Thursday, January 29, 2015
The New Bourbon Country Reader Is in the Mail
If I have any credibility left after yesterday's blunder, I would like to announce the publication of a new issue of The Bourbon Country Reader, my idiosyncratic bourbon newsletter.
Regular readers of my work know I can be hard on Diageo, the Big Galoot just keeps asking for it. In this issue we uncharacteristically congratulate the world's largest drinks maker for turning lemons into lemonade. Instead of paying a fine of $10,000 a day, they created the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company. It is on the connection between those two things that this tale hangs.
But wait a minute, I can't help it. If an 'Orphan Barrel' is so-called because its 'parent,' the distillery that distilled it, is now defunct, then how can the outfit that 'adopted' them be a distilling company? Aren't all of the whiskeys they're selling already distilled? How can you give birth to an orphan?
Back to the newsletter.
One question Diageo has never answered about Orphan Barrel is why? Nobody lets whiskey get that old on purpose unless they're servicing a product in that age range, which Diageo is not. This is the sort of thing Diageo doesn't talk about, but the industry assumed they held onto so much of the whiskey made by the companies they acquired so they could use it in their Canadian whiskies such as Crown Royal.
The U.S. is the biggest market for Canadian whisky and Canadian whisky sold in the U.S. can contain up to 9.09% American whiskey, for which the producer receives a tax break from the U.S. government.
For whatever reason, Diageo had way more whiskey than it needed, and found itself with a lot in the 15-25 year age range, though nobody knew how much. They could have sold it when it was younger but didn't. Why not and why now?
The answer, it turns out, is Baudoinia compniacensis, also known as the whiskey fungus. (It's the black stuff in the picture above.) For the rest, you'll have to subscribe.
A subscription to The Bourbon Country Reader is still just $20 per year (six issues) for addresses in the USA, $25 for everyone else. The Bourbon Country Reader is always independent and idiosyncratic and has no distillery affiliation. It is quaintly old-fashioned and published six times a year, or thereabouts.
Click here to subscribe with PayPal or any major credit card, or for more information. Click here for a free sample issue (in PDF format). Click here to open or download the free PDF document, "The Bourbon Country Reader Issue Contents in Chronological Order." (It's like an index.) For the record, the new one is our 94th.
If you prefer to pay by check, make it payable to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, and mail it to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, 3712 N. Broadway, PMB 298, Chicago, IL 60613-4198. Checks drawn on U.S. banks only, please.