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Fred Minnick

Bourbon Authority Fred Minnick: Special Guest at Indy’s Premier Bourbon Celebration

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Spirits can be more complicated than one thinks. Think your an expert on all thing Bourbon and Whisky? You might be mistaken. When it comes to the history and ability to understand and articulate the vast range of flavors in an array of different spirits, you have to be more than an expert. You have to live spirits and that’s just what Fred Minnick does.

He is a storyteller, and the history of American spirits has many, many stories to tell. Bourbon, in particular, is embedded into American history. The families names that helped create that history are the same families whose names down the labels of the bourbons we drink, and who make up the pages of the books that Fred writes, and we enjoy. Fred a gifted writer who loves to tell the stories and the history behind the spirits we drink, and he just so happens to also have an an impeccable palate (& eye), who through his words can allow you to experience what he is experiencing, and allow you to feel like you just shared the experience with him.

Fred is a Wall-Street Journal Best Selling Author. He has written Bourbon Women, Bourbon Curious, Bourbon: The Rise, Fall & Rebirth of An American Whisky and Rum Curious. But wait, there’s more! Fred writes for Covey Rise, Whisky Advocate and Whisky Magazine. He is also the Bourbon Authority for the Kentucky Derby Museum and he regularly appears on CBS This Morning, Esquire, Forbes, and NPR.

Fred Minnick

Fred Minnick

Fred Minnick






We’re extremely excited to have Fred Minnick join the Indiana Historical Society and us at Indy’s Premier Bourbon Celebration in February. Join us for an extraordinary night of bourbon tasting and learn more about the fine art and nuances of distilling and more. Get your tickets here. Samplings and silent auction end at 9:30 p.m.

Participating Distilleries: Fred Minnick
Buffalo Trace
Beam Suntory
Jesse James Distillery
Old Forester & Woodford
Heaven Hill
Angel’s Envy
502 Winery
Wild Turkey
Jim Beam
Maker’s Mark
Jefferson’s Bourbon


Welcome, 2018! Bring on the Bubbly!

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Let your New Year’s Eve be full of laughter and champagne, as it should be! Champagne, Bubbly, Sparkling Wine, whatever you want to call it has been the drink of celebration dating back to the 16th century! Champagne visually and symbolically represents the overflow of abundance and joy.

So, is New Year’s even a thing if you aren’t drinking a glass of bubbly?? Payless Liquors says no. Whether you’re spending the whole night out at the bars, having a house party, or a quiet night with a couple people, champagne cocktails are the ideal way to ring in a new year.

Here are two quick and easy champagne cocktail recipes that will entrance all your co-partiers.

Classic Champagne Cocktail:bubbly

The classic champagne cocktail has been raved about. It’s a solid choice if you’re worried about making something that everyone likes.

  1. Place ¾ teaspoon sugar into the bottom of a champagne flute
  2. Top with about 8 shakes of Angostura bitters.
  3. Add Champagne until full
  4. garnish with a lemon peel

Unicorn Mimosa

The Unicorn Mimosa is the route you want to go if you’re looking for something more fun. This cocktail radiates New Years with its Sparkling Rim.

  1. Dip Champagne flute into water
  2. Rim glass with edible glitter.
  3. Add three scoops sherbet
  4. Add 1 ½ ounces vodka
  5. 1 ½ ounces champagne
  6. garnish with rock candy

If you don’t know what champagne you want to use in your Bubbly New Year’s Cocktail, here’s a quick guide on how to pick out the best bubbly.

Christmas Day Locations

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Payless Liquors Open on Christmas

If Christmas Day comes and you realize you’re gonna need something strong to deal with all the Christmas Chaos, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. There will be 10 Payless Locations open on December 25th! See Below:

Christmas Day Locations



2017 Antique Collection Right to Purchase Lottery

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antique collection

The Ultimate Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year Set Right to Purchase Contest

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Pappy Raffle
We have the Ultimate Pappy 23 Year Set! Only the most careful and expensive distilling method can be used to create a whiskey as special as this one. These barrels were carefully selected from the heart of the warehouse for an added three years of aging.
This set includes 1 bottle of  Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23-year and 1, 23-year barrel head signed by Julian Van Winkle III himself!
Enter to win the right to purchase this rare set by answering the following question correctly: How many gallons of bourbon is lost in making 3 gallons of 23-year Pappy?


