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Author Topic: Small batch bourbons  (Read 27593 times)

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Re: Small batch bourbons
« Reply #300 on September 04, 2015, 10:47:11 AM »

While this is not Bourbon, this is my drink of choice these days.

Need to go to Old Havana with me soon.
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Re: Small batch bourbons
« Reply #301 on October 09, 2015, 08:54:25 AM »

Did any of you get a bottle of the Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old reserve?  I saw on the news where grown men were lined up outside ABC stores like teenagers trying to get concert tickets.

Sad Story Bro:

My girl loaded up my bday present, a bottle of Pappy (not sure the vintage), a bunch of food and assorted sundries in her dad's Yeti cooler to bring to me for a weekend of debauchery.  Her boss, ignorant fudge that he is, is worried that the cooler might leak on his floors so he insists that the cooler be stashed on the office's back patio. 

Some limp-richard motherfudgeer came by and snatched the cooler (likely with no idea the treasures it held) and now I have no Pappy.
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Make my funk a P-funk
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Re: Small batch bourbons
« Reply #302 on October 09, 2015, 09:31:47 AM »

Below is part of a piece from the October/November issue of one of my favorite mags, Garden & Gun.  If you've never checked this magazine out, do so.  You'll be hooked.  This is all they put out of the article on the website, but it's a good look into a bourbon I'd never heard of.   

by Wells Tower -  Tennessee -  October/November 2015

What happens when a dozen-odd whiskey aficionados, led by one maniacally obsessed Southern chef and the reigning bourbon king, gather to test twenty-four years’ worth of a legendary brand? Among other things, a hell of a good time.


“I’m not sure we’ve got enough bourbon,” said the chef Sean Brock on the morning of the epic whiskey tasting. Brock was joking. The quantity of bourbon in the room had turned the daylight brown.

Bourbon was not only the dominant decor in Brock’s downtown Nashville loft; it was, by volume, the primary occupant. Crowding Brock’s living room were geriatric gallons of Old Grand-Dad and Old Fitzgerald, enthroned on their own miniature rocking chairs. Imp-scale bottles peeped out from behind cured hams (another form of furniture here). Against the near wall stood a four-shelf bookcase stacked three deep with bottles that would make a bourbon fancier take out a second mortgage. Shelved there were delicious antiques including but not limited to Old Rip Van Winkle, David Nicholson 1843, and Very Very Old Fitzgerald, which Brock sells at his acclaimed restaurant Husk for $240 per pour.

The business at hand, however, was not Brock’s deep holdings but a lately acquired army of fifths, pints, and handles crowding the kitchen island. With the help of his girlfriend, Adi Noe, Brock—known for his Charleston, South Carolina, restaurants McCrady’s, Minero, and also Husk, whose Nashville branch opened in 2013—was draining the bottles into anonymously numbered flasks for the day’s blind tasting.

The collection represented a twenty-four-year “vertical” of W. L. Weller Special Reserve containing a bottle from every year from 1987 to 2010. Vintage Weller is a substance direly coveted by bourbon fanatics. It is a close sibling of Pappy Van Winkle, a bourbon over which the whiskey world has lately gone insane. Empty bottles of Pappy can sell on eBay for upwards of a hundred dollars. A full bottle, when it can be found, will set you back thousands. The good news is that modern-day Weller is a lot easier to find than Pappy, and it is genetically identical to the celebrated stuff. Weller and Pappy enter the world in the same distillation. As they age, the most extraordinary barrels get set aside for the Van Winkle line. The unchosen ones are sent off to market under the Weller label at a bit north of twenty dollars a bottle, within reach of the common man.

In Chef Brock’s unguarded opinion, vintage Weller is “the best damn whiskey ever made in the whole world. You taste it and you have to have it, no matter the cost. Then you become obsessed with different labels and expressions and years, and then you wake up one day and you have way too much whiskey in your apartment.”

The loosely scientific purpose of today’s gathering was to determine which bottlings and distilleries have produced the tastiest Weller. This advance in whiskey knowledge, Brock explained, had come at considerable inconvenience and strain. “This will only happen once,” he said, topping off a taster’s flask. “It’s a pain in the ass and it’s expensive as hell.”

Assembling the twenty-four Wellers took him the better part of a year and the better part of ten thousand dollars. So where did he find all of these obscure bottlings? I asked Brock. He looked at me as though I’d demanded power of attorney. “It’s a secret,” replied the chef, a solid, low-built man of thirty-seven with plentiful tattoos. “If I tell you where I bought it, then you’ll go buy it all, and then I’ll kick your ass, and then we’re not friends anymore.”


