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StraightBoston
06-01-2011, 21:00
[For the record, I had this thread title in mind before I knew this one existed! It's closed anyway...]

Last month's BOTM gave me an idea to redeem the last third of an EC18 that I just can't get through -- a sale item at the NH state store that was universally panned by all who have tasted it. (A shame, because my favorite EC18 bottles have been epic.)

I tried a 1:1 vatting of Four Roses Yellow Label and the EC18, thinking (hoping?) that the floral fruity notes of the FR would counter the char and dare-I-say-it dirt of the Elijah Craig. I even added a well-swirled ice cube to help the mixing.

Conclusion: a horrible vatting failure -- eating violets fresh out of a flower pot.

What vats well with an "earthy" bourbon? (I suppose the recommendation could be extended to certain BT bottles as well...)

Gillman
06-02-2011, 03:07
That is an interesting effort but I can see how it wouldn't work because the young, floral nature of 4R will not meld well with the older earthy profile of EC 18. Even if 4R is used 2 or 3 to 1, I don't see that working. I think you would need an older bourbon as the base, so the smoky/acrid notes of the oldster can display through them without changing too much the base. EC 12 would seem good for this, or Triple A, or Ezra Brooks 12 years old. 2:1 or max 3:1 respectively.

Gary

dmarkle
06-02-2011, 03:28
[For the record, I had this thread title in mind before I knew this one existed! It's closed anyway...]

Last month's BOTM gave me an idea to redeem the last third of an EC18 that I just can't get through -- a sale item at the NH state store that was universally panned by all who have tasted it. (A shame, because my favorite EC18 bottles have been epic.)

This is hilarious, because I did an experiment with this just the other week. I too had a bottle of EC18 that has been lying around forever -- waaaay too woody in a bad way. Tasted "old" in a bad way. Lots of eucalyptus, and a dirty, old, almost musty finish to it. I decided to mix perhaps 1 part of the EC 18 into 3 or 4 parts of ER10 and absolutely loved it. The bottle is now gone!

IMO 1:1 is really too much of a ratio -- you really don't have to use much of that old whiskey to give your younger stuff an subtle, interesting, aged character. I felt that with the small ratio, the Eagle Rare picked up about as much woodiness and eucalyptus flavor as one might find in, say the ORVW 10/107, which is less than the EC12 or EC18, but just enough to be noticeable and to add an interesting complexity.

I learned to use less of the old with a larger base of younger spirit from Ralfy. He even once used some (a very small amount!) Mount Gay extra old rum to give some character to a fairly dull whisky. Perhaps I might try something like that to liven up some Maker's Mark...

Gillman
06-02-2011, 04:15
Something rather unpalatable on its own can give a new and improved quality to a large quantity of younger spirit but the two shouldn't be too opposite in character, which is where the 4R wouldn't fit in. ER 10 fits in well to the kind of profile I was mentioning earlier for the base, I'm not surprised the results worked well there, a good augury!

Gary

unclebunk
06-02-2011, 04:26
I love reading successful vatting stories, as my few attempts have largely been failures. I'm going to try the ER and EC18 and see how she goes.

kickert
06-02-2011, 06:30
I was thinking something in the 10-12 year range as well... something where the barrel sweetness is at its maximum before the tannins and the char kick in. Maybe OC10

StraightBoston
06-02-2011, 06:55
Good advice, all. (The idea behind a 1:1 vatting was to get rid of it sooner! I had done a 2:1 EW Black to EC18 in the past, but that seems to be cheating somehow.)

I'll try some of the ideas here and report back.

mosugoji64
06-02-2011, 12:28
While we have you on the phone, Dr. Gillman, I have a bottle of EW green label that could use some help. It's not bad, but it's rather weak - mostly wood with a little corn thrown in. To vat that, would I look for something similar but with a stronger flavor, or something that would impart additional flavors? Your suggestions for the preceding posts have been very insightful, so I thought you might be able to offer solutions for those of us facing this problem.

