In the Beginning, There Was a (Whiskey) List

In February, 2015, during what I'll call the "enlightenment period" of my whiskey (mis)adventures, and what is more accurately described as the "honeymoon" phase of discovering the pleasure of fine and rare whiskies, I launched Bourbonatic with the new thrill I had developed over the course of the prior year.

Photo courtesy: Thrillist

Photo courtesy: Thrillist

In that time, I spent a rather obscene amount of time researching and exploring what the bourbon and whiskey world could offer me. I read blogs and articles. Bought books. Talked to store owners. All in attempt to educate myself on what was my newfound hobby. I then began to start a list. A "wish list," if you will.

This list was conceived after a short, but thorough, period examining what whiskies I already knew I liked, and comparing those to similar brands and distillers that I had come to appreciate. For instance, I'm a big fan of just about anything that comes out of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Also, the Willett Family Estates.

Sadly, I had forgotten about this list. Probably for many reasons.

First, I'm not alone. The popularity of rare bourbon and other whiskies has made them extremely difficult to find and procure. And if you're lucky enough to find a unicorn whiskey, the price tag will often tell you why they're still collecting dust on a shelf.

Second, I realized I didn't need to buy a whiskey to try it, appreciate it, and decide if it was worth investing an inordinate amount of money to add it to my collection. It's a classic case of if the end will justify the means. Do I really want this whiskey because it tastes amazing? No. I want it because it will be a conversation piece for anyone who actually knows what it is, and its transient value based on that whiskey's rarity and demand. However, ultimately, I will want to drink that whiskey. So, there's that.

Third, time. God, it takes time. And resources. There's only so many stores and venues to exploit. Luckily, I found one I can come back to that usually has something I'm looking for at decent prices. And the whiskies I'm looking for are rare releases, that only happen once a year.

In any case, after all this time, I've stumbled across my initial whiskey wish list, and here it is for your viewing pleasure.

BOURBON WISH LIST

Black Maple Hill

·      Black Label

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

·      George T. Stagg (15 Year)

·      Willam Larue Weller

·      Eagle Rare (17 Year)

·      Sazerac Rye (18 Year)

Colonel E. H. Taylor

·      Single Barrel*

·      Barrel Proof

Elijah Craig

·      21 Year SB

·      18 Year SB

Forester

·      Birthday Bourbon (Any year)

Four Roses

·      2013 Limited Edition

·      2014 Limited Edition

Old Rip Van Winkle / Pappy Van Winkle

·      Old Rip Van Winkle (10 Year)*

·      Van Winkle 'Lot B' (12 Year)

·      Pappy Van Winkle (15 Year)

·      Pappy Van Winkle (20 Year)

·      Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)

Parker’s Heritage Collection

·         Promise of Hope

Willett Family Estate Rare Release

·      9 Year*

·      10 Year*

·      11 Year*

·      12 Year*

·      13 Year*

·      15 Year

·      21 Year

W.L. Weller

·      12 Year*

*=Whiskies that are or have been in my collection.

Of course, over time, I've learned that with each year's release of a specific whiskey brings nuance and character that will vary year-to-year. And it's literally impossible to replicate a single barrel whiskey. So, vintage statements was all I was focused on for the first go 'round.

Please share a list you're working on! As I've been at this one for more than a year, and I suspect I will continue to work on this list for many years to come.