166 – The Pitfalls of Private Barrel Picks with Brett Atlas and Luke Castle of Bourbon & Banter

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.

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?

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