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flahute

Bourbon year end 2018 - State of the State.

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flahute
Just now, Kepler said:

 

I would too.  And have told Eddie and Bruce the same

What was their response?

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Kepler
2 minutes ago, flahute said:

What was their response?

It was in 2 separate instances about a year apart (they weren't both together at the same time) but they had similar responses:  noncommittal; smiled and nodded their heads as if to shrug.

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The Black Tot
2 minutes ago, flahute said:

I am not pushing for more LE's. I'm asking for better LE's.

I am comfortable with pushing for more LEs.

 

The market has changed. Before the buyer market size for LEs was so niche that they sat on shelves.

 

Not no mo'. The market ratios have changed.

 

Therefore, it's logical that the number of LEs should be proportionally increased to bring the market back into a reasonable balance.

 

Does that mean we lose some lower-age stuff in the short-term meantime? Yes it does. Those whiskeys are the first to return with the new expanded production.

 

Consider two BTAC examples: THH. Isn't that pretty much cask strength baby Saz? Great, give us more THH and less baby Saz until you can goose production.

 

Who among us wouldn't rather one WLW instead of two W12s? In practice, diluting from cask strength to 90 proof doesn't even get you 2 to 1 bottles, so the sacrifice is even less.

 

I know that not every Weller is good enough to be selected for WLW, but more probably are than are being purposed for WLW, in order to get W12s and OWAs out the door. 

 

I don't care if I don't see OWA on a shelf for the next 5 years if I know it's all going towards double production of future ORVW, WLW, and PVW15 such that we might again be able to get these reliably at retail. Keep the Weller brand going with 5yr 90 proof WSR until this summer's capacity upgrade hits.

 

Liquor stores these days charge BTAC prices for W12 anyway - might as well get it cask strength and NCF if we're going to be asked for 100-200 bucks!

 

They're increasing ECBP - great move, they should go even further with that - there are a lot of markets who could really enjoy that.

 

It benefits producers as well - $40 MSRP for a W12 does not compare with a $100 retail for a WLW for the same age whiskey. They'll sell all they make before it hits a shelf.

 

 

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0895
21 minutes ago, flahute said:

I am not pushing for more LE's. I'm asking for better LE's. All of the distilleries are putting out LE's except for MM and Barton. 

Not more. Just better and more focused.

 

I always thought it would be kind of neat for Barton to do something similar to the BTAC bottlings.

Take the BTAC wine bottle, brand it "Thomas S. Moore" or just "Very old Barton" in some fancy font on the bottle

Put some 15year+ barrel proof whiskey in it perhaps

Little sticker at the bottom w/ proof info,  and some long story on the back about why its so great.

Pick a different color foil neck than the BTAC's ..... I dunno, white maybe?

 

ahh the imagination.  :)

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HoustonNit
Since I was the first person to mention the idea of a 12yr I'll expand upon my thoughts a bit.

You are absolutely correct that the Decades is in that general vicinity. And I like it.

My point was that Decades, and the way WT approaches LE's, is scattered and unpredictable. Decades is a one-off more or less. What I was getting at is that I'd like for WT to have something desirable that came out every year that we could look forward to. I chose the 12yr 101 basically as a call back to a recent offering that just about everyone loved. It could be something different. But if it came out every year in the fall and you could count on it, boy I'd look forward to that every year and buy the heck out of it. 

 

Ok well put and I see your point. I agree WT has done a poor job of doing what other distilleries have done so well. In your context I think I’m a buyer.

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kevinbrink
8 hours ago, flahute said:

All of the distilleries are putting out LE's except for MM and Barton.

I'm guessing you mean "High End" LE's for Barton as they put out quite a few fairly priced LE's some of which are recurring in Sweet Wheat, High Rye, 225th Anniversary and Port finished. Their site actually also lists the BIB, Single Barrel and Full Proof as LE's as well but those seem to all be generally available, at least around here. This is actually the best thing about Barton to me.  What would be really nice is if Barton could release a limited Rye, I would imagine the still make some for the Fleischmann's rye?  A good amount of long aged Barton Rye has hit the market in NDP bottlings over the years and I've always really enjoyed those. 

