It certainly is an exciting time to be a bourbon drinker. Liquid from every corner of the country, spanning every conceivable price point makes a dizzying degree of choice. But there’s a flip side to all that excitement. With so much to choose from there are many opportunities to be led astray. Marketing is more persuasive than we often care to admit. Even if you know better than to judge a book by its cover, a sexy, shiny bottle is merely one way in which you can be lured into purchasing a product that doesn’t actually suit your specific tastes. In order to avoid some of the less obvious pitfalls of booze buying, heed some advice from the experts.
Read the Label
“The biggest mistake folks make when choosing a bourbon is failure to pay attention to the details on the label,” warns Justin Thompson, co-owner of Justins’ House of Bourbon—a vintage whiskey retailer in Lexington, Kentucky. “The name or the bottle shape sometimes distract them from the very obvious on there.”
Seems simple enough. Until it isn’t. The wording on a label can be very misleading and—sometimes secretly—reveals an awful lot about the liquid inside. For example, it can read “made by” or “produced by,” but the liquid inside could still be sourced whiskey—that is, whiskey procured from a distillery other than the one presented on the bottle. The only way to know that it actually came from the distillery listed on the label is if it uses the words “distilled by.” Tricky stuff, indeed.