Jim and I sat down this week to drink two store picks and catch up a bit.  It got me thinking on store/group picks in general. Over the past year I have bought several,  been gifted a few from different bourbon groups so feel as though I have a better knowledge of them. Add to this of my own experience of a pick and my knowledge went from nothing to a greater understanding of the process and the bourbon.  It took several conversations for Jim to persuade me that they are worth the money. Yes I know I am stubborn like a big bear.  Of course some of the first were A Weller Special Reserve and a Weller Full proof, for which the money just seemed to fly out of my wallet.

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I was hesitant before because why not just get a distillery’s single barrel. Well until recently most distilleries didn’t offer single barrels of their own. So that was the major selling point. I still don’t know if a group is better than a professional choosing these single barrels. Maybe what the store or group hopefully doesn’t have is whiskey fatigue where I have heard distillery tasters having. I have had some great ones and some bad ones. The ones that were great are some of the best bourbon that I have ever had.

To add to this list will be the bottles that our friend Ariel Jahn gave Jim and I. It is a store pick from Westport Whiskey and Wine of Woodinville Whiskey Company Cask Strength. It is stunningly good and in my mind some of the best bourbon outside the state of Kentucky.  It reminded me what you can truly get in a store pick. With that we also opened another store pick that I bought from Go Big Blue Liquor. It is a bottle a bottle of Wathen’s bourbon. What a major let down this was. It was only 94 proof and I have vowed to only buy cask strength store picks from this point forward if I can.

If you are in a store and see a pick or are part of a group look for others reviews of those picks. Look at what others have to say before you pull the trigger. If a store has it to try, always, always try it first. You might just find that the people that made the pick have a totally different palate then your own. For me I can rest assured that I will always be good to go at West Port Whiskey and Wine with our friend Chris Zaborowski at the helm.

So grab your favorite pick and pour a glass and listen as Jim and I roll down The Bourbon Road laughing and drinking some fine bourbon. Cheers

Mike (Big Chief)