Barrel Pick Updates and More!

Barrel Updates:

September came and went faster than I can blink, but with it brings cool October nights.  I look forward to them each year, and this one is no different.  Well, no different in the weather sense, but much different in terms of what is planned this fall for barrel releases.  There was once a day when many of us on the curation team of the Gamecock Bourbon Society didn’t think we would ever be a part of selecting a private barrel.  At one point, just getting a good barrel pick from a store was a highlight of the week.  Frankly, it still is.  After many phone calls, emails, hours long drives, and relationship building, we are finally starting to see some of our barrels get the green light. This has been one heck of a summer for the Gamecock Bourbon Society at distilleries across the south, and we are ready to share some of that information with the Society!  

We’ve had delays. We’ve had barrels “disappear” to never be seen again.  We’ve sold out an entire barrel in 24 hours.  We’ve been given TWO barrels of 2023’s World’s Best wheat whiskey.  Most importantly, we’ve met a bunch of fantastic people that love what every single one of you reading this has helped create.  You are helping us get access to these barrels, so not only do those of us on the curation team want to thank you, but we also want to have a little fun and announce a couple of releases that will be taking place through the rest of 2023 into 2024.  

  • Blue Run “Black Magic”: This is the bottle that has caused the most noise for many reasons!  It’s an incredibly smooth bourbon with just enough oak, caramel, vanilla, and spice.  It’s Bourbon in every sense.  It’s got enough char on the barrel to give the nose that toasted marshmallow aroma that I love so much.  The barrel is bottled and ready for Advintage to pick it up in Louisville and bring it to South Carolina.  Once in their SC warehouse, we will be notified & will be sending out emails to reserve your bottles.  Since this barrel was once on sale for just shy of 2 hours, we have 51 of 200 bottles that are already reserved for those members who purchased that day; so 25% of the barrel has already been reserved.  We will let you know through social media and newsletters when the barrel will drop at Bottle Beverage Superstore in Greenville, Columbia, Summerville, and Mount Pleasant.

  • Lone Elm Texas Wheat Whiskey: This is a 2 barrel release, and we couldn’t be more excited that it will be a part of a series.  The story here is that I met a gentleman through twitter that is part owner 5 Points Distillery (yeah, I know!) in Texas whose Single Barrel Texas wheat whiskey just won Whiskey Magazine’s World’s Best wheat whiskey in 2023.  It isn’t even distributed in South Carolina, but they acquired an SC license just so that we can have first access.  When he brought 6 samples for us to taste in Columbia, our curation team couldn’t unanimously choose one.  It was almost split right down the middle because they were both equally good, but equally different as every single barrel generally has a unique quality about it.  So, we bottled them both!

    We wanted to tie in the release date with the Texas A&M game, so we are hoping it will be available for you by October 27, but possibly the first week of November.  One barrel will be found at Green’s liquor stores across South Carolina, and the other will be found at Bottles Beverage Superstore’s across SC.  I don’t want to spill the beans on the story behind the names of these bottles just yet, but they will be appropriately named in honor of two great South Carolinian’s who died at the Alamo.  This is a Texas and South Carolina project, seeing as the whiskey comes from Texas, and it has been incredibly fun putting it together for you.

  • High Wire Distillery, 100% Jimmy Red Corn Bourbon:  It is no secret that the best whiskey coming out of South Carolina is distilled in Charleston at High Wire Distillery.  The almost creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel that comes from the oils in Jimmy Red corn are the first thing you’ll notice on the palate.  Being local, this was a great opportunity to bring more people in from our community to help us select a barrel.  We had a great group of men and women help us taste through 5-6 barrels, but the best part was an accidental run-in with one of our members who stopped in to buy a bottle.  We will leave his name out of it unless he wants us to announce it, but if it were you who saw a bunch of people from a group you follow/are a part of, wouldn’t you want to be invited to help the curation team select a barrel?  We thought so too, so he joined us as an honorary member for the entire morning.  This bottle was grown, distilled, aged, bottled, and unanimously selected by South Carolinian’s to be consumed in South Carolina; we are very proud of that.