Thanks in advance :bowdown:

Gillman
06-02-2011, 14:15
No problem Brian, I see you are in Indianapolis, a city well attuned to SB as many here know.

The doc advises for this to blend the green label into a bourbon with the opposite character, i.e., with a clean medium aged taste where in effect you can "dilute" the "excess" corn and fresh wood in the green label. Many options, maybe 1/3rd each the green label, any EWSB, and EC 12. Or mostly the first two and a little EC 18. That way too you stick to the same distillery and indeed same mashbill, you are just doing a different batching than HH does. Or use similar bourbons from another company. 2:1 Forester 100 proof to the green label should be excellent (but maybe 3:1, small changes can make a big difference). What I find is you want some of those gamey notes from inexpensive bourbon, they can actually improve another profile of bourbon IMO, just as they can help make a great cocktail.

Gary

mosugoji64
06-02-2011, 21:47
No problem Brian, I see you are in Indianapolis, a city well attuned to SB as many here know.

The doc advises for this to blend the green label into a bourbon with the opposite character, i.e., with a clean medium aged taste where in effect you can "dilute" the "excess" corn and fresh wood in the green label. Many options, maybe 1/3rd each the green label, any EWSB, and EC 12. Or mostly the first two and a little EC 18. That way too you stick to the same distillery and indeed same mashbill, you are just doing a different batching than HH does. Or use similar bourbons from another company. 2:1 Forester 100 proof to the green label should be excellent (but maybe 3:1, small changes can make a big difference). What I find is you want some of those gamey notes from inexpensive bourbon, they can actually improve another profile of bourbon IMO, just as they can help make a great cocktail.

Gary

Thanks for the advice! You've inspired a couple of ideas for me to try. I'll try to get back and post the results.

ebo
06-03-2011, 13:42
What do I vatt FR Yellow Label with to make it worth drinking (to me, anyway)? I can't take more than two sips of FRYL before I'm tired of it. To me, it's bland and boring.

Gillman
06-03-2011, 13:59
A good question because 4R Yellow Label has a distinctive taste, one that doesn't really mix well, whether as opposite or complement, with the bourbons of other companies.

As I result of this, I generally will blend it intramurally so to speak. I just added some 4R SB to a bottle of 4R Yellow Label and it made it stronger and richer but preserved the signature floral character. (Any 4R SB will do I find, it doesn't really matter which, they are not that different). Mariage and its brethren will work too but you get more oomph from the SB.

Here is another way: blend it with Bulleit. Bulleit comes from some of the same bourbons in 4R SB. It's all of a piece. So 1:2 4R Yellow Label to Bulleit and you get a still potent whiskey with a lot of floral and yellow fruit character.

I don't want to rule out non 4R bourbons for the blend, I'd have to think more about it, but the above is generally what I do and the results are excellent - for drinking. :)

Gary

ebo
06-03-2011, 15:43
A good question because 4R Yellow Label has a distinctive taste, one that doesn't really mix well, whether as opposite or complement, with the bourbons of other companies.

As I result of this, I generally will blend it intramurally so to speak. I just added some 4R SB to a bottle of 4R Yellow Label and it made it stronger and richer but preserved the signature floral character. (Any 4R SB will do I find, it doesn't really matter which, they are not that different). Mariage and its brethren will work too but you get more oomph from the SB.

Here is another way: blend it with Bulleit. Bulleit comes from some of the same bourbons in 4R SB. It's all of a piece. So 1:2 4R Yellow Label to Bulleit and you get a still potent whiskey with a lot of floral and yellow fruit character.

I don't want to rule out non 4R bourbons for the blend, I'd have to think more about it, but the above is generally what I do and the results are excellent - for drinking. :)

Gary
Thank you very much. I'll try the Bulleit first.

AaronWF
06-09-2011, 20:56
Well this thread has kept me on the lookout for appropriate blending opportunities and I found one last night that I am continuing to experiment with.

So last night I opened up my first ORVW 10/90 and found about 40% of it off. By that I mean the vanilla was off-putting, the char was oblong and the fruit quickly soured in a bad way. I'm keeping my mind open to the possibility of it opening up, but I really did not find much to enjoy in it.

