domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

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Doug Schulman
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domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#1 Post by Doug Schulman » October 12th, 2019, 5:31 pm

Here's a little context. I love Bourbon and Rye. Like many people here, I was interested in these whiskeys when one could buy Pappy, most of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and several other bottlings that are now quite sought after without going to a whole lot of trouble (right off the shelf for most of them). For the past few years, I've been mostly drinking bottles that are realistically attainable, while occasionally sampling those now $$$$ bottles thanks to a couple of very generous friends. In some cases, with careful and informed selection, I think the quality difference is small. In some cases, I would go so far as to say there is no difference in quality.

Obviously context and personal preference are important here. The reason I'm posting about this now is that I am drinking a glass of A midwinter Nights Dram from High West Distillery. This is far from a prestigious producer, and I don't even know if they distilled what's in here, but it's a damned good Rye Whiskey that is not crazy expensive and is not impossible to find (soon after release, anyway). I've had several releases at this point, and while some may be better than others, they're all really delicious. Great fruit, well integrated alcohol, beautiful spice notes from what seems to be very high quality oak, and a bit of vanilla/caramel rounding things out. I will only ever regret not buying more of this if it becomes one of the next "things". I once tried to sell a bottle to a good customer who buys a lot of serious domestic whiskeys, and he turned me down because he had never heard of it. That's just sad. He'll go home and drink Elijah Craig 18 (I know, not rye) and Thomas Handy (really nice drink, but far from truly great in the context of domestic whiskey, let alone whisky in general, in my opinion), but those wells have run nearly dry, even for him.

I'm mostly back on Scotch at this point, because the value is now better in my opinion. Years ago, value is the reason I was so interested in the domestics.

The market is so silly at this point. One would think, based on secondary market pricing, that there are no good alternatives to the blue chips, but that just isn't true. I'll enjoy this bottle while I have it, then get back to some really nice Scocth and Irish whiskies and love every glass, without caring about my status at some retailer or 4 digit price tags.

I know I'm rambling, but I think this is all worth saying. Every time I see a bottle of something like Pappy 15 sell for 4 digits, I'm a little sad. At least there are a bunch of really nice alternatives that I can still get and afford. And if it all goes to hell with whisk(e)y as a whole, here's to Cognac and Calvados! [cheers.gif] [cheers.gif]
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Brent C l a y t o n
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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#2 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » October 12th, 2019, 5:50 pm

High West Midwinter Nights Dram is ~$100 retail in NYC. I don't recall it being that good. [shrug.gif]

I would rather work with undesirables from TX who can still buy various Weller bottlings off the shelf for under $40 and have them ship.

That said, I have a decent strategic reserve holding so I really don't seek out anything actively any more either...
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Mich@el Ch@ng
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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#3 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » October 12th, 2019, 7:35 pm

Blanton is reasonably available at retail and is as good or close to as good as any of the other BT offerings imo.

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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#4 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » October 12th, 2019, 8:23 pm

Blanton's currently retails in NYC for $100-130 on the reg. Another one I will source if I feel the need.
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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#5 Post by Christine Huang » October 13th, 2019, 9:28 pm

We like the High West special bottlings for the most part and will also be sad if they become “silly”.

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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#6 Post by Scott Butler » October 15th, 2019, 6:17 am

I am a big fan of Midwinter, I hope everyone keeps chasing everything else, and leaves this one for me.
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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#7 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » October 15th, 2019, 7:40 am

I’ve just stockpiled stuff I like and can find at a good piece, like Blanton and Forester 1920 by the case. Still have a good amount of ETL and W12 I got off relatively cheap too.

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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#8 Post by Michae1 P0wers » November 5th, 2019, 1:48 pm

Midwinter is pretty good. I suppose the market is crazy for the specialty bourbons, but more "regular" bottles are still very good value IMO. I've always been a huge fan of 4 Roses single barrel, and it's a ridiculous value, $33 in my market. Things like the 1920 (which I don't love), Blanton's, basically the midrange, are still good value, at least if you can find Blanton's at release pricing. I still find Weller at regular price sometimes and that's good value. But of course I do miss Pappy being available at the suggested release price and the BTAC being having decent availability.

I agree on Cognac and Armagnac being really good value. Those liquors have man, maybe even more, of the qualities that people love about bourbon but remain more widely available. I suppose it's a language/origin thing. That's fine by me.

Scotch is more of a mixed bag. There are some that I still find represent good value, while others have gone up significantly or have changed a lot.

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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#9 Post by James Lyon » November 7th, 2019, 12:54 pm

Midwinter is a ghost in North Carolina and I'm sure several other states, so consider yourself lucky and enjoy it. I like Midwinter and I try to acquire a few bottles every year.
It's my understanding that the early releases of Midwinter were MGP juice, but at some point it changed to High West distillate.

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Re: domestic whiskey hype, contemplation, Midwinter

#10 Post by JKim » November 7th, 2019, 1:34 pm

I love using MWND for making a bomb old fashioned.
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