Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Sku Awards: Stupidest Whiskey Labels


Following label releases on the TTB website, I see a lot of stupid labels. I'm normally against those awards where everyone wins, but in this case, there really are no losers...except for the whiskey drinking public. All of these labels get the Sku Quadruple Gold Medal!!

This label for Stray Rye Whiskey is utterly stupid. It says it was "Founded in Illinois," but is "made from a 17th century recipe out of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh, by the way, wasn't founded until the mid-18th century. Oh, and that 17th century recipe just happens to be 95% rye and 5% barley.  Hmm, that sounds familiar for some reason.

Disaster whiskeys are always stupid. In the past, we've seen whiskeys that bravely survived snow storms and tornadoes, but Hooker's House cleared a label for what may be the first earthquake whiskey. Hooker's House Epicenter is composed of the whiskeys that "hung precariously" and "mico vibrated" during last year's 6.0 earthquake in Northern California. Mmmmm, precariously hung whiskey.

You can usually count on producers to know what their whiskey is but apparently, not always. The Panther Distillery in Minnesota cleared a label for a...well, I'm not sure. It's labeled Saint Paul Rye Whiskey, but the description says it's "Three-year-old cold weather aged rye corn whiskey bourbon." What is "rye corn whiskey bourbon"? I don't know, and the back label just furthers the confusion referring to it as a rye whiskey and then stating "Distilled from a Bourbon Mash." What is this stuff? How did it get approved by the TTB? Can someone please get their shit together.

The label for Old Scenter Bourbon is mind numbingly stupid.  It says it is based on an old family recipe. How unique! Of course, they never tasted the old stuff, but they smartly imagined that it was "the perfect combination of corn, rye, and barley mashed together then aged in wood casks long enough." How long is long enough? Well, they knew it would probably have to age for "years at a time," but...oh screw it, just bottle some six month old MGP and call it a day.

And perhaps nothing epitomizes modern whiskey label stupidity more than Old Dominick, an 8 year old bourbon released by a three year old company to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Tomorrow: The Year's Stupidest Whiskey Trend


13 comments:

Steffen Bräuner said...

Hillarious

Joshua said...

A fine and supremely stupid list!

Richnimrod said...

SKU, you are true public servant. (No put-down intended, lest you assume the worst possible connotations from the words public servant; not that anybody would blame someone who did, given today's elected officials; but, I digress.) As I was saying; sir, you have been keeping your nose to the grindstone seeking out stupidity wherever it is to be found (at least as far as distilled spirits are concerned, where there is indeed plenty). For this we (or, at least me) Thank You. The rest of us, now can keep out noses in glasses of Bourbon (or other spirits) where the air is so much better! Keep up the great work, my friend.

Keith W said...

You can't see me (OR CAN YOU!?!?!) but I am slowly clapping as I stand up in a hushed room, only to be joined by others as we cheer uproariously.

Unknown said...

Yes! This is the greatest.

Florin said...

Innocent until proven guilty, but Stray Rye Whiskey and Old Dominick are suspects for breaching the state of distillation rule.

For Stray Rye, as you point out, 95% rye/5% barley very strongly suggest MGPI. I can't find any information that Almighty Spirits (Distiller) distills anything.

As for Old Dominick, the only two distilleries in TN making bourbon 8 years ago were George Dickel and Jack Daniels, so that whisky better be from one of the two!

Sam Komlenic said...

The Hooker's House back label also contains some egregious misspelling and errors in syntax, indicating that stupid labels are most likely written by stupid people!

Thank you as always for a big laugh, Sku, and Happy Holidays!

Chris Mikkelson said...

That Panther label makes my head hurt almost as much as drinking the product inside most likely would.

Adam Dorfman said...

They say there are bits of real panther inside. Great write up!

Adam Dorfman said...

They say there are bits of real panther inside. Great write up!

Anonymous said...

What a crapulous collection that is!

morlock said...

Am grateful for the SWA gestapo on the prowl for dubious labels. Except when I'm not e.g. Compass Box labels' banned distillery percentages.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, working inside the Govt, I have seen that Govt agencies will never get their "shit together." Agencies are filled will social misfits who could never survive in the public or private sector. Such environments have become filled with incompetent employees who have no ability to stay focused let alone strive to do the right thing. TTB is no different. Govt service which was once honorable during WWII is now embarrassing and a prime example of a social employment agency. They employee those who cannot get a job elsewhere. Good luck waiting and hoping for TTB to enforce their own rules! In most cases they don't even know what the rules are!