View Full Version : Blending (was: Knob Creek)
Again I ask the board to consider the merits of intelligent blending of straight whiskeys. Currently I am enjoying a blend of Heaven Hill BIB, Corner's Creek (likely HH but with that odd wheat/rye small grains component) and the aforemenioned Maker's Mark. It is a good rich blend (each about 1/3rd). However I am thinking of adding one more Bourbon, maybe Blanton's. I want to dampen down more the signature HH "camphor" taste (which is in the Corner's Creek too) but leave enough in to give complexity. I'd consider adding Old Grandad BIB with its big rich clean taste. But it is not sold north of the Great Lakes..
My idea of blending is to have a few different types of bourbon in the same night, i.e., the blending occurs only in my belly. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smirk.gif Given this, my idea of intelligent blending is to save the Stagg for the last drink of the night. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif If I don't, then everything else that night tastes like crap. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/frown.gif
P.S. Cy, I am not making fun of your idea. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif It actually sounds like a really good idea, but, heck, it's just not something for me. I have many more bourbons to taste before I have to worry about coming up with unique combinations. Plus, blending requires thought. And, for me, having a bourbon is all about relaxing and not thinking. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif
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Given this, my idea of intelligent blending is to save the Stagg for the last drink of the night. If I don't, then everything else that night tastes like crap.
You've got that right! I still have about an inch in the first bottle of Stagg, since Thanksgiving. I'm pacing myself , I'm sure to pull a plug on another pretty soon.
BTW a little schmoozing if I may. This is a wonderful forum ( Thanks Jim) and many thanks to every one who posts and make coming here feel like a room of old friends. We don't all agree on every thing and we don't have to. We're given to behave like bad little kids in a sandbox at times. I guess the rest of the time it's all over the top!
Well, I don't drink my blends always. I would not blend very assertive, unique drinks (e.g. George Stagg, Hirsch). I have found when building a bourbon blend it is good to stop after three or four. Too many makes the result neutral or muddy, but three or four can work well. I don't (I think http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif) ponder it too much (I don't have the tech knowledge, for example). It is like making a cocktail to me, a bourbon blend is like a Manhattan, or an Old-Fashioned, in a different way. One thing I have found is Tennessee whiskey doesn't mix well with Kentucky; the styles really are - not just in minor detail - different, less so with Dickel but still.
Whereas, the combinations when trying to build a U.S. or Canadian-style blended whiskey (i.e., including non-straight whiskey content) are almost infinite. This is an area I'd like to know more about. You never read interviews with blenders on how they make their Corby's Whiskey or Seagram Seven Crown., say. This is an occult knowledge. I think the lineage of a lot of these blends goes way back, e.g. Chuck has stated blends outsold straights by a large margin in the period leading up to Prohibition. I like to drink whiskey (any kind) undiluted. I find blending can help make a drink that can be as satisfying in its way as the best straight whiskey, i.e., good mouth feel, balance, good overall flavour. Getting back to George Stagg, I have never had the chance to drink it. I may be in Chicago soon and will try to get some there. Chuck, maybe we can meet there, I'd like to meet you anyway and sign up for the newsletter. I'll drop a note in due course, this may be in a month or so. Regards to all.
Put your money where your mouth is! My goodness, man, you've only drank one bottle of Stagg! Unbelievable! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/shocked.gif
If you want to have the right to continue to clamor about its goodness here in Bourbonia, you have to partake alot more often, especially considering that you probably have the largest Stagg stash here.
I've put down three bottles of its greatness so far and I haven't had any Stagg in the last month. Drink up, Bobby! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
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, especially considering that you probably have the largest Stagg stash here
I was wondering about that. Bobby has the largest stash amongst us, most likely, but given the small limited releaseof GTS, I would be interested to know how Bobby's stash stacks up against EVERYONE out there that has bought at least a bottle. . . .
Hmmmmm. . .
This is a follow-up to my last in which I returned to the subject of blending straight and other whiskies. I attended a Canadian whiskey tasting and gourmet dinner last night organised by master Toronto restaurateur John Maxwell at his estimable Allens restaurant and bar (Danforth Road, Toronto). The tasters were knocked out by the quality of each whiskey. We started with a ten year old Alberta Springs (all-rye content), moved on to the plummy Canadian Club Sherry Cask, then a whiskey finished in port wine casks, then two stylish eighteen year olds (one by the venerable Wiser's) and finally a masterful 21 year old Century Reserve (made in Kelowna, B.C., not the heartland of Canadian distilling but the Westerners have learned a thing or two!). Each taster was impressed with the skill with which each blend was created. In general, softness, elegance, balance, oak and a good mouth feel were in evidence but many whiskies showed the rye tangs our national style can still demonstrate. Some of the whiskies seemed clearly to have additions of straight whiskey, bourbon-type or rye, adding depth to the high-proof base spirit. Bourbon barrels (likely used cooperage from the U.S.) showed a clear and welcome influence on some of the whiskies. (Allen's whisky bar, finest in the city by my lights, shows a dedication to fine Bourbon no less than Canadian, offering rarities not found elsewhere in the city). An elegant meal was served with the rarest of our local wines to cap a memorable evening. It proved while the Canadian whisky style has evolved from the classic straight U.S. whiskey-type, there are still many connections and useful comparisons to be made. It was agreed the best of the tasting were world-class and should be better known.
I've not heard of a Canadian Whisky tasting before. BTW, there is a Canadian Whisky site on yahoo:
Thanks for the info, I wasn't aware of this resource. Many at our tasting felt Canadian whisky at its best should be more appreciated on its own turf. (Its sales in the U.S. have always been strong). One wish I have is that Canadian distillers will release some genuine straight rye whisky for sale. Apparently they make it (true rye and bourbon-style whiskeys) to add body and flavour to the high-proof base of the blend but have not (for many decades anyway) sold it separately. There are some all-rye Canadians (e.g. some of Alberta Distillers' products) but that whisky (like the base for all Canadian whisky) is distilled at very high proof, way beyond the U.S. limit for straight whisky. The fact that it is made from rye has some effect on the taste but not as much as if distilled at a much lower proof. There is also the variable of using malted rye and (or instead of) unmalted rye. We have seen in Canada some craft-style products (e.g. Lot 40, Gooderham and Worts, Pike's Creek) and they are good but not (I believe) true straight whiskey (ie. distilled at 160 proof or less). At one time, real rye whisky was sold in Canada, having come here with the Loyalists from Pennsylvania and New York (John Lipman's theory).
But today it is all blends..
The U.S., British and Irish industries have been more innovative, and marketing-oriented, than ours; we could take lessons...
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