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About All Things Pappy/VanWinkle


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Loved the series of posts by David D in The Spirits Journal regarding expectations, trends and the state of the whiskey biz. Here is the money line from one post relevant to this thread. Food for thought on status buys:

"However, in the end, we can't help but let these secrets loose into the general marketplace, because we ultimately need the acceptance of the general public to validate these experiences. There's the old line: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

To which I counter: If you drink a bottle of Pappy and no one's there to see it, is it worth drinking?"

-David Driscoll

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Trader Joe's has a House brand maple syrup aged in bourbon barrels that we've been buying for years.  Had some on Sunday AM on blueberry pancakes.  The slight char note helps cut the pure sugar note t

I think in reaction to the boom the old mashbill “rules” are very loose now.     

Nope, I would agree on Lot B.  I am not certain it is anything significantly better than regular W12.  It is up to $99 SRP and I honestly do not think it is worth the price of admission.  I have been

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I'll drink what I like without concern for the thoughts of others. My only concern today is whether the fish are biting.

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If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

To which I counter: If you drink a bottle of Pappy and no one's there to see it, is it worth drinking?"

-David Driscoll

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Berkeley's proof of the existence of God so Dave D should know that God can see him drinking it.

Seriously, if I drink Pappy I don't care who sees it. 95% of the time, I drink it alone and enjoy it. And if I don't like it, who cares who sees it.

I guess I can see that for the "status buys". There won't be a status statement if it is not witnessed. Lol :)

Hugh, I guess that's the point of the rhetorical question. Some, like you, enjoy PVW and other rarities for what they are. Others enjoy having them on the bar. And still others enjoy BT wheated bourbon without the benefit of having tried S-W wheated bourbon. Some won't touch the "new stuff".

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Hugh, I guess that's the point of the rhetorical question. Some, like you, enjoy PVW and other rarities for what they are. Others enjoy having them on the bar. And still others enjoy BT wheated bourbon without the benefit of having tried S-W wheated bourbon. Some won't touch the "new stuff".

Completely agree. Make sense.

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As noted (VWFRR) will be all BT rye at some point in the presumably near future.

Which is nothing to sneeze at. BT makes some excellent rye.

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garbanzobean
As long as it's good rye I don't really care, it was never a Stitzel-Weller product anyway.
They have two different tasty mashbills to choose from, so hopefully they get something worked out.
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  • 3 weeks later...

/rant

I'm starting to get why some of the group "hate" PVW, or at least what it has become. On another site, people are talking about a secondary price of $1,100 for PVW23 as "a deal". Uh... what? That's not a fucking deal. Stop being daft, realize that the price is absurd, and don't advocate these goddamn markups. Seriously.

/end rant

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Oh, I just stay out of the fray, get what I get (usually nothing), and don't get upset. If someone wants to pay those prices, then so be it, but it ain't going to be me. I have plenty of great bourbon around the house, and available for purchase.

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My interest was on the wan twenty years ago when Pappy of all ages was still on the shelves collecting dust. Just decided I preferred rye recipe Bourbon and that was that. Did continue to buy 10 year 107 proof Van Winkle though because I wanted a wheat recipe Bourbon for guests and chose that over Makers.

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Special Reserve

Well $1,100 for PVW23 may be a deal. Last fall I thought I saw at first look a PVW15 for $150. I thought I'm not going to pay twice the state price. Upon closer look the price was $1500.

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The flipping market is an interesting bubble.

Flipping is an enterprise motivated by pure greed. As such, that market is going to implode due to the same greed.

Over the last few years they got a taste of the profits with PVW. Now they've expanded into just about every limited edition going, and are even hitting releases like the WFRs. There's a huge dusty flipper market. I recently inquired about a vintage Old Charter 7, and got a price quote of $110. I laughed my ass off.

Greed can't regulate itself for it's own good. It only knows one path - more greed. And more people want to push their way in when they read the sensational $3.5K stories, so there's more flippers than ever before all fighting to get more than ever each of the same carrots. There are more carrots as well, as the distilleries try to get in on the limited edition market, which creates more pitfalls for flippers to get burned on (a good thing). Ask any flipper that loaded up on Blowhard. (I actually hope later on to get a few more bottles under MSRP, because I like drinking the stuff.) And this month, keep your eye on Kentucky Owl, which I predict will be another disaster for flippers (keep them coming!).

