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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,656

    Shopping at Sam\'s

    Sam's in Chicago has to be the best liquor store in the world, at least in terms of bourbon selection. The best stores in Kentucky would be hard pressed to beat it. I was just there today and, if anything, it has gotten even better. One thing I like is that it is one of the few retail stores that sells one-liter bottles. Why do I care? I don't know, because more choice is always better than less, I guess.

    So what did I buy? I was bargain shopping today, so I picked up:

    Old Fitzgerald, bottled in bond, 1 Liter -- $18.79
    Old Rip Van Winkle, 10 yr. 107 proof -- $22.79
    Old Charter 12 yr. 90 proof -- $17.49

    They also had the new 1.75 L Knob Creek, which is a giant version of their trademark flask bottle. Very cool. I also noticed that Sam's has about 10 different brands of rye, including two different Van Winkles, and Old Portero at $93.

    Sam's has a great online store too, but they don't have the full in-store selection listed. If you want something special, email them.

    This sounds like an ad, so I should say that I have no connection or affiliation with Sam's, except for giving them a lot of my money.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  2. #2
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    Oh, how I miss that hat! Sam's is truly incomparable. I remember when they were on Randolph just west of Wells. I used to go
    there often on my lunch hour just to chat with everyone. It was so exotic. I don't think I was ever able to spend less than an
    hour there, I usually came away with something other than, or in addition to, the item for which I had been shopping. VA ABC stores
    pale in comparison.


  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,656

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    You may be thinking about Zimmerman's--home of "Max the Hat." They were on Grand near Wells. Max went to that great liquor store in the sky a few years ago and now it is part of a chain.

    Sam's is much further west. They used to be in a ratty old building at North and Halsted. Then that building was restored and they moved further west, into a new building that was just as ratty as the old one. The new store, just a little north of its predecessor, is much nicer, but still so crammed with merchandise you can barely push a cart through it.

    Zimmerman's, when you were here, probably was the equal of Sam's. It was a great store, but Sam's has surpassed it.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  4. #4
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    Yes, I was/am confused. It was Zimmerman's I was recalling. Now that you mention it I think I remember seeing advertisements
    for Sam's in the Reader and passing by Sam's while riding on the Ravenswood L. Sounds like a great place, I'll be sure to
    check it out next time I'm back in the city by the lake.


  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,656

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    Yep, the Ravenswood L passes right by the building where Sam's was for many years.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  6. #6
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    I sure wish we had Sam's here in Virginia. I would like to buy a bottle of A.H. Hirsch that Lew raves about. Our Socialistic state run ABC stores suck!

    Linn S.

  7. #7
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    Virginia can't be more repressive than Pennsylvania, where I spent nearly twenty years before moving to Ohio (which also has State Stores, but I'm only a few minutes away from Kentucky). In fact, Virginia actually "produces" a bourbon (the only non-Kentucky one). I say that in quotes because the bourbon is distilled partially in Kentucky (Heaven Hill?) and then shipped to A. Smith Bowman in Fredricksburg for doubling and storage. "Virginia Gentleman" is a fairly ordinary bourbon in its normal bottling, but not bad at all in the more upscale "fox & hounds" bottling.

    Anyway, the Pennsylvania State Store system has certain semi-secret "specialty" stores where fine wines, bourbons, scotches, and cognacs can be purchased. Typical of the state store system, these aren't well advertised. You have to ask the licensed alcohol dispersion technician at your local store if s/he knows of one. Virginia may have something like that, too. Also (again in Pennsyvania), you can order any liquor you want as long as you order a full case of it. Can you find a few other folks who'd like to get ahold of some Hirsch? I think you even get a case discount (which could be substantial at $60 + per bottle).

    By the way, in another post you mentioned "that wheated swill". Of course I could see your tonque planted firmly in cheek as you wrote, but I wonder if you've had the opportunity to try Old Weller Antique 107? If you enjoy the power of Old Forester (especially at the price) you might be ecstatic at what you'll find in Old Weller Antique's beautiful gold-threaded bottle... for 16 bucks. I was. You might also hate it; it's very VERY flavorful and not a bit shy.

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  8. #8
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    Jim sorry to be so blunt as to be offensive but I cannot abide by anything that does not use rye in its mash bill. Maker's Mark makes me gag. Before I knew anything about bourbon I bought a bottle of 'Rebel Yell' and was bitterly disappointed with it. Only years latter did I learn about wheated bourbons.
    Now before I buy anything new I always try to find out if it is wheated or not.

    I am well aquainted with Virginia Gentleman. It used to be a fairly good whiskey years ago when it was made entirely here. Now it is just bearly industrial grade like Ten High or Old Crow. It is better than JTS Brown.

    Linn S.

  9. #9
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    No offense taken; I'm no stranger to bluntness and/or exaggeration myself. Of course, I WOULD prefer you got my name right... I'm JOHN, not JIM (he's the drunk on the other end of the bar).

    Maker's Mark (which I like) is not the most flavorful bourbon ever made, and Rebel Yell (today's version) is pretty watered-down tasting. If you can find the Weller Antique I mentioned, do yourself a favor and give it a try. I think it might change your idea of what can be done with a wheated bourbon.

    Also, thanks for your additions to the corn whiskey discussion. I think this could end up being a fun topic. Most of us haven't had the opportunity to experience true "mountain dew" and your description (including applejack and peach brandy) adds a lot. At least those two are an important part of the history of bourbon. I'm not so sure about the white lightning, though. The version you've described is absolutely accurate as far as the way it's mostly been made since the beginning of prohibition, but originally it was just corn whiskey. I was once severely corrected by Al Young at the Four Roses distillery when I referred to white dog as white lightning. He pointed out that white dog is the raw bourbon distillate before aging, but white lightning really isn't even whiskey at all. All those fresh corn kernals in that barrel are really just there to add some flavor to what is basically bathtub gin. The alcohol (or at least the overwhelming majority of it) is produced from the fifty pounds of sugar. Technically, that makes it a corn-flavored rum. A very thin, characterless rum at that, since it's made from refined sugar and not raw molasses. Even white-rum drinkers wouldn't like it. (well, all right, white-rum drinkers will drink anything they can pour into a glass of fruit juice, but you catch my drift). The goal of white lightning is to get you loaded as fast as humanly possible. Flavor nuances are not part of the picture. Now, I'm certain that there are purists out there in the hills who make (illegally) real corn likker just the way their daddy and his daddy did, and are as proud of the results as any county fair blue ribbon pie baker might be. For those of us who like corn whiskey, a taste of something like that would be heaven itself. Unfortunately for most of us, those folks aren't in the moonshine business (way too costly and dangerous to produce in quantity) and unless your cousin marries into the family you're just not going to get any.

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  10. #10
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Shopping at Sam\'s

    Opps pardon my faux pas John. I'm sure that I've never seen Weller's down here.
    You'll have to give me a blind taste test because if I know beforehand that a
    bourbon is wheated I just won't drink it. My faves are Old Charter; Old Grand
    Dad, Knob Creek, Blanton's and of course Kentucky Spirit. Old Forester is what I can truely afford to drink so I do.

    As far as my limited illegal distilling experiences go all I can say is that is the way that I was taught to make it, and that that is the way it is being made today. Yes it WILL get you loaded in short order.

    Linn S.

 

 

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