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Woodford Reserve VIP

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

I saw this on a list of bourbons available at a larger liquor store chain in KY. Has anyone seen/tried this? What makes it VIP? Is this just a vanity label thing like the Maker's Mark?

Cheers,

Bushido

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jbutler

Bushido,

I read about this bourbon somewhere (I'm still trying to remember), but I think it is a vanity bottling. I'll keep looking for the reference, and post it ASAP.

Regards,

Jim Butler

StraightBourbon.com

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Jim,

I got a reply from the original person who told me about this. From what I could glean from his response, I think it is a single-barrel bottling of Woodford Reserve, as opposed to a label thing like the MMVIP.

Cheers,

Bushido

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jvanwinkle

Actually, it is just a personalized bottle of Woodford. It's been out for a few weeks. The up-charge is about $1,00 over normal retail. Each liquor store who sells it has the softwear to create a personalized (little) label that they stick on the bottle for the customer. Very similar to what Maker's offers. I've got a similar package of my 10-year Old Rip VW, but the label is hand-lettered in calligraphy, and applied to the bottle.

Julian

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Where I've seen it (the Party Source in Bellview, KY) it's about $10.00 over the regular price, but it comes in nice little wooden case. Whether the nice little wooden case is worth an additional nine bucks is a personal judgement call, of course, but it does make a pretty impressive-looking gift.

-John Lipman-

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Thanks Julian. As I was curious only for my own consumption, I think I'll pass. I'd rather pay for what's inside the bottle, not the part that's destined for recycling. Here's the reply that I got that piqued my interest that it might be a single barrel: "The label indicated that it came from cask VIP-#, I'm not sure how the VIP casks were selected though...."

Cheers,

Bushido

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jvanwinkle

Bushido,

I'm going to see Bill Creason tonight(head of Woodford Reserve). I'll ask him about the single barrel. I know they only bottle a few barrels at a time. I think the "Cask VIP#" is a little extra marketing only.

John Lipman was right about the price-about $10.00 more per bottle over the regular Woodford.

Julian

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Hard to say what is in that bottle. None of the bourbon being produced at the beautifully renovated Labrot & Graham distillery will be ready until 2002 or so. So for right now, the stuff floating around in that Woodford Reserve bottle comes from somewhere else in the Brown-Forman extensive collection of warehouses. I tried to make out the name of the distillery on the barrel when I was on the tour their a few weeks ago, but not surprisingly, it had very effectively been blacked out. It was Old something...

I enjoy the Woodford Reserve, however, I really can't wait to try the product they are producing at Labrot & Graham. It's triple distilled like a Scotch in those beautiful copper pot stills, and comes off the third still at very near the high limit of proof legally allowed for bourbon. They cut it before barrelling, and because they have relatively small warehouses, they seem to be cycling the bourbon at a much greater rate than other producers out there right now.

Should be an unusual product when it finally comes out, anybody ever had a triple distilled bourbon?

Tim

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Tim wrote: "I enjoy the Woodford Reserve, however, I really can't wait to try the product they are producing at Labrot & Graham. It's triple distilled like a Scotch in those beautiful copper pot stills, and comes off the third still at very near the high limit of proof legally allowed for bourbon."

It is an unfortunate personality defect that I just can't let some things slide. Tim, I think you mean it is triple distilled like Irish Whiskey (excepting Cooley). With very few exceptions, most Scotch is double distilled. Yes, the whiskey currently in the Woodord Reserve bottle is not from L&G. Jim Murray suggests that it is from the Early Times distllery using the Old Forester recipe and matured for at least part of the time at L&G's warehouse.

Cheers,

Bushido

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cowdery

You wrote: "Jim Murray suggests that it is from the Early Times distllery using the Old Forester recipe and matured for at least part of the time at L&G's warehouse."

That is my understanding. It has been intimated that B-F bought some bourbon from another distiller, which I find unlikely. All I can say for sure is that whatever it is, it is damn good.

--Chuck Cowdery

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

I very distictly remember being told this. I want to say that Lincoln Henderson said it but I'm really not sure. It may also have been Chris Morris. I do know it was someone in a position to know. When the Woodford-Reserve label was begun, it was with a small sub-batch of 7-year old Old Forester, which Lincoln hand-selected for the purpose. Now Old Forester should probably be considered a premium brand anyway, and this was the best of the best available from Brown-Foreman. The idea was for it to create and hold an interest in the bourbon-buying public right away, because they needed to show some kind of results and you couldn't expect the promise of things to come in six or eight years to do that. Anyway, the brand was intended to be replaced by the product being distilled at the new facility. Then two things happened that they didn't expect...

