The best way to purchase a barrel of bourbon is to schedule a private barrel select experience. So the question becomes, how can you purchase a bourbon barrel for yourself and take part in one of these coveted distillery experiences? Let’s look at the options available when purchasing a barrel of bourbon through a barrel select.

How To Buy A Barrel Of Bourbon

Before we get started, let’s clarify that bourbon distilleries do not sell barrels of the spirit for sale. We have a little thing here in the United States for distributing alcohol that is referred to as the “three-tier system.” According to the law, a distillery may only sell its products to distributors, who may then sell them to retailers, who may then sell them to consumers like you.

So, if you want to purchase a whole barrel, you’ll need to locate a liquor store that will handle the transaction. The liquor store will place the order for you, and you’ll accept delivery and make payment there.

Because an independent liquor store might be willing to split the bill with you, this could actually be a good thing for you. This lowers your and their costs, but it comes with a catch: you both have to settle on the barrel you want!

Consider organizing a group to participate in the purchase to further spread out the cost. Most distilleries allow a group to participate in the selection (within certain parameters).

People frequently engage in both activities. For instance, the Lexington Bourbon Society and Wine + Market frequently collaborate to choose the best bourbon barrels. The Society promises to purchase half the bottles, with Wine + Market stocking their shelves with the remaining inventory. The partnership employs a democratic selection process, where everyone has a voice in the decision-making, to maintain fairness.

The Art And Science Of Picking A Bourbon Barrel

A date for your visit to the distillery for the selection will be given to you once you’ve found your liquor store partner and placed your order with them.

Picking barrels is a serious business. Party Mart’s proprietor in Louisville, Kentucky, is Jerry Rogers., assembled a “Bourbon Board of Directors” with notables in the bourbon industry including To aid in his store’s selections, Michael Veach, Susan Reigler, and Carla Carlton—all renowned bourbon authors and authorities—were consulted.

It’s a very sensory experience to take part in a barrel selection. Bourbons that you will be sniffing and tasting frequently only differ slightly from one another. Consequently, a fragrance-free setting is essential. And that applies to everyone present in the setting. The general rule is to “prepare like a hunter.” When joining a barrel selection, use only unscented laundry and body care products. In the summer, keep in mind that you’ll be in rickhouses, which can get quite warm. If necessary, use two antiperspirants, but make sure they are fragrance-free.

Remember that the first drink you receive will be highly-proof when you take it straight from the barrel. Your palate will find it to be aggressive as a result. Since your palates need some time to acclimate, there is an industry-wide bias against the first barrel in a selection. Always return to the first barrel following the last to give it a fair evaluation.

The issue of talking is another. Some people find it helpful to talk about the bourbons as they are being tasted, especially those who lack a trained whiskey palate. Others prefer that each taster work alone and refrain from speaking until the entire tasting is complete. A good compromise is to first taste each sample in silence, compare notes, taste again, and have a group discussion.

10. How To Buy A Barrel Of Bourbon2

Book A Private Barrel Selection With Mint Julep Experiences

Given that Mint Julep’s knowledgeable staff has already taken care of the majority of the legwork, you might find that this is the simplest option for most people. Additionally, VIP transportation to and from the distillery is an added perk.

With a variety of distilleries, Mint Julep is currently offering barrel-select experiences in Tennessee and Kentucky. The ideal group size is six to eight people, and the experience typically includes a private barrel house tour, stealing whiskey or bourbon straight from the barrel, selecting your favorite sample from various barrels, and, of course, bottling the bourbon you selected.

Join A Bourbon Club

Many whiskey and bourbon clubs regularly offer exclusive single-barrel bottles to their members, and on occasion, members may be chosen to join the founders of the club on barrel select picks. It’s never a bad idea to join one or two clubs in your neighborhood to meet people who share your interests since the majority of clubs don’t charge for membership.

Try Your Luck At The Distillery

Consumers can access private barrel select experiences at some distilleries, but these are frequently sold out well in advance. Buffalo Trace Distillery only offers barrel select dates once a year, and they typically sell out in under five minutes. You might want to subscribe to the distillery’s newsletter if it’s your favorite to stay up to date on all of the newest offerings.

The Logistics Of Buying A Bourbon Barrel:

So you’ve made the decision that purchasing a barrel of bourbon is something you must do. Here is everything you need to know before making this once-in-a-lifetime purchase and experience.

What Is The Price Of A Bourbon Barrel?

A barrel of bourbon or whiskey typically costs between $8,000 and $15,000. The price varies depending on the distillery, the age of the bourbon, and several other factors. Even $20,000 and above are possible.

How Are Bourbon Bottles Made?

The distillery will handle emptying and bottling the barrel you choose, and a full barrel typically produces 150–200 bottles. Keep in mind when choosing that the older the bourbon, the less of it there will be when the barrel is emptied. In some situations, the option to bottle from a half-barrel is available.

How Can I Get My Bottles Home?

It’s not always as easy as just emptying a barrel, bottling it, and handing it to the consumer right away because of the three-tiered government distribution system for alcohol in the United States. The distillery, the distributors, and the retailers (the liquor stores) make up the three tiers. In most cases, the producer is unable to sell directly to the retailer or even the consumer, who is not included in this three-tier rule.

Although some distilleries will offer assistance, you might need to finish this step before participating in the barrel select experience. It entails collaborating with your neighborhood liquor store, which will consent to accept your bottles and then bill you for the predetermined price. Again, distilleries frequently assist groups with this aspect of the logistics and can typically recommend a retailer who is happy to broker a purchase, so it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Depending on how busy the distillery is, the turnaround time for bottles can vary from about a month to even six months or longer. Rarely, groups may be able to pick up their bottles on the same day as their pick, particularly if the distillery has a retail store on site and has figured out the specifics of the three-tier system.

Would You Like To Choose Your Own Barrel?

Mint Julep offers Single Barrel Picks in Kentucky and Single Barrel Selects in Nashville if you’re interested in creating your own single barrel selection. On this personalized tour, you’ll visit the barrel house, sample four barrels of your choosing, and then blind-taste several more barrels until you find the winning one. You can participate in hand-labeling your bottles after your group chooses the barrel, giving them a special touch. You can take the bottles home with you on the day of your single barrel select reservation with Mint Julep, if you’d like to!

How Much Does A Barrel Of Bourbon Cost To Purchase?

53, 15, or 30-gallon barrels are available from various distilleries. Thus, the price ranges from US$4,000 to $15,000. Other considerations include the amount of bourbon that evaporated during aging (Angel’s Share) and taxes based on the actual volume. You won’t receive the filled barrel, it should be noted. It must be packaged, according to US law.