Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

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Alan Eden
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Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#1 Post by Alan Eden » March 9th, 2019, 8:24 pm

I have a friend visiting from the UK so i was curious what duty free bottle to get for us to drink. Now normally this would be a nice 15-20 year old single malt, however the choice was not very inspiring. It just seemed like every bottle was now "triple cask" " Viking god" " port wood " " Brazilian wax aged" etc everything has a gimmick attached. Now this didnt really bother me until i then had on Friday a Glenlivet 18 while also drinking a Port wood aged Scotch and the 4R 130th LE. The Glenlivet although a great drink was totally overshadowed by the others. Now im not against the new generation but it does seem that very sneakily the whole landscape has changed, Macallan used to be 10,12,15,18,25,30 very simple now there are dozens of named bottles with rare this, fine oak that etc. Macallan is far from unique in doing this.

So the big question, have things really improved or have we fallen into a marketing world ?
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ERPark
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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#2 Post by ERPark » March 9th, 2019, 8:38 pm

Alan Eden wrote:
March 9th, 2019, 8:24 pm
The Glenlivet although a great drink was totally overshadowed by the others.
Seems like you answered your own question......
GEN3

Paul Fountain
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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#3 Post by Paul Fountain » March 10th, 2019, 12:08 am

I think that at least with Whisky, there has been a move away from labeling with age in recent years. In years gone by, everyone knew what to expect from a whisky of a certain age but that line has become blurred, in part by new entrants to the market who can't afford to wait around for stocks to mature before releasing product but also because of the availability of Whiskeys from around the world. Different barrel sizes, techniques and climates have muddied the water so now that marketing is done on something other than age. Different wood finishes aren't that new, but they have become more popular. I do think that the idea of Glenfiddich's IPA barrel aged whiskey is pure wankery though.

Mich@el Ch@ng
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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#4 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » March 10th, 2019, 4:38 am

Ask mark Kaplan...

Sarah Kirschbaum
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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#5 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » March 10th, 2019, 7:24 am

Alan Eden wrote:
March 9th, 2019, 8:24 pm

So the big question, have things really improved or have we fallen into a marketing world ?
Things have not improved. Quite the opposite. Some of the greatest distilleries of all times have been basically ruined, others have become vulgar monstrosities. Don't get me started on the ridiculousness of some of the packaging. The move to NAS bottlings has brought terrible shortcuts and engineering and marketing along with it in order to fool people into thinking they are still getting something special. "Wood Science" is not a substitute for superb spirit making, cask selection and aging. There are still, of course, some good whiskies being made, but the overall trend is a sad and infuriating one.

Mark K put it very well in another thread that, in most things the "good old days" weren't good, they were just old. Whisky is an exception.

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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#6 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » March 10th, 2019, 7:33 am

I personally think that there’s more better quality whiskies being made today than in yesteryear, but generally not from the big distilleries.

This is generally more true in the US than in Scotland. There’s a lot of small craft distilleries that are focusing on quality throughout the design process and bourbon is much more popular than it’s been in years past. Yes it means it’s harder to get PVW, and one can argue that the current product is worse than stitzel-weller juice, but I’ll the emphasis on quality ingredients has helped quite a bit. Yes the whiskies aren’t being aged as long, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In bourbon/rye I think the emphasis on barrel strength bottling adds quite a bit of flavor. Sole current favorites are Leopold brothers bourbon, forester 1920, Elijah Craig barrel proof, and some others including belle meade and Westland products. I also quite enjoy the Sonoma county whiskies.

Scotland is a whole other story and I agree that many producers have gone down in quality. Bruchillaidh, Springbank, and Kilchoman are still making some nice juice.

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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#7 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » March 10th, 2019, 7:44 am

I should clarify that I am talking about Scotland. I don't have enough experience or knowledge to confidently opine on US whiskey.

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Brian G r a f s t r o m
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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#8 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » March 11th, 2019, 1:48 pm

I second what Sarah said. Whisky is not a product where I want bells and whistles.
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Peter Hirsch
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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#9 Post by Peter Hirsch » March 11th, 2019, 3:33 pm

I like bourbon.
a little over a year ago, a friend invited me along on a trip to BourbonLand to visit a good producer, taste 10-15 different barrels and pick out the one we liked the best. Fantastic experience, took maybe 4 hours to narrow down our favorite. Highlight of course is we bought our barrel, we had it put in bottle with a custom label and worked out deliver through a liquor store. I'm no longer chasing the next greatest bourbon as I have cases and cases of my hand selected 110 proof to get through. And with the custom label, makes a fantastic present. I tried to do it again this year but demand is so high that I was turned down. Repeat client, happy to pay $10k for a barrel and I'm turned down! Oh well, maybe next year...

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Alan Eden
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Re: Changing landscape of Whisky and Bourbon

#10 Post by Alan Eden » March 11th, 2019, 8:44 pm

Peter Hirsch wrote:
March 11th, 2019, 3:33 pm
I like bourbon.
a little over a year ago, a friend invited me along on a trip to BourbonLand to visit a good producer, taste 10-15 different barrels and pick out the one we liked the best. Fantastic experience, took maybe 4 hours to narrow down our favorite. Highlight of course is we bought our barrel, we had it put in bottle with a custom label and worked out deliver through a liquor store. I'm no longer chasing the next greatest bourbon as I have cases and cases of my hand selected 110 proof to get through. And with the custom label, makes a fantastic present. I tried to do it again this year but demand is so high that I was turned down. Repeat client, happy to pay $10k for a barrel and I'm turned down! Oh well, maybe next year...
Peter

What Bourbon did you buy and what did the per bottle cost end up being ? im curious as that sounds like a fun idea
There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't

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