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Bourbon Pursuit

The Official Podcast of Bourbon! Featuring interviews with the people making the bourbon industry happen. Listen to hear all the stories behind your favorite brands from industry insiders, master distillers, authors, pundits, bloggers, and more. A new podcast every week focused on America’s native spirit, bourbon.
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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 27, 2018
Larry Kass has done it all at Heaven Hill. Public relations, brand management, legal, and even more behind the scenes rolls over his 20 year career. Larry first made an appearance on the podcast back on episode 167. You're going to hear about growing some small family run operation managing a few brands turned into hundreds, how the infamous Rittenhouse Rye 21, 23, and 25 year bottling came into existence, the disappearance of Heaven Hill 6yr BIB, and the original partnership with the Kentucky Distillers Association before it was a real thing. This is a  real piece of history and we wish Larry years of relaxation in his retirement.
Show Partners:
  • Toast 2019 with Barrell Craft Spirits New Year release. Selected and blended barrels from 6 distilleries in 6 states to capture the holiday spirit. Available in stores beginning in November
Show Notes:
  • This week's Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Bourbon Geek Pricing
  • Fred, tell us a little about Larry
  • Let’s start at the beginning. Before coming into Heaven Hill did you have a fascination of spirits?
  • We’re you doing the job of 45 people back then?
  • Did you ever find a knack for brown and aged goods?
  • Who really stood out for you?
  • What was marketing like for whiskey back in 1998?
  • Talk about the Rittenhouse Rye 21, 23, and 25 years
  • What do you think of the secondary market?
  • Do you all use it as market data?
  • Is that why we saw the end to Heaven Hill 6yr Bottled In Bond?
  • Give us a story about a writer that pissed you off over the years
  • Do you think Heaven Hill has done a poor job at PR over the past few years to whiskey geeks?
  • Who are the leakers?
  • Fred has feelings of remorse about Elijah Craig 12
  • Take us through the days of high aged stuff like Martin Mills 24 year that were part of the export market.
  • As a brand manager, how much influence do you have into the final product?
  • You’re part of the original KDA partnership
  • Can you leave bourbon? What’s the retirement plan?
  • What's the proudest thing you accomplished in your career?
Dec 20, 2018
It's one of our favorite episodes of the year. The Roundtable takes a look back at Bourbon in 2018 and our picks for Whiskey of the Year. We then kick off the second half of the show with our predictions for 2019 about expansions, acquisitions, price increases, and lots more...including our favorite 90s and 2000s rap artists.
Show Partners:
  • Coming this fall to the Barrell Craft Spirits line is a marriage of 13-year old vintage rums from Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica
Show Notes:
  • This weeks Above the Char with Fred Minnick has him answering random questions off twitter.
  • 2018 Year in Review
  • What was your whiskey of the year
  • What is your greatest accomplishment of 2018?
  • Vintage Spirits Law came into effect in KY
  • We picked our first barrel together
  • Longbranch made it's Wild Turkey debut
  • Brian won a case with Castle & Key against Sazerac over the Old Taylor distillery name
  • 2019 Predictions
  • Banned Crotchshots in Bourbonr and now he's looking for the next great suggestion to improve the group for 2019
  • Lots of year end expansions being announced in 2018. Do we expect more in 2019?
  • Will prices continue to grow? Four Roses Private Barrel program increase starts Jan 1.
  • Henry McKenna won SF Spirits comp in 2018. Will the Henry McKenna fad pass in 2019?
  • Denny Potter left Heaven Hill for Maker's Mark in 2018. Will Heaven Hill find a new Master Distiller? Is there an issue if they don't find one in a timely fashion?
  • Then we finish talking about 90s and 2000s rap icons
Dec 13, 2018
What do the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, Sox, and Bourbon have in common? That's life for Carmen DeFalco, ESPN Chicago Radio host of Carmen and Jurko. Carmen and Kenny were introduced over twitter and through Carmen's tweet storm of local sports, he has a following of people that want to know more about bourbon. Carmen joins the show to talk about his Chicago hunting tales and when he breaks open big bottles for Stanley Cup victories.
Show Partners:
  • Toast 2019 with Barrell Bourbon New Year release. Selected and blended barrels from 6 distilleries in 6 states to capture the holiday spirit. Available in stores beginning in November
  • The Duo glass is the most versatile whiskey and cocktail glass around. Use code ‘pursuit’ to get 15% off your order and free shipping at agedandore.com
Show Notes:
  • We had some trouble getting started and we now see our kids can navigate technology better
  • Talk about your radio show, Carmen and Jurko on ESPN Radio Chicago. http://www.espn.com/espnradio/podcast/archive/_/id/3095452
  • What's your bourbon story?
  • Your Dad was in the wholesale business. Did that have a big influence?
  • Were your friends at 21 making fun of you for being a whiskey drinker?
  • Has it flipped where people now go to your house and rummage through your whiskey collection?
  • Are you more of a Binny's person or do you have your hole in the walls?
  • How long have you been going through the cycle of traveling and hunting?
  • Maker's Mark is like a gateway into this world. What was next for you?
  • Can you remember any of those resources you used when you started learning more about bourbon?
  • How much do you talk about bourbon on the air?
  • What's really becoming more hard to find?
  • Do you ever drink on air?
  • Do you have a particular whiskey to align with what sport your watching?
  • Now that you have had some older vintages you could use those as trading for better values
  • Do you get chastised for not being a cubs fan?
  • Bourbon and Bacon Fundraiser Event - https://chicagobourbonandbacon.eventscff.org/
  • Follow Carmen on Twitter - https://twitter.com/carmendefalco
Dec 6, 2018

Jim Rutledge is a household name in bourbon because his wealth of knowledge is unsurpassed and famed history of reviving Four Roses. We talk about those days and ask him why he really left something so great. But, there's a new chapter to write! This week his TTB label for a revival of an old brand, Cream of Kentucky, was approved. We talk about this bourbon, where it's headed, as well as the entire industry on this new exclusive episode.

