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BOTM 12/12: Jefferson's Presidential Select


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Once again something different, and also once again, a suggestion from a fellow member. McLain & Kyne has a turn this month with Jefferson's Presidential Select. Be it the JPS 17 or JPS 18, let's here your comments. Yeah I know there's been quite a bit of discussion about both lately, but what can I say?

I've only had the JPS 17 myself, and it's been a while, so my comments will be short and sweet again. I thought it was pretty good for the most part. I say for the most part because while I thought it was good, I don't think that the price for it was justified. I know a few others have felt the same. Good, but not $80 good. FWIW, there's a store near me that still has a couple of bottles of the 17 year old from batch 1 or 2 that have been sitting on the shelf for a long time marked at $84. :rolleyes:

Cheers, Happy Posting, and Happy Holidays!

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I've had three experiences with the JPSs:

1. Tried the 17 year in a flight with 2010 WLW and an enormous number of 17-18 year old Willett wheaters. The JPS17 was the weakest and least flavorful, though that was kind of expected, since it was about 15% less ABV than the others.

2. Tried an 18 year (don't know the batch number) with a few others, including an 8 year Willett wheater, EC18, Bernheim wheat, and one other that I can't remember. I recall it being a bit thin on the palate and lacking much flavor.

3. Bought a single barrel offering from DUNY. It tasted like moldy wood. I vatted it with OWA107, which worked well as a flask whiskey...

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JPS-17 is high on the list for me. I've had batch 1, 3 and 7 and all are excellent. I've had more batch 7 since it was readily available to me. I tasted JPS-18 (don't know the batch) which was good, but seemed older: more wood - yes, but there was a musty taste too. I understand there are some very good 18 year olds, I just haven't had a chance to sample one I like better than the 17 year batch 7. More experience with 17 year makes me more confident purchasing 17. Several are in the bunker bought in the $70-80 range, which I think was a fair price. After seeing the new VW prices, JPS seems like an even better value - currently $80-85 for 17-18 year old S-W juice, vs. $130 retail for 20 year old S-W juice (if you can get it for that price). Pappy 20 seems better than JPS-17(18), but I've never had both open at the same time for a side by side comparison. I'm happy to have several JPS-17 for the future (and a Pappy 20 too).

Rob

Edited by RobP_n_TN
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Our porch group has been blessed with Jefferson. We just returned in October from Bardstown where the Barrel Selection Team had the pleasure of sitting withTrey Zoeller for a tasting and ultimate selection of a barrel of 21 year old that he shared. We had that one at 140+ proof and we're anxious for the arrival.

This weekend we had planned to taste the Ocean but all who participated in the purchase couldn't attend so we opted to try three separate Presidential Select offerings. Our retailer just uncovered some 500 bottles in his warehouse and they are labeled D-8, D42 and D-fifty-something. Each are labeled Single Barrel, Very Small Batch. They are 18 year old non chill filtered. The D-8 that I am looking at (and sampling again) is 94 proof. We lined up the three offerings and the nose on each was darn near identical. One would seem a bit more oaky on first nose but as they opened up it was impossible to note any significant difference between the three. I'd be curious to know what the D designations mean. On tasting, the similarity was also there. Having selected barrels side-by-side, there is always a difference between barrels, even from the same distillation. So, I'm let to think the D-designation is from the same small batch. This is very fine bourbon. We're convinced it's Stitzel Weller juice.

The 94 proof is very drinkable neat and it's candy on ice. I get an oaky maple coating that hangs in there with a spicy cinamon spiciness. It's close to smoky as in oak wood smoked pork. The finish is long and comfortable. These are priced at $90 .. a bit pricy .. but I can't not have this one on my shelf. Knowing that this juice is becoming scarce and that there are now 497 bottles left .. I just might bunker a few of these. It won't be around for long. If someone can clarify the difference in batch numbers and these labeled as D-8, etc., I'd like to know.

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These are among my favorite whiskeys of all time. I preferred the 17 and 18 year to the Pappy 15 in a bar comparison, and the Pappy 20 was a tie with the Jeffersons. I'm looking forward to comparing these to my own bottle of Pappy 15 I picked up last week. We'll post results later next week.

I only have personal bottles of the 18 year batches 9, 16, 17, and 28. In this very small sample, for my palate, the oak goes up with the number. I like the sweetness-oak interplay in some of my favorite whiskeys, but batch 28 was certainly very high on the oak. I like it...it is different from the others, but I can see how some folks would be turned off by it. The others I have don't have nearly as much oak influence.

