Edit: Yes, I know Blanton’s and Buffalo Trace are two different mash bills. I’ve seen Eagle Rare picks from mash bill #2 and I’m not convinced the division is as clean-cut as we think. Even if it is, we’re talking about a 3-5% difference is rye. The point of the article is, drink what you like. But, know what you’re drinking.
No, this isn’t a diatribe about overpriced limited edition bourbon’s. This is about branding and how distillers position their labels in the market. It was fun to surprise new Bourbonr’s with the fact that Weller 12 is the same bourbon as Van Winkle 12-year. The Van Winkles select barrels first and have a slightly different flavor profile. But, it’s the same mash bill, same age, and same distillery. People still pay 4-5 times the price for Van Winkle 12-year as they do for Weller 12. This same scenario plays out with a lot of brands.
I don’t know what makes someone pay an extra $20 for Beam bourbon in a different bottle. There’s a quote from the chairman of Diageo Javier Ferrán that says “A key driver of perception of quality is price.” That’s clear! With more money flowing into bourbon marketing make sure you know what’s in the bottle. None of these are bad bourbons. But, this post may have saved you some money to drink good bourbon. These bottle shelf values are disappearing. Every couple of months there’s a new label facelift. That usually means the price will increase by 25%. For now, we can continue to enjoy come of these bourbon “cheat code” bottles. What are some of your favorites?