Thursday, April 24, 2014

Road Trip: Bardstown KY 2014 - Wednesday

Kicking off this years Bardstown trip with an early morning departure of around 7:30 and arrived Bardstown around 6:00 pm.  Couple stops along the way with special mention to Hillbilly Hot Dog in Lesage, WV.  Awesome dogs and awesome staff.

First night was an open table to bring whatever interests you. Some notables this evening were:

Dusty Early Times
Dusty Yellowstore 90 pf
OWA SB 9 yr non chill
WT 17 year
Willett 18 year wheater
Old Saint Nick 17 year
Balcones Rumble Cask Reserve

There were also some world whiskies that showed up on the table that included:

Karuizawa 13 year NOH
Green Spot
Balvenie TUN 1401 B9
Powers Johns Lane

Tomorrow morning it will be an early start as we head out to Buffalo Trace and then on to Jim Beam after lunch.  Beautiful weather is forecast as we spend the next couple of days barrel picking.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Death of the Barrel Programs?

I'm not going to go all gloom and doom here but something is amiss with various distillers and their barrel programs.  Let's start with Buffalo Trace.  While the program is still available, selections are dwindling.  Last year there were limitations on the age of Old Weller Antique and limitations on Elmer T. Lee.  This year BT is limiting the number of OWA barrels available to States.  KBD suspended their barrel program but that was due to a significant backlog.  Last week, Heaven Hill announced an indefinite suspension of their barrel program.

K&L out in California reported last week that Buffalo Trace is now limiting them to 1 case of Old Weller Antique per week and as a result, each customer is limited to 1 bottle.  K&L is no small Mom and Pop operation so that's significant news.  

What gives? I can see in KBD's case, they just need to get caught up but Heaven Hill has one of the largest holdings of aging bourbon in KY so I'm baffled about the suspension.  I'll be in KY starting Wed of this week and we have a tasting scheduled at HH so I guess I'll come out and ask for details.

For enthusiasts such as myself, this is a little disconcerting.  With my trip to KY this week, our group will top 60 barrels of bourbon / rye selected in the last 4 years.  Seeing these barrels starting to become out of reach isn't fatal but it does mean we will have to be creative and establish new relationships with other producers / bottlers.

For the average consumer, this will have little or no impact on them but for us crazy people? We'll have to see what the next year or two brings and I for one hope this isn't a permanent condition.