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I actually like the JPS and have had quite a few bottles,I will say that inconsistency is an issue.I have had both the 17 and 18 variations of this label,I tend to lean towards the 17 though in my personal opinion I will pick an early batch of the 17 over the latter 18's every time.I have also noticed the damp/musty,overly woody notes in the latter batches of the 18's while some of the early 17's are just rich great pours of which I wish I could find more of.I would say a batch of 1-4 in the 17's and batches into the mid teens in the 18's seem to be the sweet spot for these I wouldn't turn my nose up to any of them though.Ultra-aged wheated juice is becoming vapor ware,is this the next big thing who knows?I would take a JPS over a ER17 most any day,so as far as value goes you decide.Just my two cents.

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LikeItWasSodaPop

Here's what I want to know, i.e. really want to know:

Over the last 6 months, I've seen a lot of 20s+ batch numbers for the 18 at Chicago area Binny's stores. Now I'm seeing much lower batch numbers.

So are the batch numbers a joke or is Binny's taking on stock that didn't sell elsewhere? I would assume the batch #s are sequential ... clearly many of these are well past 18 years in truth ... but curious about these new ones turning up of late. I tend to think the lower batch #s on the 18s are better, personally. I've had a number of great single digit batch # 18s, and some really disappointing ones in the late teens and early 20s.

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All of the 17 year versions I have picked up were from Batch 7, and all were found in TN. I prefer the 17yr to the 18yr, but both are excellent bourbons. However, my only experience with the 18 year is with Batch 13. These bourbons have such an excellent aroma and flavor.

I have noticed that with all of the Liquor Barn private selection JPS 18 bottles, the front labels only state that they were specially selected from a certain small batch. None of these state anything about being distilled in 1991 and aged in Stitzel-Weller barrels. Are these private selections still from the same "discovered" SW stocks?

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I've only owned a bottle of the 17yr, that I purchased soon after it was released. I've tasted multiple bottles of the 17 and 18 yr since, both regular retail and PB. I have to admit, I have really never understood the hoopla over this bottling, outside of the initial furor of "lost S-W barrels". I'm no Pappyphile, but I find that none of the iterations of the Jefferson's equals even the most tame Pappy 15. Regardless of the provenance of either. It's just an "OK" whiskey, IMO. Nice package that does look good on the bar, but that's about it. There are so many other whiskies that I want to spend that kind of money on. I would even go as far as saying that IMHO, this is the most overrated, overhyped, overdiscussed, overcoveted bourbon on this Board.

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I happen to like the JRPS whiskies. I do believe that the lower batch numbers were better (7 and under). That said, I believe woodiness increases with batch number after number 7. I do not object to woodiness as long as the whiskey remains in balance. I have bunkered a bunch of these but most have low batch numbers.

Joe :usflag:

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My first experience was at 2011 Whiskey Fest Chicago. I was with another Bourbon nut, and very early on, right after we tasted thru the whole Van Winkle table, we hit the Jefferson's table. Trey was pouring the 18 and it was amazing. I mean lights out great. It actually blew our minds, and was the best memory of the event. I bunkered a number of bottles after returning home, and they were all Batch 12. While good, they never matched the honey bottle that Trey was pouring. I never saw the batch that he was pouring, but in retrospect, I sure wish I had.

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My first experience was at 2011 Whiskey Fest Chicago. I was with another Bourbon nut, and very early on, right after we tasted thru the whole Van Winkle table, we hit the Jefferson's table. Trey was pouring the 18 and it was amazing. I mean lights out great. It actually blew our minds, and was the best memory of the event. I bunkered a number of bottles after returning home, and they were all Batch 12. While good, they never matched the honey bottle that Trey was pouring. I never saw the batch that he was pouring, but in retrospect, I sure wish I had.

I bet it wouldn't have mattered if you saw the batch number as it was probably a ringer. The bottles of 17 & 18 I've had were all different, some were more woody than others.

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The matter of different designations has been solved for me by Jefferson. The D-8, D-46 & D fifty-something that our retailer has are all single barrels. The Batch numbered are the blends .. or small batch offerings. As noted earlier, we tasted each of these three and they were all outstanding. It was also confirmed to me that these single barrels are all 100% Stitzel-Weller. If you like it (and many obviously do) it's good to know that there is still some out there because we know for sure that there won't be much, if any, around long unless someone knows of a hidden stash out there.

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I prefer the 17 to the 18. I've had one bottle of the 18 and several of the 17(Batch 4).

I find the 17 to be, as HighHorse described in earlier post in this thread like "liquid candy" with all the notes we love in old wheaters........vanilla, butterscotch, brown sugar, etc.

The 17 is dangerously good, and I will buy it every time I see it in the $80.00 range.

Bill.

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Went back to the JPS18, Batch 13 to taste again and tried it against some Weller 12 just for fun rather to see if the Weller was a worthy option. Don't have PVW15 or a Lot B to put it up against. The JPS is slightly darker in color and has a sweeter nose. Both seemed to me to have a similar oilyness to them but neither was particular heavy (the heavier the better to me). I suppose in part it is a result of chill filtering? Certainly couldn't compete with a Stagg or Handy but not sure what a good lower proof non chill filtered option would be.