  • Chicken Cock 7-year-old Single Barrel: The story behind the history of this brand is really quite interesting.  It survived prohibition, but soon folded after the second World War.  It was the house whiskey for “The Cotton Club” in Harlem which is one of the most famous speakeasies in American history.  Some of the most influential jazz from the 1920’s and 30’s was played there as people sipped this same recipe. The brand was revived in the early 2010’s by Grain & Barrel out of Charleston, and it is contract distilled by Bardstown…so this is some good whiskey.  With this barrel selection, we had 12 barrels to choose from, and you can rest assured we picked the best one.  We plan to release this barrel the weekend of November 4 when we play Jacksonville State.  Is there a better weekend to release a Chicken Cock barrel than a weekend the Gamecocks play the Gamecocks for the first time?  We didn’t think there was.

  • Broad Branch Single Barrel: This boutique distillery out of Winston-Salem, NC was highly recommended by someone on our curation team who lives close by.  We love farm to flask operations, craft distilleries if you will, and this one was no different.  You always wonder if a newer distillery is “on to something” or if they are still searching for their sweet spot.  After walking around with their cellar master and master distiller for about an hour, we quickly realized that this was indeed an all-hands-on deck Mom and Pop business who has found that sweet spot.  We loved that.

    Once finished, we were brought into their tasting bar and in front of us were 4 whiskies from 4 different barrels.  We weren’t told the proof or age, but only that the 2 owners, cellar master, and Master distiller chose their favorite barrels in the warehouse.  This is quite an honor because usually those are saved for the most important clients.  We were unaware when we arrived that we were the very first single barrel they will have ever sold.  We couldn’t believe the proof of our selection when they told us…141!  In the whiskey world, this is called a “Hazmat” whiskey, but it really signifies concentration of flavor.  We don’t expect all of you to drink this neat, but if you throw one rock in it or slowly add some water until it’s just right for you, it will open to a world of flavors that you will savor.  I have one of their high proof ryes, “Rye Fidelity”, and it truly is one of my favorite bottles, but I have to let it sit for a couple of minutes to even get there.  Be on the lookout for the Broad Branch bottle late November to early December.


Upcoming selections/tastings:

This fall and early spring we will be making a barrel selection at Maker’s Mark (who recently turned the whiskey world upside down with their Cellar Aged release) and meeting with USC alum, Rob Samuels.  We will also be visiting Lynchburg, Tn this fall and selecting a Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel.  This barrel selection will be made available to 4 of our members, and we are currently working on the best way to offer this unique experience, fairly, to each of you.

We were contacted and offered a very select Knob Creek barrel which we will be tasting sometime in early 2024.  Once we know more details about that we will pass them along.  Remembering what I said about the distillery in Texas, we will be selecting another Lone Elm Single Barrel, but this time we are going to have them finish it in a honey barrel for a couple of months.  This bottle is going to be an outstanding addition for your bar, and you have to trust us on that.  The subtle notes of honey and wildflower on top of the 100% wheat whiskey will be a great Spring bourbon as the weather begins to turn.

Our goal was to update everyone on what we have been working on and what we plan on offering the community soon.  It’s our hope that you enjoy every single bottle we ever release, and we always welcome feedback or requests on bottles or distilleries you want to see us reach out to.  We also acknowledge that many of our members have asked about helping us select, taste, and name a barrel.  We agree, and we want to interact closely with more of you guys and gals.  We are currently working on the best way to do that, as logistics to distilleries and overnight visits are not always the easiest to coordinate.  Rest assured that is coming soon, along with some incredible bottles with OUR society’s stamp on them.

We hope the news of these future barrels excites our community as much as it does us to offer them!


Paul Miles

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