Saturday, April 6, 2013

Beam Launches $200 Bourbon; Everything Is Not for Everyone

A robust American whiskey industry, which we all want, means there will be products for certain audiences, whether they be people who like cherry-flavored whiskey, or people who can and care to spend $200 or more for a bottle of bourbon.

It's a big tent. Not everything is for everyone.

On Wednesday, Beam announced that it will release on Kentucky Derby Day (Saturday, May 4) a new edition of Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece. It is an extra-aged Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, barrel-finished in Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry casks, and bottled at 50% ABV (100° proof). It will be sold only at the distillery gift shop in Clermont, Kentucky. The price is $200 a bottle.

If $200 sounds like a lot for a bottle of whiskey, even if it does come in a wood box, consider that Heaven Hill has a bottle of 23-year-old Evan Williams it sells only at its gift shop for $300. It comes in a leather bag.

And Kentucky has some catching up to do. Last week The Macallan (that's a single malt scotch) announced their latest expression, a single cask whisky aged in American Oak for 22 years, sold in a package with a bombproof flask for $1,500. Yes, bombproof.

Has whiskey loss due to bombs become a problem?

For a measly $200, Beam won't even tell you how old the whiskey is ('extra-aged' tells you zip) nor how limited the edition is (The Macallan 22 is 550 bottles), although they imply that if you're not there bright and early on May 4, you won't get one.

This is actually the third release in the Distiller's Masterpiece series, but it's been more than 10 years since the first two came out.

If you are a person of more modest means, you might want to hold out for the Jim Beam Signature Craft Series 12-year-old bourbon, finished in the same new American Oak barrel it was born in, which should be coming out soon for about $40 a bottle. And that cherry-flavored stuff costs about $20. Something for everyone.

If you're interested in the new Distiller's Masterpiece, go to the American Stillhouse website for more information. The gift shop opens at 9:00 AM on Saturdays, which gives you plenty of time to buy your bottle and get to Churchill Downs in time for the Kentucky Derby.


Anonymous said...

Oh Yeah Gonna Do That......!

Bob said...

Typo: I assume you mean Macallan.


Chuck Cowdery said...

Wow. That's embarassing. Guess I really am a bourbon guy. Thanks for the catch.

Anonymous said...

You know according to the Distiller's Gift Shop License,
We cannot sell a spirit only in our gift shop,

Chris said...

Chuck, what's the legal status of bourbon finished in another cask such as Pedro Ximenez, whether coopered from Q.alba or rubra? I thought like Maker's 46 such innovation would breach the straight bourbon code of matured new American oak

Chuck Cowdery said...

Treatments, finishes, and flavors are okay as long as they are disclosed, so the product isn't 'bourbon' or 'straight bourbon,' it's 'bourbon finished in sherry casks.'

Lazer said...

"Everything is not for Everyone" translation - if you know anything about bourbon then you realize this is totally overpriced. Yes, it has age, proof, and a stupid finish, but way overpriced. Wait for the much less overpriced $40 version.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Regarding sales only in the gift shop, that's what the press release says: "Only available at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Ky." But the law says they have to make it available, at the same price, to any licensed Kentucky retailer that wants it.

Anonymous said...

Cowdery misses the mark a bit on the Distillers Masterpiece. Age between 8-12, (I asked and they were cryptic but this is the range from the clue. Evan Williams 23 is $400 not $300. It's a cash play to test the market on ultra expensive releases that til now they've missed the boat during the super surge.