The WBSE Barrel Report
Featuring the latest news and updates in the world of whisk(e)y! Brought to you by Bourbon Nerds
In This Issue:
2018 BTAC Announced
Distiller Moves at Heaven Hill and Beam / Maker’s Mark
Bourbon and Beyond
Review of the Week
Denny Potter moving to Maker’s Mark
Heaven Hill’s Master Distiller Denny Potter will be moving to Marker’s Mark to become their Master Distiller. Denny is not a completely fresh face to Maker’s as he spent 10 years there previously working under the tutelage of Steve Nally. Denny will be taking over the role from Greg Davis, who has been promoted to Director of Distillation at the primary Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, KY. Both Beam and Maker’s are owned by Beam Suntory, making the move for Davis an internal one. Heaven Hill has stated they are excited for Denny, expressing no hard feelings over the move, and they also are not expecting any issues to arise in his absence.
Bourbon and Beyond Festival this weekend in Louiville, KY
This weekend, Louisville is hosting a massive bourbon festival featuring dozens of live bands on multiple stages, numerous high profile bourbon Master Distillers and Experts, and many other bourbon and cuisine experiences. Tickets for entry and many events are still available to those interested in attending. Check out all the action at the Bourbon and Beyond website.
2018 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Announced
The much anticipated BTAC announcement for 2018 is finally here. This week, we learned the highlights of the annual, five different whiskey release, including one major change to the line up: Eagle Rare 17 Year will now be bottled at 101 proof instead of 90 proof as it has been. This is a return to form from the original 1974 launching of the Eagle Rare brand, and according to the press release, this change is expected to be permanent. As far as the other bourbons go (still remaining barrel proof and unfiltered), George T Stagg will be released at its lowest proof ever of 124.9. There were 25 fewer barrels selected for it compared to last year, but due to lower evaporation loss, the expected bottle yield should still be close to 37,000, not too far off of last year. William LaRue Weller will be released at 125.7 proof, down two and a half proof points from 2017, and also more limited as 6 fewer barrels were selected and evaporation is up nearly 3%. As for the ryes, Thomas H. Handy will still be barrel proof and unfiltered at 128.8 proof, so slightly higher than last year. Buffalo Trace snagged one more barrel for the Handy this year and lower evaporation means a few extra bottles will be up for grabs. Lastly, the Sazerac 18 Year rye will remain at 90 proof and the most rare with only 24 barrels selected for it. It seems likely that this year’s release is actually tanked from at least 2017, given how both were distilled in 1998 and had the same level of evaporation (see all BTAC release sheets here) Lastly, the other change is that MSRP from Buffalo Trace is actually up this year to $99. Now of course, retailers have been charging anything from close to MSRP to well above secondary market prices for these, so in reality, this is not a big change. Happy hunting!