May 31, 2013 by Bourbon Empire
I’m always a little exasperated at the rare occasions when somebody won’t share a particularly good recipe, preferring to keep it their own little secret. My response: your grandmother’s banana bread recipe isn’t a missile launch code. Share and share alike, and the world will be a better and tastier place.
But what about bourbons that offer particularly good value? As the bourbon boom continues, and prices creep upward, could sharing our picks for bourbon that offer good value create a stampede for those brands that inevitably drive up their price?
Probably not. Prices for brands like Pappy Van Winkle haven’t been driven into the stratosphere by connoisseurs as much as they’ve been driven up by status seekers. A few celebrity chefs name-dropped Pappy as the “best,” and investment bankers looking to show off at the bar did the rest. These people aren’t going to show off by demonstrating their intricate knowledge of bourbon by purchasing a bottle that represents “really good value” for the table at the club.
“Hey guys, I know it’s not Pappy, but the Elijah Craig 12-year offers a really nice quaff for the price point it comes in at…”
That’s hardly a scene I can imagine.
Still, I’ve recently seen a number of blog posts where bourbon enthusiasts offer up bourbon picks that are affordable and every bit as nuanced as offerings that cost much more. These picks are sharp and smart, drawing on years of experience and knowledge these drinkers have cultivated. These folks are generously helping out others who are seeking to learn, and not just impress. It’s pretty great, and I’ve been turned on to a couple of brands I had previously overlooked.
Still, a tiny part of me worries that some of these best buys will somehow be seized upon, Pappy style, and become impossible to find, or too expensive even when they are available. I have my own set of best buys (mentioned in these blog posts) and have become tempted to guard them like that banana bread recipe. But that’s not cool. Let the suckers shell out for Pappy, and the rest of us can play in the “shallow end” of a pool that’s surprisingly deep if you take the time to explore it.