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flahute
4 hours ago, kevinbrink said:

I'm guessing you mean "High End" LE's for Barton as they put out quite a few fairly priced LE's some of which are recurring in Sweet Wheat, High Rye, 225th Anniversary and Port finished. Their site actually also lists the BIB, Single Barrel and Full Proof as LE's as well but those seem to all be generally available, at least around here. This is actually the best thing about Barton to me.  What would be really nice is if Barton could release a limited Rye, I would imagine the still make some for the Fleischmann's rye?  A good amount of long aged Barton Rye has hit the market in NDP bottlings over the years and I've always really enjoyed those. 

Correct. 

I don’t really think of those as LE’s due to the numbers and reoccurrence of them. 

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kevinbrink
35 minutes ago, flahute said:

Correct. 

I don’t really think of those as LE’s due to the numbers and reoccurrence of them. 

Seems like they would have some stocks too seeing as there have been so many NDP's using Barton sourced whiskey. I remember them clearing a label for a 12 year, I don't remember that ever seeing the light of day.

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robertckim

I need to thank the OP and all of the responses here as these are just fabulous observations and insights from true fan(atics).

 

This board has really allowed me to focus on the bourbons that suit me and inform me as to many others as well.

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mosugoji64
On 1/4/2019 at 7:31 AM, kevinbrink said:

What would be really nice is if Barton could release a limited Rye, I would imagine the still make some for the Fleischmann's rye?  A good amount of long aged Barton Rye has hit the market in NDP bottlings over the years and I've always really enjoyed those. 

 ^^^THIS! THIS! THIS!

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meadeweber

Steve, great original post!  I really enjoyed reading it.  Thanks for putting in the time and posting it.

 

I just reread it again and noticed that we have a very similar palate.  I agreed with every single one of the whiskeys that you mentioned that you liked or disliked.

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Harry in WashDC
On 1/4/2019 at 12:42 AM, flahute said:

   *   *   *   *   *

 

I am not pushing for more LE's. I'm asking for better LE's  . . .  As in my response above, what I'm asking for is smarter choices and consistent choices . . .  Not more. Just better and more focused.

In a MUCH earlier post on this thread, I mentioned JB and its perfume bottle LEs.  THIS quote above summarizes the point I wanted to make.  Like new car releases ("next" year's models start appearing in September/October), perhaps the majors could engage in conscious parallelism and release a consistent range of LEs every Fall to compete with Saz/BT.  If I knew they were going to do this, AND if I knew that some stuff I liked last year likely was going to appear this year, I might get back in the hunt.

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flahute
11 hours ago, meadeweber said:

Steve, great original post!  I really enjoyed reading it.  Thanks for putting in the time and posting it.

 

I just reread it again and noticed that we have a very similar palate.  I agreed with every single one of the whiskeys that you mentioned that you liked or disliked.

Well shoot. Sounds like we need to hang out and drink whiskey.

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flahute
2 hours ago, Harry in WashDC said:

In a MUCH earlier post on this thread, I mentioned JB and its perfume bottle LEs.  THIS quote above summarizes the point I wanted to make.  Like new car releases ("next" year's models start appearing in September/October), perhaps the majors could engage in conscious parallelism and release a consistent range of LEs every Fall to compete with Saz/BT.  If I knew they were going to do this, AND if I knew that some stuff I liked last year likely was going to appear this year, I might get back in the hunt.

Exactly Harry!

BT has figured out what the best possible expressions of their distillate looks like and they release LE's accordingly.

Everyone else is shooting at targets in the dark.

4R knows that they need a killer small batch and they hit on it most years. 

Every other distiller is throwing noodles on the wall to see what sticks. (And sometimes it does).

If they would just poll us bourbon nerds, we'd set them straight. 

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The Black Tot
3 hours ago, Harry in WashDC said:

In a MUCH earlier post on this thread, I mentioned JB and its perfume bottle LEs.  THIS quote above summarizes the point I wanted to make.  Like new car releases ("next" year's models start appearing in September/October), perhaps the majors could engage in conscious parallelism and release a consistent range of LEs every Fall to compete with Saz/BT.  If I knew they were going to do this, AND if I knew that some stuff I liked last year likely was going to appear this year, I might get back in the hunt.

Now that I read this comment, I'm thinking that it might make the job of the flippers harder if LEs came out randomly throughout the year, instead of them being able to do the "great fall round up" all within the same period.

 

But maybe not - maybe a slow steady trickle would be what made it feasible to do it as a full time job :)

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kevinbrink
8 hours ago, The Black Tot said:

Now that I read this comment, I'm thinking that it might make the job of the flippers harder if LEs came out randomly throughout the year, instead of them being able to do the "great fall round up" all within the same period.