(1) (really good news) Their experiments in distilling with the new equipment has been more successful than they thought. Instead of just one acceptable style, they are now looking to produce several different brands at L&G.

(2) (more really good news) Public reaction to Woodford-Reserve has exceeded all expectations. The current plan (at least at the time we learned this which was admittedly a long time ago) is to continue producing Woodford-Reserve as it is, and adding native L&G bourbon under new labels.

-John Lipman-

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Bushido wrote: "Tim wrote: "I enjoy the Woodford Reserve, however, I really can't wait to try the product they are producing at Labrot & Graham. It's triple distilled like a Scotch in those beautiful copper pot stills, and comes off the third still at very near the high limit of proof legally allowed for bourbon."

It is an unfortunate personality defect that I just can't let some things slide.

Yeah, me too I'm afraid. I hope poor Tim knows we mean only to enlighten, not flame, and he doesn't feel like we're dumping on him.

Tim, I sure hope L&G's new bourbon is not coming off "at very near the high limit of proof legally allowed" (I doubt that it is). The purpose of the legal restriction is not to limit alcohol consumption by the drinker, but rather to protect the overall quality of the product. The higher the alcohol content, the thinner the flavor (all of which comes from the non-alcohol part -- alcohol is flavorless). No good distiller ever comes anywhere near the legal limit, and most feel proud about how low they can distill and barrel their product.

-John Lipman-

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Hi,

I don't take the posts as flames, but yeah, I misspoke about the triple distillate being more like an Irish whisky. Anyway, on the tour at L&G their comment was that the high wine comes off the second still at a bit over a hundred proof, but then they go through the third distillation and the result is their triple distillate that is within 2 or 3 points of the legal limit, as I recall this puts it in the 157 to 158 range. I can't remember the exact number, but I just remember being shocked at how high it was. They then cut it with water to about 110 proof before they put it into the barrel.

Now I should mention that my tour was given by the wife of the master distiller, so I'm pretty sure she got the facts right. It makes sense too that a third distillation would result in a much higher proof off the final still. This is why I believe that the resulting product will be a very interesting bourbon.

Tim

p.s. I'm always interested in learning, that's why I'm here.

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cowdery

Very interesting stuff and not beyond the realm of possibility. Not all bourbon distillers go for low proof of distillation. Seagram's, if I remember correctly, is another one that comes off the still pretty high. It has always been my understanding that most come off at 120 to 140, so 150+ definitely qualifies as unusual but, you're right, why else triple it? Also, I'm sure there is still some experimentation going on, considering that those stills are unique in the USA. I really need to get down there and see that place, although I'm very glad I saw it before the restoration too.

--Chuck Cowdery

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Tim said...

> p.s. I'm always interested in learning, that's why I'm here

Me too. Thanks for the opportunity.

> the result is their triple distillate that is within 2 or 3 points of the legal limit, as I recall this puts it in the 157 to 158 range. I can't remember the exact number, but I just remember being shocked at how high it was.

I've since learned the same from other sources. That really is unusual. Judging from things I've learned from Mark Mason (another contributor here, who brings to the party a background in chemical engineering, including distilling) it would seem that the resulting bourbon would be very thin on inherent cogeners and thus, flavor. Therefore, most of the flavor in the finished product would be a result of the barrel. Everyone expects the new bourbon to be ready around 2001 or 2002, but maybe we're being optimistic. Perhaps this whiskey is designed to be a lot older than that. I certainly agree with you that this will be an interesting whiskey (or maybe several interesting whiskey's).

-John Lipman-

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Acording to the Regan's book "The Bourbon Companion" the following distillation proof's are listed:

125: Wild Turkey, Jim Beam

130: Maker's Mark, Stitzel-Weller, George Dickel

133: Medley

134: Ancient Age (Buffalo Trace)

135: Barton

138: Heaven Hill

140: Early Times, Jack Daniel's, Bernheim

143: Four Roses

158: Labrot & Graham

I will be very instructive when we finally get to taste the Labrot & Graham triple distilled product. Perhaps we can get a hint of what grain flavors lie in the 125 to 158 proof range, which presumeably this bourbon will not have (or contain to a lesser concentration). The same reference book stated that the L&G product was being barreled at 110 proof, which is at the lower proof end of the spectrum, so yes John, it looks like they are setting themselves up to extract lots of flavor from the barrel.

