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OscarV
07-16-2009, 13:01
I tried to put this in the "Industry News" area but was not allowed.
This is the next best area.

I read on the Chuck Cowdery Blog that Brown-Forman is now offering tours at their barrel making operation.
This is really different compared to Independent Stave. They seem secretive from what I hear.

But anyway below is a thumbnail of a PR photo that I snatached from Chuck's blog.
It shows four new barrels with different logos of the bourbons they produce.
I have a question.
Why do they have the Early Times logo on a brand new barrel?
Shouldn't they have that logo stenciled over an Old Forester logo on a used barrel?
And what about that Canaian Mist?
They don't use new barrels, do they?

bourbonv
07-16-2009, 13:50
Chris Morris has told me that only about 25% of the cooperage in Early Times is used cooperage. They use a lot of bourbon in the product and of course they have the overseas market for Early Times Bourbon.

Mike Veach

jburlowski
07-16-2009, 16:50
Joan and I are doing the cooperage tour next Friday (the 24th). I'll report back on what we experience.

mobourbon
07-16-2009, 19:40
Myself and some others toured the B-F coopersge a few weeks ago. It's a great tour! You see everything but the barrel toasting. It's well worth the time.

smokinjoe
07-16-2009, 23:26
Chris Morris has told me that only about 25% of the cooperage in Early Times is used cooperage. They use a lot of bourbon in the product and of course they have the overseas market for Early Times Bourbon.

Mike Veach

Interesting. That could mean a lot of things. Does it mean that 75% of Distillate destined for Early Times is for the bourbon that goes export only? Or, does that imply that at least some of the domestic Early Times could, in fact, be called KSBW? Or, is there something else that can be deduced?

bourbonv
07-17-2009, 09:29
What it means is that only about 40% of the whiskey in the Early Times bottle is from used cooperage, but since if even one drop is from used cooperage it can't be called bourbon, you have Early Times Kentucky Style Whiskey instead. Before 1938 it would have been called "Bourbon" even in its present form.

Early Times Bourbon does have a good overseas market as well, so they make a lot of Early Times Bourbon and the Kentucky Whiskey has Bourbon as old as nine or ten years old in it, but because the youngest is only three years old, that is the age statement.

Mike Veach

OscarV
07-17-2009, 12:09
the Kentucky Whiskey has Bourbon as old as nine or ten years old in it, but because the youngest is only three years old, that is the age statement.

Mike Veach


OK that does it, I'm going to get some Early Times.
I've never had it.

Josh
07-17-2009, 12:15
OK that does it, I'm going to get some Early Times.
I've never had it.

It's not terrible, but it's very light even for an 80 proofer. It does come in plastic travellers though, so dropping it isn't an issue.

bourbonv
07-17-2009, 12:47
I prefer it to Jim Beam White. It is very light without a lot of depth of flavor, but very palatable.

Mike Veach

gblick
07-17-2009, 14:16
I had an Early Times & Coke in a bowling alley once, and I thought it was good.

jburlowski
07-18-2009, 11:44
I had an Early Times & Coke in a bowling alley once, and I thought it was good.

Which, the Early Times or the Coke?

edo
07-19-2009, 05:54
I'm drinking Early Times Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky as I type. This one is the yellow label. They also sell brown label sometimes for a couple bucks more. The labels are identical except in color. I like them both. A lot! I've tried them side by side and maybe the brown label is a little older.

I think I'll pour another. :grin:

Cheers!

btw: the whisky isn't a typo. it's the way its spelled on the bottle.

cowdery
07-19-2009, 11:53
Up until a few years ago, Blue Grass Cooperage played down the fact that it was owned by Brown-Forman, as it regularly sold barrels to other distillers. Then, mostly due to the growth of Jack Daniel's, they stopped selling to others and devoted their production entirely to their own brands. Changing the name to the corporate name and touting, rather than hiding, the brands that use its barrels was a natural next step. Part of the efficiency is having ample places to use their used barrels. Daniel's, Woodford, Forester and 4/5 of ET use new barrels. Those barrels then go to Mist, Herradura, Appleton, Korbel Brandy and 1/5 of ET.

They also put a tiny amount of bourbon into Southern Comfort.

