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View Full Version : I've Been Under A Misconception...



libertybar
07-29-2010, 21:18
...for a long, long time.

I had thought that for a spirit to be called 'bourbon', it has to be aged at least two years under all of the stipulations that we all know...

BUT, under the actual law - it need not be aged at all. So - in effect - White Dog that follows all of the rules is bourbon...

BUT, part of the rule states, "Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel). [1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbon_whiskey#cite_note-cfrb1i-0)", yet...it need not be aged at all. Is that not odd?

Here's the actual law (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cgi?YEAR=current&TITLE=27&PART=5&SECTION=22&SUBPART=&TYPE=TEXT).

So, it says that bourbon must be aged, but then there's no age statement...so...if it must be aged, for how long? One hour?

Hmm.

DeanSheen
07-29-2010, 21:35
That looks like the Laverne L.

sku
07-29-2010, 23:07
Pursuant to the regs, Bourbon must be "stored" in charred, new oak containers. There is no specific length of time set out for the storage. Thus, technically, if you dump it into a cask and then dump it out, its Bourbon (assuming it meets all of the other requirements).

Straight Bourbon must be aged for two years.

nor02lei
07-30-2010, 01:02
How about the place of the pre aging production. Dave Pickerel did bottle a 10 years rye distilled in Canada (or at least I think it was) recently and labelled it as a straight rye. Isnít it supposed to bee made in USA? Or was that one sold as a Canadian straight rye?

Leif

sku
07-30-2010, 06:35
How about the place of the pre aging production. Dave Pickerel did bottle a 10 years rye distilled in Canada (or at least I think it was) recently and labelled it as a straight rye. Isnít it supposed to bee made in USA? Or was that one sold as a Canadian straight rye?

Leif


According to the regs, Rye Whiskey can be produced in another country as long as the label lists where it was produced (and WhistlePig does say on the label that it was made in Canada). Bourbon, however, may only be produced in the US.

dgonano
07-30-2010, 06:51
If you read the law correctly you should notice that "bourbon" is a "whiskey". To be called "whiskey" the distillate must be stored in oak containers. Thus "white dog" is not bourbon until barrel entry.

Gillman
07-30-2010, 07:44
The key concept here is bourbon if aged less than 2 years, must still be stored in new charred barrels, but no time is specified. The idea I think is, it should be long enough to confer some character on it from the storage. Even a few months aging will do this, as we see from Tuthilltown's bourbons. Whether pouring into and out of a charred cask is long enough is something I am not sure of. I think we see in this rule (or lack of a fully defined one) the roots of bourbon's development. In the mid-1800's, whiskey aged a year or 18 months was an aged product, it was bourbon. So the law still recognizes this, but to earn the straight adjective, bourbon must be aged at least two years - that must have been viewed as the cut-off for a fully matured product (although today we would not generally think of it in these terms). But it may well be you can pour in and out, there may be an argument there or one recognized by the people who approve these things.

Gary

bourbonv
07-30-2010, 08:09
The spirit has to enter the barrel to call it bourbon. It also has to be a brand new, charred barrel, so if you dumped the bourbon after a few minutes, you could call it bourbon, but you just wasted a new barrel because I doubt that any Scotch or Canadian distiller would be interested in a barrel that was not new and yet had no advantages of having aged some bourbon in it.

Two years was considered mature bourbon in the 19th century when barrel proof was 100 proof and the barrel characteristics were imparted on the bourbon at a faster rate. It is also important to remember that the barrel was the main package for the sale of bourbon in the 19th century so even if you purchased a barrel of 2yo for you bar, it would continue to age in your possession.

Mike Veach

pepcycle
07-30-2010, 08:41
So, How do we plug that hole?
Do we need to?

I hate to stifle the creative spirit of distillers but don't want White Dog being called Bourbon.

Do we need to request that less than 2yrs have age statement?

Do we need a minimum color or congener content?

sku
07-30-2010, 09:18
So, How do we plug that hole?
Do we need to?

I hate to stifle the creative spirit of distillers but don't want White Dog being called Bourbon.

Do we need to request that less than 2yrs have age statement?

Age statements are already mandatory on whiskeys less than four years old.

cowdery
07-30-2010, 10:30
Age statements are already mandatory on whiskeys less than four years old.

I read the law that way too but in practice it seems that only straights are required to state an age if under four years old.

It's hard to know what was intended by a rule that says it must be stored in wood, without any duration being stated. In practice, people are doing the fill-and-dump thing to earn the right to use the words while intending that no wood character be conveyed. The recent bottling of rye whiskey at George Washington's distillery did this with a new charred oak barrel so they could use the term "rye whiskey," but as Dave Pickerell said, "you can afford to do that when you're selling it for $85 a pint."

Several micro distilleries have used a very brief stay in a used barrel to earn the right to call their product "whiskey." Death's Door, in Wisconsin, tanks the spirit in stainless steel for three months to let it oxidize, then lets it sit in a used barrel for a couple of days, strictly so they can call it whiskey.

Res/st-or
07-30-2010, 14:19
" Death's Door, in Wisconsin, tanks the spirit in stainless steel for three months to let it oxidize, then lets it sit in a used barrel for a couple of days, strictly so they can call it whiskey.

In there brochure it states that they use new oak barrels... That seems a waste to use new barrels that way.
http://www.deathsdoorspirits.com/images/brochure.pdf

cowdery
07-30-2010, 14:59
In there brochure it states that they use new oak barrels... That seems a waste to use new barrels that way.
http://www.deathsdoorspirits.com/images/brochure.pdf

People say lots of things on their web sites.

They may very well be using new barrels, but that would be a needless expense for what they're trying to do.

nor02lei
07-30-2010, 15:49
According to the regs, Rye Whiskey can be produced in another country as long as the label lists where it was produced (and WhistlePig does say on the label that it was made in Canada). Bourbon, however, may only be produced in the US.

Thanks Sku, I have missed that one.

Leif