With three stills, they would have some flexibility to select fractions (seperate out parts of the distillate, based on boiling point, while keeping both lower and higher boiling materials.) paritcuairly if they were operating the stills in batch mode and willing to sacrifice some alcohol. Chuck, do you know if any distillaries practice fractionation, or any other advanced distillation techniques?

Also, I have read (most recently from Jim Murray) that it is believed contact with copper is benificial to whiskey making. Presumably this is due to copper catalyzing some of the negative congeners to other compounds. With the stills at L&G containing lots of copper, one would think that they would be setup for an interesting lower proof distillate. I have also heard that L&G are still experimenting with their parameters, so we might get to see more than one distillate strength.

Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas

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cowdery

Chuck, do you know if any distillaries practice fractionation, or any other advanced distillation techniques?

It has never been mentioned therefore I doubt it.

--Chuck Cowdery

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cowdery

I recall a few years ago Ova Haney, former master distiller at Four Roses, intimating that he didn't think much of the way Jim Beam made bourbon. He didn't get into details, but I suspect proof of distillation may have been part of his criticism. The Beams pride themselves on being "practical distillers," as opposed to "scientific distillers." Although Ova was a country boy, he had the more scientific training.

--Chuck Cowdery

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Actually the 3rd distillation does not produce a thin whiskey. The key is control of the heads and tails. Also we have always believed in the influence of the barrel and maturation.

Lincoln W. Henderson

Master Distiller

Brown-Forman Corp./Labrot & Graham

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Woodford VIP is about $6 more than regular Woodford. The extra packaging/production costs about $5 more. Its a nice gift for about $33 and still the fine Woodford taste. I spend most of my liquor allowance on VIP as gifts for friends. You can send in the neck hanger for personalized "copper" label that really is attractive.

Lincoln W. Henderson

Master Distiller

BF/L&G

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

From time to time we discuss on this forum just what is needed to bring to bourbon whiskey the respect and consumer acceptance that it so richly deserves. Of course, our viewpoint is as consumers who enjoy the product; the discussion has far more significance when it involves the distillers themselves, and it often does. Your mention of Woodford VIP illustrates this well...

I was thinking of how much sense it would make to give Woodford VIP packages to my friends who are not already bourbon enthusiasts. A fine bourbon in a strikingly beautiful package would make a great gift, and a great introduction to this wonderful beverage spirit. Problem is, among most of my friends who don't already drink bourbon, such a gift would be very similar to giving them a nicely leather-bound collection of Hustler magazines. They might acknowledge the beauty of the package, and they might appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gift; they might even display it in their living room. But they would take pride in never actually opening and drinking it. Until we can address and reduce that attitude in Puritan America, we're not going to see American Whiskey get the sort of respect it deserves. I belive one reason that some distilleries concentrate on foreign sales instead of domestic is that consumers in foreign countries are less ashamed to buy a product that provides pleasure.

The white spirit makers (and of course Brown-Forman sells some of the best of that as well as whiskey) don't seem to have that concern. They market vodka, gin, and rum for folks who want to have fun drinking and they just don't let the Puritans bother them at all. It's just the bourbon folks who seem to be stuck in their images of leather chairs, old money, dead distillers from 1789, "bourbon the way Grandfather used to enjoy it", and so forth. Instead of trying to make an American classic, what would happen if L&G marketed (in addition to the fine, aged bourbons we all expect from y'all) a product that was basically pot-distilled white whiskey for use in fun cocktails? Cocktails sold in chain-restaurants like Red Lobster, Tumbleweeds, and Lone Star. Would a "margarita" made with 90-proof white dog taste worse than one made with Cuervo tequila? Is the problem really that anything that increases bourbon sales would come at the expense of tequila, rum, or vodka sales and all the bourbon distillers are making more money selling those spirits than they are selling bourbon?

P.S. - Please don't take offense at what I'm saying. It's certainly not aimed solely at Brown-Forman, and I'm personally part of your "audience" who appreciates the history and quality of fine bourbon. I think of L&G as exemplifying that; in fact, all of B-F does that. It's just that we tend to bemoan the "niche"-ness of fine American Whiskey and I think the distilleries just don't aim for the right people to make bourbon a truly popular drink. And the one outfit who really DOES do this is not a bourbon. And it's wildly successful. And it's you. Y'know, if Labrot & Graham were marketed like Jack Daniel's, you'd endure the wrath and vicious comments of most bourbon enthusiasts... but you also might just have the best-selling bourbon spirit ever distilled.