That change also explains why it makes sense for them to give tours, as it's a way to promote their many brands. Maybe you go there to see where the barrels for Jack Daniel's are made, but you get a subtle pitch for all of their other products.

gblick
07-19-2009, 12:35
Which, the Early Times or the Coke?The combination of both. I didn't even know until much later that the Early times was just a blend.

bourbonv
07-19-2009, 12:58
Early Times is not a blend. They just make some with used cooperage so they can not call it bourbon. It is Kentucky Style Whiskey, which maens 100 years ago, they could have called it bourbon.

Mike Veach

TBoner
07-19-2009, 13:03
Before I knew anything about whiskey, I remember having some Early Times on hand. I liked it better than blends, though I couldn't have said why except that it had more flavor. I haven't had any in some time, but I'm curious now. I like to keep an 80-proofer on hand for my mother-in-law and for football season, when I can drink a few without much effect. My standbys for this are AA and EWBL (yes, 86 proof, but still...). The B-F flavor is one I like, and is a bit less sweet than BT bourbon and a bit less corn oily than HH juice. I guess I need to give ET a whirl again.

Regards,
Tim

Bourbon Geek
07-19-2009, 13:41
They also put a tiny amount of bourbon into Southern Comfort.

Last time I had anything to do with Southern Comfort, there was not even a smidge of bourbon in it. They would like you to believe it is so ... but Southern Comfort is a cordial. It doesn't even belong on the shelf with the bourbons ... yet that's almost always where you find it.

Not only did they change the name of the cooperage, they also changed the name of the distillery where ET and OF are made ... also to reflect a more corporate image.

callmeox
07-19-2009, 13:53
Last time I had anything to do with Southern Comfort, there was not even a smidge of bourbon in it. They would like you to believe it is so ... but Southern Comfort is a cordial. It doesn't even belong on the shelf with the bourbons ... yet that's almost always where you find it.

Not only did they change the name of the cooperage, they also changed the name of the distillery where ET and OF are made ... also to reflect a more corporate image.

This is probably for another thread, but...

Not to initiate a "me too" response, but I thought read that So Co was switched to a rum base. I've searched for that reference, but I've been unable to find it.

I believe that the marketing materials refer to a whiskey or bourbon taste, but not whiskey/bourbon component.

gblick
07-19-2009, 16:41
Early Times is not a blend. They just make some with used cooperage so they can not call it bourbon. It is Kentucky Style Whiskey, which maens 100 years ago, they could have called it bourbon.

Mike VeachThanks for the clarification, for some reason I gathered that it was a blend.

Speaking of Southern Comfort, is the Reserve any good? It states that it's made with some 6yo bourbon in it.

cowdery
07-19-2009, 19:40
Last time I had anything to do with Southern Comfort, there was not even a smidge of bourbon in it.

Same here. When BF bought it in 1979 there wasn't any bourbon in it, nor the whole time I worked on the brand from shortly after they bought it until 1986. Now it does contain a little bit. I'm not sure why they bother, since they don't tout it on the bottle, but they do.

Maybe it was easier to just put bourbon in it than it would have been to get the salespeople to stop saying it has bourbon in it. Maybe that was the price they felt they had to pay to keep it in the whiskey section.

Authoritative books used to say SoCo is a combination of bourbon and apricot brandy. It never was. As a liqueur, it's GNS, sweetener and a fruit flavoring concentrate that is primarily apricot, plus a dollop of bourbon. Shake well and serve.

TBoner
07-21-2009, 17:38
Picked up a bottle of ET today out of curiosity. It tastes, no surprise, like bourbon. It is light, but that is mostly owing to its proof, I think. It's clearly got young whiskey in it, but interestingly, corn oil is balanced by a rye snappiness that I've gotten in some of the better Canadian whiskeys I've had (read: Lot 40). It has excellent balance and a good creme brulee thing going from light char and vanilla it has picked up in the barrel. I believe it will do well as a "display" whiskey in vattings, and it will be excellent mixed with Coke or consumed, as I had hoped when I bought it, in a session while watching football. Nothing to contemplate too deeply, but much better than most things in its price/proof range, at least among whiskeys available here.

Regards,

jburlowski
07-26-2009, 17:38
Joan and I took the cooperage tour last Friday. Just the two of us and the general manager. Fascinating and highly-recommended for those of you who haven't had the chance to see a working cooperage.