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Everything posted by mickblueeyes

  1. Not sure what you are indictating Sk. (BTW, I am one of the dissenting vodkaphiles if you check at the beginning of this thread) It seems to me that you are saying that in order for a vodka to be sold in the US and labeled vodka, it must be distilled to 190 proof. I do not believe this to be the case. I am almost certain that there are dozens of vodkas distilled a lower proofs than this. I will do some research and get back with you. Regarding your rum example, I think you are right, to a degree. For the same reason I call every spirit whisky (because they are all uisge), I think you can rightly call any unaged spirit that has been highly rectified "vodka".
  2. Pretty sure the Pilgrims were big fans of drinking. Not sure why you have a chip on your shoulder about that. I buy fireworks whenever I want. And the poster above you exercise's his/her right to buy booze in a less restricted area for selection and price. That seems like capitalism at work. What more could you want?
  3. sk, I am a fan of used barrels, check my profile (scotch fanatic) and bourbon is my second love (184 bottles in my private collection). That said, I am interested to see what the Woodford bottle says. I am betting the TTB would not let it pass as just "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey". Almost certainly, like the Jim Beam Masterpieces and the Buffalo Trace, it will say "Bourbon Whiskey aged in Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonay Casks". I am thinking adding the qualifier is the only thing that gets it by TTB label approval. I will let you know when it shows up in the shop! I am glad you follow the logic and you may be right that there could be cases won that would disprove the rule. My guess, having unfortunately had the pleasure of dealing with alcohol-related bureaucrats, is that the would argue once you have "climbed" the hierarchal structure to "bourbon", you must strictly adhere to the rules of what makes "bourbon" without switching back and forth. However, to clear this up, I will shoot Ken Weber at Buffalo Trace a message tomorrow to see what the TTB had to say about the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection. I am sure he will be able to shed some light on the subject.
  4. LOL! I am smoking a cuban cigar and drinking absinthe.
  5. That is sort of what I was trying to hint at. I think the broader your rating system becomes, the more objective it becomes. For instance: good vs. bad. Because of the broadness of the categories, by default, you are going to have much more agreement about what is a good wine or what is a bad wine. Or: Not recommended, recommended, highly recommended, must have, best value. Slightly more specific, but still broad enough that most people, critics included, will agree with you. Once you break into stars and points, I think you become so specific that it is almost totally subjective on the margins.
  6. ← Not sure eje. I just lifted the info from their site.
  7. On the Old Potrero, they use uncharred new barrels for the 18th century, which would prevent them from being able to call it "rye" and it may be younger than 2 years, which would prevent it from being called "straight" The "Straight Rye Whiskey" is over 2 years old and aged in charred oak. The "Hoataling's" is aged in used barrels.
  8. One more quick addendum: One of the reasons for the rules that were enacted in 1964 was to prevent the "finishing" of whiskies by adding flavoring agents of any type and standardize the process. This is extremely important when you are creating a product that is internationally known as "American". Suggest to Cognac makers that they should lift the regulations on how they age Cognac or Champagne or Armagnac or Calvados or Single Malt Scotch or Irish Whiskey or any other distinct appellation and I think you would encounter severe resistance. I don't think any bourbon maker would tell you they support lifting the new charred oak regulation. It would open the floodgates to less than par producers who want to attach a good name to their whiskey and not put in the work.
  9. Let me clarify what I am trying to say. Bourbon is a generic term, to some degree. Just to make sure we are starting from the same place, let's recap: The term Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a set of four distinct legal terms. "Kentucky" means it is from KY. "Straight" is a qualifier stated by Section 5.22 (b) (1) (iii) which means that it has been aged for more than two years in the "prescribed containers" and conforming to the standards in sections 1(i) or 1(ii) under 5.22 (b). "Bourbon" means 51% corn, charred new oak barrels and not more than 125 barreling proof. "Whiskey" means distilled to no greater than 190 proof, stored in oak and not bottled less than 80 proof. These terms are in inverse order from broadest to most specific. We move from a "class" of spirit, to a style, to an age, to a geography. However, this is what I think will clear this up for us. If you look at the way the code is written, it seems that we should replace the broad term "whiskey" with "whiskey distilled from bourbon mash" as a qualifier for our term, since that is what puts the well known constraint of distillation to no greater than 160 proof on "boubon". If we then have "Kentucky" "Straight" "Bourbon" "Whiskey distilled from Bourbon mash" all under the broad subclass "Whiskey", we have the following possible qualifications in total: From KY Aged for 2 years Minimum 51% corn Barreling proof 125 or less new charred oak barrels distillation to no greater than 190 proof distillation to no greater than 160 proof used oak barrels bottled no less than 80 proof Made in the US Clearly, the above list, taken from the 5 terms that affect "KSBW" have two distinct traits that countermand each other. Specifically, the term "Whiskey" means that it cannot be distilled to greater than 190 proof and the term "Whiskey distilled from bourbon mash" means it cannot be distileld to greater than 160 proof. So, it becomes clear that we must defer to the qualifier "Whiskey distilled from bourbon mash", as it contains the superior trait, making, of course, the logical assumption that Bourbon, being an "appellation" makes deference to the more quality trait. The other traits in conflict are "new charred oak barrels" and "used oak barrels". If we use the same assumption and defer to the higher quality process over the lower quality option, then we must choose "new charred oak barrels". So, I think that evaluation of the 5 terms would lead us to conclude that "Whiskey distilled from bourbon mash" in conformation to the appellation "bourbon" would preclude the use of "used barrels" in deference to the higher standard of "new charred oak."