Jameson Caskmates IPA

Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition | When Two Great Worlds Collide

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Jameson is quite a favored choice in Indiana as it was listed as the most popular choice amongst Hoosiers compared to other Whiskey brands. We’re getting Hoosiers will go just as wild for their Caskmates IPA edition.

Jameson had an epiphany to combine their loved signature flavor with that of Irish Pale Ale and that’s how they came up with their caskmates series. Jameson Caskmates IPA is the 2nd edition in Jameson’s line of whiskeys aged in former beer casks.Jameson caskmates ipa

Jameson has successfully partnered with breweries in the past and had an inclination that a Zesty Irish Pale Ale was just what they needed in 2017. They loaned their barrels to Franciscan Well Brewery to soak in beer and what they got back were barrels full of crisp and hoppy notes, where they were then resoaked in Jameson.

The final product holds true to the signature Jameson flavor we Hoosiers know and love while adding light hints of hops, fresh citrus, and floral notes. Bottled at 40 ABV, this whiskey is comprised of both single malts and single grains from many different distilleries.

Nose: Floral, herbal hops, grapefruit, citrus notes with subtle orchard fruits, complemented by wood shavings and a little nuttiness.

Taste: Hops and light citrus with sweet herbal notes and delicate spicy tones.

Finish: The lingering fresh fruit and hopes give way to grains of barley and a signature smooth finish.

“The expression picks up the best parts of an IPA. Has the juicy quality of a New England IPA. A lot of orange and citrus, almost like an orange creamsicle.” 

The other blend in their Caskmates series is aged in stout barrels. All we have to say is, there’s a reason that Jameson is the worlds #1 selling Irish Whiskey and when you combine two great products you get something even more spectacular. Say hello to Jameson’s Caskmates IPA Edition. Cheers!

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine: A Party in a Jar

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There are more ways to get high-quality moonshine than that local guy at the bar in the middle of nowhere. Believe me when I say that, i’ve come across moonshiners in country bars that make and sell it out of there home. Thanks to Ole Smokey Distillery getting your hands on the authentic stuff is as easy as heading to your local Payless!

Ole Smoky was actually the first licensed distilleries in East Tennessee, and is now one of the most frequented tourist spots in the Smoky Ole Smoky MoonshineMountains. When it comes to moonshine, there’s a plethora of flavors to choose from. Ole smoky produces a wide variety of different flavors and proofs. Some of their most popular products include: Original Moonshine (100 Proof), White Lightnin (100 Proof), Moonshine Cherries (100 Proof), and Apple Pie Moonshine (40 Proof). You can view a complete list of their flavors and proofs here.

The Original Moonshine is for those wanting the authentic moonshine experience. This product is a combination of 80% corn and a top-secret ingredient. The result is a high-octane and extremely bold flavored moonshine! Some of the flavored Ole Smoky products make for great cocktails and they even shared a list of recipes on their site for inspiration.

We are offering a number of Ole Smoky tastings across various locations in Indianapolis through December. Be sure to check out our events calendar to find the most convenient location for you! And, there’s another thing we are extremely excited about and thats Moonshine Minis! If you aren’t sure what flavor is for you, you can pick up a few different 50mL jars to decide. Moonshine Minis also make the best stocking stuffers and gifts for co-workers and bosses. Go on now, get yourself a Party in a Jar!

“If you are looking for moonshine that tastes great, but is capable of sterilizing hospital equipment, you need Ole Smoky in your life.” 


Johnnie Walker

Get a Taste of the Future with Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut

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Johnnie Walker is home to exceptional Scotch Whiskies in the present and is now tapping into the future with their limited edition Black Label The Director’s Cut. Seriously though. But how could one create a whisky of the future in the present you ask? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

You could also call this whisky Johnnie Walker Blade Runner due to its roll in the new movie Blade Runner 2049. In fact Blade Runner 2049 is the whole premise around the creation of this overly exception whisky by master blender Jim Beverage in collaboration with the visionary filmmaker Denis Villeneuve.

Johnnie Walker








Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut is compromised of over 30 different malt and grain whiskies. Futuristic products are adaptations of what we have now, and combining as much as 30 whiskies together to create a new one is certainly a thing of the whiskey future. It is honestly amazing that so many different recipes could come together to create such a smooth and delectable taste.

This limited edition scotch whisky presented in a futuristic bottle takes the original trademark of smokiness and exceeds  it with a contemporary twist of sweet fruity and vanilla flavors. This Whisky appears yellow and is bottled at 49% ABV.

Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker





Nose: It has a uniformly pleasant scent of marshmallow, honey, and crisp red apple followed by golden raisins and figs, finished off with subtle notes of green tea.

Palate: You can definitely taste more than you can in the original. It goes down very smooth with tastes of leather, himalayan salt, spice, black pepper, black tea, cotton candy, powdered cocoa, taro root, caramel, dates, golden raisins and a slightly bitter note of chicory.

Finish: The finish is medium in length, with pleasant lingering flavors of black pepper, oak tanin, coal lla peat and chicory. “A spicy tingle that lasts the death.

Now that you’re hooked on this futuristic whisky, it doesn’t stop there. You can make the Penicillin 2049 at home! This is a futuristic twist on a classic cocktail, using ultrasound technology to create a sensory cloud of ginger essence.

  1. Pour 40mL of Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add 30mL clarified lemon juice and 30mL of honey syrup.
  3. Shake Well
  4. Strain contents over large cold draft ice cube in a rocks glass.
  5. Garnish with a slice of fresh ginger.

Cheers to the future and exceptional whisky! 


Blade and Bow

Blade and Bow Bourbon: Commitment to Craftsmanship and Artistry

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What the key to a great anything? A true commitment to craftsmanship and artistry. That’s what Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is all about. The story of this bourbon is one you’ll have to pull up a chair for. Are you ready to unlock the secrets of this iconic bourbon?

Stitzel-Weller Distillery

Blade and Bow is manufactured under the Diageo umbrealla. Diageo dedicated this bourbon to the craftsmanship of the historic Stitzel-weller Distillery, where Blade and Bow is aged and non-traditionally blended and partially distilled from. The Stitzel-Weller Distillery encompasses a lot of bourbon history. In fact, this is the site where legendary Julian (Pappy) Van Winkle made his mark.

Stitzel-Weller was originally owned by the company that owned and operated Guinness, United Distillers. They shut the distillery down in 1992. Eventually Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo and Diageo reopened the facility in 2014 to keep it’s legend alive. Each bottle of Blade and Bow contains actual distilling history of Stitzel-Weller.

Blade and Bow

Solera Style Aging System

At the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, Blade and Bow uses a unique solera style aging system. Another name for this process is fractional blending. This aging involves a pyramid or tier system of barrels that always feed to the bottom barrels.

Blade and Bow is made using a five barrel solera system. The bottom or #5 barrel contains some original bourbon distilled in the early 90s. They say the trick is to never dump more than half of the barrel. So when barrel #5 is dumped for bottling, barrel # 4 is used to refill barrel #5. Then barrel #3 fills up #4 and so on until barrel #1 is used to fill barrel #2. That’s when a whiskey that is not currently in the system is used to fill barrel #1.

Diageo says all of the bourbon used to produce Blade and Bow is at least 6 years old.

The Five Key Symbol

The true symbol of Blade and Bow, from its name to is bottle, is a key. Blade and BowThis bourbon was named after the anatomy of a key. Blade refers to the long section and Bow is the end or ornamental part. Originating from Stitzel-Weller is their five key symbol, which always had a strong presence at the distillery.

The five key symbol stands for the five steps of making bourbon: grain, yeast, fermentation, distillation, and aging.

The design of the Blade and Bow bottle encompasses the five key ways of doing things. with six sides, five are dedicated to the bourbon making process and one is left for labeling.

Tasting Notes

Nose: You can easily identify the grain, oak, and dominating vanilla aromas. There are small hints of toasted coconut and “alcohol punch”.

Taste: The first thing one notices is a sweetness described as vanilla fudge and coconut macaroon. Then you’ll taste secondary notes of cinnamon and baking spices. But wait, thats not all. As the dominating flavors subside, you’re left with flavors of oak, toasted almonds, apricot preserves. Peppermint and milk chocolate also appear.

Finish: Despite the intense taste, the finish is short and abrupt.

An expert review on said, “This bourbon packs a surprising amount of flavor into an approachable and easy drinking whiskey.”

You can taste Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey at our Holiday Tasting Saturday, November 4th between 1:00 and 4:00pm! 14580 River Road, Carmel, IN 46033. 



