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Distiller's Masterpiece 18 yo Bourbon


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#1 AVB

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 09:08 PM

Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece 18 yo Cognac Finish Bourbon. French glass decanter style bottle, numbered limited edition, front opening box, 99 proof, released in 1999, list price $250 can be sometimes found for $225-350. This one is #562 of what I believe is only 5000 bottles, maybe less.

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I first bought a bottle of this in 2000 and it took me the next two years to finish it off. Luckily I kept my notes since the bottle in the pic was a replacement I purchased last year and is still sealed. This is the first review I've made from my tasting notes and there are only a few that I'll do like this but since I have the notes and do own the bottle I don't feel too bad about not having a glass of this in front of me as I type.

This, the original Distiller's Masterpiece (there is a 2nd edition 20 yo Port finish one also), was the brainchild of Booker Noe of Jim Beam and Alain Royer of Fussigny Cognac. Noe was a bourbon legend not only for his Booker's single barrel, one of the first ultra premium Bourbons but for his almost 60 years in the business. Alain Royer is one of the few new innovators amongst Cognac distillers. His cigar blend Cognacs and experiments with aging in charred oak went pretty much against the grain of the old steadfast Cognac distillers. Owners of Distiller's Masterpiece can also order a free personalized name tag for their bottles but I don't know if this is still in effect since they were released over 7 years ago now. I believe that the Cognac finish Distiller's Masterpiece was only the second bourbon to get a 5 star rating from "The Spirit Journal" after the A.H. Hirsch 16 yo.


While technically not a bourbon due to additional aging in cognac casks, this certainly expands what a bourbon could be. The nose is a superior mixture of apple and caramel but this only hints at the blast of licorice, maple, apple, caramel and huge amounts of oak wood that hits your tongue on the first sip. The Cognac finish, which like any other "finish", was so unusual in spirits 1999 and especially bourbon, is obvious the moment you put glass to mouth. Totally unlike any other bourbon you may have ever tasted. There is an underlaying smoothness above and beyond the natural smoothness of aged bourbon itself. The finish of this is long, really long, obscenely long with caramelized apples fading into an oaky leather with a touch of anise after what seems like minutes after the swallow.

While certainly not for everyone, due now to very limited availability and high cost this can be considered a classic of the distiller's art and in my opinion one of the finest spirits ever made in America. If anyone is seriously interested in buying one PM me and I'll see if I can find one for you.

Edited by AVB, 02 April 2009 - 05:42 PM.


#2 PSTAN

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 11:58 PM

While certainly not for everyone, due now to very limited availability and high cost this can be considered a classic of the distiller's art and in my opinion one of the finest spirits ever made in America. If anyone is seriously interested in buying one PM me and I'll see if I can find one for you.


Glad to see a review on this gem of a bottle. :cool:
And if it happens to be in my neck of the woods, I will help out if I can.

#3 AVB

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 12:42 AM

Unfortunately there isn't anymore in your neck of the woods PSTAN

#4 denverdog

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 06:34 PM

It is always fun to read your reviews of some of the higher end spirits. It sounds like a unique bourbon that very few will have the chance to enjoy, great review!

#5 AVB

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 07:03 PM

It's pretty enjoyable doing the reviews too :p

#6 aspect30

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:30 PM

I am interested in purchasing one of these bottles.
Could you please tell me an estimated cost?

I have a friend that has one but he will not part with it.
It has a stamp on the top that says 1940. Is that the year it was made, bottled, or the collectors series number?

I would like to find one with a low number in the series.

Thanks.

#7 AVB

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 09:05 PM

First Welcome to CP. Of course we like people to have their first post an introduction in the proper forum.

Since they haven't been made in over 8 years now, finding one with any number is going to be hard. I don't know of anyplace that still has one for sale so a private collector would be about your only chance. The 1940 should be the series number as it seems that there were about 5000 bottles and not the 2500 as I stated in the original review. I'd like to have one below the 562 number I have too so good luck with that.

