Sour Mash Manifesto

Bourbon and American Whiskey

Your whiskey stash is probably better than mine

Your whiskey stash is probably better than mine. “What!”, you might say. “You write a whiskey blog – how is that possible?” It’s possible because I drink the whiskey I buy. As in – I don’t hoard it. If I don’t like it, I give it away. If I love it, I drink it and especially share it with others.

You will find no more Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year in my cabinet because I got three bottles last year, planned on saving two, but the stuff is so damn good that I simply cannot force myself to keep it around. I bought two extra bottles of the Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch for 2012. I did so with the following mindset that I’m sure is familiar, “this stuff is great, and if I have two more bottles I’ll be able to savor and enjoy it for years to come.” Who am I kidding? This whiskey will be gone before the first tulip peeks its head above ground. And that’s just the way I am.

Yes, I’ve got some extremely good whiskeys around the house. Some you can find, some you can’t. Regardless, they’ll all be gone soon because I appreciate great stuff. The people that made these whiskeys didn’t do so for me to look at it for a decade. They did it for me to enjoy. And that’s what I do. Will I miss these bottles after they are gone? Yes, indeed, but they become a memory that is even better.

Drink your whiskey!



  1. Dave, honestly no nerve was struck. I am not chastising anyone either. I think if you love certain bottles and you enjoy having them on hand, I don’t consider that hoarding. I’m saying if you buy them – drink them. Drink them at a pace that appeals to you and doesn’t stifle your enjoyment. Don’t ration for a rainy day – drink it. I am not criticizing you for going out and buying 5 bottles of something you love. I think that’s the opposite of hoarding – that’s certainly being a smart consumer. But those that go out and buy 5 bottles they love to say they have 5 bottles they love and never touch, and then go out and scarf up 5 more to amass a collection are missing out.

    As for the motivations of a whiskey blogger – I can’t speak for others. I am the COO for a staffing service company called Latitude 36. I don’t blog because I have to, I do it because I enjoy it and I’ve learned a lot about whiskey over the last 10 or so years that I feel others can benefit from. It’s truly that simple.

  2. Damn Jason, I never expected so many panties to get tied in knots over this topic! While I don’t entirely agree with your logic, it has opend up my eyes on my current “stash”. I have accumulated about 20 bottles over of the past 5 years that I have basically been sitting on (PVW 15, 20, Lot B, BT Antique Collection, Parker’s, etc). I usually have 1 open. To me this is not excessive amount of bourboun to have in the pantry, but to my wife it is. Maybe I should have 3 of them open at all times as a way of letting go? Don’t get me wrong, I share it with anybody that comes by. Maybe I can shed some light as to why I have stashed this way. For one, they are becoming almost impossible to buy at the retail level (for me) and NEVER see the liquor store shelves anymore. Prices are never going down. Being a father of a 1 year old, my priorites here in the near future could change and I might decide that spending money on high end bourbon might not be the best place to spend. I will forever enjoy Bourbon and I will greatly appreicate that fact that I held onto a 2007 PVW 15 year while enjoying it on a Friday evening on the back patio. I have stocked up on what I consider a great everyday pour, Weller 12 to pretty much have a supply to last me for the next 10 years, at the case price of $33/half gallon. Regarless if the age statement never goes away or the product line never gets discountined, it was a no brainer stock up and save! Anyways, your post just reminded me to “Drink My GREAT Bourbon” a little more often, rather than just stare it at and wait for the rainy day or until I’m 50 and my kids are out of the house and in college. Life goes on people, its just Bourbon…

    Jason, Thanks for all you do, keep up the great work buddy!

  3. 50+ comments = great post!

    First off, I approach whiskey much like Jason — I drink what I buy, have tons of open bottles, and always seem to drink through my reserves faster than expected. That being said, a few observations:

    I see this as an argument about consuming vs. collecting. Most of us are consumers, and primarily live for the experience of drinking our sweet brown whiskey. Yet, this is surely not the first time anyone’s been exposed to the collector’s mentality… there were those kids who didn’t open packs of baseball cards, or their Star Wars figurines, etc. Collecting is simply a different psychological mindset. I presume collectors most enjoy the experience of hunting and buying and amassing.

