September 29, 2023

The Good Life: The joys of the chase

Steve Palec

Final up to date on April seventeenth, 2023 at 01:32 pm

Within the ’70s and ’80s, the recognition of bourbon was at a low level, with thousands and thousands of barrels sitting round, whereas tequila and vodka turned extra trendy. Beginning within the early 2000s, that modified, and there’s no doubt that bourbon has been steadily gaining followers.

These days, the chase to accumulate heretofore available manufacturers has resulted in shortage, rising costs and loopy numbers on the secondary market. I’ve seen sure uncommon bottles of bourbon being bought for greater than what it could have value to purchase a home within the yr I used to be born. (It isn’t essential to cite the low costs of different on a regular basis gadgets method again then. I admit the analogy works finest in the event you don’t give it some thought an excessive amount of.) A single extremely sought-after bottle can now go for $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 and up.

There are web sites and apps that direct their subscribers to the supply of scarce bourbons after they turn out to be obtainable. And in June 2022, some man who labored for the Virginia alcohol management board was charged with promoting insider info. Additionally, take a look at the Netflix documentary “Heist,” in regards to the well-known Buffalo Hint bourbon theft.

Some well-aged and artistically produced bourbons have all the time been holy-grail finds. Pappy 23. Michters 20. Jefferson Presidential 18. Elijah Craig 23. Baterhouse 20. I’m beginning to sound like Peyton Manning barking out calls on the line of scrimmage.

So, what’s inflicting the excessive costs and absence of availability? Some would say it’s the fault of collectors.

It’s extra difficult than that. Within the three-tiered system of makers, distributors and retailers, there are a couple of components of provide and demand that in the end imply when somebody pays large bucks for a single connoisseur cupcake, you aren’t going to cost it the identical as a field of Twinkies.

You probably have endurance, luck or connections, you possibly can normally discover what you need. However some collector’s gadgets don’t all the time translate to cost.

A bottle of Army Particular bourbon.

Living proof: I don’t have a bottle in my assortment of Army Particular. That’s as a result of it’s bought solely at United States navy alternate shops.

For the reason that Nineteen Forties, when Monumental Distilling in Baltimore began producing it, navy personnel have had entry to this lower than stellar however very reasonably priced bourbon. In 1972, Atlantic Distillers took over, and for some time the Army Particular model got here from Heaven Hill. The PX most not too long ago switched to Sazerac, which makes it at their Bartons 1792 distillery.

As an apart, Bartons throughout World Warfare II produced antiseptic and antifreeze for the navy.

Some troopers would inform you that whereas the label on the neck of Army Particular says “easy and mellow,” the bourbon doesn’t garner nice opinions. Possibly Gomer Pyle’s buddy Duke Slater would have purchased it, however your Sargent Carters and Corporal Boyles have entry to decisions which might be a little bit extra acquainted.

Army Particular is 80 proof, aged between three and 4 years, and in a 1.75 liter plastic container for sometimes slightly below $10. You get what you pay for. I’ve additionally heard it is available in the identical bottles used for Zachariah Harris bourbon, which is available however not precisely a nuanced choice. I’ve tried it. It’s fantastic if it is advisable to reap the benefits of the truth that its plastic container will get by way of a steel detector.

I’ve some fairly cool navy themed bourbons in my assortment, a few of that are wonderful merchandise from distillers or beverage corporations that have been based by veterans. And whereas it has by no means come throughout my civilian path, I wouldn’t thoughts including a hard-to-find bottle of Army Particular to my bourbon wall.

However, if you would like me to inform you what I need—what I actually, actually, need—it could be Arby’s Smoked Bourbon, a collector’s merchandise that bought out on-line in a few minute in October 2022. I’d pay large bucks for that.

Steve Palec is chief advertising officer of Wauwatosa-based industrial actual property growth agency Irgens. ‘The Good Life: Steve Palec on Bourbon’ way of life characteristic seems frequently at