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GrouchoM

Is there still love for KCSB?

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GrouchoM

When I was first getting interested in bourbon, it seemed everywhere I looked picked KCSB as the best easy-to-find

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JCwhammie

Yes, over the past 2 years there have been 14-15 year private selection SiB picks all over the place. IMO some are fantastic and some are too oaky. They've definitely been a good value, though.

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EarthQuake

KC picks really put into perspective the insanity surrounding Weller, Pappy, BTAC, etc this time of year. The worst a KC pick tends to be is very good, while the exceptional picks rival any of the fall season unicorns that people chase. I'm partial to the 14-15 year picks (which my area has gotten a handful of recently), but if you don't like so much oak, 9-11 year picks are pretty common too.

 

When you consider how available these picks are, and the price point, they are hands down the best value in bourbon, and it's not even close. Knob Creek and Four Roses picks are on a very short list of bottles that I tend to buy no matter how many I have bunkered.

Edited by EarthQuake
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fosmith

I thought I read somewhere that the price of KCSB was going up significantly and that the older store picks are on the way out.  Either stocks are exhausted or being diverted to the Baker's 13 yr. program.  Thankfully, I have quite a few bunkered but if you're a fan, probably should get while the getting's good. 

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Richnimrod

My experience with about 10-or 12-different picked KCSBs has been that they can be wonderful . . . . or not.    A few weren't that different from the ordinary shelf stock (which is generally good, just not special), which in my experience has been rather more consistent than the range presented by private picks.    I bought (and regretted it) a couple of bottles from a big well-respected merchant on a trip through KY a few years ago.   The first one I opened was VERY HOTTTTTT! ...And, not particularly good besides that, given that even adding water, or ice didn't do much other than eventually damp the heat; but no desirable flavors or aromas ever came from that bottle (I gave the other one away).   I have had a couple or maybe three that were rather too oaky; but I also had 3 that were stellar and very well-balanced in spite of being over 12-years old (one was over 14!).    I also had one that was just over 9-years old that was thick, rich, full of caramel and vanilla, and was probably the best of the bunch.    I still have a few of those ones in the closet.   

So, I guess the message I would pass on is that if you can get a taste before buying to see if the barrel hits 'your sweet spot'; that would be best.

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gurgalunas
2 hours ago, fosmith said:

I thought I read somewhere that the price of KCSB was going up significantly and that the older store picks are on the way out.  Either stocks are exhausted or being diverted to the Baker's 13 yr. program.  Thankfully, I have quite a few bunkered but if you're a fan, probably should get while the getting's good. 

The KC SiB picks will decrease in availability and increase in price due to the release of KC 12 yr.  The 12 is intended to sap inventory from the barrel pick program, which is viewed as a under-priced bourbon by Beam.

 

The Bakers has no effect on the KC stocks, as it has a different distillation proof and different barrel entry proof.  They are distinctly different products from day 1...

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lcpfratn
The KC SiB picks will decrease in availability and increase in price due to the release of KC 12 yr.  The 12 is intended to sap inventory from the barrel pick program, which is viewed as a under-priced bourbon by Beam.
 
The Bakers has no effect on the KC stocks, as it has a different distillation proof and different barrel entry proof.  They are distinctly different products from day 1...

This! The ability for stores to get barrel picks, and the availability of regular KC Single Barrel is apparently being affected by depleted inventory levels.

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The Black Tot
6 hours ago, Richnimrod said:

So, I guess the message I would pass on is that if you can get a taste before buying to see if the barrel hits 'your sweet spot'; that would be best.

 

Correct.

 

After driving across country a few times and buying about 12 bottles to try them out, I now have about 11 boring store picks to get through.

 

I no longer buy a pick unless I can taste it first.

 

Edit - I still think there's gold in that rack house. But most of the picks that come out of it...ain't.

Edited by The Black Tot
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GrouchoM

Are store picks from other brands more consistently great?

