I'm gonna be the crazy guy in the room to say there aren't *really* many high roller bourbons. The stratospheric prices bottles of bourbon have been driven to, do not guarantee quality. The quality is the same as it was 6 years ago.. Lemme take you back..
6 years ago in bourbon.. Weller 12 sat on the shelves under $23...nearly all year right here in Kentucky. You could get Weller Antique 107. all. the. time. Pappy sat out on the shelves for a couple weeks to a month. Most of your secondary distillers (that dont actually distill anything but buy barrels from the Big 5, bottle them and resell) didn't exist. you could buy 12 year old bourbon all day long for around 30 bucks. Max! Four Roses Barrel Strength was $52 at Four Roses and you could by 17.5 year (2011/2012).
Check out this review I wrote when I first got into bourbon for a pricing look back into 13 bourbons. I had no idea what I was doing but it's a neat look into that era.
...then the insanity hit.
...Now the same exact stuff is inflated to imbecility, guys are arguing on the internet, the bourbon never hits the shelves before it disappears into the woodwork, folks see it as money like an investment into their future, it's become the laymans bitcoin, delivery truck drivers are being bribed, relationships with the distribution centers have been established and guys have the bill of ladings on where/when/quantity of special releases being delivered, dudes stand in line for hours or overnight arguing over who got there first so they can flip the bottle on the secondary market and make a meager $10/hour for their time, everyone is an expert and the dbaggery has reached unbelievable heights.
Here's the deal. EVERY distiller is ramping production up. Four Roses for example is doubling theirs. This means (to me) that the scarcity thats creating the insanity has roughly 6-10 years before the supply surpasses the demand. Better sell your bottles in the next couple years.. These days wont last.
.....and we're back....
Recently I tasted some bourbon from 1978. Bottled in 78, distilled in the 60's. It was 45% and guess what, It tasted exactly the same. A "G" chord on a guitar has the same pitch no matter the guitar. The tone however is different guitar to guitar. That's the only difference and each distiller has their own tone dialed in. Keeping it real. Most of the bourbon we drink comes from 5'ish distillers. They have their methodology dialed in and it'll taste the same next year and 10 years from now (various barrel and mashbill 'tone' factors aside). The only bit of real excitement in the industry is some of the blending I'm seeing happen, theres something to be explored in that (the Scotch discovered that 100's of years ago). I had the opportunity to try a bourbon blend that was privately done. It's $120 and delivered without label in a glass bottle. The public cant even buy it. It has to be purchased through a network of trusted people. Now, THAT was an eye opener and something I'm excited to see hit the main stream. That's the new frontier because bourbon literally cant do anything new. ....and I love it for that. (same with Cuban Cigars).