Show Partners:
  • Coming this fall to the Barrell Craft Spirits line is a 25-year old American whiskey, finished in Sercial Medeira casks
Show Notes:
  • This weeks Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about the importance of social media and online forums by whiskey geeks.
  • Episode 011 and 012 with Jim Rutledge
  • Rewind us back to your retirement because it seemed like you didn't want to stay retired for long
  • What's your involvement at Castle and key?
  • Whatever happened to that rye?
  • Did you see a different passion at Castle & Key while it was building vs Four Roses that was a well-oiled engine?
  • What sort of corners were being cut at Seagrams at the time when you were trying to turn it around?
  • Talk about rebuilding the brand of Four Roses through acquisition, fighting, and more.
  • Be straight. Why did you leave Four Roses?
  • Did you stand up a lot to upper management?
  • It sounded like Four Roses was family. So why leave?
  • Is it hard to work at a distillery where you're only filling 3 barrels a day?
  • Did you hire Brent Elliott?
  • What was your relationship with Brent while at Four Roses?
  • How does one go about becoming your #2?
  • Talk about funding and how to raise money to build a distillery?
  • Talk about Cream of Kentucky and the history of the label
  • Where is the growth going to be for this particular label?
  • Where do you see the American whiskey category trending over the next 5 years?

 

Nov 29, 2018

The Whiskey Row series of Old Forester represent pivotal dates in history for the brand. Deciding how to make them coincide with flavor profiles takes a Master Taster. Jackie Zykan returns to the show as we discuss sensory training and how to sniff out binders at our local stores before diving into the Whiskey Row series and trying 1910 Old Fine Whiskey. We wrap up the show talking about President's Choice and if dusties inspire or not.

Show Partners:
  • If you love Eagle Rare Bourbon, go support the causes they stand for at Eagle Rare Life to vote for the 2019 nominees that most inspire you. Voting ends December 5
  • Barrell Craft Spirits blends cask strength, high quality spirits to explore the effects of different distillation methods, barrels and aging environments.
  • The Duo glass is the most versatile whiskey and cocktail glass around. Use code ‘pursuit’ to get 15% off your order and free shipping at agedandore.com

Show Notes:

  • Do you have a new title now?
  • Talk about the sensory training
  • What’s different about going through this process versus just drinking bourbon everyday?
  • What tips can you give to someone about learning to nose?
  • How do you know when a barrel ready to be pulled?
  • How much time are you spending at the distillery vs bottling vs anywhere else for tasting?
  • Talk about why you dilute so low for tasting?
  • So you have this really cool story about Old Forester 86 and 100 history
  • Talk about the Whiskey Row series
  • The dates all mean something
  • What was the idea to make permanent line extensions instead of doing the money grab on limited releases?
  • So in a time when people say there is a bourbon shortage, what's your response to that?
  • Talk about 1910 and what happened that year
  • Do you pay attention to the Facebook and bourbon forums out there?
  • Why not have a 2014 series to commemorate the new distillery?
  • Talk about President's Choice and your integral part in it
  • What’s your ideal bourbon profile?
  • What’s the oldest Brown-Forman product you’ve tried?
Nov 22, 2018
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Share those bottles and create some memories with your loved ones. There's a few interesting topics in the news this week. We touch on distillery expansions of Heaven Hill and Kentucky Owl while diving into the second part of this segment on the hottest topic of all, single barrel stickers.
Show Partners:
  • If you love Eagle Rare Bourbon, go support the causes they stand for at Eagle Rare Life to vote for the 2019 nominees that most inspire you. Voting ends December 5
  • Barrell Craft Spirits is more than just bourbon. They blend rye, whiskey, rum and we have our signature infinite barrel project.
  • The Duo glass is the most versatile whiskey and cocktail glass around. Use code ‘pursuit’ to get 15% off your order and free shipping at agedandore.com
Show Notes:
Nov 15, 2018
Just the thing you needed to kick start your Thanksgiving season. We've had Jimmy and Eddie on the show and we've got upcoming episodes featuring Bruce and Joann, but I don't think anyone has ever had all 4 of these people sit down at one time and talk. We go into bourbon itself, the family, the roles they are playing within the business, the new Kentucky Spirit glass design, and lots more. It's a family affair with some exchanges of compliments from each around the table.
Show Partners:
  • If you love Eagle Rare Bourbon, go support the causes they stand for at Eagle Rare Life to vote for the 2019 nominees that most inspire you. Voting ends December 5
  • Coming this fall to Barrell Bourbon is a 15-year old, very complex bourbon, that was blended at peak
  • The Duo glass is the most versatile whiskey and cocktail glass around. Use code ‘pursuit’ to get 15% off your order and free shipping at agedandore.com
Show Notes:
  • Our first barrel pick for 2019 is going to be Buffalo Trace. View all of our barrel picks at https://www.patreon.com/bourbonpursuit
  • Fred published his article in Forbes for the 2018 best American Whiskey every day sipper.
  • Fred does Instagram Live for Best of 2018
  • Fred talks about his holiday gift guide on Forbes and why it was really hard to coming up new pairings in this week's Above the Char - https://www.forbes.com/sites/fredminnick/2018/11/13/holiday-gift-guide-2018-the-most-money-minded-bourbons/
  • Bruce, they are really pressuring you to move back soon
  • Bruce, remember that panel we were on together?
  • Are you excited to have Bruce back Eddie?
  • Jimmy, how old were you when you started at the distillery?
  • What has changed from the operations standpoint from when you first started?
  • Have you all done recently to certify your warehouses or check them out after the Barton incident?
  • Jimmy when you were coming up the ranks, federal government would check everything. Not so much anymore
  • Do you think the distilling industry misses the oversight of the government?
  • What does "Master Distiller" mean to you, Eddie?
  • What about the flip side that a "Master Distiller" is just a marketer now?
  • You did have to change the entry proof at one time. Was that corporate pressure?
  • Why does some proof go down vs go up in some warehouses?
  • When people come in for a visit, do they want that level of detail?
  • Do you read your Yelp reviews?
  • Is the bartending community the gate to your future?
  • What's the worst part about signing bottles?
  • Where do you see barrel finishes in the Wild Turkey line since the last Master's Keep was finished?
  • It seems like a lot of flavored whiskeys have died down over time
  • Why are we still not experimenting with different mashes?
  • Bruce, you're trying to revive the rye. talk about that.
  • Are you a scotch person?
  • Jimmy, what have you learned by the younger generations?
  • From RareBird101, what's your honest opinion on the new Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit bottle?
  • So why isn't the top level listening to you?
  • Choose an individual and take one word that embodies the person
  • View all Wild Turkey Podcasts
Nov 8, 2018
I don't know a bourbon enthusiast that doesn't love Four Roses. But this one goes into the depths of expert level opinions behind mash bills, hype behind certain runs, single barrels, mutated yeast, and more. Brett Atlas and Travis Hill join the show to talk about their experiences with Four Roses, their 10 recipes, and how they blend and create their own Limited Edition Small Batches.
Show Partners:
  • If you love Eagle Rare Bourbon, go support the causes they stand for at Eagle Rare Life to vote for the 2019 nominees that most inspire you. Voting ends December 5
  • Barrell Bourbon Batch 016 was project that took over a year. 9 to 15 year old barrels were selected with similar profiles from different distilleries. It’s deeply concentrated, but not too oaky and finishes with a toasted orange note.
  • The Duo glass is the most versatile whiskey and cocktail glass around. Use code ‘pursuit’ to get 15% off your order and free shipping at agedandore.com
Show Notes:
  • Farewall to Dave Pickerell. Enjoy our podcast with him http://bourbonpursuit.com/2018/03/29/man-behind-100-distilleries-dave-pickerell/
  • The Lounge with Will Chambers - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-lounge-with-will-chambers/id1440284845
  • This week's Above The Char with Fred Minnick reflects on the past of Dave Pickerell.
  • Was it cask strength that got you hooked into Four Roses or was it a standard offering?
  • Give a break down of how to decipher the recipe for something like OBSQ vs OESF
  • Do you think the tasting notes on the back of the hang tag is inaccurate?
  • How often have you tried all recipes side by side?
  • Do you have a favorite 4R recipe and why?
  • Have you ever had a bad barrel?
  • Does the hype factor just play into a particular recipe?
  • How come everyone thinks OESK is the best?
  • What do you see as the typical recipe selections at a private barrel pick?
  • Have you ever walked out and never picked a barrel?
  • What do you think is a misconception of larger stores and their selections?
  • Do you think picks done by Brent Elliott are better or worse than ones done by a store?
  • Some words for Brent
  • How do you go about trying all 10 recipes?
  • Talk about trying to create your own Limited Edition Small Batches
  • Why do you think Four Roses doesn't put out barrel proof Small Batch?
  • The ages of barrel picks have been exponentially decreasing. Can they still keep this pace?
  • Would you lose your mind over a Four Roses pick?
  • Do you think the tags on the bottle showing the rack and details of the barrel are for the distillery to trace back anything for quality purposes or is it for the bourbon geeks?
  • Are higher aged Four Roses that are 17 or 23 years old any good?
  • Can you talk about the mutated yeast that contributed to the 125th anniversary bottle in 2013?
  • Has the ME warehouse fad passed?
Nov 1, 2018
Oct 25, 2018
I guess this is our silver anniversary! We are joined by Josh Reidford who is the producer for the new AMC movie, BULLITT COUNTY, that opens in theaters this Friday the 26th. We discuss the fears of what would happen if a bourbon enthusiast won the 1.6 Billion Mega Millions lottery then wrap up the show talking if we would ever see a buyout of another large brand.
Show Partners
  • The Duo glass is the most versatile whiskey and cocktail glass around. Use code ‘pursuit’ to get 15% off your order and free shipping at agedandore.com
Show Notes
  • Pursuit Series launch by Pursuit Spirits
  • This week's Above the Char with Fred Minnick examines the "dad tax" and encouraging more bourbon and food pairing to raise the bar
  • Did anyone else realize is Sober October or Mocktober or whatever
  • Bullitt County Producer Josh Riedford joins as a special guest
  • BULLITT COUNTY tells the story of four friends who reunite for a bachelor party in the Fall of 1977 to hunt for buried Prohibition money on the Bluegrass Bourbon Trail only to become ripped apart by greed, corruption, and murder. Winner of SIX BEST PICTURE AWARDS from film festivals nationwide
  • Do you see more bourbon coming into your world of movie production.
  • Lottery at 1.6 billion. If you had enough money for bourbon, what would you do?
  • What distillery has the most American whiskey interest?
  • Fred gave his lowest score of all time in Forbes
Oct 18, 2018
When you see a 45 year old bourbon priced at $1800 retail, do you ask yourself, "Who are they kidding!?". That's exactly what Kenny thought before sitting down with our guest today. James "Buddy" Thompson brings more to this story than a bottle of bourbon. He was the Forman chairman of Glenmore Distillery and donated over $300,000 from the profits of James Thompson & Brother Final Reserve to charities that support Veterans. This episode will capture not only the history of Glenmore Distillery, but also make you intrigued to know what something that has aged 45 years in an oak barrel tastes like and the journey those barrels took until they were actually bottled.
Show Partners
Show Notes:
  • The “Private Labels” Ruling Whiskey’s Black Market from PunchDrink.com
  • Join our Private Barrel Club at https://www.patreon.com/bourbonpursuit
  • This week’s Above The Char with Fred Minnick is a short list for 2018 American Whiskey of the Year and a Call to Action for listeners to tell him what to drink!
  • Scott Scinta, how did you get into it?
  • What was your initial reaction to the product or story?
  • Buddy, tell us about your path into the spirits industry
  • What happened between Brown and Thompson?
  • Talk about your time at Glenmore Distillery
  • Can you talk about Kentucky Tavern history and during those times at Glenmore?
  • Were you overseeing operations? What was your role comprised of?
  • Why not a 50 year?
  • Are you a veteran yourself?
  • Talk about your military past?
  • How often were you going back and testing these barrels?
  • Are they sad about losing their best tenant ever for resting these barrels?
  • Talk about the extravagant packaging?
  • Why a snifter rather than a glencairn?
  • So this really wasn’t a big profit game?
  • What's the release cycle of these look like?
  • Why not make one big batch?
  • How did Bill Thomas of Jack Rose become involved?
  • Let’s start sampling
  • This nose is incredible!
  • It says "double oaked". So it's been barreled twice
  • What was the entry proof 40+ years ago?
  • What were some of your go to whiskies back then?
  • Were you trying to find a target consumer?
Oct 11, 2018