When everything limited goes to the full time, GPS-wielding, trunk-bursting flippers or when the store owners all agree to gouge, the public will learn to have enough, and decide that it just doesn't need limited edition bourbon. They'll find the next limited edition something else - or buy scotch. A lot of people can do a $1500 bottle for their anniversary or their wedding or their dad's 60th birthday (if we are to believe that any of those stories are actually true - call me a cynic), but they most likely can't afford to do it every year. Or even if they CAN, they'll get sick and tired of having their whiskey held for ransom.

They're already skinning the sheep even at 1100. Rich dudes might do that once to see what the hype was about - but much less of them will do that every year. They'll find an $1100 single malt this year, because they've done the Pappy, and the Port Ellen has more clique to it anyway.

I think we've already seen peak flipper market prices, but we have yet to see peak flipper buying. They're still ramping up, hoping against logic that they can buy ten times as much and still get the high prices year over year. My prediction is limited editions will really be hard to get this year (we already believed this), but also that they won't sell the way they used to at flipper prices over the next year. Flippers will be holding a lot of bottles in inventory in 2015, and it will start slowing their rolls next fall.

I think this fall (2014) is the darkness before the dawn on limited edition bourbon availability. There, I'm on record.

And I agree with many here - it's MSRP or bust. I just had to write an email to a local store owner telling him that last night, after he was fishing with a "what price are you prepared to pay this year?" line of talk.

Um, I'm prepared to pay THE PRICE. The MSRP. I don't walk into his shop and offer him $20 for his $100 bottles. And I expect him to not ask $500 for a $100 bottle.

Edited by The Black Tot
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Right on TBT, I think you raise great points. How do you think global demand plays into the bubble? What happens when the big money in foreign markets acquires a thirst for the same qualities we love in whiskey? China has 1.6 billion people and India has 1.3, and we ARE competing with them for supply.

Whiskey quality here in the US is on its way down because distilleries can stretch inventory and quench foreign markets with young aged NAS. Emerging markets haven't developed the palette for the quality that already developed markets have. The recently depressed bourbon market is now thriving because of foreign growth.

My father-in-law has a childhood friend in Honk Kong whom we refer to as "Uncle Money". He recently asked me if I could get him Ballantine's 12. Yes, relatively inexpensive blended scotch, but point being, expansion into foreign markets is where the money is.

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I quite agree. If those markets open up and our producers can sell 36 month stuff aged in used barrels as quickly as can be bottled we may see major changes in what appears on our shelves.

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Preach on brother TOT. You hit it spot on

Likely the other piece that hasn't help is the increased allocation to the on premise market, leaving even less at retail, thus driving the irrational exuberance even further.

Its getting way too crazy.

B

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How do you think global demand plays into the bubble? What happens when the big money in foreign markets acquires a thirst for the same qualities we love in whiskey? China has 1.6 billion people and India has 1.3, and we ARE competing with them for supply.

Whiskey quality here in the US is on its way down because distilleries can stretch inventory and quench foreign markets with young aged NAS. Emerging markets haven't developed the palette for the quality that already developed markets have. The recently depressed bourbon market is now thriving because of foreign growth.

My father-in-law has a childhood friend in Honk Kong whom we refer to as "Uncle Money". He recently asked me if I could get him Ballantine's 12. Yes, relatively inexpensive blended scotch, but point being, expansion into foreign markets is where the money is.

A few points here. Bourbon being "stretched" does inevitably mean some thinning of the favorites of yesteryear. But, it also means bourbon is extremely successful (hooray for our gallant distilleries!), and more and more of it is getting distilled year over year to try to catch up. A slow process with a painful lag? Certainly. But there will be a catch up point, from which we will, most of us, benefit.

I watched a documentary on a plane about the Bordeaux region getting slammed by Asia's emergence. After thinking about "awww...I wanted to try a bottle of that sometime and now I won't get one for some time", I thought "well, probably better to be slammed with demand than to have the world's artisinal products starved out by lack of demand". High global demand can only mean that more whiskey gets distilled, and more distilleries can make a go of it. The whiskey famine won't last that long, and any product that stays in a condition of higher demand than supply will in the long run be equalized by increased production. No biggie.

The downside of having only one nation for a market is that the ups and downs of the market are more vicious. While we can argue that the last big bourbon glut threw off some great whiskey at great prices, it also killed a lot of distilleries, whom we certainly are missing today, now that we need all the capacity and options we can get.

An international market will mean larger capacity, with less severe ups and downs as individual national markets wax and wane. Really, what we bourbon lovers want is probably more of a "glut lite", where prices and availability for premium well-aged product become more attractive than they are now, without going so far as to extinguish the smallish distilleries of unique character who have less financial endurance.

