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General questions or discussions about particular brands should be posted here.


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Old 10-30-2008, 02:53 AM   #1
Carbon
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Default How does cheap liquor differ from premium liquor?

What makes cheap, terrible spirits bad when compared with more expensive and higher quality ones?

I know with vodka, since it's a neutral spirit, often more times distilled and filtered is a good thing (although number of distillations is not always corollary with quality or smoothness). You can't get away with all this with other spirits like rum or whiskey, though, because you would lose most of the flavor, correct?

So what makes the difference? Is it a higher percentage of "bad" congeners like fusel alcohol or methanol that makes say Potter's or Monarch rum worse than more top-shelf stuff? Is it their likely brute force production process where I'm guessing the main goal is to produce and ship as much product as possible rather than the best product possible?

I read this, "The distiller will do this (remove impurities) by throwing out the first and last parts of what comes out of the still (known as the heads and tails)." I'm going to assume that the better brands do more of this while the bottom-shelf brands do this less.

Any insight on this from you guys in the know would be appreciated. I have a good idea of what alcohols are good and which one's aren't, but was curious why or what specifically makes one better than another.

A followup question would be, does cheap liquor give worse hangovers than premium ones because of more impurities? Also, would brandy or whiskey produce more hangovers than say vodka? *This is aside from the main effects that the ethanol itself has on a hangover.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:55 AM   #2
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I want to tackle the hangover part. I've never had one and I believe it's because I drink as much water during an extended drinking session as alcohol. Even before I go out on a night that we'll be hiiting it hard, I drink lots of water all day. Bad or good stuff has never given me a headache, nausea, sluggishness, etc. the following day. Viva the H2O!
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:49 AM   #3
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I'm talking the trash on the bottom of the shelf at the liquor store. Easily less than $10 for a 750mL. I gave a couple brand names in the original post that would be in that category.

Another example with brands more people might know would be to compare say Popov vodka to Hangar One vodka. There's your bargain spirit and premium one, respectively.

As for a hangover, yes dehydration is a big part so I try to drink a lot of water as well.
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:07 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by rumdog007 View Post
I want to tackle the hangover part. I've never had one and I believe it's because I drink as much water during an extended drinking session as alcohol. Even before I go out on a night that we'll be hiiting it hard, I drink lots of water all day. Bad or good stuff has never given me a headache, nausea, sluggishness, etc. the following day. Viva the H2O!
You just haven't drank enough mate.
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:11 AM   #5
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Spoken like a true Scandanavian!!!
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Count Silvio View Post
You just haven't drank enough mate.
Could be the case, Count! I tend to go "marathon" rather than "sprint" when I'm out for a good time. And, I'm, well, not little and have knocked down many a 750ml of 80 proof in 2 hours, or so. The alcohol to mass index meter swings in my advantage, nevertheless I was feeling no pain, could not drive, and was probably pretty slurred of speech as I regaled the bar with stories of why I dumped Angelina Jolie, BUT I was still on my feet. Truth is, I have never gone completely down and blacked out, even when the drinking went the rest of the night. Maybe, if I went overproof, really quickly, I could get pretty sick. But, I will stick with "The Wonders of Water" theory for now, at least.
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:02 PM   #7
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I prepared a long boring response, but after looking it over, I thought it would be wiser to ask a defining question.

When you say "cheap" - are you actually inquiring about "inferior"?

If not my response would be (in relative terms) - cheap doesn't always mean inferior - especially not with rum (yet).
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Old 10-30-2008, 02:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matusalem View Post
I prepared a long boring response, but after looking it over, I thought it would be wiser to ask a defining question.

When you say "cheap" - are you actually inquiring about "inferior"?

If not my response would be (in relative terms) - cheap doesn't always mean inferior - especially not with rum (yet).
One of the upsides to rum is that there is some quite smooth and tasty stuff at relatively low prices when compared with other spirits. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the crap that isn't even trying to be of any quality. In your average liquor store (in the US) it'll be pretty much the lowest priced bottles available. Again, this isn't restricted just to rum. I've mentioned some brands for reference already.

I await your posting of that long boring response.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:11 PM   #9
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Out here, any rum around $7.00 with a name that includes the words "Bay", or "Prestige", or "Island" AND is bottled in Mira Loma, CA would qualify.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Paulipbartender View Post
Spoken like a true Scandanavian!!!
I think we should include the brittish here, at least the Londonians.
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