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cowdery

Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible 2004

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cowdery

In his new Whiskey Bible under Woodford Reserve, Mr. Murray magically reviews two products that do not exist, Four Grain and Personal Selection.

It is possible he tasted some of Woodford's experimental four grain whiskey, but that product has not been released, won’t have that name if and when it is released, and may not be the same whiskey Murray tasted if and when it is released.

He also reviews Woodford Reserve "Personal Selection." This is the Woodford Reserve version of buy-a-barrel. A customer (such as a bar or liquor store, but a well-heeled individual can do it too) selects one barrel from the Woodford County distillery (from a pre-screened range) and one from the Jefferson County distillery. These are then mixed together as a "Personal Selection" Woodford Reserve. Presumably, Murray tasted someone’s "Personal Selection," but someone else’s "Personal Selection" will be completely different.

That will teach you what happens when you read Jim Murray.

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greenbob

That will teach you what happens when you read Jim Murray.

Yes, but isn't fiction the most profitable book genre?

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cowdery

And within fiction, fantasy is a pretty popular genre.

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Jono

Hmmm, but can I find:

“Bourbon, Straight – The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey†by Charles K. Cowdery. [2004, Charles K. Cowdery] (signed by Charles K. Cowdery)

....at "Deals" for $1.00!

lol.gif

I sense some professional rivalry here... stickpoke.gif

Chuck...I promise to add your tome to my collection along with some of the others mentioned in the Whiskey library thred...if I can find them. Bottoms up... drink.gif

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musher

It'll probably be more clear once you get Chuck's book and read the chapter on why ratings are pure bull$*!%. This is, of course, a lot of what Jim Murray is about (rating whisk(e)ys).

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cowdery

When I met Jim we had an interesting discussion on that subject. He feels strongly that someone (i.e., him) has to help the poor whiskey drinker and give them some guidance. Not only does he give numerical scores, but he grades the nose, taste and finish separately, then averages those three scores to arrive and the total score for the whiskey. He didn't really have an answer when I asked him how he determined that nose, taste and finish should have exactly equal weight in every case.

(My basic thesis is that it is all pretty arbitrary.)

I don't know how much professional rivalry there is, as I am but a fly on Mr. Murray's butt if you compare our sales, but I'm doing my best to catch up.

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bluesbassdad

Chuck,

As a kid growing up in southern Illinois I sometimes saw and was even bitten by something the old-timers called a horsefly. It was several times larger than the common housefly and capable of getting one's attention, especially if it happened to bite a young skinny-dipper on the butt.

I'm tempted to introduce this critter and its behavior into your metaphor, but I won't. grin.gif

Yours truly,

Dave Morefield

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cowdery

I hope nobody here considers my jibe at Murray to be anything less than good-natured. I look forward to the day when he will consider me even a small nuisance, competition-wise.

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Bamber

lol - I looked for these whiskies for ages. I guess the shops thought I had made them up as well !

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clayton

The next version of the Whiskey Bible (2005) comes out next week.

I enjoy Murray's books, and I doubt I would be as enthusiastic about bourbon as I am today without the guidance he provided during my first explorations.

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TNbourbon

I, too, have the current "Whiskey Bible". And, while I don't always agree with Murray's overall ratings/conclusions, I find the tasting notes themselves invaluable in directing evaluation of newly-tried whiskeys. It's a reference -- and just like you wouldn't base a paper or study on a single reference source, I don't use Murray exclusively for whiskey/bourbon info. But as a single reference, he is useful. I rely on Chuck's book, too, for common-sense, insider bourbon facts and opinions. The Regans' "Bourbon Companion", too. Then I make up my own mind, if I hadn't already to begin with.

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camduncan

I picked up the 2004 Bible whilst I was in the UK last month... It was an invaluable resource when confronted with an entire rack of Bourbons & Ryes that I'd never heard of or had only read about in passing here on the list. I knew I wanted a bottle of ORVW (and price was the deciding factor in choosing the 10yo - my 'wish' was for a 20 or 23yo), but the bible guided me to the 13yo ORVW Rye, BT & Blantons. It also was what pushed me into trying an order from the US for a bottle of Sezerac & Stagg (they cleared customs yesterday smile.gif)

Having said all of that, I don't always agree with his tasting notes or ratings either. My own taste differs, and it changes from day to day. But I do enjoy sitting with a neat glass of bourbon and getting the Bible out to try and identify the different charactaristics..I also use the tasting notes here on the forum in the same way.

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jbewley

Well, I decided to do the only fair thing I could. I ordered both Jim Murray's 2005 Whiskey Bible and Chuck's book from Amazon. When they get here, I plan to evaluate each of the two books based on (1) nose (does it smell paper-ey, cardboard-ey, or plastic-ey?), (2) Taste (mmh... wood pulp), and (3) Finish (i.e. does it papercut when I try the taste test?).