  10. LOL! Yep! One day I overheard an employee at another local shop inform a customer that the darker a scotch was, the peatier it was. . .I almost lost it in the floor! Between customers, barkeeps, restauranteurs and liquor store employees there is enough to laugh at forever.
  11. Don't get me wrong, I am the king of finding sub-$10 wines! I love me some Argentina and Chile!
  12. The 1, 2, and 3, should be indented under the original 2. Anyhow, I am not looking to argue, but I do enjoy these types of discussion; it is how good information is really hashed out. Anyone can post long lists of information, but debate spurs interesting facets, IMO. Just like when we hashed out that "colorless and odorless" only applied to vodka manufactured in the US so long ago. I doubt either of us would have figured that out had we not gone back and forth on it on that monstrous thread.
  13. Slkinsey: I went to check out the code. If you look at how that page is set up you have: (2) Whiskey (1) Bourbon Whiskey (2) "Whiskey distilled from Bourbon mash" (3) Light Whiskey The paragraph you refrenced is not referring to bourbon, but a different subclass of "class 2" whiskey.
  14. Could you please direct me to the link where you picked up that info? It seem that you are saying that the law states Bourbon can be aged in used barrels? The whiskey world needs to hear about this! The adding of any flavoring agents whatsoever precludes a bourbon from being called "Straight Bourbon Whiskey". Examples: When the Motlows applied to the TTB to get approval for Jack Daniel's, it was not allowed to be called "Bourbon" due to the filtering through sugar maple charcoal. Beam Masterpiece was not allowed to be called Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but instead had to be called "Bourbon aged in Port wine casks". Buffalo Trace Collection states "Bourbon Whiskey. . . Aged in Chardonnay, etc"
  15. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but I believe that for the most part, people that drink $100+ bottles of wine to get drunk is a far smaller percentage than those drinking $6.99 mags? Agree or disagree? I have sold wine and spirits for several years. I have never had a customer (not once) come in and say "I am looking for a value wine, you know, something under $5 for a fifth or $8 for a magnum" that wasn't clearly looking for "Quantity". The people that are that cheap drink box wine. Sure there is a contingency of the over 55+ crowd that still drinks Carlo Rossi and Almaden and loves box wine, but, in general, I have never seen someone (and I live in East Tennessee!) looking for that good of a "value" in wine.
  16. Tess, I don't think anyone here is making fun of anyone for being uninformed or even uneducated on the subject of wine or spirits. On the other hand, it is the people that come into our shops/restaurants that act like they know everything that make situations funny. I say dumb things when I try to talk about tech stuff or even try to program my tv th at I am sure the kids at Best Buy think is hilarious or my cable repair man laughs about while he chats with his buddies. That doesn't mean it isn't funny or even that I should mind someone is having a laugh at my expense. Life is just that way. We can't all be experts on everything and we certainly can't take ourselves too seriously. That is definitely one of the things that is very wrong with our society today. It is why kids get killed in the streets over perceived insults or people file petty lawsuits over jokes. People need to get over themselves. We are all on this ride together; if we can't have fun, what is the use?