Corazon Blanco

Corazon Blanco Artisanal Edition

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Did you know that not all tequilas are genuine tequila? In order to be considered genuine, a tequila must be made with 51% blue agave juice. There are many tequilas out there that aren’t truly genuine. Take Jose Cuervo for example, only contains the bare minimum, 51% agave.

The best tequilas are 100% blue agave, and that’s Corazon Blanco Artisinal Edition. If you actually do get your hands on a bottle of this, you’ll be a lucky one! There were only 60 bottles produced!Corazon Blanco

Corazon has been releasing its Expression Del Corazon, and Blanco Artisinal Edition is the second expression released. Made with 100% blue Weber agave with its Brix (sugar content) measured before harvest, instead of traditional clear cut.

This expression rested for 60 days in stainless steel bins. It is usually unaged, and bottled straight after distillation at 80 proof. But, the technicalities aren’t the best part of this premium, limited-edition tequila, the flavor profile is.

Nose: Cooked Agave, Herbal citrus, Aniseed and unique notes of Green Apple.

Taste: Sweet, soft mint, eucalyptus, with a slight tang and an impressive agave bite.

Finish: Long, lingering, and smooth.

There really is nothing quite like the tastes of nature and that’s what is so special about this artisanal tequila. The smooth and fresh flavor profile that ranges all the way from sweet to dry and spicy. I mean really think about it. Have you ever had a tequila that you would describe as sweet?

To all tequila enthusiasts out there, this might as well be a collectible. A bottle you save for that perfect occasion and enjoy like no other tequila.

Interested in trying to find a bottle for yourself? You can fill out a request here. Cheers!

Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength

Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength

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If you’re familiar with Bulleit Frontier Whiskeys than you know how great of an Old Fashioned it makes. This bourbon is made from a unique blend of rye, corn, and barley malt with special strains of yeast and pure Kentucky limestone-filtered water. This already delectable bourbon was made even better for those who like it a little stronger. Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength is indeed a real thing and “it’s not for the faint of bourbon heart”.

Bet you didn’t know that this barrel proof bourbon scored a gold medal at a San Francisco Spirit Competition. So, if you can’t take our word for it how impressive this bourbon is then that alone should do it. “Out of the barrel, uncut and unfiltered, this whiskey delivers unrivaled boldness and complexity.”

When creating Bulleit Barrel Strength they emptied and combined select barrels into a single batch. There was no additional water put in after the whiskey was removed from the barrels. So you certainly don’t have to worry about if this whiskey is watered down or not. It’s tough stuff.

Packaged in the iconic Bulleit bottle and medium-amber in color, Bulleit barrel strength comes with gentle spiciness and sweet oak aromas. The proof ranges at a high 118 to 125. For as strong as this bourbon is, it comes off comfortable and not too strong.

NOSE: The nose is mostly compromised of pepper and cinnamon with subtle hints of vanilla and caramel interwoven within. Some can taste subtle and sweet flavors like butterscotch and custard.

TASTE: The barrel strength bourbon lets you taste flavors that don’t stand out in the regular bourbon. The same flavors of pepper, oak, and spicy cinnamon are still there; however, other fruity flavors also show up.

FINISH: It starts hot than calms down into a long creamy dry finish. You would expect extra proof points would add roughness, but here it just pulls out the spice and flavor ultimately making this a very enjoyable whiskey.

Bulleit Barrel Strenght Bourbon was only sold in Kentucky for a while and is just making its way out of its distillery zone. If you’re a bourbon buff or if an Old Fashioned is your go to, this is something you should try. Pick up a bottle at your local payless or order it next time you’re at the bar to start your night. Cheers!

Maker's Mark Private Selection

Our Hand-Picked Maker’s Mark Private Selection for 2016 vs. 2017

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As with any good competition, a proper kickoff is needed.  This competition, however, unlike most, ends up giving us 2 clear winners and leaves us with no losers!  This competition is between 2 All-Star performers, both brought to you via Maker’s Mark, and exclusively selected by the bourbon experts at Payless Liquor’s is their hand-picked 2016 Maker’s Mark Private Selection vs. 2017 Maker’s Mark Private Selection.  To best understand the results, one must first understand the details that went into the construction of the two competitors.