 

But maybe not - maybe a slow steady trickle would be what made it feasible to do it as a full time job :)

I actually like having releases throughout the year, I really like HH's idea of spring/fall Old Fitz BIB releases. I wish 4R would do both a Single Barrel and a Small Batch every year and do the same one in the spring and one in the fall. Maybe I'm wrong but I think that was Woodford's plan with the Batch Proof and the other Master's Collection release every year.  I think that some of the other LE's benefit from coming out in the Fall along with BTAC and the Van Winkles in that people tend to buy them as "consolation prizes" but I'm not sure that benefits me as a customer. I was able to buy 4 bottles of Old Fitz 11 year in the spring (2 were for other SB'ers) and barely came across a bottle of the 9 year that came out here at the same time as BT's LE stuff and I'm sure a lot of that had to do with people already being out on the hunt in the fall. I'm fairly certain I was only able to get a Booker's 30th because it was more than a month after the other stuff hit. In both of those cases they had no issue moving the bottles, they aren't on the shelf anymore unless the prices are absurd. Truth be told I'm perfectly happy with WT releases not being over hyped and in many cases undervalued as it means they tend to be findable at retail (or maybe lower) when I want to buy one and Frankly I would take Decades over most of the things people search far harder and spend far more money for. 

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BigRich
I actually like having releases throughout the year, I really like HH's idea of spring/fall Old Fitz BIB releases. I wish 4R would do both a Single Barrel and a Small Batch every year and do the same one in the spring and one in the fall.


They used to. I think the 2014 single was the last of that run before the first one from Brett.
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kevinbrink
5 minutes ago, BigRich said:

 


They used to. I think the 2014 single was the last of that run before the first one from Brett.

 

Yep I guess I could have worded that less clumsily 

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Mako254
On 1/4/2019 at 1:07 AM, Kepler said:

It was in 2 separate instances about a year apart (they weren't both together at the same time) but they had similar responses:  noncommittal; smiled and nodded their heads as if to shrug.

 

As much as we all wish Jimmy and Eddie ran the show, unfortunately they answer to decision makers at Campari. I’m sure Eddie would love to see 12/101 back as much as we would like to. Ultimately not his decision. 

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jvd99

I would love to see a WT equivalent to BTAC.  Annual limited editions of the existing lineup either with increased age, cask strength, or both, delivered in a consistent presentation like the MK bottles, which I think are just about the nicest bottle on the market, but with no wood outer packaging to save a few bucks.   Such a line up would immediately be a contender against BTAC.  I’d be a buyer all day long

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RT Fan

 Great thread and thanks to all who contributed, especially the OP. For me, the bourbon world is summed up with the usual complaint.  Bottles that used to be easily available, ETL & Weller are becoming unobtanium and prices, deservedly or not continue to creep northwards. The price of popularity.

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flahute
On 1/9/2019 at 7:30 AM, kevinbrink said:

I actually like having releases throughout the year, I really like HH's idea of spring/fall Old Fitz BIB releases. I wish 4R would do both a Single Barrel and a Small Batch every year and do the same one in the spring and one in the fall. Maybe I'm wrong but I think that was Woodford's plan with the Batch Proof and the other Master's Collection release every year.  I think that some of the other LE's benefit from coming out in the Fall along with BTAC and the Van Winkles in that people tend to buy them as "consolation prizes" but I'm not sure that benefits me as a customer. I was able to buy 4 bottles of Old Fitz 11 year in the spring (2 were for other SB'ers) and barely came across a bottle of the 9 year that came out here at the same time as BT's LE stuff and I'm sure a lot of that had to do with people already being out on the hunt in the fall. I'm fairly certain I was only able to get a Booker's 30th because it was more than a month after the other stuff hit. In both of those cases they had no issue moving the bottles, they aren't on the shelf anymore unless the prices are absurd. Truth be told I'm perfectly happy with WT releases not being over hyped and in many cases undervalued as it means they tend to be findable at retail (or maybe lower) when I want to buy one and Frankly I would take Decades over most of the things people search far harder and spend far more money for. 

That's an interesting point about the number of consolation prizes that get purchased when the primary targets aren't available.

On the other hand, if a release is truly worthy it will garner the attention and be difficult to obtain no matter what. I can also see how something that gets released in January might not be set aside for the annual lottery because it's too long to wait for some stores.