    The main issue is that collectors seem to deprive consumers of ample supply — it feels unfair and lame, and we judge them for that. But at the end of the day, it’s just a judgement, people have the right to collect stuff if that’s their thing. I just wish they’d collect stamps or vodka.

    Now, too often collecting is conflated with hoarding for resale on the secondary market. However, reselling a different issue altogether. These are people who are using unfair advantages to jack up the market. Flipping bottles, is not merely lame, but it’s illegal.

  4. @Aaron: Collect vodka? -Surely you jest!!

  5. Nice post Jason have to say I totally agree, where I live in Jersey there are only two stores within 45 minutes of me that even sell Four Roses Single Barrel, just the normal one, I get its not rare but no way am I hoarding it, I get it, drink it, cause its awesome, then have to go hunt for it again, just wish some people knew how lucky they were to get all those great rare bottles, I have never even seen a Buffalo Trace Antique bottle on a shelf…….

  6. Back before Christmas, I was in a BevMo in north Phoenix. They had four bottles of Handy Saz on the shelf. I was so shocked, I shouted across three aisles to the checkout “hey, you got four bottles from BTAC.” Shook it off like it was nothing. Tried explaining it was probably more rare than a unicorn, still non-plussed. I’ve given up looking for these super secret allocations. I have my half gallons of Weller 7 and 12 on the shelf and replenish frequently. They are joined by those Manifesto Finds. Jason, keep sharing what you find. I, for one, am enjoying the journey.

  7. Well, I for one will not attempt to justify why i have unopened bottles in storage. It is a “bunker” but it is not intended as a re-sale warehouse. I think it’s perfectly respectable to have a “hoard” of bourbon. It’s not unlike having a wine cellar. Having vintage years and rare bottles of bourbon to have on hand for any given occasion, is a refined quality and not a pack-rat scenario. I do reject the ‘flippers’ who buy bottles with ZERO intent to imbibe; but simply buy it to re-sale it at an astronomical price. Those guys can go drown themselves in lakes of Vodka, for I care. Just sayin’. 😉

  8. Hello! First Thank you for spending the time to bring us these great reviews 🙂 Second i’m a bourbon noob looking for some recommendations! I would love to know what is a really good smooth smooth drinking Bourbon, with out all the spicy burn?
    Thank you again.

  9. Jason, when will see a review of the Evan Williams Single Barrel 2003? I understand it should be on shelves soon.

  10. Great post, Jason, I was just thinking about this the other day when reading all sorts of backlash against Pappy’s and Port Ellen’s of the world. It seems now that these are so expensive and so hard to find, they have also become shitty whiskies to all those that couldn’t get their hands on a bottle or six. Whisk(e)y is for drinking, period. Buying an extra bottle or two to enjoy at a later special date is not hording, that’s just good event planning. Going on a rampage and buying up all the BTAC or PVW as soon as its available is just selfish and vain.

    Drink up, people, there’s better (and worse) whiskies coming in the future so you better make room…

  11. Jason, The enjoying of spirits, wine, beer and food with others is definitely one of the best parts of life’s experience for us. We cook a lot. We open a lot of wine and whiskey for friends. We have a wine cellar, with a few bottles of whisky and cognac in it too. But we give away a lot, such as several cases of Evan Williams White Label that we’d brought across country a couple months back. We’ve shared and given away to friends more than half of that trove already. It tickled us to offer something like that, hard to find around here, at the holidays. We have opened nearly every whisky or cognac we’ve purchased. The motto “Drink your ” rings strongly with us. Thanks for announcing your thoughts on the subject. Dawn

  12. Didn’t think you were, in all honestly my post was in agreement with you drink it up when you get it!!! Love your site by the way it’s awesome!! Love the reviews!

