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Cognac-finished bourbon?


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Hi all,

I was at Sam's WW today and came upon an extremely expensive bottle of bourbon, whose name escpaes me now, something like "Distiller's ________"???? It is a single barrel bourbon which was transferred into cognac casks for some time period to "finish" like some of the trendier single malt whiskies. Booker Noe was one of the industry mavens involved in the project. The price ($190) was enough to turn me away, but I was wondering if anyone had any information on this whiskey or may have actually tried it???

Cheers,

Bushido

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We got a press release on this, and I'm sure John Hansell got a sample; I haven't been to the office since we got the release. Anyway, it's called Distillers' Masterpiece Straight Bourbon Whiskey, it's 18 YO, and is indeed "finished" in cognac casks like the wood finish single malts. The price we got was $240; Sam's strikes again. The cognac blender involved was Alain Royer, the master blender at A. de Fussigny who recently was also involved in a cognac-finished tequila (four different woods on that one), and the Cigare cognac from A.deF. That's all I know.

I'm not nuts about cognac, so I probably won't be rushing to try this. (BTW, I remembered meeting Mike Miller of Delilah's at last years Bourbon Festival, so I called there and got a good interview. Probably call Twisted Spoke tomorrow. Thanks again.)

Lew Bryson

Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

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Lew,

Thanks for the information. Yes, it was Distiller's Masterpiece. I would concur with your "finished" description, as in, the addition of the cognac maturation finished off any remaining pleasure to be derived from this whiskey. Any word on whether this will featured at WhiskyFest?

I noticed that the Twisted Spoke is featured on the Jim Beam web site for it's "tapper" of the stuff. I have to honestly say I never noticed the Jim Beam on tap when I've stumbled in there. I've never been to Delilah's, but I just might have to now.

Cheers,

Bushido

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I'd be VERY surprised if the Beamagnac it was NOT at WhiskyFest, but as a favorite movie character of mine said, "Well, ya never can tell."

I saw the picture of the Beam tap in Murray's latest book: there's a statement.

As to Deliliah's, it's surely on MY list of places to go when I finally get to Chicago again. Mike and I talked for 50 minutes about rye, bourbon, rum, the effect of small batch sales on general bourbon quality, why people don't drink more rye... It was the best whiskey conversation I've had in months. 400 spirits, 50 bourbons, 50+ malts, 125 beers. Go, and tell me about it!

Lew Bryson

Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

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Hmmmm... Now that I think about it...

I like "Noe-gnac" better!

Lew Bryson

Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

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I haven't tried the Jim Beam Distiller's Masturbate, but I can recommend Delilah's. Neat bar. His prices on the priciest bottles are very reasonable, so it's a good place to try a glass of something that's too dear by the bottle.

- chuck

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Well, color me surprised: the Noegnac is NOT going to be at WhiskyFest. Reason given was that the whiskey was "too expensive" to free-pour. Cheap boogers! Hell, I wouldn't want much, just a taste. I'm reasonably certain that's all I'll want anyway, but I'm trying to keep an open mind...

Lew Bryson

Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

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Lew,

I'll make sure that all of my buddies ask the Jim Beam representative "where's the Noegnac" just to bust his chops a little.

Bushido

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I gotta ask what this Beam on "tap" is. Literally?

The description of Delilah's sounds mouth-watering. I have a personal conviction that high-end bourbons could be pushed up in sales volume with the right team of bartenders/owners. I get decidedly miffed, for example, when I'm in a bar that (a) has a lousy selection of bourbon or (B) mis-labels the bourbons they do have.

At a local McMenamin's, for example, they've got some less-expensive bourbons and the ryes listed as "blends", as opposed to "straight" bourbon for the spendy stuff.

And that's the other thing: spendy. I *know* how much a bottle of bourbon costs, and I can calculate pretty quickly how many of those pitiful pours they get from a bottle. There just isn't any excuse for charging $8-9 for a hit of a bourbon that cost, at max. $40/fifth. Not if you want people to buy it, and not if you want to encourage people to experiment and buy more in the future.

Distillers ought to sponsor tastings, that give people an affordable sample of something they may want to buy in the future. And bars ought not to gouge customers, especially if they're interested in repeat sales.

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Great! Might I suggest that "Hey, where's that-there Noegnac?" might be even more annoying?

Lew Bryson

Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

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Well, you've just got a whole lot on your mind, don't you, Jeff?

The Beam tap is literally a tap. There's a picture of it in Murray's latest book, and it's a rather stylish metal single tap, curves up like a shiny cobra, and there's a Jim Beam tap handle on it. Not your everyday bar furnishing.

If people want to sell booze they can do it. I get the occasional e-mail from tavern owners and managers asking for bourbon suggestions, and I always urge them to do specials and talk with the customers about the whiskies.

As for price... Don't wait for it to come down any time soon. Too many dollars out there chasing good times right now. Damned hot economy. Mike did tell me that Delilah's always has $2 beer and whiskey specials to give you a chance to try something new: good idea. He said he sold his first bottle of Van Winkle Rye in a week, and does a bottle a month. For rye, that's scorching.

Lew Bryson

Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

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Bill,

Delilah's is at 2771 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago (773) 472-2771. The man to see is Mike Miller, really loves whiskey.

WhiskyFest is Nov. 3 in NYC, put on by the magazine I write for, Malt Advocate. Over 180 whiskies (Irish, Canadian, Bourbons, ryes, Malts) pouring freely for four hours, plus food and a very few select and special beers. You can call for details at 800/610-MALT, e-mail to maltman999@aol.com, but the tickets sold out earlier this week, and there's a long waiting list already. Sorry.

Lew Bryson

Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

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It was actually the Beam mailer re: "Noegnac" that prompted the passage from my "Welcome" message.

All I could think was "Blasphemy ... I die foist"

BTW I think that in order to be grammatically correct, you'd need to prefix "fixin'" with an "uh" in that last message Bushido. As in "I was uhfixin' to try that-there Noegnac"

Regards,

Jim Butler

Straightbourbon.com Staff

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Jim,

Thanks for your input, I stand corrected. It should be: "Ah wuz uhfixin' tah git me summah that-there 'Noegnac', iffin' it tweren't too much bother." That's it, the official annoy-the-hell-out-of-the-Beam-rep mantra.

Bushido

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Delilah's is interesting because it is not a particularly upscale place. It's kind-of an artsy, black clothes, pierced tongues, green hair kind-of place, but still comfortable for anyone who happens to wander in. It's also in a pretty regular neighborhood, not on the Gold Coast or somewhere else where people typically go to be seen throwing money around. It's a neighborhood bar that happens to have a killer bourbon selection and Mike genuinely knows his stuff and keeps up with what's going on, mostly through his relationships with people like Bill Samuels (Maker's Mark). Bottom line: the prices are reasonable.

Since this discussion started with Jim Beam, here's a little tip. If you want to drink someplace where the person on the next stool is probably a Jim Beam executive, I suggest the Shaw's Crab House on Lake Cook Road in Deerfield, spitting distance from Beam headquarters. The prices there, however, are outrageous.

- chuck

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