One of the essential tools a retail marketing professional has is packaging. If you can get the consumer to stop dead in their tracks and look at your product, you’ve already won half the battle. And, in a liquor store environment, with brands using bottles of the same size and shape, most concentrate on differentiation via the label.
Occasionally, you get a brand that goes whole hog with a unique bottle design. Sometimes, the liquid inside is decent. Many times, you realize that you only have a cool decanter.
Last month, I visited Antioch Fine Wine & Liquors in Antioch, Illinois. As I was perusing the aisles, I saw a bottle that caught my attention. It was shaped like a bullet, with a copper jacket and everything. Wow, that’s nifty; what is it? The marketer excellently did their job.
I picked up the 100ml bottle, priced at $6.99, and the label proclaimed Lock & Load American Bourbon Whiskey. I asked my friend who owns the shop to tell me about it. He laughed and said he didn’t even know they had it; one of his employees must have ordered it.
Now my curiosity was piqued. The small print on the bottle indicated it was distilled in Indiana (meaning MGP/Ross & Squibb), that it was aged a minimum of six months, and, oh yeah, it was re-imported by Aiko Importers, Inc. Re-imported?
Time for a segway. On the television show News Radio, the boss, played by Stephen Root, was named Jimmy James. He wrote a book called Jimmy James: Capitalist Lion Tamer. The book was translated into Japanese and then re-translated back into English, and the translated title was Jimmy James: Macho Business Donkey Wrangler. So, when I read the term re-imported, my mind went to Jimmy James’ book for whatever reason.
Aiko Importers, Inc. is located in Pendergrass, Georgia (although the bottle states Charleston, South Carolina). Its portfolio includes a lot of fruity adult beverages ranging from vodka to wine to RTDs. They also carry various firearms-related decanter packages, including Lock & Load. There are three options: a 100ml bullet, a 1.75L bullpup, and a 1.75L carbine.
The 100ml bullet has a suggested retail price of $12.99. As you can tell from above, I paid far less. I can tell you that at $12.99, I probably would have said, This is cute, and then placed it back on the shelf. The Bourbon inside is 40% ABV (80°). There’s no indication of which MGP Bourbon mashbill was used.
Let’s #DrinkCurious and taste if this is seven bucks well-spent.
Appearance: I drank this Bourbon neat in my Glencairn glass. The liquid was bright yellow gold, and it possessed a thinner rim. A wavy curtain of tears fell back into the pool.
Nose: I smelled corn as I brought the whiskey to my face. I swirled the glass. I tilted it. I changed the angles of my nose, alternating from my left nostril to my right and back. All of that finagling and acrobatics rewarded me with an aroma of corn. I inhaled through my lips and tasted - wait for it - corn. Okay. No worries. Some good whiskeys have one-note bouquets. I can’t name any, but I’m sure they exist.
Palate: The mouthfeel was thick and coated my tongue. The front of my palate tasted of Corn Chex. The middle tasted of Corn Chex with a drop of vanilla. The back tasted of cinnamon and cardboard. For all I could tell, it could have been the box the Corn Chex came in.
Finish: As I mulled its cardboardishness, I frowned as the finish lingered.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I could wordsmith a few sentences here to tie everything up and provide you with my recommendation, but why bother? I don’t think I would even waste this on a cocktail. Whatever whiskey your local watering hole has on the rail is better than this. Lock & Load is why a Bust rating exists. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.
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