The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2013

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Buyer���s Choice PRIVATE SELECTION PROGRAMS MAKE YOUR WHISKEY UNIQUE story and photo by Fred Minnick H ow would you like to keep a whiskey behind your bar that no competitor can carry? It can happen. Many American distillers offer private selection barrels to on-premise and off-premise customers. Because of the three-tier system, buyers must work with their distributor, who will purchase the barrel from the distiller, and the whiskey company bottles the juice and ships the barrel. For anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000���the price of super high-end scotch���you can purchase barrels from just about every major distillery. They tend to charge based on the regular case price, and there���s usually no upcharge for processing or personalized bottles. All yields vary based on the barrel. For example, if the barrel leaked for a few days, it will obviously have less whiskey than a pristine barrel. And here comes the fun part: The distillers don���t just randomly select your barrel; you pick it out. Each distillery has its own process, but you get to sample uncut whiskey straight out of the barrel. Four Roses even lets you choose not to chill-ilter the whiskey. ���This is unique to the industry for selection process,��� says Jim Rutledge, Master Distiller for Four Roses. If you can travel to Kentucky, the distiller will draw bourbon with his whiskey thief and give you a nip. If you can���t make it to the distillery, they���ll send you samples in the mail. Total Wine & More, one of the country���s largest wine and spirits retailers, regularly purchases single barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery and Jack Daniel���s. Total Wine���s Greg Tuttle says these programs are a great way to separate Total Wine from other retailers. ���This shows our expertise,��� Tuttle says. ���Anybody can sell regular whiskey. But if you select special single barrels, the whiskey enthusiasts really enjoy that because they���re always looking for something different.��� Kentucky Liquor Barn���s Brad Williams says his stores��� bottles are denoted as ���hand-picked��� and have labels that indicate the barrel or selection date. ���These items are wildly popular with our customers and don���t typically hang around very long,��� Williams says. So what are you waiting for? There���s proits in them there bourbon barrels! 24 / the tasting panel / march 2013 Brands Available for Single Barrel Private Selections BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY Buffalo Trace Blanton���s Old Charter Hancock���s Reserve Rock Hill Farms Weller Eagle Rare Elmer T. Lee BROWN-FORMAN Woodford Reserve Jack Daniel���s FOUR ROSES DISTILLERY Several options available based on Four Roses��� proprietary yeast strains. HEAVEN HILL DISTILLERY Evan Williams Bernheim Wheat Whiskey Elijah Craig 12 Henry McKenna Bottled in Bond JIM BEAM Knob Creek WILD TURKEY DISTILLERY Wild Turkey

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