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IamMatt

Batch Preferences (A120 vs B520) vs Barrel Preferences?

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IamMatt

Discussing small batches, there is often a lot of hype or preference about one batch or another (like Elijah Craig C919 or A120) being much better than other batches.  So one might pass on one batch but search out another.  But when gushing over Single Barrels, I don't see much consensus or even discussion over preferences, even though I would think there would be more variation between single barrels than between different batches.

 

I know that major distillers' small batches are large enough to get wide distribution, as opposed to the 150-200 bottles from a single barrel that would make it near impossible to find a specific barrel you like, so I get that.  But does a consensus ever develop with single barrels that a particular rickhouse or floor, or whatever in a particular year or season is the one to search out?  Or avoid?  As opposed to saying "Old XYZ Single Barrel is good" and buying "any old bottle" of it, even though it will vary from barrel to barrel.

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clearmoon247

The short answer is that 99% of the time, hype for a single barrel release is going to be difficult because of the small quantity of bottles, as you suggested. That being said, store picks are where the hype/searching happens. With Wild Turkey, for example, there are at least 2 rick houses that people flock for (Camp Nelson A & F). Four Roses store picks have varying tiers of quality/value based on recipe, age, and proof. An OESV that is 8 years old and 56% ABV will have a lower demand than an OBSO that is 11 years old and 63% ABV.

 

Eagle Rare falls into the category of "older bottles are better" when they had the displayed single barrel vs the current releases that are technically single barrel, but due to production methods, cannot be labelled as such. Their store picks as a whole are highly sought after as well. There is, for the most part, a mentality of dusty/older releases are wanted over current bottles. Elijah Craig is a great example. Their 12 year "pirate bottles" go for ridiculous prices ($80-$160) considering they originally sold at retail for $24-$28 a few years ago.

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Richnimrod

Your analysis concluding that single barrels just yield too small a number of bottles (and almost always too narrow a distribution area) to be much note by folx spread so broadly over the nation/world.   

As to the batches gaining more or less traction with greater or fewer numbers of SB-ers: I believe that represents commonality (or lack thereof) among palates... along with herd mentality to some degree as well.    (Folx whose palates are known and respected extolling the virtues of a batch will pretty much guarantee a better overall 'rating' of that batch, and probably actually influence some others' personal evaluation of it as well.)

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Mako254

Every barrel is unique and there will always be some variance from one to the next, even when filled with identical distillate and aged next to each other for the same amount of time. 
 

That said, the information that is listed on the bottle or obtained from the distillery can be very useful when compiled. 
i’m a ‘turkey junky and 2/3 of the bottles I buy are Russell’s Reserve. 
Last year, a large quantity if barrels that Eddie put into the program came from Camp Nelson F, specifically the 6th floor. Having been involved with multiple picks and comparing information from other selections, a few commonalities were apparent. The barrels were filled mid november of 2009 and aged for 9-1/2-10 years depending on dump date. 
my local group selected 2 from CNF 6 and while they are different the have much more in common than not.

 

My buddy DJ over at rarebird101 gets static emails from people essentially complaining that he reviews single barrels that most won’t ever see. While that is true, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a barrel w/ similar profiles or from a similar run. 
 

as always, your mileage may very, but single barrels are by far my favorite and comparing certain offerings from the same warehouse from different runs is fun. 
 

while taking inventory a few months back, I noticed I had a pair of Four Roses twins. 
might have to save these for a pick with some fellow SBers @flahute and @bourbon4all

64D65E18-932A-4B18-8835-9DC381AC0F6D.png

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Mako254

Also, ECBP is killer regardless of batch. 
I may like B520 more than you or you might like A120 more than C919 but they are all good. A buy on site bottle for me. 

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LCWoody

A120 is better.

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JCwhammie
1 hour ago, Mako254 said:

Every barrel is unique and there will always be some variance from one to the next, even when filled with identical distillate and aged next to each other for the same amount of time. 
 

That said, the information that is listed on the bottle or obtained from the distillery can be very useful when compiled. 
i’m a ‘turkey junky and 2/3 of the bottles I buy are Russell’s Reserve. 
Last year, a large quantity if barrels that Eddie put into the program came from Camp Nelson F, specifically the 6th floor. Having been involved with multiple picks and comparing information from other selections, a few commonalities were apparent. The barrels were filled mid november of 2009 and aged for 9-1/2-10 years depending on dump date. 
my local group selected 2 from CNF 6 and while they are different the have much more in common than not.

 

My buddy DJ over at rarebird101 gets static emails from people essentially complaining that he reviews single barrels that most won’t ever see. While that is true, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a barrel w/ similar profiles or from a similar run. 
 

as always, your mileage may very, but single barrels are by far my favorite and comparing certain offerings from the same warehouse from different runs is fun. 
 

while taking inventory a few months back, I noticed I had a pair of Four Roses twins. 
might have to save these for a pick with some fellow SBers @flahute and @bourbon4all

64D65E18-932A-4B18-8835-9DC381AC0F6D.png

That run of RR SiB picks from the 6th floor of CNF are ridiculously good, and they're what I currently judge other $55 (which is the current price of RR SiB right now in my market) bottles against. Fingers crossed the barrels from this year's rickhouses rival those. 

 

I agree that to me all of ECBP are very good. If they'd only bring back EC12 for my everyday drinker...

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Bob_Loblaw
2 hours ago, Mako254 said:

Also, ECBP is killer regardless of batch. 
I may like B520 more than you or you might like A120 more than C919 but they are all good. A buy on site bottle for me. 

This is exactly my answer.  

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