Maker’s Mark started their tradition of excellence in bourbon back in 1958. The Samuels’ family wanted to get into the bourbon-making business, but they wanted to offer something a bit different than the rest.  In doing so they chose a wheated bourbon recipe, offering a softer and sweeter pallet them many of the rye-based bourbons of the time.  Maker’s has made the same recipe without any variation (other than special higher proof options) until 2010 when Bill Samuels Jr. introduced Maker’s 46.  This version of Maker’s kept the same family recipe so important to Bill but introduced a different aging process than anyone else in the industry by adding wooden staves to the barrels.  The genius behind adding the staves is that because there are no “unnatural” agents being added to achieve these flavors, it does not jeopardize its status as being a “true bourbon” by definition.  In choosing French Oak staves, Bill was able to find just the right wood to amplify the baking spice flavors already existing in Maker’s bourbon. Ultimately, Bill settled on adding 10 French Oak staves Maker’s cask strength, aging them for an additional 9 week to achieve the desired taste profile. One drawback to choosing French Oak is that exposure to temperatures over 60 degrees draws out too much-unwanted flavors from the wood, limiting the making of this bourbon to the months of October through February.  It is for this reason that Maker’s Mark is constructing a state-of-the-art underground aging facility to allow them to maintain a 50-degree average aging temperature, and also allow them to keep up with the ever-growing demand for these new expressions.

As the desire for “Private Selections” by those in the bourbon industry grew, Maker’s knew it did not want to do the traditional “Barrel Selections” that others were offering, in large part due to Maker’s focus on consistency there would be little to no determinable variations for them to choose from.  What they decided they could do is use the knowledge gained in their research in the making of their Maker’s 46 to offer consumers what no one else could.  After reviewing their research, four additional woods were identified as adding their own unique twist to the aging process, giving customers 5 wood options to mix and match the 10 staves with to allow buyers to customize their selections like no other bourbon in the industry can.  Here is a quick description of each of these options:

 1) Maker’s 46 (French Oak):  Spice, vanilla, dry finish, most balanced.

     2) Seared French Cuvee:  Caramel, butterscotch, nuttiness, slightly sweet, creamy finish.

     3) Roasted French Mocha:  Dark chocolate, coffee, soft char, growing sweetness, long dry finish.

     4) Toasted French Spice:  Fruit, complex spice, cinnamon, soft smoke, sharp finish.

     5) Baked American Pure 2 (P2):  Intense oak, vanilla, sweetened wood, sharp flavor.

Now that we know what makes up the taste profile, let us look at the combinations of these 2 “competitors”. By looking at the combination of the staves, and what we know each brings to the profile, as you might conclude the 2016 is a softer, more subtle profile, while the 2017 selection brings more sharpness and spice to the party.

-2016 Private Selection (110.7 proof):  3 Cuvee, 4 Mocha, 2 Toasted, 1 Pure

NoseSoft sweet caramel, hints of vanilla, roasted nuts, with subtle milk chocolate at the end.

TasteChocolate jumps out front, sweetness exists but doesn’t overtake, soft baking spice, caramel enters late.

Finish Chocolate remains dominate, dark coffee enters, ushering in a lingering but dry finish to overtake at the end.

Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark








-2017 Private Selection (100.8 proof):  2 Makers 46, 2 Cuvee, 3 Mocha, 2 Toasted, 1 Pure

Nose:   Sweet wood, red fruit, with baking spices entering strongly at the end.

TasteVanilla, hints of caramel, notes of sweetness follow before sharp oak and spice take over the mid pallet.

FinishSweet wood, caramel apple, cinnamon,& dark chocolate joining more spice for a medium, slightly dry finish. 

Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark








While I very much enjoy both selections, my taste pallet takes me to the 2017 Private Selection.

For me, it has the sharp, bright spice I like in a bourbon. To be perfectly honest, I was never a “Maker’s Guy” until I first tried the Maker’s 46.  (That is the product that brought me on board with this great brand!)

I can see the 2016 Private Selection being favored by newer bourbon drinkers or those who want a softer entry that the original Maker’s provides, while the 2017 selection being the choice of those who are fans of more spice that the Maker’s 46 offers.

I summary I have a confession to make…  I have become a HUGE fan of all the Maker’s Mark Private Selections!

For someone who never had Maker’s on my bourbon radar until l recently, I have enjoyed more variances of Maker’s Mark Private Selections then any other bourbon line over the past year.  (And the Payless options rule the roost of those selections!)  I love the fact that I can track the combinations I enjoy, and because I know the consistency that Maker’s offers, I know I can find the flavor I desire again, unlike with other Single Barrel options that can never again be duplicated.