  13. Guilty, as charged….well, sort of.
    I can’t, and won’t, deny purchasing multiple bottles of bourbon I enjoy; just so I can be sure I’ll have some on hand. I’m especially guilty of this with very limited offerings; and, to some degree, “common” stock that isn’t available where I live. I do drink it, though; albeit in a rationed manner…and I share it with friends (real friends…acquaintances don’t usually get the good stuff).
    Do I have a few extra bottles of Pappy? You’re darn right I do…but it’s getting harder and harder to find. I couldn’t get a single bottle of 15 or 20 yr at the last release (well, I could have ordered one online; but I didn’t). I grabbed few extra bottles of Very Old Scout (14 yr) when I had the chance; and I’ve gone through a couple. Heck, I even gave one away. Most recently, I purchased 6 bottles of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel – there’s no telling how long it will be before that hits the local stores, and I really enjoyed it when I sampled at Wild Turkey. I’ve already got a group of friends coming over to try it – that will kill one bottle right there; and I’m expecting that a couple bottles will leave that evening, as well. I’m figuring on 2-3 bottles to last me until distribution hits my area.

    There are a few bottles here that I haven’t even thought about opening…but I’m sure I will at some point. If not, the party after my funeral will be a memorable experience for friends 😀

  14. california woman

    February 6, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    for all you hoarders…er…collectors out there who don’t know what to do with that whiskey–send it my way. heehee

  15. Been thinking about this for a while. Having amassed a bit of a hoard, I decided to start drinking through it. Inspired by this excellent blog, I’ve decided to try my hand at writing as well. I would love any feedback anyone cares to share as I begin:

    Sorry for the shameless begging for readers, but without some feedback, I fear I’ll never know what I’m doing.

  16. There is an old saying; if you drink the best first, you will always be drinking the best.

  17. I am a big beer nerd, and am up to date on just about every release that is available in my state (TX) and around the country for that matter. The “hording” and “rare” releases have most beer nerds like me in an uproar as to who is going to get the latest a greatest releases. Most horde and save them for trades or selling them on ebay or some other site, if you can believe that. I completely agree that good stuff is meant to be drunk. Not horded like some imaginary prize many people think it is.

  18. …and now we know why you can’t find any of the “good stuff.” It’s not the casual drinkers being prodded by celebrity chefs, it’s the “collectors” clearing every single bottle off the shelf as many times as possible. Yet, it’s the collectors who whine about absurdity and scarcity the most.

    I see no problem with getting a few extra bottles, but clearing out as many shelves as possible is greedy and helping perpetuate the frenzy.

  19. Jason – I’m not sure what you call what I do. I actually agree with your premise. But, I buy with the philosopy “it’s never cheaper than it is today”. As you know, I buy bourbon by the barrel now so I do have quite a few of the same label but most if not all are single barrel making each one unique. I think my last count of OWA was somewhere around 50 bottles, which includes 6 or 7 that are open right now. I don’t purchase to horde or look at but to enjoy for years to come and to share with other enthusiasts. My bourbon passion has a big social aspect to it and through it, I’ve made some very good friends. I’ll continue to buy, multiples at times but with the thought that when I’m 80, sitting on the porch, I’m enjoying that 2006 release of PVW15.

  20. Greg, you are in a completely different ballpark with your collecting. Buying by the barrel doesn’t affect the average person out there trying to find one or 3 bottles of their favorite bourbon. Like most enthusiasts, you plan to drink it.

    And by the way, I enjoy your blog as well. My top 3 (in no particular order) SB, bourbondork, and sourmashmanifesto. Thanks for all of the info guys!

  21. Greg and others – I think my whole point is to not delay your satisfaction. If you are out there procuring bottles and enjoying them and building your bunker that’s great. I don’t see the point in having 3 bottles of 06 Pappy 15 and not drink it when you want to drink it. Don’t buy whiskey to sit there and look at it over drinking it. Do I think you do that? Nope. But it also doesn’t matter what I think – I just get to post my opinions on what I do on this site. Besides I need you to save some of that stuff so when I’m up your way I have a shot at getting some. Cheers!

  22. If I see something that I want and know that it’ll likely be a long time, if ever, before I see it again, I’m buying all that I can afford. No apologies for that. It’s every man for himself now, sadly. Who ever imagined that you’d have to kneel and beg for bottles of Weller 12 and Antique, or Elmer T. Lee? That Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year and Old Charter 10 would cease to exist? If I come across something that’s basically finite, it’s mine. Then I drink it and share it, but if my credit cards still have life left in them, they’re gone.

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