Friday, December 21, 2012

Highlights of 2012

In writing posts for this blog, I usually avoid the first person. I use it here to emphasize that this is a personal list. These are the highlights for me. Your results may vary.

Abraham Bowman Virginia Limited Edition Whiskey. In the year I published The Best Bourbon You'll Never Taste, and the Van Winkle phenomenon went over the moon, it's nice that a peer to all of them is still so little known and easy to get, at least if you live in or near Virginia. This is the 18-year-old bourbon, 138.6° proof (69.3% ABV) bottling.

Larceny. What Heaven Hill has done with Old Fitzgerald itself has been disappointing but redemption of a sort arrived with Larceny, an Old Fitz line extension that is a major new star in the wheated bourbon firmament. In addition to being very good whiskey, it replaces a false origin story with a true one.

Jim Beam's American Stillhouse. With bourbon tourism booming, bourbon distilleries have been upgrading their visitor experiences, and each new one has outdone the last. As the world's biggest bourbon, Jim Beam should have the biggest and best visitor experience and now it does.

MGPI in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Mysteries can be fun, but the unwillingness of the previous owners of the former Seagram's distillery in Lawrenceburg to answer even the simplest questions grew tedious. The new owner, an established producer of neutral grain spirits expanding into whiskey, has been a breath of bourbon-scented fresh air.

New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon. This is 'rectification' in the finest sense of the word, which means "to set right; correct." New Holland took an undistinguished major distillery bourbon and made it not only drinkable but genuinely special by finishing it in their beer barrels. And they told the truth about it too.

Eric Gregory. I can't say enough good things about how the Kentucky Distillers' Association has developed under Gregory's leadership. And since KDA is a membership organization, funded primarily by Kentucky's major distillers (most of them), it reflects well on them too, and on their willingness to let him be creative and explore new ideas.

Maker's Mark v Diageo. As an attorney, I probably should be disappointed that I was cited in a Federal Appellate Court opinion as a bourbon authority and not as a lawyer, but I was thrilled to have my work mentioned not once but five times. As my sister said, "I sure hope all that stuff you wrote in your book was true now that they're using it to decide court cases." Me too, Jane. Me too.


Anonymous said...

Awesome list, Chuck. Thanks for including Larceny. That makes it easier for me to post the fawning puff piece of a review I've written about Larceny without feeling like a spineless shill.

DrinkSpirits said...

Great list!