Having no Bourbon in the market, nowadays, sucks. The category is so hot that customers look at distributors like us almost as if there was something seriously wrong with us.
Are they dumb? Unpatriotic? Simply irrelevant?...
Truth is we had been Bourbon-free in our home NY market for almost two years. Even for ninja-level sleuths like us, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
As anyone who’s ever hustled for a living (whether booze or anything else) understands all too well, the law of supply and demand shows no mercy. No matter what you feel about the so-called “Bourbon boom” it’s not making life any easier for guys like us.
Finding decent bulk Bourbon is quasi impossible for small guys who are seen as outsiders in the business (after-all PM started out as a brandy house). A cask of the good stuff, if you’ve been lucky enough to find some, costs more than a solid gold Lamborghini.
Unlike vodka or gin, very good whiskey can’t be churned out in vast and unlimited quantities. The stuff ages in barrel, and that requires a valuable commodity: time. But the masses have been guzzling down the nation’s Bourbon stocks way faster than distilleries can replenish the market. Not much of the bona fide, well-aged stuff is left for the picking.
Most companies our size would have been forced to choose between two equally sketchy options. On the one hand, we could have “robbed the cradle” with some underage juice that spent 3 months in a 2-gallon barrel. Or, we could have sourced a mysterious product with a semi-legitimate history. One which has been marketed to death with a more or less fabricated “artisanal” backstory.
But it ain’t how we roll. For our first custom domestic release, there’s no way we were going to damage our street cred by rushing to market with a product we didn’t believe in, just to fill a gap in our portfolio. So we hit the ground running, working all our connections to sniff out a Bourbon worthy of the PM spirits label.
After a year of tasting through an endless flood of sub-par stuff, in the winter of 2017 a vial arrived at the PM office. It contained a full-proof, 8-year-old, MGP-made, high-rye Bourbon that blew us away.
The source claimed there were twenty such casks available. Palazzi’s “BS” detector is usually on high alert so he assumed the source was sending its best juice first, maybe making promises it couldn’t keep. Hence he hopped on a plane to taste for himself.
First time in Kentucky
When he arrived at the warehouse, all(*) twenty casks were lined up (* - all but one actually which was leaking and had to be kept vertical). Used to sampling brandy from barrel, Palazzi figured he’d find the usual mix: one truly baller cask, a few decent ones, and a whole lot of mess. But after spending several hours with his nose buried deep in a glass, there was no denying the truth. The quality was freakishly consistent, each cask almost identical to the original.
We took every drop. The decision was to blend and bottle the final whisky at full-proof, pure, unfiltered, and un-messed-with. The project—3,358 bottles in total—would be a one-off release, available for as long as supplies lasted.
Now the question was what to call it.
Fast-forward to a dinner in Brooklyn this spring. The whole evening, his next-door-neighbor RB was trying to get Nick’s two-year-old daughter, who sounded like a kitten just spoke when she murmured a word, to drop her plastic toy microphone to the floor, say the words “Marie out!” and then bust out the dining room door.
The beauty of English not being one’s mother tongue is that each day one gets to discover new words and phrases. Palazzi had never heard of a “mic drop”.
Boom, the name was born.
Then there’s the design.
It turns out the French are a sarcastic people and the label needed to reflect this with the exaggerated symbols immigrants, like Palazzi, may arrive in the US with.
We went through several designs: the first was too complicated and needed simplification. Rocking a Comic-inspired superhero, a pissed-off rattlesnake, and a gigantic bald eagle, it signals “American spirit” on steroids.
Truth is, a bottle of booze shouldn’t have to front on its audience. Instead, it’s got to sidestep the hype, take center stage, and let the performance speak for itself.
This is why we decided to keep the label as real and transparent as possible. All the facts (who, what, where, how old) are printed right on the front of the bottle. No BS, no fake spin. It’s our way of saying we know our shit is tight (*drops mic, walks away).
And yes, it is a glass stopper; 'cause it is both pretty and practical.
Exactly what it claims to be:
A delicious, properly aged, old-school Bourbon with a solid provenance and nothing to hide.
Oh, and guess what, we are not the only ones to say it’s good…
“This spirit offers multifarious flavors highlighted by maple syrup, coconut, cloves, and dark fruit.”
- Dan Dunn, Robb Report
"Quite a lot going on in the nose--caramel popcorn, baked apples, vanilla cream. These continue on the palate with added toasted cereal, spiced maple, and a char smoke ring on the finish. Water isn't necessary here, but if you'd like to add a few cool drops, it will tame the sweetness just a bit. A fine sipper with a spiced lengthy finish."
-Stephanie Moreno, Distiller.com