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The Black Tot
1 minute ago, GrouchoM said:

Are store picks from other brands more consistently great?

 

It's not the brands that make a pick great, it's the tasting team. 

 

And in particular, a tasting team that is capable of saying "no thanks" if all the options put before them aren't good enough.

 

In this seller's market, store owners want bottles to sell, so most of them aren't going to leave the rack house without having picked one.

 

I'm not saying Beam puts out average whiskey if they know that they have someone coming in who is going to buy a barrel no matter what...

 

...but I'm not NOT saying it, either. Those barrels have to go SOMEWHERE.

 

If you frequent a store where the guy who picks the barrels is a good taster, shares your taste preferences, and is empowered to say no when the whiskey isn't up to scratch, then that store is going to have consistently good picks no matter WHAT brand they're picking.

 

If you frequent stores where the owner just wants to get any old product on the shelves, then that's going to be the level of whiskey in his store picks. Unless the owner gets crazy lucky and they throw a honey barrel at him by sheer chance. However, I'm not sure that's happening a lot these days.

 

The distilleries know how to hold back better barrels for clubs and tasting teams that are famous for knowing the difference.

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fosmith
1 hour ago, The Black Tot said:

It's not the brands that make a pick great, it's the tasting team. 

I get what you're saying.  Which is why I was skeptical when I saw several barrel picks at Bevmo last year.  I didn't expect much from a large, corporate chain.  But I've picked up multiples at Bevmo from three different barrels and they have all been stellar.  An email to Beam revealed them all to be around 14 yo.  I can smell and taste the age and the oak but it's in harmony with the caramel and vanilla and never turns bitter or tannic.  So either Bevmo actually has a good tasting team or they just got lucky.  And I'm lucky because they constantly send me $10 off $50 coupons so another KCSB PS comes home with me for $42. 

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EarthQuake

These 14-15 year barrels tend to be fantastic.

 

@The Black Tot I would say if you find 11/12 picks boring or a chore to get through, maybe it's not so much the picks or who is picking them, but a profile that you're not into? With dumb luck alone half of those should have been pretty good picks.

 

But hey, people say there are bad Four Roses picks and I've yet to meet one. So maybe I'm just easily pleased.

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The Black Tot
1 hour ago, fosmith said:

I get what you're saying.  Which is why I was skeptical when I saw several barrel picks at Bevmo last year.  I didn't expect much from a large, corporate chain.  But I've picked up multiples at Bevmo from three different barrels and they have all been stellar.  An email to Beam revealed them all to be around 14 yo.  I can smell and taste the age and the oak but it's in harmony with the caramel and vanilla and never turns bitter or tannic.  So either Bevmo actually has a good tasting team or they just got lucky.  And I'm lucky because they constantly send me $10 off $50 coupons so another KCSB PS comes home with me for $42. 

 

Even big corporations sometimes have store managers with great palates. One of my best Whistlepig picks came from Total Wine. And the guys at Spec's Houston used to do some good picks, although I expect over the years there has been significant turnover there.

 

It's still a pick, by a person. When you find a place where the picks agree with your priorities, ride that wave as long as you can.

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The Black Tot
53 minutes ago, EarthQuake said:

These 14-15 year barrels tend to be fantastic.

 

@The Black Tot I would say if you find 11/12 picks boring or a chore to get through, maybe it's not so much the picks or who is picking them, but a profile that you're not into? With dumb luck alone half of those should have been pretty good picks.

 

But hey, people say there are bad Four Roses picks and I've yet to meet one. So maybe I'm just easily pleased.

 

I am well aware of the general profile of Knob Creek. It's true I expect something better than the general profile from a pick.

 

...That's what makes it a pick...

 

Otherwise, I might as well buy the standard issue KCSB off the shelf.

 

All the picks that didn't do it for me were 14yrs or older. 14 isn't a magic year that turns good bourbon into superb bourbon. I think one of the picks I've done there we selected a 9 and I'd make the same choice tomorrow.

