How To Host A Blind Bourbon Tasting

I’m a huge fan of blind tasting. I’ve written about blind tasting and hosted quite a few of my own. After every blind tasting, I get two questions. “How can I join the next blind tasting?” And, “how can I host my own blind tasting?” This post aimed at the latter.

Selecting the Tasters

Your first step to planning a blind tasting is to figure out who will be tasting. This drives a lot of other decisions. If you plan an in-person tasting you need to figure out glassware. It’s important that each taster uses the same glasses for all their whiskey. You can have one tasting using Glencairn while another uses neat glasses. Make sure there is no mismatching. The glass affects a tasters perception of the whiskey. You want as much consistency as possible. read more

Fred Minnick Announces Bourbon Plus

I usually preface these posts with some kind of introduction to the guest. But, I’m pretty sure every Bourbonr knows who Fred Minnick is. You’ve probably read one of his books, seen him at Bourbon and Beyond or just know him as that “bourbon ascot guy“. Fred, along with John Thames from Covey Rise, launched a new bourbon magazine called Bourbon Plus. This is a huge step for Fred and the bourbon community. I got a chance to chat with Fred about the new endeavor. read more

Sazerac Statement On The Barton Warehouse Collapse

Below is Sazerac’s press release from the 1792 Distillery warehouse collapse.

Barton 1792 Distillery Warehouse 30 Collapses Completely

No Injuries Reported

BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY (July 4, 2018) – Warehouse 30 at Barton 1792 Distillery has completely collapsed, no injuries are reported and no one was inside. This comes a little over a week after the first half of the same warehouse collapsed unexpectedly. read more

Updated: Booker’s 30th Anniversary Bourbon

6/21/18 Update from Fred Noe (Beam):

Bold is mine

Hope you’re doing well. You’ve heard the news earlier this year that we are releasing a very special bourbon in honor of my dad, Booker Noe, and the 30th anniversary of Booker’s Bourbon later this year. I wanted to share an update with you about this commemorative release. Staying true to Dad’s standards for his namesake whiskey, I’ve decided to change the liquid that we release as Booker’s 30th Anniversary Bourbon. Instead of a standalone 16-year-old bourbon — as I had originally planned and communicated — this limited time offering will now feature a mingling of uncut, unfiltered 9-year-old bourbon and uncut, unfiltered 16-year-old bourbon. Presented on its own, I found the oak notes from the 16-year-old whiskey overpowered the flavors of vanilla that are so characteristic of every Booker’s release. My son Freddie agreed, too. So, I made the call a couple weeks ago to scrap our original plans and change up the liquid. Because, at the end of the day, honoring Dad and keeping his Booker’s just the way he would have liked it is something that I won’t compromise on. We’re aiming for Booker’s 30th Anniversary Bourbon to consist of about 70% 9-year-old bourbon and 30% 16-year-old bourbon to bring out the full vanilla flavor that Dad loved, married with just the right amount of robust oak notes from extra aging. I’ll be able to share more about the precise percentages once the final batch is dumped in a couple of months. Using some of the rare, older Booker’s barrels we have in supply, Booker’s 30th Anniversary will still be very limited in availability, a fraction of the size of a standard Booker’s batch.  We’ll also be housing the bottles in custom wooden boxes made from the wood floors of the rackhouses Dad walked through at our Kentucky plants. Pricing and exact release timing are still being finalized, but we’re doing our best to get it out ahead of the holidays, so folks can enjoy it or give it as a gift. Cheers, Fred Noe Beam Family’s Seventh Generation Master Distiller

Bourbonr Notes:

I’m sure there will be some upset by this news. I’d still really like to find out what 16-year-old Booker’s would taste like. But, I’m OK with Beam making this call. Especially if it was done by the tasting panel and not the accountants. Most bourbons are over-oaked for my taste around the 12-year mark. I’m sure it was tough to find enough good barrels to have a substantial release. It does seem a little odd that it will be 70% 9-year bourbon. Does that mean that the release increased by that much? Did some 16-year-old barrels get tossed? Who knows. I’d still like to see a price tag before I start to evaluate this release. This is still the most anticipated release of 2018 for me.

Posted 4/20/18:

Jim Beam Distillery plans to release a 30th Anniversary Booker’s small batch bourbon. While my interest in Limited Editions has waned recently this has me excited. Booker’s 25th is one of my all-time favorite bourbon’s. Booker’s Rye was really expensive but it lived up to the price in my opinion. I’d love to see this release under the $200 price mark. Time will tell. read more

Review: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond

Heaven Hill recently released their Old Fitgerald Bottled-In-Bond decanter. This is an 11-year-old, 100 proof bourbon. It will retail for $110. If you’re not familiar with Bottled-In-Bond requirements, here’s a crash course. The bourbon has to be, 4-years-old or greater, from the same distillery, in the same distilling season and at 100 proof. Here is more information from the Heaven Hill press release: read more

Bourbonr Beginner’s Guide

Update: Check out the digital download for a hi-res guide for bourbon lovers

If you follow Bourbonr on social media (primarily Twitter or Instagram) you’ll notice quite a few non-bourbon spirits. There are a couple reasons for this. One, it’s nice to change things up. Two, and more importantly, it’s fun to be a newbie again. The further we get into a hobby the harder it is to remember what it was like to be new. I see this a lot in the Facebook groups. New guy asks a question. People mock the question or make trolling comments. New guy never asks a question again. This guide is the questions I wanted to be answered when I got into bourbon. And, more recently the questions I’ve asked about Rum and Armagnac. read more

Bourbon and Borrowed History

Bourbon is rich with history. Whether legendary names like Jim Beam, Elijah Craig and E.H. Taylor, the history of bourbon runs deep. With the history, brand equity and goodwill are built. In the whiskey business history, legacy, tradition, etc. sells really well. Because of that, marketers use history and stories to sell booze. read more

Bourbon and Beyond This Fall

For the second year in a row, Bourbon & Beyond will take place in Lousiville. This year you may recognize some familiar (aside from the famous musicians, chefs, master distillers, etc.). Three members of the Bourbon Community Roundtable will participate in the event. I’m moderating a workshop called “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Master Distiller“. Brian Haara from Sipp’n Corn and Ryan and Kenny from Bourbon Pursuit will be hosting events as well. read more

Bourbonr Pro Membership

Welcome to open enrollment for the Bourbonr Pro membership. Almost three years ago, I launched Bourbonr Pro as a way to provide additional benefits and support the Bourbonr site. The main focus of the Bourbonr Pro memberships is the Bourbonr barrel picks. Don’t worry. If you choose not to become a “pro” member nothing changes for you. All of the advantages of the Bourbonr Pro membership are in addition to what is already provided on Bourbonr. read more