Sunday, April 28, 2013

Road Trip: Bardstown KY 2013 - Friday

Back in February I wrote a piece on the soap opera called Old Weller Antique.  This past Friday our group settled in at 10:00 a.m. to taste through 12 samples of OWA.  As I mentioned in previous posts, our group was offered a younger OWA for this tasting which turned out to be 6 year 4 months old.  My feeling was that this was an opportunity to try the BT wheated mashbill at a younger age and and see how it compares to our
previous picks that were older by as much as 18 months.  BT again accommodated our request for samples to be pullled and proofed at 107 so we could sample at bottling, thank you Beau Beckman.

As we began tasting the samples, it was clear, at least to me at the time that we were afforded another set of very nice samples.  I tuned in on three specific samples that really stood head and shoulders above the others.  Other samples exhibited short finishes, thin mouthfeel or dry and tannic entries and those were quickly dismissed on my list.  The top three I identified exhibited great noses, big sweet entries of rich caramel, candied fruit, creamy mouthfeel and long lingering finish.  After all were done tasting we tallied up the votes (again, silent voting so there would be no undue influence) and my top pick, barrel #12 was the #1 pick of the group so it clearly was a favorite. 

My hat is off to Buffalo Trace for again taking the time to host our group and also provide some great bourbon for sampling.

We spent the afternoon grabbing a bite to eat and then visiting the Getz Museum.  If you have been to Bardstown or have plans to visit at some point, I would encourage a visit to the Museum.  It has some great examples of old bourbon, bourbon history and some very nice displays.  I ended up buying their book "Whiskey; An American Pictorial Book".  If you do visit, please make sure you give a small donation as the museum is free.


  1. Were all the samples of the younger variety? I'm still worried about what may happen to OWA but if theyre leaning towards younger and your experience was that positive then thats a good sign.

    1. Steve - All the samples were the same age; 6 year 4 months. On one hand, it's a positive that we found some great barrels in younger whiskey but on the other had, I think there are storm clouds brewing on the horizon. I'm going to blog about an announcement that BT made about some shortages and that some labels will be missing for a period of time. So, aged stock seems to be an issue. I still believe that in the not so distant future, we'll see BT drop some labels and consolidate in order to meet demand. We'll see if my swami hat is working......

    2. I'm hopeful that it doesnt come to distilleries flat out discontinuing brands. For the most part, I think we're seeing a surge of growth in American Whiskey based on 2 factors - changes in taste and heritage. I dont think we will see the market fall. It may stabilize but I dont see it falling. Hopefully distilleries are seeing the same and are increasing production appropriately so that short stocks only last a few short years.

    3. Distilleries are in fact increasing production; some have added new stills or ramped up production using current equipment and taking on extra storage. In fact, when I was in Bardstown in April, Heaven Hill was in the process of adding new rickhouses and BT was building out their experimental rickhouse.

  2. I visited the Getz with Greg and I can second his thoughts. Very much worth visiting.