I've been at a similar spot through 3/4 of a bottle of RR Rye, and even though I need the space in my cabinet, I've found little positive motivation to finish the bottle. So I've tried the vatting of the two, and I can honestly say that the sum bests the individual parts.

Somehow the ORVW magnifies the fire on the RRRye and the RRRye brings leverage to the sweet acidity of the ORVW. Or, at least that's my position at this moment. Perhaps an unlikely pairing, but I plan to continue exploring and experimenting with it until the RRRye is gone!

kickert
06-09-2011, 21:11
Somehow the ORVW magnifies the fire on the RRRye and the RRRye brings leverage to the sweet acidity of the ORVW. Or, at least that's my position at this moment. Perhaps an unlikely pairing, but I plan to continue exploring and experimenting with it until the RRRye is gone!

A lot of people have experimented with rye+wheater vattings and usually to good success. I have found they are usually best 2:1 or 3:1 one direction or the other. 1:1 can often lead to a muddled flavor profile rather than a complimentary one.

AaronWF
06-10-2011, 10:15
I have found they are usually best 2:1 or 3:1 one direction or the other. 1:1 can often lead to a muddled flavor profile rather than a complimentary one.

Yeah, my most successful experiments have been in the 3:1-4:1 range, going light on the rye. I definitely noticed more muddling in the 2:1-1:1 range.

ebo
06-13-2011, 16:13
I did the Bulleit and 4RYL vatting. It turned out very good! I will be doing this vatting quite often. :grin:

RyanL
06-14-2011, 12:07
Anyone do any infusions? My friend said Sage at Aria in Vegas has an old fashioned made with ORVW infused with tobacco. This sounds great in theory but I don't smoke so probably not for me, but it got me thinking about what would be some good infusions for cocktails and which bourbon would be best for what infusion. I'm having a hard time coming up with any good ideas though.

StraightBoston
02-23-2012, 08:50
Finally, success with the original request!

I started the evening with a 3:1 vatting of McAfee's Benchmark to the nasty-but-not-yet-empty Elijah Craig 18yo, but the flavors never stitched together and I could still taste the off notes of the EC18.

Next up, I combined equal parts of EC18 and I.W. Harper (a "current" 200ml from Japan that is not remarkable on its own) and a splash of 1960's Kentucky Tavern BIB(!!) -- probably a 2:2:1 ratio. This was great!

Just in case the KT BIB was skewing the results, I finished with a 50/50 mix of EC18 and Harper -- still excellent. Something in the combination took away the rough edges of the two individual whiskeys.

I should be in good shape to finish both bottles now...

Gillman
02-23-2012, 14:08
Excellent!

Gary

T Comp
02-23-2012, 18:22
A good question because 4R Yellow Label has a distinctive taste, one that doesn't really mix well, whether as opposite or complement, with the bourbons of other companies.

As I result of this, I generally will blend it intramurally so to speak. I just added some 4R SB to a bottle of 4R Yellow Label and it made it stronger and richer but preserved the signature floral character. (Any 4R SB will do I find, it doesn't really matter which, they are not that different). Mariage and its brethren will work too but you get more oomph from the SB.

Here is another way: blend it with Bulleit. Bulleit comes from some of the same bourbons in 4R SB. It's all of a piece. So 1:2 4R Yellow Label to Bulleit and you get a still potent whiskey with a lot of floral and yellow fruit character.

I don't want to rule out non 4R bourbons for the blend, I'd have to think more about it, but the above is generally what I do and the results are excellent - for drinking. :)

Gary

And as a follow-up I too have not found anything that mingles with 4R yellow other than other 4R or Bulleit. I've tried ODG BIB, HH BIB and Old Charter 10 but meh on all. Sweet vermouth and bitters is the other way to go with the yellow imho. I remember tasting the yellow for the first time at the distillery, with Gary, and really enjoying it, but the subsequent bottle I bought was a let down and called for experimentation.