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Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

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Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Woofer » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:47 pm

Anyone know anywhere within a 100 mile radius to get hold of some high-end bourbons and rums? For bourbons, I'm talking about something like the numbered Four Roses Limited Edition single barrels and small batches-- basically, the once-a-year, Master-Distiller-selected special bottlings; and for rums, I'm thinking about varieties like Ron Zacapa XO, Ron Atlantico, Diplomatico, or Vizcaya Cuban Formula...

The usual spots around town (i.e. Woodman's, Steve's) have pretty limited selections of spirits-- some top-shelf stuff, sure, but it's the same ho-hum top shelf stuff you can get just about anywhere. I'm not sure, but I think the distributor for the Madison area in general is General Beverage and so if they don't carry it, no one around here gets it!? I used to get my bourbon and rum from Shopper's Vineyard in Clifton, NJ via their website (their selection and prices were unbeatable), but they've stopped shipping spirits for some unknown reason. So if you're into the hard-to-get stuff... where do you get it?
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:12 pm

Check out the second floor of Riley's. They have quite an interesting selection up there where most undergrads fear to tread. Especially a lot of scotch archives and single bottles with very interesting pedigrees.
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Drinkslinger » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:35 pm

Well I own a liquor store, but I won't mention the name so this won't be spammed as advertising. If you are looking for something instantly on the shelf, there are many good places in Madison. Prices will vary, but most places should be within a few bucks of each other. Trying calling places and asking prices and availability.

If however, you don’t mind waiting a few days, good liquor stores will special order a bottle for you. Give them a name, type or region and let them find it and price it for you. This is great if you are really trying to find something off the beaten patch. Every liquor store deals with General Beverage, Frank, Wurtz, Phillips, etc so they all can offer the same things. But really good stores will also deal with boutique distributors like Purple Feet, L’Bank, Southern Italy Imports, JAWS Distributing, etc. More distributors, better selection.

Lastly, some products just aren’t available in Wisconsin. Still others are small batch and Dane County might only get a few cases. It’s good to find a store you like and ask to be notified when something specials is available. This is especially important with micro beers ( Founders KBS for example).

In a pinch, start with Steve’s. They are known for good service and are the gold standard that I look up too.

Cheers!
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:42 pm

Drinkslinger wrote:Well I own a liquor store, but I won't mention the name so this won't be spammed as advertising.

Because you are responding to a post, I don't think it would be considered spamming to name your store if you can provide what Woofer is looking for (obviously I am not an admin, just my opinion). Of course, you may prefer to maintain your online anonymity :)
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby fennel » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:02 pm

At minimum, you should check in with Cork 'n Bottle. They may not be able to give you what you want, but they can probably provide a bit of background. You'll probably just want to drive to Chicago. Second choice: New Hampshire.
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:06 pm

It's a good excuse to travel. I've brought back some interesting and hard to find tequila and rum when vacationing outside the good old U.S.A.
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Drinkslinger » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:11 pm

Flor de Cana has an 18 year. It took 3 months to get 6 bottles ( 1 case), but it was worth it.

Angel's Envy should be available almost every where. It is from Lincoln Henderson, who pretty much invented Woodford Reserve. He came out of retirement to open a small bourbon still with his grandson. Tasty stuff...

http://cocktails.about.com/od/whiskeyreviews/fr/Angels-Envy-Bourbon-Whiskey.htm
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby scratch » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:45 am

Hey, Drinkslinger;
Is it possible to get Templeton Rye in Wisconsin? (The bonded variety even though it's not always the equal of the traditional variety)
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Right Bower » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:55 am

Star on Willy Street?
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby wallrock » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:04 am

scratch wrote:Hey, Drinkslinger;
Is it possible to get Templeton Rye in Wisconsin? (The bonded variety even though it's not always the equal of the traditional variety)

I was told it wasn't distributed here, just in Iowa and Illinois. I've been meaning to get a bottle at Binny's the next time I'm down in Chicago. That's good stuff.
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Woofer » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:51 am

Binny's is a place I've been meaning to hit! I imagine the sales tax is going to vary by location, so I'd have to do a little research on that... Locally, I've tried leaving written requests at Steve's to see if they could procure some things, but never heard back from them. I'll take a look at Rileys, as I guess I always assumed they just did wine. Other places I've been in the midwest that really fit the bill are the Vine and Table in Carmel, IN (I picked up a couple of bottles of the Four Roses 2010 Limited Edition Small Batch Barrel Strength there a month or so ago). They also had a good price on Ron Atlantico last year when I drove through, and while they have the Ron Zacapa XO, it's $120/bottle(!). Liquor Barn in Louisville has more bourbons than I've ever seen in my life, in a long aisle with a sign over it reading "Bourbon Street." They had Whistlepig Rye, as well-- which is a must-try for any rye drinkers out there. While Shopper's Vineyard is out of commission, KLwines.com is a place I am looking at as a mail-order replacement. While it's out of stock at present, the Flor de Cana 18 yo is $50/bottle, which is not a bad price. It's just the shipping that may be prohibitive unless you place a big order. Thanks for all the advice! (For the record, I am not an alcoholic. I think. Yep, pretty sure.)
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Drinkslinger » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:19 am

Is it possible to get Templeton Rye in Wisconsin?

Sorry, no. Currently it is only available in Iowa and IL. There are a few bottles on back bars in town. I "heard" Merchant and Wonders Bar have a bottle on their Borbon shelf, you might have to ask for it.
I'll check on the Ron Zacapa XO.

Trixie's Liquor has Flor de Cana 18 Year for $48.99 ;)
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Endo Rockstar » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:29 am

Cork'n'Bottle on Johnson St.

Seriously. Best of the best for Bourbon, Scotch, and Whiskey.

Hirsh 22 year old Rye (if you have a Benjamin to spend. Redemption High-Rye bourbon if you're on a budget --$24.99 I think. Also, the allocation of Willet Rye should be there in another month or so.

-Dan Motor
Last edited by Endo Rockstar on Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Endo Rockstar » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:37 am

oh man, and I forgot about the Zacapa 23yr old rum....


from the Cork'n'Bottle Blog:

They call this drink the Rum Manhattan. Personally I don’t like recycled drink names as it leads to the complete non-sense of the “______ Martini” phenomenon. This drink ought to be called the Guatemala City as it calls for Zacapa 23yr (made in Guatemala) or at least the Miami. In any event, it’s a fun drink that makes use of the new Xocolatl Mole Bitters that we have in from Bittermens.

A word on rum: this recipe calls for this (above) expensive–but delicious–aged rum. What seems required for this recipe is a sweeter profile aged rum so something like the Cruzan Single Barrel (30.00) would do, or even the Flor de Cana 7y (24.99) or the Plantation Barbados 5y (19.99).

1 1/2 oz Zacapa 23yr

3/4 oz Dolin Rouge Vermouth

2 (heavy) dashes Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir with a purpose. Strain in an old fashioned glass; serve with a Luxardo Cherry or twist of lemon/orange.


-Dan Motor
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Re: Where do you get your top-shelf spirits?

Postby Woofer » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:23 am

Don't get me wrong, I do like the Zacapa 23 (available at Woodman's et.al., usually for about $40). But to be clear, this rum is made through the solera process, which blends a variety of rums of different ages into one very tasty drink. Some tiny portion of what's in the bottle is quite old, the majority of the rums blended into the mix are younger. So it's not a bottle full of 23-year-old rum... This page describes the process, with the Zacapa solera process diagrammed near the bottom. If you're a fan of the sistema solera 23, you absolutely owe it to yourself to try the XO.
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