Both were easy to drink on their own at 94 vs 90 proof and yet I thought both improved with just a single drop of water in my relatively small sample size. Both also had a decent finish with sweetness dominating and very little burn or spicey notes. The JPS was probably a little more full and balanced but was not what I would describe as particularly oaky (Batch 13 seems to be pretty decent unlike the EC20 I have which was much too woody to me to be truly enjoyable) while the Weller was perhaps a tad bit more one dimensional to me.

Strictly on the taste I would choose the JPS over the Weller. But I don't think it is 3-4 times as good and would be OK with the Weller on a regular basis given the cost difference and save the JPS for the occasional "special" event. If there is a pronounced difference between a BT wheater and a S-W wheater I lack the sophistication to ID it.

The fact that the price of the Weller also makes it a perfectly good mixing bourbon is an added bonus.

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Here's what I want to know, i.e. really want to know:

Over the last 6 months, I've seen a lot of 20s+ batch numbers for the 18 at Chicago area Binny's stores. Now I'm seeing much lower batch numbers.

.

I have seen exactly the same thing at Binny's when I visited in mid October. I had previously purchased bottles of batches 28, then 17, then 16, then at Binny's handwritten batch #9. Don't understand the batch release logic at all. The Binny's #9 was the sweetest with the least amount of oak, and the #28 i purchased here was an oak bomb...I really enjoyed it, very different, but I can see how many would be turned off by it.

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Swung by the local store today. The JPS 18 was previously batch 13. The current bottles are batch 11. Don't know anything about Batch 11.

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Swung by the local store today. The JPS 18 was previously batch 13. The current bottles are batch 11. Don't know anything about Batch 11.

Stopped by another store and they had JPS 18, Batch 26 (I think). Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

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Opened a JPS18 batch 14 to celebrate BOTM. I've been meaning to compare it to the end of my 17 year old. First glass is pretty good. I'll give the 18 at least a week before putting them head to head. Doesn't seem overly woody so far so I'm expecting it to open up nicely.

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I picked up a bottle of 17, batch 6, in Myrtle Beach for $60 (1/3 off sale). It is very good but for $60 I'd rather have Vintage 17 and wouldn't buy another for $90.

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I picked up a bottle of 17, batch 6, in Myrtle Beach for $60 (1/3 off sale). It is very good but for $60 I'd rather have Vintage 17 and wouldn't buy another for $90.
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That is helpful info, thanks. I have several V17 wheaters bunkered (love the stuff), and have passed up JPS 18 at $80-$90 on various occassions, and seems I might continue to do so. Batch 14 is what I see around me, so I will be curious to read further reports on that from compliance. If I saw JPS closer to $60 though, I'd definitely buy it.

For what it's worth, I would take JPS over V17 every time. I found V17 to have muted flavors and just generally didn't spark my interest, but I've only had one bottle of it. I haven't had one of the "bad" bottles of JPS I've heard exist, although I don't doubt they're out there. If nothing else this is the end of the SW, so even though it's plentiful now they'll be gone soon enough. I think you should give it a shot. They can be found around $70 out there too, so that helps.

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For what it's worth, I would take JPS over V17 every time. I found V17 to have muted flavors and just generally didn't spark my interest, but I've only had one bottle of it. I haven't had one of the "bad" bottles of JPS I've heard exist, although I don't doubt they're out there. If nothing else this is the end of the SW, so even though it's plentiful now they'll be gone soon enough. I think you should give it a shot. They can be found around $70 out there too, so that helps.

V17 does get the job done for me, but appreciate the thoughts. Ironically, I was at Total Wine yesterday, and standing in the bourbon section, while some dude walked up and grabbed the last two JPS 18 (at $90 apiece). I'll keep my eye out for more reasonable pricing, though that may get more difficult as supplies dwindle.

Edited by jeffrey r
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I've only tasted JPS a few times, one of the early 17 year old batches and a few of the 18 years, but none have impressed me. Especially not the 18 year olds. They all tasted past their prime to me.

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Did a side-by-side comparison of JPS 18 batches 9, 16, 17, and 28 with this year's Pappy 15. In terms of nose, all batches of the JPS 18 were superior to the Pappy. In terms of palate, I preferred the JPS on batches 9, 16, and 17, whereas the Pappy bested the JPS oak bomb batch #28. In terms of finish, I preferred the Pappy 15 to JPS #9 and #16 (these had a fairly short finish), I rule a tie on batch #17, and JPS wins on batch #28.

The verdict? Difficult to say, but I think I can say, for my tastes, the JPS 18 is certainly right up there with the Pappy 15 in terms of nose, taste, and finish. Given the Pappy hysteria in general, I think these are a more than acceptable alternative.

Edited by boneuphtoner
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