I'm not sure about the concept of a national palate (or at least, not for premium spirits), mostly because I don't believe that it's palate that predominately drives these booms and busts. I don't think Americans have a great whiskey palate. Instead I thinke the US has a market where people are rabid for what's rare, exclusive, cool, and/or expensive. People who are truly passionate about the real qualities of these whiskeys are a much smaller segment of the market than the surfers of the phenomenon. This isn't only true for whiskey, it's always true for anything that booms.

As a good example, my girlfriend just bought us four single barrel store selects of 4 Roses tonight - Thanks, Japan, for keeping this distillery alive until it could become what it is today!

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I see your points Tot but take a different view. Bordeaux has been in demand for centuries and expanding Global markets will just make that more so. If Worldwide demand for Bourbon increases that may result in more limited selections and higher prices here.

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/rant

I'm starting to get why some of the group "hate" PVW, or at least what it has become. On another site, people are talking about a secondary price of $1,100 for PVW23 as "a deal". Uh... what? That's not a fucking deal. Stop being daft, realize that the price is absurd, and don't advocate these goddamn markups. Seriously.

/end rant

A deal is when you get a $70 MSRP bottle of whiskey for under $50.

It's not a deal when you get a $70 bottle of whiskey (no matter what the secondary market says), for $700. It still tastes like $70 whiskey.

If the distiller says it's worth XX$, why would someone else say it's worth more?

I can see paying a premium for something hard to find n your area (say $20) if you want to experience it for the first time, but why spend a mortgage payment (or two) on something with a sub $100 retail value?

I put $35 ETL and $20 OGD 114 just a shade under the PVW I've had.

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A bit better for me, I actually gave up Pappy for OGD 114. Of course OGD was still ND distillate back then and it was aged longer than today's version, still, point carriers. Pappy is "better" only if you prefer wheat whisky and if you don't, well, it's still just wheat whisky no matter how well made.

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...Some [...] enjoy PVW and other rarities for what they are.

Yeah. Fine quality, tasty, rich bourbon. That gets stored under the bar.

Which is nothing to sneeze at. BT makes some excellent rye.

The older PVWFRR13 was starting to taste like stainless steel, anyway. +1, BT makes good juice.

/rant

[...] people are talking about a secondary price of $1,100 for PVW23 as "a deal". Uh... what? That's not a fucking deal. [...] don't advocate these goddamn markups. Seriously.

/end rant

Yeah but the markup may as well be on the 23 - the ultimate, prestige, "front and center on the bar" bottling. The 15 and 20, pray, stay at real market.

The flipping market is an interesting bubble.

Flipping is an enterprise motivated by pure greed. As such, that market is going to implode due to the same greed.

[...]

Um, I'm prepared to pay THE PRICE. The MSRP. I don't walk into his shop and offer him $20 for his $100 bottles. And I expect him to not ask $500 for a $100 bottle.

Then, my friend, you're going to sit the next few PVW cycles out. Because, let's face it: your retailer can get a real premium for that bottle. And to expect him not to get something back on the overage value is plain unfair. And unrealistic. A good retailer won't gouge you. But MSRP?

I would rather the Van Winkle's maintain their fine quality than to give in to this absurd market and deform their product to capitalize on it. Those cats deserve about the highest compliment whisky lovers can give. They make fine whiskey and haven't made it worse.

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mr, perhaps we should mention the Van Winkles don't actually make whisky and they never have. They were and remain business executives who are in the whisky trade buying whisky made by others and sold under their own labels. Nothing wrong with that, it's a fine old tradition, the Chairman of the Board at Brown-Forman doesn't go down to the distillery floor and pitch yeast into the mash tubs either because executive roles have a different job description.

Julian and Preston have worked very hard for a lot of years (success didn't come overnight) to make the Van Winkle brands viable in the marketplace and deserve full credit for the brands success, but they don't make the whisky. That's done by Buffalo Trace employees who are very good at their job.

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I see your points Tot but take a different view. Bordeaux has been in demand for centuries and expanding Global markets will just make that more so. If Worldwide demand for Bourbon increases that may result in more limited selections and higher prices here.

Yes, very true about Bordeaux and the centuries. Although I think it will be far more possible to produce more barrels of PVW than it will be to expand Bordeaux. Weller distillation is said to have scaled up, with what I would assume would be a proportional increase in honey barrels.

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