Bourbon hounds love it when they come across a store that has an Elijah Craig Barrel Proof on the shelf, just sitting there. Or a couple Blanton’s, Weller 12, or Kathleen’s Batch of Booker’s available with “no strings”; just up there on the top shelf as if they were waiting there just for you. And then there’s the folks that automatically cruise the top shelves to look for “gold dust” as I call them, or in locked cases in the front of stores. Most all distilleries have “gold dust” in varying rare offerings. Its what people want, we just don’t have enough of them, but that’s really what makes them special is their rarity.
As a result, we don’t have to sample them in our tastings, they’re going to sell on their own. My tastings are designed to tell a story. In my Evolution Of Bourbon Tasting, we taste unaged corn whiskey with Georgia Moon to show the genesis of American Whiskey. Then it evolved in to aged corn whiskey that illustrates how that unaged corn whiskey was put in to barrels. I use Mellow Corn Whiskey, which is the only Bottled in Bond Straight Corn Whiskey in the national market. Then Larceny Bourbon to show how wheat got in to recipes. Then Evan Williams Bottled In Bond to show how the Bottled In Bond Act of 1897 changed the American spirits landscape, and then we finish up with Elijah Craig Small Batch to show how the single barrel and small batch bourbons reinvigorated the industry and helped bring about the current bourbon renaissance.
It’s a cool tasting, and people get to discover brands like Mellow Corn, and Evan Williams Bottled In Bond, all of course Elijah Craig and Larceny. But after the tastings people always tell me that they’ve never seen Mellow Corn, or Evan Williams BIB in their local stores. I reply that ohhh, they are there, but most folks are too busy looking up at the top shelves for Gold Dust. That is not a bad thing, as you should ALWAYS grab Gold Dust when you see it. But they’re stepping on Bricks Of Gold to reach up and grab the Gold Dust. When you put the Gold Dust in your cart, don’t forget to pick up the Brick Of Gold and put it in your cart too.
Which brands are some of these Bricks Of Gold? We have a brand at Heaven Hill called Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch, that is available all over the county, and less then $20 on the shelf, and you’d be amazed how tasty it is. It’s a Brick Of Gold. Fighting Cock is another. Old Grand Dad is one they have over at Beam. Now you still have to know what you are buying, so read your labels, and make sure it’s not a real young whiskey or something like that. Also, ask the folks in the store what their favorite “Brick Of Gold” is.
I challenge people that if they take $100 in to a store, and I take $100, and we both go to the Bourbon/American Whiskey aisle, that my cart will look much different, probably be mostly these Bricks Of Gold, and I’ll have more bottles in my cart. (and you can only put one bottle of any one particular brand).
So next time you’re at the liquor store, make a habit of LOOKING DOWN, and spotting some of these Bricks Of Gold. Enjoy, and Stay Bonded!
Bernie – Whiskey Professor