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Thread: Bourbon value

  1. #1
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    Bourbon value

    Value, is of course, a subjective and relative matter. But its subjectivity when it comes to prices is not a matter of individual subjectivity, but a group subjectivity. It's a group of people, a market in other words, that collectively sets the price for a commodity like bourbon.

    On eBay recently we've seen some Old Fitz bottles sell somewhere north of $600, and there's currently a 20yo Hirsch red wax listed with a starting bid of $500 (although no one has yet bid on it). If it does sell at that price, would that indicate we're seeing the ceiling for bourbon prices go up?

    Scotches regularly go for those prices and even into the thousands of dollars. Is Scotch really that much better than Bourbon? Personally, I don't think so, although I have not been able to afford those Scotches to find out for myself. For other beverages I have had some of the best.

    One of the things that inspired me to start collecting bourbons is I think they're an amazing value. Bourbon, when compared to Scotch, Cognac, and Wine (and maybe Port, too) is an amazing deal. I love the latter beverages too, and would collect them if I could afford it. Louis XIII is a terrific cognac, but I wouldn't necessarily always choose it over my favorite bourbons even if you factor out the high price. I think I get an equivalent and even superior level of enjoyment out of bourbon for a fraction of the price.

    So, intellectually I understand and maybe even approve of higher prices for top bourbons since I think they're just as good as their more expensive brethren, but practically - i.e., how my wallet feels - I wince. I'm still astonished that bourbon is so much cheaper than any other quality alcohol.
    • • •
    Mark

    I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks...for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself.
    -Nietzsche


  2. #2
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    Re: Bourbon value

    Quote Originally Posted by mgilbertva View Post
    I'm still astonished that bourbon is so much cheaper than any other quality alcohol.
    Stick around. I have always thought that bourbon prices will skyrocket someday just like scotch prices. I still think it will happen although I really hope it doesn't. My feeling is to stock up on everything you can afford so when it happens you can put a hugh smile on your face.
    Joe
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  3. #3
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    Re: Bourbon value

    Quote Originally Posted by BourbonJoe View Post
    Stick around. I have always thought that bourbon prices will skyrocket someday just like scotch prices. I still think it will happen although I really hope it doesn't. My feeling is to stock up on everything you can afford so when it happens you can put a hugh smile on your face.
    Joe
    I agree, for the specialty/hard to get bottlings, buy what you can when it comes out(within your budget) because it's going to cost more in the future. So many people are finding bourbon and liking it, the demand is really rising fast.

    Even in the last few years prices have appreciated quite a bit, I picked up a bunker of Hirsch Gold Foil for $49.99 each about 2 years ago. Now it's near or over $100 a bottle.
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  4. #4
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    Re: Bourbon value

    While I don't look at my small bourbon collection as an investment, I agree completely that bourbon is a great value; and I love the fact that it requires considerable skill and time to make. I've always said give me a bunch of grain and a week and I'll make vodka.

    I also like that it's made here, in my home state.

    I've tasted some fine scotch, but I'll put my favorite bourbons against your single malts any day of the week, and it won't break the bank.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bourbon value

    I have quite a few bottles of bourbon tucked away. I don't invest in bourbon for the sake of hoarding but to drink and enjoy over the long term, especially bottles that are out of production or come in limited releases (e.g. BTAC).

    Wine, when opened must be consumed pretty much right away. Scotch while it has a long shelf life, is expensive when compared to its bourbon bretheren. I'm not very interested in other spirits so my focus is really on bourbon. From a value perspective, I find it amazing that I can walk into a liquor store and pay $15 for a bottle of Weller Antique 107 7 year old bourbon. It's a wonderful whiskey and considering what I pay for it, to be an absolute steal at $15. I bunker the Antique when I can because I can see sometime in the future the age statement dropping from the label, or proof being lowered or the price increasing. One or maybe all of these things will happen. Look at what's happened to EW 1783, AAA, OF 1849, Eagle Rare, Wild Turkey, etc. Sometimes these changes are fine and don't adversely affect the overall quality of the product, but I for one enjoy most of these product when they were age specific, higher proof and of course didn't cost as much.

