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In Heads & Tails by Steve Coomes2 Comments


File this under “We wish could have made this up, but it’s fo’ real.” Top-ranked UFC fighter and Lafayette, La., native Dustin Poirier has launched a new bourbon named Rare Stash.

According to a news release quoted in “The Acadiana Advocate,” Poirier declared this about his bourbon mission: “Me being a whiskey person along with Rare Stash and the idea behind it of rare lots of bourbon was intriguing to me because I want to enjoy different bottles like that.”

Is that quote real, or is Boomhauer his spokesman? And while he’s at it, Vanna, can he buy some commas?

And yet, Poirier kept slugging past the needed punctuation: “This first run of Rare Stash is going to be special because the next release is going to be slightly different, and that’s interesting to me as a whiskey consumer and collector.”

And it keeps getting worse: “Poirier created the craft bourbon alongside Ed Seckinger and Bob Wulf. Together, in a news release, they say Rare Stash focuses on unique and rare qualities found in the raw ingredients used to make its bourbon whiskey. Each bottle has its own characteristics based on that year’s corn and grain crop and the tree used to make the barrel where the alcohol is aged.”

One tree, eh? Call the TTB for this new whiskey distinction: Single Tree Barrel.

But wait, there’s more—lots of it, and it’s just awful! From the Rare Stash website: “Rare Stash exemplifies the unique qualities in each of us. Rare Stash celebrates all the Rare moments we all encounter along the unique journey's in life we are on. Rare Stash honors all those who live or aspire to live the "Live Rare, Be Rare" lifestyle that is unique to each person no matter where they are or where they are going.”

If this were a drinking game and people had to chug every time “rare” was used in a sentence, they’d be bombed before they finished reading.

BOURBON & BANTER'S VIEW >> “Celebottles” are nearly always disappointing, but if this press release is any indication of Rare Stash’s quality, for your own good, don’t tell the truth to Poirier. You might wind up in an arm-triangle choke, which looks about as painful as reading this release.


For whiskey fans, boycotting Russian vodka—any vodka for that matter—isn’t hard. For drinkers, government officials and store owners who refuse to research what is and isn’t real Russian vodka, this latest boycott got stupid fast.

Days after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, sellers of vodka, encouraged by congressmen and consumers, vowed to remove allegedly Russian vodka from their shelves and, in a few cases, pour it down sewer drains—before TV news cameras, of course. Problem is, nearly all vodka sold in America is made here or just not in Russia. The plethora of stories explaining this are so numerous that we’ll not even bother linking to any one piece. As the cool kids say, “Just Google it.”

BOURBON & BANTER'S VIEW >> If any vodka drinker ever needed an excuse to abandon the bland and come on to the brown, here it is, served chilled in an up glass with an orange twist.

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I became a fan of Al Laws and his Laws Whiskey House a year ago on a Zoom call. Learning about his team’s obsession with Colorado grains and the lengths their farmers go to raise them in the challenging Colorado climate made me love LWH’s spirits even more. A press trip to the distillery last September was mind and mouth opening. All LWH’s whiskeys are good, but those ryes … oh, my!

BOURBON & BANTER'S VIEW >> Put Al Laws on your “list of distillers to meet.” Then check out this Vinepair Q&A with him. The former energy analyst is a perpetual motion machine and his enthusiasm for his second career comes through in those words. Then go looking for LWH’s bottles. They’re available only in 18 markets, but they’re worth finding if you can locate them.


A CNBC story reported that Beam Suntory’s sales rose 11 percent last year, and driving that top line was the global firm’s focus on high-end spirits. What’s helping pay the infrastructure bills for those pricey bottles, however, are its ready-to-drink products, said CEO Albert Baladi.

"The premiumization of the business, particularly in spirits, is cash and capital intensive, and ready-to-drink generates cash," Baladi told CNBC. "So ready-to-drink is not only smack in line with consumer trends, but at the same time, it generates cash that can be invested in the capacity, the warehouses, the aged liquid and everything else we have to do to fuel the premiumization strategy."

Too bad those RTD profits aren’t helping limit high-end spirits prices at retail. According to the story, Knob Creek prices “used to range from $25 to $50 a bottle, but now a bottle can set customers back anywhere from $36 to nearly $200.” Presumably, that $200 cost is tied to greedy retailers jacking up KC 12- and 15-year releases.

BOURBON & BANTER'S VIEW >> When any of us—me included—take shots at smaller distilleries for charging high prices, we need to remember the competition they face from distilleries with endless product lines. Want to fund a new $7 million rickhouse to age Booker’s and Knob Creek? Don’t pimp those lines, push the Jim Beam and Cola!


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About the Author

Steve Coomes

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Steve Coomes is editor of BourbonBanter.com. A Louisville restaurant industry veteran turned award-winning food writer, he has edited and written for dozens of national trade and consumer publications including Pizza Today, Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living over his 31-year journalism career. As a spirits writer, Steve's work can be found in Bourbon Plus, Bourbon Review, Bourbon & Banter, WhiskeyWash.com and other publications. In 2014, he authored the book, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and has authored other titles as a private ghostwriter. Read Steve's full profile.

  • Rob says:

    Appreciate your perspective and love your writing style and wit. Thanks for joining the B&B team. Your writing is the perfect complement to the podcast. Good hire Pops!