Lets face it. We go over to a buddy's house so we can try bourbon we don't have or because their collection is better than ours. How did they get their hands on it? Why are they so cool about sharing it? Michael St. Pierre and Aaron Stine are familiar names in the Facebook bourbon community. You've probably seen them buying, selling, or trading bottles but what's their end game? Learn how these seasoned vets have transformed their bourbon bunkers into what many would call, a bourbon candy land.

This show was made possible by listeners like you supported through Patreon

Show Notes:

  • Get your copy of Bourbon Justice
  • Subscribe to Bourbon+ for only $30 a year
  • This week's Above The Char with Fred Minnick tries to define "What's a bourbon asshole?"
  • Michael and Aaron, talk about how you got introduced to bourbon
  • When did the itch hit you to start getting high end bourbons?
  • Talk about your collection so we can baseline
  • Talk about how you amass to the point where you have these crazy bottles in your collections
  • Do you see Van Winkle bottles as being the ace in your pocket?
  • You don't think the new Van Winkles are worth their weight now, so do you look at it as trade bait?
  • Is there a shelf bourbon you even go to anymore?
  • Do you waste your time getting Elijah Craig Barrel Proof or Elmer T Lee for for trading up?
  • Have any of those open bottles turned into sample swaps?
  • Given the expense of the rarities, what is your price limit for a bottle?
  • What's your white whale?
  • Do you have one more piece of advice for transforming your bunker?

 

Oct 4, 2018

Empire Rye was founded by a group of distillers out of New York to create something so unique that it requires grains and a footprint in the Empire State. We're joined by Brian McKenzie of Finger Lakes Distilling, Christopher Williams of Coppersea Distilling, and Allen Katz of New York Distilling Co to discuss the culture of rye in New York and the regulations set forth by the Empire Rye act.

This show was made possible by listeners like you supported through Patreon

Show Notes:

  • Shout out to Brad Bonds of Cork N Bottle for hosting us after our New Riff barrel selection
  • Patreon Barrel Picks -> http://bourbo.nz/BarrelPicks
  • This week's Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Trump, Trade, and NAFTA
  • Chris thanks for coming on today because you about lost your voice this weekend too
  • The oak is new and interesting. Are you sourcing from Independent Stave or somewhere local?
  • Are you looking at different stave widths to adjust for micro-climates?
  • Why culture of rye of NY? Can you talk about the history of it?
  • Who came up with the idea of Empire Rye? And what is the sole idea behind it?
  • During the drafting process, what are those elements that make something an "Empire Rye"?
  • What are the stipulations about grains or can someone in a different state distill an Empire Rye?
  • A rye whiskey is able to develop more flavor and mature faster than a bourbon at a 2 year state. Agree?
  • What about the grains of NY make it interesting or fit that definition?
  • What other grains are you experimenting with that other 25% that's allowable in the mash bill?
  • Were you trying to find commonalities between bottled-in-bond act as well?
  • Is there anyone actually enforcing the standard?
  • When it comes down to the bottling proof, is there an expected standard or is it up to you all?
  • Is there going to be a collaboration or plan on selling barrels with the standard of "Blended Empire Rye Whiskey"?
  • What's the next phase to bring more NY distilleries on board?
  • What's your distribution plan right now?
  • Purchase Finger Lakes Empire Rye at Seelbach's - https://seelbachs.com/search?q=McKenzie
Sep 27, 2018
A first ever, in-person recording of the Roundtable crew! We got rained out from Bourbon and Beyond but we're not going to let that stop us from sharing some funny stories and cracking open a 1933 Old Taylor. We also take the time to talk about the Master Distiller shuffle happening at Heaven Hill, Maker's Mark, and Jim Beam.
Sponsors:
  • Sterling Cut Glass is the Official Glassware of Bourbon Pursuit. They are offering FREE etched samples to whiskey societies nationwide! Simply email spirits@sterlingcutglass.com, include your logo, and mention Bourbon Pursuit.
Show Notes:
  • This week’s Above the Char has Fred Minnick discussing his Super Bowl
  • We have a funny story to tell from the Speed Art Museum's rare bourbon auction
  • Bourbon and Beyond talk
  • Brian and Blake ask us the hardest question they were going to ask from their cancelled sessions
  • We start talking about the actual roles of Master Distillers and the transition we've seen from Four Roses with Jim Rutledge
  • Denny Potter from Heaven Hill is transitioning to Director of Operations to Master Distiller at Maker's Mark. Was this the right move?
  • Brian from Sipp'n Corn brought a 1933 Old Taylor for the roundtable to open and try. wow.
  • Thanks to Blake from Bourbonr.com, Nick and Jordan from Breaking Bourbon, and Brian from Sipp’n Corn for joining this week.
Sep 20, 2018
BP EXCLUSIVE! Get the inside experience of the 2018 Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. Hear from icons in the whiskey industry as they stroll down the red carpet and listen to the heart warming speeches delivered by inductees from Freddie Johnson of Buffalo Trace, Matt Shattock, CEO of Beam Suntory, and Max Shapira, CEO of Heaven Hill. The first time ever this event is being made available to the public.
  • This week's Above the Char has Fred Minnick discussing friendships and choosing that right bottle to celebrate
  • The show starts off interviewing Fred Noe, Freddie Noe, and Matt Shattock of Jim Beam on the red carpet
  • Transitions to the ceremony where Eric Gregory, President of the KDA, introduces everyone
  • Louisville Mayor, Greg Fisher, gives an introduction of Matt Shattock
  • Matt's speech is delivered unedited
  • We transition back out to the red carpet to interview Freddie Johnson
  • The ceremony then kicks off with Eric Gregory talking about Freddie's history
  • A.J. Hochhalter, Film Producer of NEAT, introduces Freddie
  • Freddie delivers his speech and talks about his dad and family - completely unedited
  • The red carpet is alive once again talking to Mark Coffman, Master Distiller at Town Branch
  • The ceremony resumes with Eric Gregory giving a history of Dr. Pearse Lyons of Alltech
  • A short story from Jerry Summers, HOF 2017 inductee, about Pearse Lyons
  • The final red carpet appearance features Andy Shapira talking about his father Max, as well as Larry Kass with a brief history of Rittenhouse 21-25 year single barrels
  • The ceremony begins the wrap up with Eric Gregory giving Max Shapira's resume
  • Donn Lux, Chairman and President of Luxco, shares some funny stories of Max's attention to the bottom line
  • Max Shapira talks about his family, the history of Heaven Hill, and that growth will continue
  • Listen to all of our Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, Town Branch, and Beam podcasts
Sep 13, 2018

Private barrel selections are becoming the hot new item. These carefully selected barrels are brought into a store and chosen for a particular audience. However, can every one be a winner? Do you trust who picked it? Just because a label said it was chosen by a master distiller, did he really pick it or was it leftovers from other barrel picks? And of course, we have to cover stickers because it's the hotness. It's a podcast that is both fascinating and intriguing and will make you think twice about going into a unknown store to purchase a random barrel pick.

Sponsors:

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about family and the new Bourbon Hall of Fame inductees.
  • Ryan, when you go into a store and look for a single barrel pick, what do you gravitate towards?
  • Back on Ep 124 we covered creating a barrel picking group and we've talked about individual barrel picks before but we're going to deep dive today
  • What makes barrel picks more special than their standard bottling counterpart?
  • Are all barrel picks always better than their standard releases?
  • If a store picks samples out of a box, are they all just rejects?
  • Is three samples really enough to go off of?
  • What about stickers that say "selected by the Master Distiller"?
  • Michael Iurato​ asks "I have not had that many store picks but from my experience it seems like the single store pick is usually better than when a major chain or the state run liquor outlet does a pick. Would you agree?"
  • Talk about what it means to have a bourbon group together vs having a store pick for you
  • Is it really possible to pick a barrel based on the tastes of the customers for a store? I mean everyone is different
  • Is having "after market" stickers a good thing?
  • Is there too much hype train on them?
  • Let's speculate. Lets talk about store picks that are no longer available. Is there a false sense of demand or are they trying to play the game?
  • Why can't there be just a few single barrels of Weller 12 or Elijah Craig Barrel Proof per year?
  • Heaven Hill used to plenty of private picks, but now all you see is Elijah Craig. Why are they holding back?
  • Why even continue a single barrel program is the bourbon is going to sell anyway?
  • Frank Mentlick​ asks What is the first taste that turn you off a pick? Sweet? Lack flavor? What makes you excited about picks?
  • Do you do a baseline by sneaking in a flask with the standard offering?
  • Any tips on going on your first barrel pick?
Sep 6, 2018

Is he the biggest Wild Turkey super fan out there? Without a doubt. David Jennings goes by the alter ego RareBird101. In this episode we explore his obsession with older dusty Wild Turkey and even some of the newest Russell's Reserve offerings. We also spend some time speculating on our theories on what has changed over the years and if Wild Turkey is headed in the right direction with premium offerings.