    The demand for bourbon is increasing and as world demand goes up, I think we will see modifications to bourbon offerings, in varying aspects of age, proof, and price. I think we are in a golden age of bourbon and investing now while the dollar goes further for a bottle of great bourbon is not necessarily a bad thing.
    “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke
    Greg's "bourbondork" blog

  6. #6
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    Re: Bourbon value

    Sometimes it's hard to actually say that bourbon is a better value than scotch. Yes, I realize that some are quite expensive approaching a couple hundred bucks for a bottle. But lets be realistic here.

    Most people are not spending that kind of money unless they have money to burn. Surely most are buying bottles in the range of 30-40 bucks, which is not really much more than some of the higher end bourbons out there. Seems like a shame that some would totally disregard the many diversified scotches available just for the misconception that they are overpriced.

    Pick up a bottle of Ardbeg for about 35 bucks and give it a try. Talk about something totally different.

    Balvanie Doublewood runs about 40 bucks.

    Glenmorangie port, sherry and madiera wood about 45 bucks.

    Highland Park 12 about 29 bucks.

    While these are probably not going to be everyday pours they are surely worth trying. Why limit yourself when the actual cost is not really all that much.

    Chris

  7. #7
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    Re: Bourbon value

    Those prices make me a little jealous. Here in Virginia Balvenie Doublewood goes for $52.95, Glenmorangie Sherrywood 12yr is $65.95 and Highland Park 12yr is $39.90. Of course, bourbons are just as high.

    All of the scotches you mentioned are fantastic - each of the above are favorites of mine. I've never had Ardbeg, but given your list it sounds like I should trust your recommendation. Could you give a description of how it tastes?

    How much does a quality 12 year old, top shelf bourbon cost? VW Lot B is the same price as Highland Park, and the same for Old Forester BB, Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve 13yr, as well as EC 18yr. Bookers, a cask strength whiskey, is the same price as the 86pf Balvenie Doublewood.

    You're right that there is a rough correspondence in prices for many, but there are more bourbon's of high quality that are inexpensive than there are for scotch. I can get EWSB for $23. On the other side, there are far more scotches of extermely high price vs. maybe 2 for bourbons (VSOFitz from the 60s and Hirsch 20yr), and they don't come close to the top prices scotch commands.

    It's these extremes that I was most curious about. Some very good bourbons can be had inexpensively, but I'm not aware of any scotches for which this equally true. And there are some multi-thousand dollar scotches; the top price for bourbons doesn't come close.
    • • •
    Mark

    I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks...for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself.
    -Nietzsche


  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Bourbon value

    And here I thought Louisiana was the only place I could score HP 12 for $30
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  9. #9
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    Re: Bourbon value

    Quote Originally Posted by mgilbertva View Post
    All of the scotches you mentioned are fantastic - each of the above are favorites of mine. I've never had Ardbeg, but given your list it sounds like I should trust your recommendation. Could you give a description of how it tastes?
    Hopefully "melting" will chime in himself. I'd only add that Ardbeg really isn't comparable to the others that Chris listed. The closest might be Highland Park but that's a major stretch itself.

    Are you familiar with other Islay whisky or perhaps Talisker (Skye)? Ardbeg is heavily peated, to me quite sea influenced, and a tad bit mediciney - to give a quick and dirty. It's a great malt - but I like heavily peated island malts. If you are expecting a variation to Balavanie or Glenmorangie, you might be in for a rude awakening is what I'm trying to say. Definitely give it a try, but go into it open-minded.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bourbon value

    Single malts have gone up in price a lot. Twenty years ago I picked up my first bottle of Laphroaig 10 yo for about $22 in Atlanta. Ten years ago, in Edinburgh, right on the Royal Mile, I picked up a 70cl bottle of the 15 yo for £27 (that was a deep discount sale price). Five years ago I picked up a litre of Talisker 10 yo at the border duty free shop in Windsor, Ontario, for about $40 CDN.

    It costs a bit more to satisfy my taste for peat these days.

 

 

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