  17. This subject has bedevliled me for quite some time. I primarily do my tasting in the spirits world, but have been privileged enough to taste through several thousand wines over the past 8 years in the wine and liquor business. Ratings do affect customers, period. I think we can all agree on that. But what kind of rating system works the best? I find it hard to believe that any taster for Wine Spectator could qualitatively say that a wine they rate today at 90 points, they "liked better" than a wine they rated 6 months ago at 89 points. I could understand if they only rated 30 wines a month, but they are rating hundreds. I doubt there is anyone that can assertively claim they remember the nuances of a wine they had 6 months ago (outside of outstanding or terrible wines) when you are tasting 500 a month or more. I guess what I am trying to illustrate is that unless wine tasting is 100% objective and strictly technical then a rating must be interdependent on other scores. A 90 pt score must some distinct value that makes it different than an 89, but becuase of the small increment, it is almost impossible to make this laboratory science. So at some point a value judgement had to be made. When a value judgement is made, it will be based on the taster's palate and previous wines sampled. Bottom line: I think the 100 pt system has serious flaws. The star rating system can lack a certain exactness, as was mentioned, a 90 and 94 would be rated as equivalent. But then again, as long as those fall into the "3 1/2 stars" category, does it really matter? Can we really disect wine to that level of nuance and still unabashedly call ourselves objective? I don't think it is possible. My prefered method of rating, which I feel is best suited to consumers and enthusiasts alike, is simply the word rating. "Recommended", Highly Recommended", "Must have", "Best Value", etc. These have more easily translatable meaning. When accompanied by real tasting notes that attempt to communicate effectively the flavors that we taste instead of "new maserati leather", "ham-hocks from that butcher in soho" and "$600 Cashmere socks, new in the box from Neiman Marcus", are a better service to our customers and show a real intrest in wine or spirits, not in showing off or splitting hairs. JMHO.
  18. I was at a blind tasting with Charles Shaw cab. We threw in several other cheap cabs (Carlo Rossi, woodbridge) and a couple of decent $12 bottles (Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia Crest). The one guy who always claimed to be "in the know" on Cabs picked Carlo Rossi as #1 and Charles Shaw as #2. Everyone else picked the CSM and CC as one and two and rated Charles Shaw dead last behind Carlo Rossi. This was a tasting among 6 wine and spirits professionals all with 7-10+ years of experience and only one inexperienced person (can you guess which one it was?). Charles Shaw, like Franzia, Almaden and many others cheap wines are responsible for the Quantity vs. Quality issues in the US. There are tons of values in wine out there, even under $10, but when you start looking for $2 wine and $6.99 magnums, you should probably just be drinking flavored vodka because regardless of what you tell yourself, you just want to be drunk.
  19. Tabasco has been done by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society before. Undrinkable. So they bottled it as hot sauce and sold the hell out of it! LOL!
  20. Too many to name. #1 Customer: What are the subtle differences between the Franzia White Zin and the Almaden White Zin (5L boxes)? #2 Customer: I am getting a gift. What is your most expensive bottle of White Zin. Me: Beringer, sir. Customer: How much is it? Me. $5.99 #3 (a couple days ago) Customer: I just moved from Texas and the movers destroyed my wine collection. Can you help me put a value on it? Wine Manager: Can I see your list there? [Looks at list] Sir, I don't believe that a 1994 bottle of Beringer White Zinfadel has any value whatsoever. #4 Customer: Where are your good wines? Me: Let's walk into the cellar. Customer after arriving in the cellar: No, no, where's your Yellowtail? #5 Customer: Could I take a look in your cellar. Wine Manager (as customer is about to cross the threshold): Sir, I will have to ask you to leave your Beringer White Zin outside the cellar door. Customer: Laughs. Wine Manger: No. Really. #6 Customer: Do you have any 2003 Beringer White Merlot? I don't like the 2004 as well. Me: Let me check in the cellar. [Walk into cellar, look around] No, ma'am, I am afraid we don't. #7 Customer: I am looking for a Chabernet (shabb-er-ney). Me: I am afraid that varietal doesn't exist, sir. Customer: Yes it does. Me: We do not have that, sir. Customer: I guess I will get vodka then. Customer walks to vodka isle and loses control of himself, urinating all over the floor. #8 Customer: I want to make the best Sangria ever. Me: Let me get a recipe from webtender for you. [Recipe includes brandy, cointreau, etc] Customer: I need enough for 40 people. Me: Ma'am, that will be very expensive Sangria, are you sure? Customer: Yep. Me: Okay. [get the wine, brandy, cointreau, etc] Total at register for 6 bottles: $163. At least she got what she wanted. #9 Customer: I am planning a wedding for 200 people and I want to use really good quality wines. Me: [$$$] How long will the consumption period last? and indoor or outdoor. Customer: Four hours and outdoor. Me: Two drinks per hour per person is 1600 drinks. Will you be serving beer? Customer: No, only wine. Me: [$$$$$$] I would recommend overbuying just a bit. About 30 cases should give you enough and if you have leftover, bring it back. (1800 total drinks/60 glasses per case and roughly 20% overbuy) Customer: I am an oneophile and I only like the best. My budget for the alcohol is $1000. Me: $1000? For 200 people? That is about $.65 per glass. Customer: Do we get a discount? Me: Yes, of course. In your budgeted range, I would recommend the Black Box line of wines. They are very good quality for the price and much higher quality than many magnums in the same price range. Customer: [with disgust] Box wine? I would never. Please show me your Woodbridge. Me: Miss, the black box is actually much better. . . Customer: I am a wine snob and Woodbridge is my favorite. Me: I will have one of my associate's assist you.