=John=

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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Hedmans Brorsa

An eloquent and well-written contribution providing me, as a european with an interesting domestic point of view. It strikes me, though, that there are several more obstacles in the way preventing bourbon from gaining a world-wide acceptance as the glorious spirit it is.

From a european perspective the first that spring to mind is this american obsession with product names which in 9 cases out of 10 overshadows the origin of the whiskey. Most connoisseurs put a large emphasis on the latter - they do not want to see a lot of labels claiming to be distilled at the Elijah Craig, Blanton or Johnny Drum distillery when they suspect that there simply aren´t any distilleries like that in existence. Aficionados from the "Old World" want authenticity, product names are in their world more associated with candy and lemonade.

This malady extends to the Internet as well. I remember a couple of years ago when I found the Blanton´s homepage. At this time this was the only Ancient Age-product I had tasted and I was delighted because I automatically thought that there would be links to a common AA-page where I could find out more about their other products. There was no acknowledgements whatsover, though. (It´s the same case with the Buffalo Trace-homepage).

Another hindrance for Bourbon "world domination" would be the way the rights to these product names are sold off to the highest bidder. In Europe this would be considered cheap. The Old Fitzgerald label should be laid to rest together with the Stitzel-Weller distillery. No one would dream of selling the rights to Port Ellen (a celebrated Islay-distillery which closed in 1983) to some other scotch distiller.

Oh well, maybe this situation is a reflection of some weird american jurisdiction that I´m unaware of. More the pity, then...

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cowdery

Well said and, unfortunately, all true. Equally unfortunate is the lack of a good solution. Someone like Buffalo Trace or Brown-Forman would be ideal to take the lead on this, but "branding" is such a deep-seated marketing concept in the U.S., I think it is sadly more likely that Europe will go more our way rather than vice versa.

--Chuck Cowdery

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Don't be so sad Chuck. Branding is a way of life in capitalist countrys. Consumers discover the brands that they like and buy them over; and over, and over again. Investors buy the stocks of companies that own brand names and earn profits; over, and over, and, over again.

Brown-Forman has hit the jack-pot with Jack Daniels. I for one would love to see them do the very same thing with Woodford Reserve. Who owns the two most pristine showplace distilleries? Brown-Forman of course! With the historicaly significant Labrot & Graham in Kentucky to the magic mystique of Lynchburg Tennensee. Only Harley-Davidson or Smith & Wesson owns a more reveared brand.

Good high quality products made by hard working Americans that care. Couple that with a world recognized brand name and that spells success. I wouldn't have it any other way. That's what America and our brand of capitalism is all about. Don't let anyone tell you any different! We are a good hard working people and anyone that says otherwise sucks a big commie weinnie!

Oh pardon me! There are no such things as big commie wiennies. Only small mean commie weinnies.

Carry on.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

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Hedmans Brorsa

Hello Linn!

I didn´t mean to offend anyone with my letter. My language is Swedish, not english, which may lead to an inadvertent "formality" in tone, that, in turn, possibly could be misinterpreted as something dry and hostile.

Anyway, I can assure you that I am NOT a communist or socialist. My letter was not intended as an attack on the American way of life, nor, for that matter, on any Bourbon brands. I love Elijah Craig, Blanton´s and Johnny Drum and I am also convinced that Parker Beam will do a brilliant job with the new Old Fitz. None of this, though, has anything to do with the aim of my posting.

I interpreted J. Lipmans contribution as a discussion about the marketing potential of Bourbon, not as an opportunity to start an ideological war. I found his article very interesting and I just thought that I should some observations which reflected a European viewpoint. Please note that some of the statements in my letter do not necessarily express my own point of view - it is more to be seen as a summary of the attitudes that I have encountered in Europe.

However, I cannot resist getting into a bit of polemics. You celebrate Jack Daniel´s as a triumph for the american whiskey industry. I´m sorry, but I have to disagree with you there. To me, the success of J.D. is the biggest disaster to hit American whiskey since the prohibition. Is it any wonder that, when talking to one of Swedens leading importers of liquor, he firmly turns down any suggestions of getting into bourbon, on the grounds that, for most people (according to him), american whiskey conjures up visions of longhaired rockstars or Hell´s Angels-members gulpin´ it straight from the bottle. I wonder who the main culprit is?

Please don´t misunderstand me. I enjoy the "rougher" Bourbons/Tennessee but that is an altogether different discussion. Live long and prosper...

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