Wednesday, February 19, 2014
What Are Store Barrel Selections Anyway?
I received this question today via email: "I purchased a bottle of Eagle Rare 10 yesterday and noticed that this particular batch was selected specifically for that store. It made me wonder if there are any significant differences between a standard bottle of Eagle Rare 10 and one especially bottled for the retailer?"
With some brands, and Eagle Rare is one of them, stores are given the opportunity to buy all of the contents of one barrel and they get to choose the barrel. The producer will also make and apply the labels that say as much. Many stores do this a lot and at any given moment will have several of their barrel selections available for different brands.
Bars can do it too.
The barrels they are offered, however, have all been pre-selected for that brand. Not all of the brands that offer this type of program are single barrel but Eagle Rare 10 is, so if that particular barrel had not been the barrel selection for that store, it would have been bottled anyway, single barrel, and gone into the general Eagle Rare 10 population. Since all Eagle Rare 10s are single barrel, the only thing special about a store selection is that it reflects the tastes of the person or person who did the selecting. If you like it better than an Eagle Rare 10 from the general population, you may like other barrel selections from that store.
In cases where this program is offered and the product is not normally single barrel, the store selection is single barrel, but the barrels made available are still pre-selected for that brand. In that case, the barrels that aren't selected go into the general dump batch for that brand. Since a product produced by mixing many barrels together tends to be more homogenized, a store selection is more likely to be noticeably different, though it will still be very close to the standard.
So while store barrel selections will always be a little different from the standard, they aren't necessarily better. That depends on your taste and the taste of the person(s) doing the picking.