  21. Not sure I understand your post regarding letter vs. spirit. It appears to me that they are following both the spirt and the letter of the law. Stainless steel is inert, thus has no influence on aging. Hirsch was stored in that manner to prevent it from further aging, evaporation and oxidation. It had no effect on their labeling it bourbon. I wonder if they had to submit the "change" in storage to the TTB to get it reapproved? I am guessing that allowing it to sit in stainless would be considered "storage" and not "manufacture"? Whereas, aging in any type of wood would be considered part of the manufacture process.
  22. I would disagree that the Feds hate the booze business. We generate more revenue for them per year than any other inudustry outside of pharmaceuticals. Let's face it; alcohol is a controlled substance. Controlled substance isn't a bad word. Medicine and food are controlled substances. The FDA regulates everything from production to sale. It is a measure of protection for the consumer to ensure that substances they take into their bodies are safe. Do the TTB and FDA perhaps go a little far in their protectionism? I would say yes. On the other hand, the chances of you getting hit with a petty lawsuit as a producer are fairly slim since your product has Federal approval. So they protect you as well. I live in a state where liquor stores are closed on Sundays. I work in the business and I don't mind it. In fact, I am happy about it. When you are involved in retail anywhere, you love having a day off and retail gets an automatic day off once a week. Whereas if we were open on Sundays, I guarantee you my 60 hour work week would jump to 70. Mail order? That is state regulated, so I am unsure of the TTB's involvement in that, but as far as I can tell there are only around 11 states that allow shipment from outside the state to inside the state (shipment within the state is a different ballgame). States do this to protect their income, but not necssarily just taxes as many people assert. Sure the state would lose some in-state tax revenue if people could ship wine from cheaper sources outside the state and not have to pay state alcohol taxes on it, but the real loss is the GDP of the state. When liquor stores inside the state start losing revenue to out-of-state sources they may close or post lower numbers, which reduces sales tax and gross revenue for businesses in the state. Since alcohol is left in state control for distribution other states may have an unfair advantage to sell alcohol at a lower price due to less state involvment or lower taxes. So until the Fed wants to step in and control alcohol distribution, then there will always be states resistant to allowing direct shipment out of fear of lost revenue. Additionally, when you can buy your Beringer White Zin and Jim Beam from a state with lower taxes and big franchises for pennies on the dollar of what you would pay in a control state, for instance, local wholesalers begin to lose money on product that would have been sold in their territories. Next thing you know CA retailers and wholesalers are posting record numbers and TN wholesalers are in the dumps losing serious revenue to states that don't have reciprocity agreements not to ship. So unless you are a fan of 4 wholesalers in the country and 1000 liquor stores owned by 3 companies running the entire country, it is my opinion that state control of liquor distirbution should remain as it is. After all, I don't want Glazer or Southern telling me that they won't pick up X small brand because they can't move a pallet of it. I like going to my small local distributor and ordering 5 boxes of niche brands that will make my customers happy. That is JMHO and YMMV.