I think my primary point is still about consistency. I can happen any time of the year, I just want something to hang my hat on.

BT is able to release a bunch of one-offs that everyone chases without effecting their primary LE releases. (Four Grain, Cured Oak, etc.)

I'd like to see Turkey and others have something truly special that comes out every year while still mixing in the one-offs like Decades (which I really like)

I'd like to see Beam simply stop offering stupid LE's such as the recent Knob Creeks that were overpriced and again, take that whiskey and do something special.

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kevinbrink
6 minutes ago, flahute said:

That's an interesting point about the number of consolation prizes that get purchased when the primary targets aren't available.

On the other hand, if a release is truly worthy it will garner the attention and be difficult to obtain no matter what. I can also see how something that gets released in January might not be set aside for the annual lottery because it's too long to wait for some stores.

I think my primary point is still about consistency. I can happen any time of the year, I just want something to hang my hat on.

BT is able to release a bunch of one-offs that everyone chases without effecting their primary LE releases. (Four Grain, Cured Oak, etc.)

I'd like to see Turkey and others have something truly special that comes out every year while still mixing in the one-offs like Decades (which I really like)

I'd like to see Beam simply stop offering stupid LE's such as the recent Knob Creeks that were overpriced and again, take that whiskey and do something special.

I agree basically across the board, the one thing I will say in regards to the KC LE's is that I think the Rye's were very competitively priced, though I'm guessing you are really talking about the bourbons. I still think Beam's biggest issue on the KC LE's is that they are competing with themselves if KC SiB didn't exist with the same name on the label, not a lot of 14 year old 100 proof bourbons or 13 year Cask Strength bourbons selling for less at this point. If KC 25th said "Booker's" on it they would have sold it all rather quickly and probably could have charged more.

 

If I was Campari I would certainly do things differently and try and continue to elevate the brand by tying to the one thing that clearly works for them Jimmy and Eddie.  If they did a Jimmy Russell's Reserve and a Eddie Russell's Reserve in nice packaging I think they would do well, the RR LE's have sold well and been received well. Hell do a Bruce Russell Rye, I would happily welcome more well aged high proofed ryes into the market. 

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The Black Tot
5 minutes ago, kevinbrink said:

I would happily welcome more well aged high proofed ryes into the market. 

I think we're all in luck on that front.

 

There seems to be a lot of it coming of age lately. It matures young and all the LE ryes are getting snapped up, which can't have gone unnoticed.

 

There must be tons of MGP barrels out there about to hit prime time in the craft warehouses.

 

An annual cask strength mature rye release from another company to add to MWND would be welcome, indeed!

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flahute
23 hours ago, kevinbrink said:

I agree basically across the board, the one thing I will say in regards to the KC LE's is that I think the Rye's were very competitively priced, though I'm guessing you are really talking about the bourbons. I still think Beam's biggest issue on the KC LE's is that they are competing with themselves if KC SiB didn't exist with the same name on the label, not a lot of 14 year old 100 proof bourbons or 13 year Cask Strength bourbons selling for less at this point. If KC 25th said "Booker's" on it they would have sold it all rather quickly and probably could have charged more.

 

If I was Campari I would certainly do things differently and try and continue to elevate the brand by tying to the one thing that clearly works for them Jimmy and Eddie.  If they did a Jimmy Russell's Reserve and a Eddie Russell's Reserve in nice packaging I think they would do well, the RR LE's have sold well and been received well. Hell do a Bruce Russell Rye, I would happily welcome more well aged high proofed ryes into the market. 

So far on this thread I've been doing a good job of not explaining myself fully and you've been doing a good job of interpreting my intent. So thanks!

 

I was focused on the bourbons, yes. Totally agree with them competing with themselves trying to pass off extra aged KC as premium while also selling a ton of 13-15yr KC single barrels.

Putting that stuff in a Booker's bottle with extra age and at barrel proof would be a barnstormer for them.

 

Interesting point about Turkey. I recently read an interview with Eddie where he said that the Turkey expressions currently on the market are Jimmy's creations whereas the Russell's expressions are Eddie's. Eddie didn't want to mess with his father's legacy brands so the Russell's brand was created when Eddie became master distiller so he could experiment with new ideas, and, rye - which Jimmy doesn't like. Bruce is the one that really pushes the rye so your last idea is spot on. For Jimmy, it would likely be a special Turkey release. Eddie would keep doing Russell's. 

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