 

And yes, there are lacklustre 4R picks.

 

If you are in fact easily pleased, lucky you - pleasure is, after all, the point.

Edited by The Black Tot

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PhantomLamb
5 hours ago, fosmith said:

I get what you're saying.  Which is why I was skeptical when I saw several barrel picks at Bevmo last year.  I didn't expect much from a large, corporate chain.  But I've picked up multiples at Bevmo from three different barrels and they have all been stellar.  An email to Beam revealed them all to be around 14 yo.  I can smell and taste the age and the oak but it's in harmony with the caramel and vanilla and never turns bitter or tannic.  So either Bevmo actually has a good tasting team or they just got lucky.  And I'm lucky because they constantly send me $10 off $50 coupons so another KCSB PS comes home with me for $42. 

How do you get the coupons?

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Paddy

^^^When you look at the QPR, all I can say is... I've had some great one's, some good one's, but never a bad one. 

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fosmith
2 hours ago, PhantomLamb said:

How do you get the coupons?

 First you have to sign up for a Club Bev account, which is easy to do on their web site.  About once or twice a month, you'll get an email with a discount coupon.  Also, about every 3 or 4 weeks, the folder that arrives in my snail mail box with ads for various stores, will have a Bevmo flier with a coupon.  They may or may not do that in your area.  I used to just throw all those fliers away without looking at any of them until I spotted the Bevmo coupon in one...

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PhantomLamb
29 minutes ago, fosmith said:

 First you have to sign up for a Club Bev account, which is easy to do on their web site.  About once or twice a month, you'll get an email with a discount coupon.  Also, about every 3 or 4 weeks, the folder that arrives in my snail mail box with ads for various stores, will have a Bevmo flier with a coupon.  They may or may not do that in your area.  I used to just throw all those fliers away without looking at any of them until I spotted the Bevmo coupon in one...

Gotcha.  Not sure I have that our my way.

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EarthQuake
8 hours ago, The Black Tot said:

 

I am well aware of the general profile of Knob Creek. It's true I expect something better than the general profile from a pick.

 

...That's what makes it a pick...

 

Otherwise, I might as well buy the standard issue KCSB off the shelf.

 

All the picks that didn't do it for me were 14yrs or older. 14 isn't a magic year that turns good bourbon into superb bourbon. I think one of the picks I've done there we selected a 9 and I'd make the same choice tomorrow.

 

And yes, there are lacklustre 4R picks.

 

If you are in fact easily pleased, lucky you - pleasure is, after all, the point.

Sorry, my comment re: 14-15 year picks was meant for the poster above me, I wasn't trying to convince you that you should like 14-15 year picks.

 

In any case, t's interesting to hear that you think the 14-15 year picks tend to be no better (or similar in profile to) the standard bottling. This doesn't match up with my experience, I find the 9-11 year old picks, while generally nice, to be closer to the base profile. I haven't had one in a while though, so I should pick up a standard bottle sometime, for science of course.

 

All that said, I'm a termite and I like oak. So while 14 is not a magic number, and age isn't necessarily a measure of quality, a 9-11 year old bourbon will generally have a noticeably different profile to a 14-15 year old. I love the dry oak, leather, tannic, even astringent flavors that come with older bourbons. So the older picks represent something that not many other bottles on the shelf do these days (or if they do, it's at a much higher price): age and proof. If you're looking for sweet dessert flavors, the younger picks are easier to recommend. I had, I think it was an 11 year old pick from Ace a while back, that was heavy on vanilla and candy sweetness, and ridiculously easy to drink.

Edited by EarthQuake
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flahute
3 hours ago, EarthQuake said:

Sorry, my comment re: 14-15 year picks was meant for the poster above me, I wasn't trying to convince you that you should like 14-15 year picks.

