Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Tween Whiskey - An Endangered Species?
Once upon a time, there were dozens of American whiskey options in the 8 to 12 year range. Many people, including bourbon guru Chuck Cowdery, consider that to be the "sweet spot" for bourbon, when the new charred oak has had a significant impact but hasn't yet been overexposed.
These days, though, while there is plenty of really old whiskey (mostly thanks to Diageo dumping loads of old bourbon on the market), 8 to 12 year olds are becoming scarce. Distilleries are dropping age statements left and right. Both Eagle Rare 10 year old and Elijah Craig 12 year old recently moved their age statements to the back label in small print, a move many see as a precursor to eliminating the age statement altogether.
So what's left in the world of 8 to 12 year old age stated American whiskey that are in regular release in the US market? Here is my attempt to list them all.
Jim Beam Signature Craft (12 yo)Jim Beam Signature Craft Harvest (multiple varieties - 11yo)
Knob Creek (9 yo)
Knob Creek Single Barrel (9 yo)
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (12 yo)
George Dickel 9 (retail selection barrels only)
Single Barrel Retail Selections (vary from 8 to 12 yo)
Elijah Craig 12
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (12 yo)
Evan Williams Single Barrel (9 yo)
Henry McKenna (10 yo)
Very Special Old Fitzgerald 12 yo
Eagle Rare 10
Old Rip Van Winkle 10
Van Winkle Lot B (12 yo)
W.L. Weller 12
Russell's Reserve 10
Cacao Prieto (Widow Jane 8 yo Bourbon)
Frank-Lin (Old Medley 12 yo, Old Beezer 10 yo)
Luxco (Ezra B Single Barrel 12 yo)
Michter's (10 yo bourbon and rye)
New Riff (OKI 8 yo bourbon distilled by MGP)
Smooth Ambler (MGP - wide variety of bourbon & rye)
Willett (a number of bourbons and an 8 year old MGP rye)
I have to say that's a paltry list, especially compared to what was available just a few years ago. Did I miss any?