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Gillman

New Book, "Bourbon Empire", by Reid Mitenbuler

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squire

Don't know but if I can find his email I plan to invite him.

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Richnimrod

After reading the short article, for which Gary provided the link, I'm a bit underwhelmed.

Either the article's author (Stacy 'something') or the author of the book being highlighted, Mr. Mitenbuler, are rather under-informed.

Either the research was cursory or ignored, I suspect. Referring to Knob Creek as a "craft" product, or implying it is marketed by some "independent" (are we to read NDP?) is just poor journalism.... or outright ignorance.

I don't believe Beam ever tried to conceal the fact that KC is their product, is produced at their facility, and is marketed by them (as part of their 'small batch collection', if I recall their terms).

Now the term, "small batch" is widely known to mean nothing much,or even nothing at all; and as such may be misleading on it's face; but other than that common indiscretion, of which many, many corporations large and small are guilty, I see no reason to mention Beam at all.... especially when so many 'craft' NDP's would be far better examples.... unless I completely misread the point of the article, and the book.

Anybody else seeing something I'm not? ...Or, reading this article differently?

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dcbt

I think this book will be underwhelming to most SBers but quite enlightening to the "average" consumer. Having said that, I don't see an average consumer buying the book. And I don't see an educated hobbyist getting much new information out of it.

Edit to add: just based on the brief article, anyway, that's how it seems to me on the surface. I have not read the book.

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polish.bourbon
I think this book will be underwhelming to most SBers but quite enlightening to the "average" consumer. Having said that, I don't see an average consumer buying the book. And I don't see an educated hobbyist getting much new information out of it.

Edit to add: just based on the brief article, anyway, that's how it seems to me on the surface. I have not read the book.

I'm reading the book right now, and I think the article was edited for broad appeal. The book goes into quite some depth. I'm not an expert by any means, but if you're at all curious about how the bourbon industry came to look the way it does today, you'll find a lot of really amazing research and storytelling inside. The story of how all these regional whiskies came to be called "bourbon" is a really fascinating one, along with how bourbon blossomed in part because of the failure of the whiskey tax -- if taxes had been used to better connect the west to the east, there might've been a more efficient grain market, and farmers wouldn't have had to distill so much of their crops in order to preserve the value of it. Oops! :)

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Richnimrod

Edit to my earlier comment...

I wonder if ANY new ground is broken in this new book? If so, I also wonder why none of it was 'teased' in this article. Just sayin'.....

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squire

Perhaps Clay can chime in.

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Kartofel

I'll have to add my question to the choir for anyone who has or is reading it, does it offer anything new or is it at least entertainingly and well written? I'll probably end up getting it anyway, as I love reading about my hobbies and their history as much as I love partaking in them.

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squire
. . . . is it at least entertainingly and well written? . . . .

Those would be my reasons for purchase as the subject in general has been well covered in prior works.

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Harry in WashDC

Well, FWIW, Clay Risen and Lew Bryson and Max "Chasing the White Dog" Watman (which I'm reading for the second time right now) and Amy "The Drunken Botanist" Stewart all have publishers' blurbs posted at amazon.com. I was going to cut and paste then decided not to. To read them, go to www.amazon.com and search under "books" for "Bourbon Empire" - $12 for Kindle and $19 for hardcover if you want to buy.

EDIT - Wednesday night, I think we are going to a bookstore (up the street a little from a restaurant we like). If they have the book, I'll check its bibliography and read a couple of pages.

Edited by Harry in WashDC

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Kartofel

Thanks for the suggestion of "Chasing the White Dog," Harry. I've read a few historical overviews of bourbon already, and I think more focused and in-depth stuff like that is what I need.

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Gillman

I always feel a new book is useful and based on some comments here it looks to have some considerable depth even if one discounts that it is likely not intended for a highly specialized audience. Certainly I learned something new from every bourbon or whiskey book I've ever bought.

Gary

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The Black Tot

Anybody else seeing something I'm not? ...Or, reading this article differently?

I'm with you on this, Rich. I didn't see anything that made me want to buy it.

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shoshani

Interesting that, at least in this review, they keep hammering on Knob Creek as some sort of scurrilous NDP intent on pulling the wool over the consumer's eyes. Beam has made absolutely no secret of where their small batch whiskies originate, and these have all been on the market for a good 20 years at least. Booker's label probably still references "my grandfather Jim Beam", and Baker's owns its namesake, Baker Beam. KC and Basil don't say their origin outright, but they were all lumped together in the first spate of advertising and shelf marketing.

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Tucker

I've put this on my Amazon wish list and I'm looking forward to a review from someone here who has actually read the book. From what I gather, though, a few of you have completely missed the point regarding the reference to Knob Creek.

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T Comp
I always feel a new book is useful and based on some comments here it looks to have some considerable depth even if one discounts that it is likely not intended for a highly specialized audience. Certainly I learned something new from every bourbon or whiskey book I've ever bought.

Gary

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Richnimrod
I've put this on my Amazon wish list and I'm looking forward to a review from someone here who has actually read the book. From what I gather, though, a few of you have completely missed the point regarding the reference to Knob Creek.

OK... What point did you get from the KC references? That it isn't named Jim Beam? That it isn't made at an actual distillery called Knob Creek. These are valid points, but could also be made about 90% of the brands for sale (or likely more than that?).

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squire

I believe the point is about the words "Small Batch" on the label and Knob Creek was just being used as an example.

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cowdery

Here and in other forums, the book seems to be suffering from this one NPR article. Maybe there is such a thing as bad publicity after all. If the article rubs you the wrong way blame NPR, not Reid. I know Reid and he consults me regularly. He writes for The Atlantic, Slate, Saveur, and Whisky Advocate. He writes well and is appropriately skeptical about things like accelerated aging. I haven't finished reading the book, but I feel confident that the errors in the article are NPR's, not his. Reid does his homework.

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Harry in WashDC

When the huge Picasso sculpture in downtown Chicago was unveiled, a steelworker was asked what he thought of it. He replied, "If Hizzoner (Mayor Richard Daley Sr.) thinks it's art, then it's art."

And if Hizzoner and the others:bowdown: I listed in a previous post on thishere thread like the book, then I'll like it.

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Richnimrod

Well, if Chuck thinks it's a worthwhile effort, then it probably is.

I agree with Chuck's conclusion about the article maybe dragging down advance expectations for Reid's effort. I shall hold future negative thoughts in abeyance until I read the actual book.

In my original comment on this thread I wondered about whether the article ....or the book ... were the source of the negative impressions. I'm less inclined to suspect the book, after Chuck's comment.

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