 

In any case, t's interesting to hear that you think the 14-15 year picks tend to be no better (or similar in profile to) the standard bottling. This doesn't match up with my experience, I find the 9-11 year old picks, while generally nice, to be closer to the base profile. I haven't had one in a while though, so I should pick up a standard bottle sometime, for science of course.

 

All that said, I'm a termite and I like oak. So while 14 is not a magic number, and age isn't necessarily a measure of quality, a 9-11 year old bourbon will generally have a noticeably different profile to a 14-15 year old. I love the dry oak, leather, tannic, even astringent flavors that come with older bourbons. So the older picks represent something that not many other bottles on the shelf do these days (or if they do, it's at a much higher price): age and proof. If you're looking for sweet dessert flavors, the younger picks are easier to recommend. I had, I think it was an 11 year old pick from Ace a while back, that was heavy on vanilla and candy sweetness, and ridiculously easy to drink.

Me and TBT are pretty dang aligned on just about everything, but on this topic I'm more aligned with you. The 13-15yr KC picks I've been a part of are amazing. 

Now, I've yet to try one that I didn't pick myself (though I have two from Justin's House of Bourbon I haven't opened yet) so I'm obviously picking a barrel I like which may not be representative of the majority, but still, in my experience, the Knobs of that age appeal to me a lot more than the standard profile (and I like the standard profile A LOT).

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Kepler

I have a couple of different 14 yr+ releases but I've only opened one.  It's not balanced enough for me; I prefer the slightly younger ones.  This 14 year I'm referring to is not so much overly oaky as it is too heavy with char.  Meaning, it's not so much tannic with dry oak but rather more heavy charcoal, almost burnt.  

Currently I'm sipping a 12 year KC pick and while still pretty dang oaky it's not a negative thing unlike my 14 char bomb bottle.

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The Black Tot

Perhaps I have misrepresented myself. I think for some perspective I never said any of the picks were "Bad". 

 

Just that they weren't rock stars.

 

@CardsandBourbon ruined me on a pick of KC120 that was one of the best bourbons I ever had, and then KC has never gotten back there for me since. I hold hope and will keep trying. I'm dealing with some frustration in that pursuit, which I recognize colors my comments here.

 

When I call a KC120 pick boring, think of it more like the old phrase "A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work".

 

It's still KC120. 

 

And I too am usually a termite - none of the 14yr KCs failed for me because of too much oak. Most of them failed to excel because of leaning too much toward the peanut brittle. And on one in particular whose flavor comes to mind, the sweetness tasted a little saccharine. 

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flahute
26 minutes ago, The Black Tot said:

Perhaps I have misrepresented myself. I think for some perspective I never said any of the picks were "Bad". 

 

Just that they weren't rock stars.

 

@CardsandBourbon ruined me on a pick of KC120 that was one of the best bourbons I ever had, and then KC has never gotten back there for me since. I hold hope and will keep trying. I'm dealing with some frustration in that pursuit, which I recognize colors my comments here.

 

When I call a KC120 pick boring, think of it more like the old phrase "A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work".

 

It's still KC120. 

 

And I too am usually a termite - none of the 14yr KCs failed for me because of too much oak. Most of them failed to excel because of leaning too much toward the peanut brittle. And on one in particular whose flavor comes to mind, the sweetness tasted a little saccharine. 

Well that's interesting. Clearly we need to hash this out over a long night sitting at my dining room table while sampling though a bunch of the picks I think are good.

Come to Seattle. I will make it worth your while.

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The Black Tot
2 minutes ago, flahute said:

Well that's interesting. Clearly we need to hash this out over a long night sitting at my dining room table while sampling though a bunch of the picks I think are good.

Come to Seattle. I will make it worth your while.

 

2021 at the latest. Right now for my permanent residence application the UK gov't is counting my days outside the country.

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flahute
1 minute ago, The Black Tot said:

 

2021 at the latest. Right now for my permanent residence application the UK gov't is counting my days outside the country.

I am ready for you.

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