I am interested in purchasing one of these bottles.
Could you please tell me an estimated cost?

I have a friend that has one but he will not part with it.
It has a stamp on the top that says 1940. Is that the year it was made, bottled, or the collectors series number?

I would like to find one with a low number in the series.

Thanks.


Edited by AVB, 08 July 2009 - 04:34 AM.


#8 aspect30

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:34 PM

If I come across one, what would be a reasonable price to pay for it.
I just don't want to get taken.

Thanks.

#9 AVB

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 06:16 PM

I would expect that the price for either of the Distiller's Masterpiece would start at $350 minimum and just go up from there. The last one I saw on ebay went for just over $500.

#10 GregSVT

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 05:52 PM

Damn I really wanted to try this or at least get a bottle for the collection but looks like it's well out of my price range. :(

#11 deadlite15

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 06:07 PM

I have a bottle of Distiller's Masterpiece that is numbered #90. I purchased it fairly recently actually and was thinking of putting it on ebay. In my efforts of research on the product, I came across this forum.

AVB & Aspect if you guys are interested i can send you pics of my bottle. Just PM me with an email address and I will be more than happy to send them.

I use the same screen name on ebay (deadlite15) and have 100% positive feedback.

#12 ACDetroit

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:29 PM

AVB as always, great notes! I am just about done with Bottle #1023 it lasted about 10 months but what a nice bottle! Not sure what the next special event will be but I will open another! I really enjoyed the complexity of this stuff after dinner.

Just a note on the quantity, I have a mid 800#, 1011 and 4955. I believe there were 5000 made and only 2500 of the 20 yr but I could be wrong! I'll post pics of the numbers. Oh yeah I do not have 1011 any more it's in Australia! I do know were a couple are for $250.00

Cheers!

Tony

Edited by ACDetroit, 30 January 2008 - 01:33 PM.


#13 deadlite15

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 09:10 PM

I have just listed a bottle of distillers on ebay. My seller id is the same as my forum ID. it is starting at $250. Numbered #90! :D




http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem

Edited by deadlite15, 16 February 2008 - 09:12 PM.


#14 wvporters

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 02:50 PM

I bought ten bottles back in 2000 of the Distiller's Masterpiece and although it is indeed expensive it is without a doubt one of the finest bourbons I have ever tasted. Yes I know the elites will say it doesn't match up to others but I have placed this in the hands of novices in a neat glass and they can sip it. It is smoooooth.

I have opened two bottles and am currently on my third. I have given four bottles away to friends for special occasions. Sad thing is no more will be made. 5,000 bottles were what were in the release and they are all numbered - you could send in a card for a hanging medallion as well originally.

I stopped at the Jim Beam Distillery last weekend (March 26) and was informed a few particular notes of interest.

A) The production was a mistake.

B) The casks were not intentionally aged - there was an experiment and these were forgotten in a section of the warehouse and then "rediscovered".

C) There is an issue with the port edition where the liquid turns cloudy. Not all bottles but some.

D) They have no plans for another run or edition. They are not currently aging anything in the warehouse for a similar edition.

E) If you got 'em enjoy them... I def will not be giving away any more of mine.

#15 AVB

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:43 PM

We kinda like our noobs to do an intro but welcome to CP.

yada yada yada



#16 GregSVT

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 12:30 AM

I had the opportunity to try the 20yr Port version tonight and it was fantastic! Definitely one of the best American Whiskey's I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. I was only given a small sample at a tasting but I would definitely buy a bottle based off what I tasted. It was rich and incredibly complex.

We also got a sample of Charbay Double Barrel Whiskey which was pretty damn good as well and a must try although I don't know if I'd pay $350 for a bottle of it.

#17 AVB

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 04:32 AM

You'll be paying about that $350 if you ever find a Distiller's Masterpiece. "Tis good stuff though.




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