Outside from my obsession with Bourbon, I've been tasting, drinking and collecting wine for close to 20 years (god I'm getting old). Anyway, I used to live in wine country and have had many a conversation with a vintner about the making great wines. Almost to a person, they'll say that the grapes make the wine and their job is not to screw it up. So, with that in mind, I'm wondering what you all think is the single greatest factor among the following.
1) Quality of Mash Components (Grain)
2) Mash Bill / Composition (Percentage Corn, Rye, Wheat, Barley)
5) Distillery Equipment / Process
6) Age in Barrel
7) Barrel Location
8) Final Barrel Selection
9) Blend of Barrels (If Not Single Barrel)
The first 7 are fairly systematic and can be replicated over time. #8-9 are the most variable -- requiring human intervention (until someone can put together a bourbon analysis machine).
Before you score, think about what your favorite bourbons are and what makes them so.