Sponsors:

Show Notes:

  • Before we dive right in, what's your bourbon story?
  • What got you into Wild Turkey?
  • What keeps you interested in Wild Turkey?
  • Talk about your blog for a minute and what you do at Rarebird101
  • Think about some of those reviews you’ve done, because I’ve seen some real turkey unicorns in there from tradition to split labels to Christmas Rye. Do you have any standout favorites?
  • What is it about cheesy gold foil?
  • Jimmy says nothing has changed. But Be honest, do you think dusty Wild Turkey is better than today?
  • Since you’ve tasted almost everything in the turkey lineup, any thoughts on recreating that dusty flavor profile?
  • We posted on Instagram a while back about waiting in line for a Weller107 store pick because people like us are dumb. You were playing the angle that if everyone focused their attention on Russell's Reserve picks you wouldn’t have to stand in line. I know you have an article on the 10 reasons why you should be buying Russell's Reserve picks, what are some of those favorite reasons of yours?
  • How many different Russell's Reserve picks do you have?
  • It seems that Wild Turkey limited releases don’t get many accolades. From Diamond to Master’s Keep. What’s you honest opinion? Do you feel they don’t deserve the high dollar or do you?
  • Did you sleep on Russell's Reserve 1998 like I did?
  • When are you getting your chance to meet Matt McConaughey?
  • Support RareBird101 on Patreon
Aug 30, 2018
Why there is an extra L in Barrell Bourbon? Well, today we find out. Joe Beatrice and Tripp Stimson join us to talk about all things Barrell and how this brand is really one for the bourbon geeks with unfiltered barrel proof expressions. We then dive into the newest releases of the Infinite Barrel Project and talk about their plans for sourcing, distilling and blending as they have made Louisville KY their headquarters. Sponsors: Get upfront and honest life insurance quotes in less than 10 minutes with an online application from Ethos. Buy your tickets to the Speed Museum’s Art of Bourbon hosted by Fred Minnick Sterling Cut Glass is the Official Glassware of Bourbon Pursuit. They are offering FREE etched samples to whiskey societies nationwide! Simply email spirits@sterlingcutglass.com, include your logo, and mention Bourbon Pursuit. Bourbon and Beyond Music Festival takes place in Louisville, KY on Sept 22nd and 23rd. Buy tickets and see the bourbon workshops we will be moderating. Show Notes:
  • This week's Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about sexism with Master Distillers.
  • Do you remember you first bottle of bourbon or first memory with it?
  • Talk about the history of Barrell. Why did you want to start it?
  • What is it about barrel proof that consumers like over 90 or 100 proof?
  • Would you rather blend than distill?
  • What's the size of a Barrell batch?
  • Which do you think is harder because we've had both master distillers and master blenders on the show?
  • How does scale play into this bringing in more barrels?
  • What's the release schedule and idea about numbering the batches?
  • Why is there an extra L?
  • Give us a run down of the line up products you offer
  • Why rum?
  • New year edition. Let's talk about what this is all about.
  • The Infinite Barrel Project is super unique.
  • Why keep doing new ideas and not sticking with the staples?
  • Tripp are there any ideas that Joe comes up with and you're like "this is never going to work"?
  • What's a rejected idea?
  • Are you able to continually able to source good whiskey and are you able to turn it away?
  • Talk about the operation now. Are are you contract distilling? straight sourcing? bottling?
  • So are you itching to start distilling?
  • Why distill when you haven't had a problem getting barrels before?
  • Would you take your own distillate and mix from sourced goods?
  • Why build a distillery that's a pure factory that doesn't look at making it a tourist destination?
  • Why Louisville? You can build a distillery anywhere.
  • What about storage? I know you’re at Castle and Key right now but where can you go?
  • Do you think you started a revolution of brands following suit?
Aug 23, 2018
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayv4xYgyXNQ&w=560&h=315] The full gang of the bourbon community roundtable made it for this one.  We discuss the timing of distilleries starting to blend their own distillate and a whole second half of the show dedicated to Heaven Hill. Not only did they send some really good bourbon samples, but they are also suing Bob Dylan over Heavens Door Whiskey.   Sponsors: Get upfront and honest life insurance quotes in less than 10 minutes with an online application from Ethos. Buy your tickets to the Speed Museum’s Art of Bourbon hosted by Fred Minnick Sterling Cut Glass is the Official Glassware of Bourbon Pursuit. They are offering FREE etched samples to whiskey societies nationwide! Simply email spirits@sterlingcutglass.com, include your logo, and mention Bourbon Pursuit. Bourbon and Beyond Music Festival takes place in Louisville, KY on Sept 22nd and 23rd. Buy tickets and see the bourbon workshops we will be moderating.   Show Notes
  • We are seeing a whole new slew of crafts that are moving from MGP to their own distillate. New Riff, Smooth Ambler, it will eventually be lots more. The question is, when is the right time?
  • Can you taste potential?
  • When do you stomach it up and buy another after you've been burned?
  • Battle of the New Heaven Hill releases. Let's talk about them individually and where should you spend your money?
  • Heaven Hill brings out the big guns to sue Bob Dylan's whiskey brand Heaven's Door over trademark protection.
    • Complaint -> https://www.dropbox.com/s/em64gkv5d3is7yc/Complaint.pdf?dl=0
    • Expert Report -> https://www.dropbox.com/s/wnm9u12bo8o911a/Expert%20Report.pdf?dl=0
  • What do you consider a modern unicorn?
Aug 16, 2018
Where can you see Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer, Bourbon Pursuit, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Russell, Sting, Fred Noe, and more! Only at Bourbon & Beyond Festival 2018! The entire Bourbon Pursuit Team is together for the first time to talk about the festival, the music , the Bourbon+ seminars, and a few backstage stories from last year. Oh yeah... you can win tickets to be there with us, visit Facebook and get entered to win. Sponsors: Get upfront and honest life insurance quotes in less than 10 minutes with an online application from Ethos. Bourbon and Beyond Music Festival takes place in Louisville, KY on Sept 22nd and 23rd. Buy tickets and see the bourbon workshops we will be moderating. Show Notes:
    • Buy your tickets to the Speed Museum’s Art of Bourbon hosted by Fred Minnick
    • This week's "Above the Char" with Fred Minnick discusses state pride and whiskey bars across the country.
    • Our first podcast with Fred Minnick joining as part of the Bourbon Pursuit team!
    • Talk about the origins and the planning process behind it
    • What was the idea about the culinary components?
    • What did you see out if your attendees about who were coming from outside the city?
    • Let’s talk about the sessions
    • Kenny and Ryan are leading two Bourbon+ Workshops
    • What are you looking forward to with regards of music?
    • Let’s talk about the Big Bourbon Bar
    • Rabbit Hole brought their own bartenders from Death and Co
    • What is Fred’s mini bar?
    • Got a cool story from backstage last year?
    • What about vintage pours?
    • What is it about having a Tiki bar as well?
    • We're sipping on Old Jordan from the 1900s
Aug 9, 2018
It's time for the blind battle of private barrel selections! Three heavyweight bouts between barrels that have sweet stickers and demand a hefty market price. During this fight of flights we are joined by Ben Pickett and Paul Warnott to discuss blind tasting strategies, barrel selection processes, and overall thoughts on our competing picks. Show Notes:
  • Buy your tickets to the Speed Museum's Art of Bourbon hosted by Fred Minnick
  • This week's "Above the Char" focuses on the myth that bourbon can only be made in Kentucky
  • Paul invited us to come, what was the motivation behind it?
  • Ben, how do you disperse 150 bottles between 1000 people?
  • Are you spoiled by being able to go on every single barrel pick?
  • Do you see people faking store picks now because there are hang tags?
  • Time to do our first blind tasting
  • [Russell's Reserve Results between Blind Monkey, Bluegrass Berries, and Twix]
  • Does trying anything in a particular order skew the results?
  • Tell the story behind Bluegrass Berries
  • Do you use anything as a palate cleanser
  • When you're going into blind tastings, do you have a method for setting it up and breaking it down?
  • Time do our 2nd blind tasting
  • Have you tried a bottled-in-bond blind to remove the proof variable?
  • Do you pick for the group or the store?
  • Have you ever done a barrel proof line up and is that harder or easier than something that's 90 or 110 proof.
  • What do legs do for you?
  • What do you think the attraction is to NCF or is it all mental?
  • Is there any way you can get a barrel proof single barrel any more that is outside of MGP?
  • Time to do our 3rd blind tasting
  • What was your impression of picking a barrel at New Riff/OKI vs Wild Turkey or Buffalo Trace?
  • When going back and forth between two, do you look for big discerning differences?
  • When you are doing blind, is it harder to do 8 or more together or should you narrow the field?
  • How often do you, if ever, spit anything out when tasting?
  • [Barrel Proof Results between EH Taylor Barrel Proof and OKI 12 year "Ricky Bobby"]
  • Stop in at Jake's Cigar Bar to learn more and try some of these barrels.
Aug 2, 2018
Kentucky Owl has amassed a cult following. It hit the market in 2014 but didn't gain nationwide sensation until recently. Dixon Dedman joins the show to talk about the Stoli investment, huge rye releases, and what's in store for Batch 8 this fall. Listen as we talk about burnout as Dixon continues bussing tables and making fried chicken at the Beaumont Inn while building a brand. Sponsors: Sterling Cut Glass is the Official Glassware of Bourbon Pursuit. They are offering FREE etched samples to whiskey societies nationwide! Simply email spirits@sterlingcutglass.com, include your logo, and mention Bourbon Pursuit. Show Notes:
  • This week's Above the Char with Fred Minnick discusses responsible drinking and taxation.
  • Can you give a refresher of Kentucky Owl and Beaumont Inn?
  • Are you getting to the point of burnout?
  • How much time are you putting into Kentucky Owl?
  • What has changed with Kentucky Owl in the past 2 years?
  • Were you looking for investors or being sought out?
  • Why did you choose Stoli over others?
  • Was the goal to really get this big?
  • Have you caught yourself saying you want to do Kentucky Owl full time?
  • Talk a bit about the blends and batches
  • What is the ultimate goal in how you can take something and scale it for blending?
  • Why have different batches and not have something consistent?
  • Give everyone a refresher on the bourbon process for re-barreling
  • How long are you re-aging?
  • How often are you putting out new batches?
  • What are we doing different with Batch 8 vs Batch 7?
  • Why start the Rye release?
  • Do you want the bourbon to become as big as the rye release?
  • How many bottles were in the Rye release?
  • Are you putting more emphasis on the bourbon rather than the rye?
  • Talk about the investment from Stoli and what's going to happen with the theme park
  • Talk about your epic samplings at Beaumont Inn on Instagram
  • All Kentucky Owl Podcasts
Jul 26, 2018
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgWjbWfDcnE&w=500&h=315] Everyone has some news to share this week. We welcome, Fred Minnick, as a new co-host to the show and kick off a new segment called "Above the Char". Ed Bley, multi-appearance guest on the show, has some news to share as well. Can you guess what it is? What's going to happen to Old Baldy? What's on the horizon for everyone? Enjoy this week's episode! Sponsors: Sterling Cut Glass is the Official Glassware of Bourbon Pursuit. They are offering FREE etched samples to whiskey societies nationwide! Simply email spirits@sterlingcutglass.com, include your logo, and mention Bourbon Pursuit. Show Notes:
  • This week's "Above the Char" with Fred Minnick discusses cigar barrels or cigar blends
  • Ed is leaving Cork N Bottle and opening a distillery
  • What's the name of it?
  • What happens after barreling?
