Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Distilleries and Women.

You know those women who know exactly how to drive you crazy; the good way, bad way, or both? That's what Buffalo Trace is like for lovers of American whiskey. You want variety? They produce 25 different American straight whiskey brands, several with multiple expressions. They make a straight rye and three different bourbon recipes. They sell everything from white dog to 18-year-olds. They experiment with different kinds of wood, different grains, whatever they can think of. They do tons of limited editions, annual releases and single-barrel bottlings. They have production facilities in three of Kentucky's four whiskey-making regions, plus Virginia. They defy conventional wisdom. They do this thing where they bite your lower lip just as they ...

So far, unlike some women, Buffalo Trace has shown little down side. You wish they would disclose sales figures. They don't because they don't have to. They're a private company and keeping that stuff private gives them a small edge over the people who can't. It's just the only evidence you have their plan is working is that they're still running it.

Sometimes Buffalo Trace seems like a big playground for whiskey nuts. Other distilleries have tasting rooms, Buffalo Trace has a big, wooden bar. They have the biggest distillery in Kentucky and have built one of the smallest inside it. They have web cams all over the operation. Stampedes start when people see certain bottles hit the line in the single barrel hall.

There are so few whiskey distilleries in the United States, you can't afford to hate any of them, but you don't have to love them all. Buffalo Trace does everything it can to make you love them and you do, you can't help it, you just do. Sometimes it seems too good to be true as you wait, expectently, for each new day.