Be Smarter Buying Private Barrel Picks

Last year, I was in one of my favorite distillery’s rickhouses doing one of my favorite things with some of my favorite people. Picking a private barrel of bourbon is still exciting for me, even after doing it many, many times. On this particular occasion, we tasted through three barrels of bourbon and collectively decided we weren’t going to take any of them. Noticing the visible shock on...

How The Bourbon Crusaders Determined the Best Bourbons on the Shelf

On Monday, November 5 2018, the Bourbon world was abuzz about a little charity event that raised over $340,000 for the American Cancer Society over the weekend. For more about the auction itself, Fred Minnick’s excellent Forbes piece captures it beautifully. What may have been overshadowed by the shocking and magical live auction at “Willett To Be Cured” was the months-long, massive blind...

Bourbonomics

Mark Twain wrote that Tom Sawyer “had discovered a great law of human action, namely that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” That was true nearly 150 years ago, when whiskey was anything but coveted, referred to by popular nicknames like “coffin varnish” and “strychnine.”  Today’s Tom Sawyer would be running the...

Gordy Hue and the Greatest Bourbon Story You’ve Never Heard

If you're a fan of Bourbon, then you’ve likely heard of Pappy Van Winkle.  And if you’ve heard of Pappy Van Winkle then know it’s coveted by everyone from aficionados to the people who cut their hair. I’ve even seen annual releases of Pappy advertised as “The Holy Grail of Bourbons.” However, seasoned Bourbon drinkers or collectors with an interest in history have...

Taste More, Listen Less

In a Louisville hotel room overlooking the Haymarket whiskey bar, my friend Brian had arranged something special. As I entered the room, I instantly spotted three rows of semi-filled glasses, each row dead-ending at an amber bottle marked with the letters ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’. “Oh, hell yes!” I giddily exclaimed. Nothing brings a room of whiskey ‘experts’ back down to earth like...

You Need to Meet… Ed Bley from Cork ‘N Bottle

He’s been called “The Nicest Guy In Whiskey,” and my very first experience with Ed Bley, Spirits and Beer Manager for Kentucky’s Cork ‘N Bottle (CNB), certainly supports that title. Last year, Ed reached out to send a few samples of CNB’s barrel picks for me to try. Not only did I receive several large sample bottles, but he also tossed in a full bottle of his latest Four Roses pick!...

The Big Blind Bourbon Tasting

Last year, we gathered 22 whiskey fans in the tasting room at Omaha’s Spirit World for the Ultimate Blind Rye Tasting and learned that a sub-$30 shelf rye can hold its own against a seldom-seen $100 bottle. For that tasting, we strategically grouped those ryes into specific pairings for purposes of direct comparisons. This year, Andy and I presented Laurie and Alzuri with a new idea: We wanted...

You Need to Meet… Michael Myers at Distillery 291

“Everything happens for a reason.”  It’s hard to draw any other conclusion after hearing Michael Myers’ incredible journey from New York photographer to founder of one of the most decorated craft distillers in the world, Colorado Springs’ Distillery 291. All along the way, the signs guided him toward his calling- not merely as a producer of whiskey, but as a true artist of flavor....

This One Is Different

Beam Suntory has completed its trilogy of controversial 2016 announcements, as it confirmed late last week it would be raising the price of Booker’s from $59.99 to $99.99, and also reducing output from six batches to four. Earlier this year, Beam released 3 batches of Knob Creek 2001, a 14-year version of its 100 proof bourbon at a suggested price of $129.99, as well as a one-time-only (we are...