  23. No, I understand what "new oak barrels" means. The "new" means, as you say, that nothing has previously been aged in the barrels. What I see here in the law is that, in order for the spirit to be called "bourbon" it has to be aged in charred new oak barrels. In actuality, it could literally be poured into charred new oak barrels, aged for one minute, poured back out and still labeled as "bourbon." There is a two year minimum aging time only if the product is going to be labeled "straight whiskey." So, this establishes the fact that a mash bill of >51% corn, distilled to <160 proof and aged in charred new oak barrels at <125 proof for 1 minute or more can be called "bourbon" (provided it is bottled at >80 proof). Understanding that, I don't see anything in the law saying that if you take this bourbon and dump it into a used wine barrel for a period of time it is somehow transformed into "not bourbon." Now, if the law said, "stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers and in no other kind of wood container" that would be different (I assume it's okay for the aged spirit to spend some time in stainless steel tanks before bottling). ← slkinsey: You are correct. I had this discussion with Jimmy Russell a couple years back when he stopped by the shop. If you age bourbon for less than thirty days, it must state on the label "Bourbon aged less than thirty days". Any bourbon aged less than 4 years must carry an age statement on the label. However, the statement "charred new oak containers" disallows any other alterations. This regulation emerged out of "bathtub whiskey" that was being labeled as bourbon prior to the passing of these laws and tainting the name of bourbon. Since bourbon was associated with the American name and due to pressure from distillers, Congress enacted these laws. The statement is worded to exclude any other type of aging outside of "charred new oak containers" by specifying exactly what bourbon can be aged in. Anything outside of new oak (read: anything that has previously held anything) is disallowed. We can play semantics all day, but the law means what I have just stated.
  24. On the Woodford note, Woodford has always been a gimmick. It isn't bad whiskey, but from the beginning it has always pulled the wool over the public's eyes, even if just a smidge. Woodford comes from the Early Times distillery where Old Forrester comes from. Now, I am a fan of Old Forester (especially the "signature" 100 proof and the Birthday Bourbons). Lincoln Henderson started selecting "honey barrels" those with a softer profile than the normally masculine (leather, earth, tobacco) Old Forester that were bottled as Woodford Reserve. Of course, no one was told openly that Woodford Reserve was Old Forrester. Then there are those gorgeous pot stills. If you take a tour of Woodford, you see the three, shiny and beautiful pot stills at the Woodford Distillery, but they never tell you that the whiskey coming off the stills isn't Woodford, yet. This is an instance of a brand that was created before the whiskey was created. The intent was always to shift to a 100% pot stilled whiskey, but by the time it started to get ready, the demand had increased so much that they would have had enough pot stilled whiskey for Liquor Barn in KY and that is about it. When I talked with Lincoln Henderson about it around 4-5 years ago, he informed me that the plan was to start integrating the pot still whiskey slowly into the current release Woodford until eventually the entire Woodford recipe was pot stilled. Shortly after that there was the sneaky little line in a Bourbon Roundtable interview with Malt Advocate when (I believe) Bill Samuels said "No one has a 4 grain recipe", to which LH replied "I wouldn't say that" (Paraphrased). Then the pot stilled 4 grain was released around 2 years ago to a rousing flop among critics. The truth of the matter is that I believe Mark Brown (Buffalo Trace) had a great plan with the distillery. When I spoke with him around 5 years ago he basically said that the train of thought in bourbon country is straight forward, if you want to compete you do plastic half gallons or single high-end products. His idea was to create a portfolio of medium-to-high end value whiskies (AA, Weller, Charter, Eagle Rare 101, Benchmark, VA Gent, etc) and a range of premium bourbons without ever delving into the Heaven Hill or Barton mentality. I think it has served him well. The problem is that BT is so competitive now with award winning whiskies coming out their ears, in large part to their willingness to constantly experiment and create new whiskies that all the other producers realize their market share is getting devestated. Compare the demand for George T. Stagg to Bookers; it is incomparable. BT has done what it takes to build a solid portfolio that will stand the test of time, where other brands have rested on the laurels of support provided to them from their volume/value brands and heavy marketing. The intent with BT Experiemental collection is not to sell a pile of "flavored bourbon", IMO. I think it is to allow us a glimpse into the head of the master distiller. We get to try whiskies that never make it out of the distillery. Distiller's are always tweaking the process and trying new things; they are the creative side of the business of distillation. Most of what they create is rejected. How would you like to take a glimpse at everything Leonardo da Vinci threw away? We are now given that opportunity. And because it is such a minor amount of whiskey, it has to be hand bottled (at the weller bottling hall) and hand labeled. Given the fact that BT is unionized (and I can verifiy lots of "inefficiency" in some of the processes), I can understand why that is pricey. That being said, BT is always leading the forefront and I think that many others will begin to attempt follow. I see what Woodford is doing as just such an attempt. Since the loss of LH to Suntory and the relatively minor consequence the 4 grain played on the market (I sat on a half dozen bottles for a loooooong time vs. I can't keep the Antique collection in stock, ever), I think that Woodford needs reinvigoration. But like the others on this thread, I think that the best thing for them to do is make a new, solid great tasting bourbon (maybe one with a 15 yr age statement?) to pick up sales, not a whiskey that tries way too hard to play on the success of a major wine brand or steal a relatively successful "experiment" from another distiller. JMHO.
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