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View Full Version : Wherefore art thou, O wheat.



cowdery
01-06-2001, 17:55
Re where the wheat in the Stitzel-Weller formula came from.

Am I the only one who is just noticing this? Sally Campbell, on page 145 of But Always Fine Bourbon, says that "..the old family recipe, the recipe that came from the Stitzels, called for wheat--to give the bourbon a distinctive bit of sweetness."

So the wheat recipe came from the Stitzels, at least according to this source. Sally's source for this particular information is probably Norm Hayden, a very reliable source.

Does wheat produce a sweeter whiskey than rye? I guess so. Either the wheat adds sweetness or the absense of rye alllows you to taste more of the sweetness of the corn. Anybody know?

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

MashBill
01-07-2001, 13:00
Growing up on the farm, we used to chew our grain to test it. The wheat always tasted somewhat sweet. We grew rye occasionally and it always tasted bitter. I hate to "steal" from Bill Samuels, but I think whole wheat bread tastes much sweeter than rye bread.

I believe that the sweetness of the wheat compliments the sweetness of the corn, while the bitterness of the rye might mask some of the sweetness of the corn.

Don't get me wrong, I've tasted some very sweet rye-recipe bourbons. I just think that wheated bourbons, as a whole, are consistently sweeter.

Bill

Andy Traxel
01-07-2001, 15:30
Chuck,

I sure missed Sally's comment in the book.

If this is accurate, would you assume that the original Old Fitz mashbill used rye?

Andy

**DONOTDELETE**
01-07-2001, 18:05
Chuck,
I have talked to Sally about the wheat recipe. She does think that it probably is the Stitzel family that originated the wheat recipe but she does think there is room for doubt. I would still like to taste some pre-prohibition Old Fitzgerald to see if it is a wheated bourbon.
Mike Veach

cowdery
01-08-2001, 13:40
If wheaters were a Stitzel thing, I would think there would be some other evidence of it, but maybe not.

Your assumption is correct, that Old Judge probably made a conventional rye recipe, i.e., pre-Stitzel Weller Old Fitz would have been a rye recipe bourbon if Stitzel is the "source" for the wheat recipe.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

**DONOTDELETE**
01-08-2001, 15:13
Sir I know not the source, but as to sweetness I made this test. One shotglass of 12 year old Very Special Old Fitzgerald vs. one shotglass of Blanton's (age unkown). As to the sweetness of the corn contained therein I must confess that I could detect *NO DIFFERENCE*. Surely one can tell the wheat from the rye especially in the finish, but in every other respect there is no difference. I now like VSOF even more than I did before. How can you tell a good wheater? If it tastes like a good rye of course!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

Creggor
01-20-2001, 19:17
Hello, I would tend to agree from what I have tasted and I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination the wheated Bourbons do seem to be a little sweeter to me. Still not sure which I really like better just is I feel I can really tell the difference. Creggor.

Ken Weber
01-25-2001, 12:17
According to Elmer, Rye adds the "spiciness" to whiskey. When pushed for a little more explanation, he said that the "peppery" taste was because of the rye. As too whether the wheat makes it sweeter, his comment was that it was not so much that it was sweeter, it just didn't overpower the sweetness of the corn like rye does.
I remember reading a story of when Yogi Berra was the batting coach for the Yanks. He was not able to verbalize the art of hitting to the players. He would grab a bat and tell the struggling hitter "just watch me and do like I do". If only it were that easy. As I asked Elmer to elaborate on his tasting notes (peppery,spicy,chewy,tobacco), he just looked at me and said that after 50 years, you don't think about it, you just do it. These flavor attributes often have him confused. He and Gary Gayheart will compare notes (Blanton's selection) and they never talk about leather, musk, plums,etc. They talk about vanilla, sweetness, oiliness, dry, woody, etc., very basic tasting notes. He attributes many of the other descriptive terms to writers trying to out do each other.

Ken

**DONOTDELETE**
01-25-2001, 23:01
Thus sprach Ken Weber,"... I remember reading a story of when Yogi Berra was the batting coach for the Yanks... ...As I asked Elmer to elaborate on his tasting notes... These flavor attributes often have him confused. He and Gary Gayheart ... talk about vanilla, sweetness, oiliness, dry, woody, etc., very basic tasting notes. He attributes many of the other descriptive terms to writers trying to out do each other."

Amen! That's why Yogi and Elmer are both among my own personal heros. Sometimes tasting descriptions sound like when trained music critics try to describe a blues or rock riff in classical terms. Please forgive me, but I'm afraid that it often sounds just plain silly to me. Oh, except for Linn. His descriptions are unlike ANYONE else's and as far as I'm concerned he can throw in just about anything he feels like. Come to think of it, he usually does.

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

**DONOTDELETE**
01-26-2001, 06:17
Thanks John, but I'm not trying to out do anyone. I just drink the bourbon and write what it tells me to. Unfortunately neither I nor the bourbon can spell very well, but when you're "full of it" as I often am you don't really care that much about spelling or grammer.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.