  • Are you going to be distilling or just sourcing?
  • Focus on filtration and proofing
  • Did you find your great great grandpappys old recipe?
  • How did you feel Cork N Bottle groomed you for this?
  • Elephant in the room... what's happening with Old Baldy?
  • Narrow it down, what does it mean that your focus will be on filtration techniques
  • Have you talked to other master distillers about advice on this adventure?
  • Are you hiring?
  • What's the meaning behind the name?
  • Is there something that was the climatic moment?
  • Do you have a legit fear that it could flop?
  • In the scotch world, blending of other distilleries is common, but why now for bourbon?
  • Have you taken on investors or are you bootstrapped?
  • What's the vision of the site if it's not a distillery?
  • Is there a timeline for having a release?
  • How do you think your loyal Cork N Bottle customers feel?
  • Ed, what do you have planned for bourbon and rum blends?
  • Do you plan on changing your instagram account name?
Jul 19, 2018
There used to be thousands of distilleries spread across Kentucky at houses, farms, and industrial sites. As time moved through the industrial revolution, prohibition, and the clear spirit movement, many of these became ruins and were long forgotten. Nick Laracuente has dedicated years to uncovering these forgotten pieces of history as an effort to piece together their story. He is also on the forefront of Buffalo Trace's Bourbon Pompeii exhibit. Listen to this episode as Nick tells his story of discovering artifacts and uncovering the history of bourbon distillation.   Show Notes:
  • Did archeology turn you into a bourbon enthusiast or was it the other way around?
  • I suppose it really helps to know more about the product you are researching
  • What is the drive or economic reason for wanting to dig up these sites and learn?
  • Are distilleries funding this or the state? Where is the money coming from?
  • Who was Jack Jouett?
  • Can you talk about the magnitude of the footprint you are dealing with?
  • What is your fascination with the Fraziers or Ecklers who haven't had much history documented?
  • Have you been able to uncover something that isn't part of today's distillation techniques?
  • When you are exploring a site, do you have an idea of how big the operation was to figure out what to look for?
  • When you are digging holes looking for artifacts, how big are these holes?
  • What is your "eureka" moment when something is found?
  • At what point does the story start coming together for the Jouett distillery?
  • Let's talk about the poster child of bourbon archeology, Bourbon Pompeii.
  • Other than the vats, anything else cool that was discovered?
  • Follow Nick on twitter (@archeologist) and instagram (bourbonarcheology)
Jul 12, 2018
It's a tradition that has remained in the hands of the family for generations. Willett Distillery is one of the most recognized brands for bourbon enthusiasts and has accumulated a cult status. Even Kulsveen has seen the struggles and highs of his industry but had foresight to buy aged whiskey stocks when they were plentiful which put the spotlight on this brands. With Britt Kulsveen at the helm as their new President, this family is making bigger waves than before. Listen to their story as Fred Minnick moderates this Kentucky Derby Museum Legend Series. Sponsors: Sterling Cut Glass is the Official Glassware of Bourbon Pursuit. They are offering FREE etched samples to whiskey societies nationwide! Simply email spirits@sterlingcutglass.com, include your logo, and mention Bourbon Pursuit. Show Notes:
  • This event is being moderated by Fred Minnick.
  • This years theme is all about family
  • Even, where did you grow up?
  • Did you do a lot of ice fishing growing up? Did you ever fall through the ice?
  • Talk about your time in the Merchant Marines
  • What were your events in college sports?
  • So we found out before we started that you're not an American citizen
  • Britt, can you give us a story about your father's kindness?
  • Even, was there a moment where you saw Britt in action and said she's got skills?
  • Britt, is there a story behind you always wearing boots?
  • Even, did you train Drew?
  • What are you looking for in the barrels when you are creating your small batch composition? What is something that doesn't taste right?
  • What was something you learned from Thompson Willett?
  • Did he ever show you his secret spots in the warehouses?
  • Talk about the Frosted Yeast Rolls. This is the High Corn Mashbill. Barrel entry at
  • Even, How did you meet your wife?
  • All the big brands were bailing out on bourbon, what was that time like?
  • When did you come out with your small batch series?
  • Did you ever travel to Russia in the 90s? Did you ever have trust issues with distributors there?
  • Britt, what was it like as a kid watching your dad living around whiskey?
  • Let's drink the wheated bourbon now. Entry Proof at 115
  • When Drew brings you something, do you ever turn it away and tell him its bad?
  • You were also bottling stuff for a lot of other people back in the day. Can you talk about that?
  • You had to acquire bourbon from other distilleries, what sort of other whiskey were you looking for?
  • Was there is an age limit of something you wouldn't buy?
  • Would your early batches include barrels from lots of different distilleries?
  • What's your sweet spot for an aged bourbon?
  • Lets taste the 6 year old Rye now, 51% Rye, 34% Corn, 15% barley, Barrel entry proof is 125, but now goes in at 110.
  • Dipping back into the great barrels coming out during the early 2000s, how does this new stuff rank?
  • We talked about the 80s and 90s, but Willett becomes really popular in the late 2000s. There are a lot of fans. Have you ever been a part of the fandom?
  • How many times have you been asked to get bought out?
  • Bill Thomas from Jack Rose has been a big supporter of Willett.
  • Talk about the Willett 80th anniversary. It's the original Willett mashbill, 72% Corn, 13% Rye, 15% Barley and this one is bottled in bond
  • There aren't many bad things to be said about your whiskey. Do you think it's harder to stay on top?
  • Are there any other mashbills or barrel finishes you are working on?
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