A barrel of Jack: Arguably America’s most recognized whiskey, Jack Daniel’s is one of the few distilleries that allow you to buy by the barrel. A barrel of Jack will set you back anywhere between $9,000 and $12,000 (equivalent to some $40 or $50 per bottle), so you might want to split it with friends. Why no fixed price? Because it all depends on the ‘angels’ share,’ the term used to refer to the liquid that evaporates as the spirit ages.
If you’re going invest in an entire barrel, you may as well splurge on a trip down to Lynchburg, Tennessee to select it. You’ll get to meet with Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, who will help you pick a barrel that best suits your taste. If you can’t make the trip, he’ll happily choose one for you. Once your barrel has been selected and bottled, you can expect to receive about 250 hand-bottled decanters, each displaying the individual barrel number it came from, the date it was bottled and a medallion proclaiming it yours. You also get to keep the actual barrel as a trophy.
A barrel of bourbon: To buy a barrel of Four Roses bourbon, the first thing you’ll need is a licensed retailer to act as a middleman. (It’s the same deal with Jack Daniel’s and other distilleries that sell by the barrel.) Of course, the good folks at Four Roses can always help you find a local retail connection, if necessary. Master Distiller Jim Rutledge will help you hand pick your bottle, but only after much sampling. You’ll taste your way through more than a dozen pre-selected barrels that Jim sets aside before you arrive. (If you can’t make it to Kentucky, the distillery will send you samples.)
Once you’ve narrowed it down to your favorite, simply sign your barrel and head home knowing that a ton of bourbon is headed your way. The bottles will arrive with a special label that identifies the bourbon as hand-picked and hand-bottled. You’ll also get the barrel, which you can use for anything from a side table to a badass planter.