Thursday, March 24, 2016

Really Good Stuff

About $350 per bottle

About $250

The Bourbon industry was dominated from the early 1960's through the turn of the century by low cost, low quality, barely drinkable mass produced junk.  Junk still dominates bar sales, with Jim Beam being a standard, Maker's Mark being a premium, Woodford Reserve being a super premium brand in the typical bar.  Beam and Maker's I won't use for cooking.  No wonder people say they don't like Bourbon, if these are the best they have had. Care in the mash bill, fermentation, distillation and especially aging produces super premiums that are smooth, complex and wonderfully drinkable.

Sometime in the 1990's the bourbon industry started to notice that super premium, single malt scotch was selling for supper premium prices in Asia.  A couple of master bourbon distillers dug around in their warehouses for old, very high quality barrels, created single barrel bottlings and offered them to distributors for the Asia market.  The success drove the industry to look at quality as a key to profit and good bourbon was created - likely saving the industry from it's self destructive focus on competing on price only.

Above are two super-premiums from Heaven Hill.  Now HH produces their fare share of cheap stuff, but they also produce super premiums.  Some are single barrels or small batch destined for the premium line from the start, others are selected barrels set aside for longer aging or special finishing.

Just up the road from Willets in Bardstown Kentucky Heaven Hill operates the Bourbon Heritage Center.   The center has a nice display on the history of bourbon making, tours and tasting. They also have retail sales.  Go online and make reservations, the tours and tastings sell out.


  1. Wow, I never heard of Heaven Hill, and I never particularly liked bourbon - - but that's probably because I only consumed the cheap stuff.

  2. Good whiskey ain't cheap that's for sure!
    Hubs just finished up a bottle of Laphroaig 18 year and now he want's a 25 year. ouch!

  3. I have a theory you post these sort of entries to torment me so.