I have the 2004 Whiskey Bible, and while I don't agree with some of his ratings, just reading it has caused me to get off my butt and go out and try things that I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise.

What I find interesting is that I can't find the 2005 Whiskey Bible on the shelf anywhere. I didn't find a single Borders or B&N with a copy anywhere (as opposed to last year where I saw it everywhere), and I looked across roughly three states as I travelled. I wonder why no-one reordered? I'd rather see it on the shelf than some "Spanky Jankin's Yet Another Huge Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky" book.

- Jeff

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gr8erdane

I picked up a copy of the 2005 Whiskey Bible just before Christmas and pretty much agree to disagree with Jim on many of our favorite bourbons but got a pretty good laugh on a couple of his listings. The absolute lowest I found was a 17 on a S***** called Dunglas on page 127. What a riot. smilielol.gif

However, for the life of me I can't see Pappy 20 as a 78 while rating JB white an 85. As you will read in Chuck's book (which I heartily endorse), ratings are overrated.

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cowdery

It was Amazon's idea to sell my book with Murray's as a 2-fer. It couldn't hurt. Briefly they had me paired with Sam Cecil's book. I'm sure this is all done by algorithms (named for their inventor, Al Gore) without human intervention.

If you go to Murray's book, it's paired with a Jackson. If you go to the Jackson it's paired with...another Jackson. Oh, what a tangled web.

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camduncan

I picked a 2005 Bible up 2 or 3 weeks ago at a local store in Brisbane. Some of the ratings definately baffle me. confused.gif Others seem to be taken verbatim from the 2004 edition.

I'm still trying to work out how Cougar Bourbon got a rating of 93 on page 249. Down here it's the substitute for Jim beam White as the 'house' bourbon in pubs when you order a Bourbon & Coke. If you want a Jim Beam & Coke, you usually pay more.

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wrbriggs

I got it for Christmas. I'll have to check out that 17 rating.

Having also received a bottle of Pappy 20 for Christmas, it was the first bourbon I looked up. I was disappointed in its rating, but my first sip removed any doubt... I have no idea how it got a 78!!

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TrueBarrel

Yeah, some of Murray's ratings are head scratchers. I don't have the '05 book, but in the '04 version he ranks Jim Beam Rye as 93, VW Rye 13 as 91 and VW Rye 12 as 90. I've never heard anyone but Murray claim that Beam Rye is better than (or anywhere near as good or high quality for that matter as) either VW ryes. Murray rates Saz a 96. IMHO, if Saz is a 96 (which I agree with) both VW Ryes can't be too far behind (some would argue they are equal to or better than Saz), and Beam can't possibly be 93. I'd even rank WT Rye (which Murray gives an 88) ahead of Beam. JMHO.

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clayton

I fully agree about the puzzling rye ratings. I can't stand the Jim Beam Rye, but adore the Sazerac & VW Rye, and even like the WT.

I just got the 2005 edition (delivered about 10 minutes ago). The rye reviews seem unchanged with the exception that Fleischmann's Rye (a Barton product) has been added and receives a 93.

George T Stagg is again "Whiskey of the Year."

Sazerac 18 is "Rye of the Year."

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Gillman

I wonder where he found Fleischmann's rye, I have been searching high and low in many locales and never seen it.

Gary

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jbewley

I wonder where he found Fleischmann's rye, I have been searching high and low in many locales and never seen it.

If you find it, let me know.. I'm really interested to see what it's like. I keep meaning to try some Fleischmann's blended based on your suggestion, but can't find anything but 1L bottles around here, and I'm not sure I'll like it a whole liter worth smile.gif

After enjoying VOB, I suspect that Barton's business strategy is to sell dollar bills for ninety cents. Count me in!

- Jeff

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wrbriggs

The more I read, the more I become convinced that Jim Murray was smoking crack during some or all of his tastings. He rates Canadian Club above Pappy 20. I know that ratings of this sort are very personal, but honestly... I'm speechless.

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clayton

Well, he does make some qualification that cross-category comparison of ratings is not going to be useful. The ratings are supposed to be relative to other products in that category, not to completely different whiskies.

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wrbriggs

Well, he does make some qualification that cross-category comparison of ratings is not going to be useful. The ratings are supposed to be relative to other products in that category, not to completely different whiskies.

Well, ok... he also rates the standard Ezra Brooks bottling 1 point above Pappy (79).

At least in my humble opinion, that's some serious crack smoking.

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clayton

Yeah... there might be some crack involved in that instance.

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