Cool label. Who made the whiskey?
What's in your bottle? It isn't always such a simple question to answer.
How much do you think a bottle of 13-year-old whiskey, distilled at George Dickel in Tullahoma, TN would cost you? If you’re thinking this might be a trick question, well, it is and it isn’t. If you’ve enjoyed nice bourbon and rye whiskey for any length of time, you know that there are many whiskey brands that don’t actually distill any whiskey themselves. Non-Distiller Producers (NDP) purchase their whiskey from other companies who do distill whiskey. If you dislike this practice, you likely refer to it as ‘sourcing’ and probably make a weird face while saying it, as if the NDP is importing heroin or selling baby chinchilla furs. Whether you approve of the practice or not isn’t the point of this post. The point is that whiskey from one distiller can and does show up under many labels at many different price points. In this example, you can buy the recently released George Dickel, Bottled-In-Bond 13-year-old Tennesee whiskey for $38 and you can buy some 13-year-old [Insert one of many brand names] whiskey for $75 or $100 or $125 or even more and you may not realize that it came from the same still.
If you dislike this practice, you likely refer to it as ‘sourcing’ and probably make a weird face while saying it, as if the NDP is importing heroin or selling baby chinchilla furs.
Is that right or fair? It doesn’t bother me but I do wish there was more transparency around the practice. I suppose that might diminish the story that [Insert one of many brand names] is using to market their company. There is certainly more to the story and just because it flowed from the same still 5 or 10 or 15 years ago doesn’t mean it ends up the same in a bottle. The distillers don’t want you to know either in most cases. I happen to love whiskey, or whisky as George himself spelled it, produced in Tullahoma. I also like the people there. It’s a small set up compared to some other, nearby distilleries, so the tours are personal. Next time you look at the back of a bottle from [Insert one of many brand names] and you see 'Distilled in TN', maybe you’ll be as excited as I would be. Call it sourced, call it bourbon, call it Tennessee whisky, but if you’re close to Denver, call me. I like that stuff.