Sampling all twenty-four bottles would be a full day’s work running from noon to night in two shifts with a lunch break in between. Right around twelve o’clock Brock’s team of connoisseurs arrived. There were twelve or so of them, I think (soon into the tasting, they became hard to count). Mostly from out of state, they were a disparate bunch of middle-aged men who had intersected over the Internet at a common node of bourbon obsession. There was Mike, a guy from Pennsylvania who, in addition to ransacking “dusties” from the storerooms of rural liquor stores, worked for a water quality bureau and also collected jeeps. There was a hulking man named Jared, the whiskey curator of the Washington, D.C., bar Jack Rose. Rampant peptic ulcers had forced Jared onto the wagon, but his commitment to bourbon was so intense that he had traveled more than five hundred miles merely to smell the Wellers. There were guys who worked in restaurants and residential construction and a guy who claimed to be the campus chaplain at a university in Florida. Beyond maleness, their only ostensible common thread was a nearly hazardous degree of whiskey expertise. To get into conversation with these fellows was to become a receptacle for information about tax stamps, the history of sour mash, Distilled Spirits Plants codes, and the chemistry of barrel char.

Elevating the gathering from an assembly of serious bourbon hobbyists to a conclave of the royal whiskey society was the arrival of Julian Van Winkle III and his son Preston. Julian III is the president of the Old Rip Van Winkle company. He is the grandson of Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr., the late co-owner of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, which sits at the headwaters of the Weller/Van Winkle bourbon streams. It was Julian III who first bottled the Pappy Van Winkle line of whiskeys and who also made a bourbon extremist out of Sean Brock.

“I wasn’t a bourbon fanatic until I drank Pappy Van Winkle, which wasn’t until 2007,” Brock recalled. At that point, he had been confining his culinary relentlessness to the meticulous sourcing of heritage rice strains, cowpeas, grits, and Ossabaw Island hogs. In 2008, Van Winkle collaborated with Brock on a Pappy Van Winkle dinner at McCrady’s. After that, Brock fell into an obsession whose ferocity outstripped Van Winkle’s own.

“Damn,” said Van Winkle, taking in Brock’s bourbon rack. “And I thought I had it bad.” Then Van Winkle turned toward Brock, and in a coals-to-Newcastle gesture, presented the chef with a bottle of twelve-year-old Weller. “What do you want for it?” Brock asked.

“I don’t know,” said Van Winkle, musing. “Let me drink good whiskey all day, I guess.”

By now, the connoisseurs were getting restless. They were up on their toes. They were ready to drink. A visiting journalist, however, was feeling pangs of concern. While the rudiments of bourbon drinking are not lost on me, twenty-four was more glasses of whiskey than I usually have in one go. Grateful though I was to be along for this once-in-a-lifetime binge, I did wonder how much of the vertical I would manage to blind-taste while remaining vertical with sight left in my eyes. The temptation was strong to batten down, to put leashes on my wallet, phone, and keys, to pin to my lapel the address of my hotel. Still, this was anxious expectancy of a pleasurable kind, like anticipating the onset of a sumptuous typhoon.

But in his wisdom Chef Brock had laid in a hospitable array of sobriety preservers: a fleet of deviled eggs, pimento cheese and crackers, ham biscuits with pickled cauliflower, and a saw-your-own hog leg over by the bourbon shelf, a saber jutting from the meat.

There was no spittoon in sight.
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Re: Small batch bourbons
« Reply #303 on October 09, 2015, 05:37:12 PM »

Holy shoot!  That's TL;DR
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Re: Small batch bourbons
« Reply #304 on October 09, 2015, 06:16:22 PM »

Holy shoot!  That's TL;DR

Yes you did. And you've also already pulled up the W.L. Weller's website. 
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Re: Small batch bourbons
« Reply #305 on October 19, 2015, 02:06:54 PM (Edited October 19, 2015, 02:11:22 PM) »

Spent the weekend roaming the hills of Kentucky touring various distilleries and sampling the wares created from at least 51% corn. We had originally intended on taking in a football matchup in Lexington Thursday evening but with the season in the tanks we diverted funds to a more worthwhile and pleasurable endeavor. We were able to visit Maker's Mark, Willet, Barton's and Jim Beam. Bulleit was on the agenda but they closed for the day just prior to our arrival.

From Left to Right:

1792 Port Finished Bourbon: From Barton's distillery. After aging, the bourbon spent another 2 years in Port Wine barrels. We tried this last night and it was damn fine. You could definitely detect the port flavors very similar to Angel's Envy

Maker's 46: Nothing fancy just a higher end version of Maker's with French Oak wood added during an extra aging process

Maker's 46 Cask Strength: Uncut 46 only available for purchase at the distillery. This batch came in at 109.6 proof. Have yet to try this one

Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon: Never heard of it or tried it. Hopefully it's good

I.W. Harper: This is a 15 year old bourbon once again available in the states as of this year. It was an export only product going to Japan.

Johnny Drum Private Stock: Produced by Willet distillery. Pretty tasty drink, it's a bit fiery due to the high rye content.

Willet Estate Single Barrel: This was aged 13 years and hand selected by the distillery for single barrel bottling. Only 169 bottles from this barrel. May have to save this for a special occasion.

WL Weller Special Reserve: A Buffalo Trace product. This is a very smooth, easy drinker. It is highly wheated making it sweeter versus fiery.

Jefferson's Ocean: This is the fancy stuffed aged at sea as it floats on a cargo ship. Supposedly the rocking back and forth on the ship forces the bourbon in and out of the barrel wood. Haven't opened it yet but it will be on this weekends playlist.

BTW, none of these will ever mingle with DCPs. Maybe a cube or two of ice or a few drops of water but that's it!

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