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hectic1
04-06-2010, 14:00
We were discussing the other night in chat how certain bottlings can be so dark while others at the same age are a couple shades lighter. I took some pictures to illustrate how different it really is...from left to right Pappy 15, OWA 03, OWA 99, WRMCSO which is some of the darkest stuff I've seen to date. It's amazing that the OWA 99 is pretty much the same color as the WRMCSO.

fricky
04-06-2010, 14:05
Is it not likely that the darker bottles contained older whiskey. The age statement is the yougest age of the bourbon in the batch. There could be considerably older barrels in the batch.

bourbonv
04-06-2010, 14:49
Higher proof will make for darker bourbon as well.
Mike Veach

hectic1
04-06-2010, 14:55
Higher proof will make for darker bourbon as well.
Mike Veach
I agree Mike but Pappy 15 is 107, OWA 2003 is 107, and OWA 1999 is 107 proof so that thought really doesn't work in this instance. I guess I was more or less just try to show that different bottlings of the same age or older age bourbon can have a very different color to it. I'm really amazed at how dark the 99 OWA is...that's how this whole conversation got going.:cool:

fricky
04-07-2010, 06:40
What do you believe causes color differences in bourbon with similar proof?

cowdery
04-07-2010, 10:35
Color is a function of absorption and absorption can vary with barrel location as well as with age. Also, although they try to make them as uniform as possible, barrels vary in terms of their content of the various soluble compounds, including the ones responsible for coloring whiskey. This plus, as Fricky said, an age statement doesn't really tell you know old the whiskey is, just how old the youngest whiskey in the blend is. Whiskeys are blended primarily for taste and aroma, not appearance. This is why, in Scotland, they permit the addition of spirit caramel, so you don't have variation within a line. Since American producers can't add coloring, you get variations in appearance.

bourbonv
04-07-2010, 11:00
There are two factors in bourbons of similar proof. The first is the presence of different aged whiskey and the second is the amount of filtering done to the final product.
Mike Veach

cowdery
04-07-2010, 11:04
Right, pre-bottling processing, including filtering, would be another factor, although that should be the same within a particular line.

jburlowski
04-07-2010, 14:47
What about char level? Or entry proof?

cowdery
04-07-2010, 15:31
In the original post, all of the examples were Buffalo Trace wheated bourbon. Like filtering, char level and entry proof would be consistent across a line but, yes, both char level and entry proof would have an effect on color.

Dramiel McHinson
04-07-2010, 17:27
Would it be correct to say those components in the whiskey that give it color also give it a particular taste? Would darker whiskeys of the same brand taste differently? I ask, because I definitely notice the broad range of colors but I've never considered using color as a factor in what I buy. Maybe I should.

ErichPryde
04-07-2010, 17:51
Would it be correct to say those components in the whiskey that give it color also give it a particular taste? Would darker whiskeys of the same brand taste differently? I ask, because I definitely notice the broad range of colors but I've never considered using color as a factor in what I buy. Maybe I should.

If the color is a result of the amount of absorption from the barrel, a darker whiskey would (or should) have more of the sugars from the red layer.

nblair
04-07-2010, 18:56
I definitely notice the broad range of colors but I've never considered using color as a factor in what I buy. Maybe I should.

I obviously haven't been here as long as others, but I used this once and it worked to my advantage. It was a Black Maple Hill I spotted in Louisville. I contemplated picking it up because I knew the older bottlings were good. The NAS should of given it away, but the color is what sold me on it, it was really really light. I got home and looked it up online and found out it was garbage.

Color obviously doesn't tell you whether or not a bourbon is flat out good vs. bad, but I think that it can be a good indicator based on the age, proof, filtering comments from Mike, Chuck, and others in this thread.

cowdery
04-08-2010, 11:55
Color comes out faster than flavor, so looks can be deceiving. There certainly is a relationship between color and flavor, but it's not straight line. At least with American straights, since added coloring is prohibited, color means something, whereas with scotch it doesn't.

T Comp
04-08-2010, 20:32
This has been a wonderfully informative thread. I was also recently curious over the stark color difference between an Elmer T. Lee and Weller Antique, with both around the 7 year mark, even considering the abv differential. Now I know.

ggilbertva
04-09-2010, 08:49
Agree, interesting thread. I've got numerous bottlings of Old Fitz BIB from SW and it's surprising that the color can vary between bottles. I have one handle from the late 70's that's as dark as a pot of coffee. I have a bottle of Fitz Prime that's darker than some of the BIB's. I can only chalk it up to age as many of these bottles span glut years.