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Doggerlander
10-15-2010, 15:36
Ralph at Tuthilltown has a post on ADI Forums entitled "IS IT WHISKEY?" in their forum "General Discusion". He says that BEAM BRANDS has applied for COLA approvals for their blended whiskeys with the use of cane neutral spirits derived from cane and molasses from the Virgin Islands. There is ambiguity in the regulations by the use of the phrase "neutral spirits" which is not specific to grain.

His point: If the COLA is approved, BEAM will have redefined whiskey as not specific to grains, or at least blended whiskey as not having to use only grains as a source for alcohol.

Is this an issue for most whiskey drinkers? Does anyone here drink Eight Star or other US blended whiskeys? I think blends have what I think of as a vodka aftertaste. I wonder what a rum aftertaste would be like. Is this a good, bad, or indifferent thing?

sku
10-15-2010, 16:11
I don't see any ambiguity in the regs. They appear to clearly allow the use of neutral spirits derived from any material in blended whiskey. Blended whiskey is defined as a whiskey which can be combined with "neutral spirits". Neutral spirit are defined as "distilled spirits produced from any material." There is a separate definition of the term "grain spirits" which is "neutral spirits distilled from a fermented mash of grain and stored in oak containers." Since the definition of Blended whiskey uses the term "neutral spirits" and not "grain spirits" it would allow the use of neutral spirits derived from sugar or, for that matter, fruit or potatoes.

This would not change the definition of whiskey or have any effect on straight whiskey as the definition of whiskey states that it must be distilled from grain.

Josh
10-15-2010, 16:11
As for American Blended Whiskey, my thoughts are best summed up in the following notorious quote from The Godfather: "They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls."

cowdery
10-15-2010, 18:58
The abomination is that the United States allows whiskey-flavored vodka (20% whiskey-80% neutral spirits) to be called whiskey. I don't see how it matters much what they make the neutral spirit from. It is, after all, neutral.

There's no 'if.' The COLAs are approved.

My question is, why? Is cane neutral spirit that much cheaper than grain neutral spirit? Or is there some other benefit?

FYI, most mixto tequila is blended with cane neutral spirit.

sku
10-15-2010, 19:56
Who even drinks American blended whiskey anyway? I assumed the target market is composed of people going for alcoholic effect only - i.e. brown vodka.

callmeox
10-15-2010, 20:08
Who even drinks American blended whiskey anyway? I assumed the target market is composed of people going for alcoholic effect only - i.e. brown vodka.


American blended whiskeys are perfect for the highball market...

ratcheer
10-16-2010, 15:44
I agree with Chuck. Neutral spirits are neutral spirits, the source of the alcohol is irrelevant.

Tim

pepcycle
10-16-2010, 15:58
I suspect that this has something to do with how cheaply spirits can be made in the Virgin Islands right now. I read in the NY Times that Diageo got a sweetheart deal worth billions, yes billions by rebating taxes back to them. Seems the cheapest place to make sprits may now be in the VI and I'm pretty sure they don't grow a lot of corn and barley there.

cowdery
10-17-2010, 16:42
According to that NYT article, Beam says it has no immediate plans to use cane neutral spirits but wanted to get the labels approved just in case. The label approval was necessary because although you can use any kind of neutral spirits you want, you have to disclose the raw material. That's even true of vodka and gin, not just blended whiskey.

By volume, the best-selling style of American whiskey is straight bourbon, second is Tennessee whiskey, third is blended whiskey. It sells a lot more than straight rye does, for example.

A lot of people buy it, both because it's cheap and because of the mild flavor. Seagram's Seven Crown is by far the market leader. I doubt very many people drink it neat or even on the rocks, but it's perfect for mixing; not for fancy cocktails but with soft-drinks. Blended whiskey drinkers tend to be older -- younger drinkers looking for the same kind of thing usually go with vodka or rum. That's why the producers keep a lot of the cat-and-dog brands around, brands like Sunny Brook, Kessler, Philadelphia and Thompson.

Like with a lot of things on the market, blends aren't for we enthusiasts, but there are people who like them.

Dramiel McHinson
10-17-2010, 20:24
Like with a lot of things on the market, blends aren't for we enthusiasts, but there are people who like them.

Nicely stated. I never begrudge another man's favorite whiskey if I pause to remind my manners. I certainly never feel obliged to drink it. Of course, I have been known to slip up and flatulate an opinion contrary to good manners.

B.B. Babington
11-01-2010, 17:12
two things.

I've had some well aged rum that flavors move to whiskey flavor from the wood, very enjoyable. Really fine products.

and OMG!!! I never knew this. I'm going to throw up.
...The abomination is that the United States allows whiskey-flavored vodka (20% whiskey-80% neutral spirits) to be called whiskey...