427 – The Lifecycle of Bourbon Trends

The bourbon landscape has evolved dramatically over the past century, shaped by changing tastes, technologies, and regulations. In the 1970s and 80s, barrel proof options were limited due to higher taxes on high-proof spirits. Bourbon trends have ebbed and flowed, with favorites like maple finishes and honey cask maturation rising and falling in popularity. As innovation marches on, questions remain about what’s next. Ryan, Fred, and myself discuss the nuanced offerings like cigar blends and amburana barrel-aged bourbons and if they will be fleeting fads or establish themselves as mainstays and if rye whiskeys and light whiskies already peaked in popularity. While some trends fade fast, broader consumer excitement for bourbons finished in unique barrels suggests the underlying whiskey geek curiosity for new flavors won’t disappear anytime soon. However, core classic bourbon may regain flourish with consumers. With so many aging experiments underway, it’s impossible to predict exactly how tastes will evolve. But one thing is clear – the bourbon landscape will continue its dynamic change.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the same bottle of bourbon tasting different.
  • Why wasn’t there barrel proof options in the 70’s and 80s?
  • Was bourbon taxed differently in the past?
  • Were there bourbon trends back in the 40s and 50s?
  • What does the lifecycle look like for finished whiskeys?
  • Will the honey cask finish trend continue?
  • Will whiskey geeks go back to drinking normal bourbon or is the everyday bourbon dead?
  • When do trends become mainstays?
  • What will happen to cigar blends?
  • Will Amburana barrels experience a quick death?
  • Will maple finish continue to be used?
  • Will American Single Malt have a long life?
  • Have we seen the end of light whiskey?
  • Has rye whiskey peaked?
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