, but they are exceptions to the rule.
    Why do some bourbons like the Van Winkles take to the barrel good over a long period and others don't?

    Everybody's mash bill is close to being the same.
    What are the other factors in such a similar process, I mean real factors that you acually put your finger on.
    Now here is what comes across as a silly question.
    What if Van Winkle sent a vat of cooked mash to Heaven Hill, and they (HH that is) distilled it, barreled and aged it for 20 years. Would it be that different? If so, are the stills that radically different? Is the sun and wind that different from Frankfort and Bardstown?

    I am not asking this with tounge in cheek, I am serious, even though the above questions might sound stupid.

    Oscar
    Last edited by jbutler; 06-09-2006 at 13:04.

  5. #15
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    I think you might not be too far off with that sun and wind statement. I do know from reading posts here and there that temperature and more specifically air flow around the barrels have a very big impact on the end product.
    Mark/Nebraska


    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take... but by the moments that take your breath away. 11/25/2004

  6. #16
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    I always wonder about air flow. If Knob Creek is a metal-clad warehouse bourbon today, is that why it is the best Beam Brands makes? The windows allow air to flow over and around the casks. The huge buildings that have no windows: how can they achieve that effect even with good or adapted HVAC?

    Gary

  7. #17
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    Industrial Fans?
    Mark/Nebraska


    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take... but by the moments that take your breath away. 11/25/2004

  8. #18
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    But I wonder if it is really then outdoor air such as flows freshly through a traditional warehouse with windows that can be opened and closed at will. It can't I think be the same, but maybe I am wrong..

    Gary

  9. #19
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    OK,OK,OK,....... let me re-word the question,....

    Why does the Pappy's at 20 years is not woody, and lesser aged bourbons do taste woody?

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV
    Why does the Pappy's at 20 years is not woody, and lesser aged bourbons do taste woody?
    I suspect they were aged on a much lower floor in the rickhouse, possibly the ground floor. Just my guess.
    Joe
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