Wednesday, December 13, 2017

There's a bourbon renaissance— and here's the proof

Hoping to get your hands on a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old bourbon? Hope on. The wildly popular ultra-premium bourbon is legendarily difficult to find and when it is spotted — there's even a Pappy Tracker app for that — it's quickly sold out.

And Pappy isn't the only super-sought-after spirit. Other elusive bourbon brands include the 17-year-old iteration of Eagle Rare, William Larue Weller, Stagg Jr. and Angel's Envy Cask Strength, all part of a bourbon renaissance that has seen a new appreciation of American whiskey, as well as the birth of a new class of cult spirits.

"It seems like that quality and variety and hand-crafted story is finally starting to be appreciated," says Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director for the Buffalo Trace Distillery, which sells the Stagg and Weller brands. Buffalo Trace also produces Pappy Van Winkle in association with the Van Winkle family.

Jess Novak, Drink Editor at food and drink website The Daily Meal, credits the rise of cult bourbons to the overall trend of eating and drinking better, along with the nostalgia-driven interest in creating hand-crafted products.

"Bourbon really feels like it hails from our grandfather's or great-grandfather's era. It's something you have to learn how to drink and it's deeply American," she says. "It's the kind of thing you drink when you're making your own footstool. So, there's these small-batch, cult bourbons. They're crafted, they have this focus and warmth that comes through in the taste."

And producers are looking for new ways to impart that hand-crafted flourish. Hard-to-find Jefferson's Ocean, for instance, was aged in barrels at sea. "The bourbon takes on many interesting flavors on its voyage that it could never pick up by maturing the way other premium bourbons do," says Jefferson's founder Trey Zoeller.

Bourbon as a whole has become a big player on the liquor scene in recent years, but part of the special appeal of cult bourbons — on top of their craft quality, of course — is their exclusivity. Cult bourbons aren't made in huge quantities, so some of the pleasure is in the hunt. Not surprisingly, that hunt comes at a cost; these bourbons often run two, three or many times more the price of more common bottles.

Comments
Quinton Flowers’ top 10 plays at USF

Quinton Flowers’ top 10 plays at USF

Understandably, an anticlimactic vibe hovers over the Birmingham Bowl for many USF fans, who were hoping their season would end a bit farther east, at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.But one still can't ignore this game's historical context: It's the last ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida education news: Testing, board pay, school zones and more

Florida education news: Testing, board pay, school zones and more

TESTING: Superintendents asked, and the Florida Department of Education delivered. Sort of. After Hurricane Irma interrupted schooling for a week or more, districts sought a delay in spring 2018 state testing. They got  an extended assessme...
Updated: 3 hours ago

AP Top News at 9:09 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 9:09 a.m. EST
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Muslim leaders attending Istanbul summit on Jerusalem

Muslim leaders attending Istanbul summit on Jerusalem

Heads of state, top officials and leaders of the Muslim world attending Islamic nations' summit on Jerusalem in Turkey
Updated: 12 minutes ago
The Kids Are All Right: Penguins lead goalie youth movement

The Kids Are All Right: Penguins lead goalie youth movement

The Kids are All Right: Penguins thrust 23-year-old Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry to forefront of youth goaltending youth movement
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Under Putin, Russia increases clout in the Middle East

Under Putin, Russia increases clout in the Middle East

Under Putin, Russia increases clout and gains regional footprint in Mideast that even Soviet Union couldn't dream of
Updated: 15 minutes ago
5 things to know about Alabama’s new U.S. senator, Doug Jones

5 things to know about Alabama’s new U.S. senator, Doug Jones

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Doug Jones, a Democrat who once prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen in a deadly church bombing and has now broken the Republican lock grip on Alabama, is the state’s new U.S. senator. Here are some facts about Jones: CLOSE TO HOME Jone...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Indonesia politician's graft trial delayed by stomach woes

Indonesia politician's graft trial delayed by stomach woes

A top Indonesian politician accused of involvement in one of the country's biggest corruption scandals told a court on the first day of his trial he's suffering a stomach complaint, forcing a postponement while his medical condition was checked
Updated: 18 minutes ago
The Latest: Crews gain on California fire but threat remains

The Latest: Crews gain on California fire but threat remains

After announcing increased containment on one of the biggest wildfires in California history, officials say communities remain at risk and the threat could increase as unpredictable winds whip up again
Updated: 20 minutes ago
The Latest: Muslim nations reject Trump, back Palestinians

The Latest: Muslim nations reject Trump, back Palestinians

Muslim nations are rejecting President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and appear set to counter it with a declaration of east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state
Updated: 21 minutes ago