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Bourbon Boiler
07-10-2011, 14:45
As I'm starting to play around with aging my own whiskeys, I'm reading a lot of warnings about over-aging bourbon due to the high surface area / volume ratio of small barrels. While this makes perfect sense, it occured to me that I'm not sure I've ever sampled a whiskey that I thought was in the barrel for too long. In fact, the BTEC double barrel trials may be the best whiskey I've ever tasted, and I've heard others refer to those as "drinking oak".

Granted, no one intentionally over-ages anything, as it would add expense, and reduce output in addition to being an inferior quality. However, I'm haven't convinced myself that a bourbon can taste over-aged.

I don't want to lose a super-majority of the liquid to the angels, but I think I'm going to want to keep aging the juice as long as I can. I will do periodic tasting and will keep some small samples, so I will eventually run out regardless.

The reason for my post is that I would like a list of bourbons that others might consider "overaged". I'd like to try those as I start to play to see if I come to the same conclusions.

jburlowski
07-10-2011, 14:46
If its MM, they (MM) would say anything more than around five years. :lol:

sailor22
07-10-2011, 17:06
Some I have seen described as overaged more than a few times;

Pappy 23
Vintage 23 Rye
Pichard's Double Barrel
Elija Craig 18
Black Maple Hill 21
Evan Willams 23
Hirsch 21 Rye
Michters Single Barrel 10yr
Some Willett single barrel picks that are 16 and older.
Noah's Mill
I'm sure there qre some I forgotten.

Not everyone agrees of course. In fact a few of those are on my favorites list.

ethangsmith
07-10-2011, 18:23
As I'm starting to play around with aging my own whiskeys, I'm reading a lot of warnings about over-aging bourbon due to the high surface area / volume ratio of small barrels. While this makes perfect sense, it occured to me that I'm not sure I've ever sampled a whiskey that I thought was in the barrel for too long. In fact, the BTEC double barrel trials may be the best whiskey I've ever tasted, and I've heard others refer to those as "drinking oak".

Granted, no one intentionally over-ages anything, as it would add expense, and reduce output in addition to being an inferior quality. However, I'm haven't convinced myself that a bourbon can taste over-aged.

I don't want to lose a super-majority of the liquid to the angels, but I think I'm going to want to keep aging the juice as long as I can. I will do periodic tasting and will keep some small samples, so I will eventually run out regardless.

The reason for my post is that I would like a list of bourbons that others might consider "overaged". I'd like to try those as I start to play to see if I come to the same conclusions.


Where are you buying your barrels to age your whiskey? I'm going to start doing this and I need a good supplier of non-varnished barrels.

Bourbon Boiler
07-10-2011, 18:44
Where are you buying your barrels to age your whiskey? I'm going to start doing this and I need a good supplier of non-varnished barrels.

I have a few inquiries out there. I'm actually buying a couple for a friend as well, and trying to negotiate better deals than listed prices, or at a minimum better than standard shipping costs. I'll keep you posted.

Bourbon Boiler
07-10-2011, 18:53
Where are you buying your barrels to age your whiskey? I'm going to start doing this and I need a good supplier of non-varnished barrels.

I'm also open to recomendations from other SBers as well.

p_elliott
07-11-2011, 06:46
This is where my wife got the one she gave me for my birthday last year. I don't know if the prices are competitive or not.

http://www.oakbarrelsltd.com/

bourbonv
07-11-2011, 06:51
I am not a big fan of small barrel aging. You get a lot of tannins from the wood, but not a lot of the nice caramel and vanilla flavors you get from a full sized barrel. I believe, but I am not sure because I have never seen a used stave from a small barrel, that the red layer is also much smaller in the small staves and as a result there is not as much caramel and vanilla flavor in the wood. Has anybody taken a small barrel apart to look at the red Layer?

Mike Veach

sutton
07-11-2011, 06:52
This is where my wife got the one she gave me for my birthday last year. I don't know if the prices are competitive or not.

http://www.oakbarrelsltd.com/

I make wine at home and am familiar with the various toast levels used for wine barrels (medium, medium+, heavy). Are these equivalent to whiskey barrel char levels (say, #2, 3, and 4), or are "char" levels heavier than what one sees for wine aging?

White Dog
07-11-2011, 07:00
I make wine at home and am familiar with the various toast levels used for wine barrels (medium, medium+, heavy). Are these equivalent to whiskey barrel char levels (say, #2, 3, and 4), or are "char" levels heavier than what one sees for wine aging?

I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the toasting levels in wine barrels, even "heavy toast," is much lighter than actual charring.

nblair
07-11-2011, 07:41
I just got one from http://www.bluegrassbarrels.com to rebarrel some Fleichmann's Rye. Haven't put it to use yet, but can't wait!!

Rughi
07-11-2011, 08:20
I am not a big fan of small barrel aging. You get a lot of tannins from the wood, but not a lot of the nice caramel and vanilla flavors you get from a full sized barrel.

Yes indeed, in the first fill or two, that is very true. The first use is very quick and tanniny but these leach quickly and allow for longer, more rounded aging. In my experience, the third fill is the sweet spot for 1 to 3 gallon barrels that can go for years to develop aging characteristics familiar to conventional bourbon aging.

It is a foreign concept to many bourbon enthusiasts, but I've found the first fill or two is best viewed as preparing the barrel, and I would recommend using cheap spirits for that (cheap bourbon, preferably).

Using a small barrel for only its first fill (as per bourbon laws) is like eating the banana peel and throwing away the middle.

p_elliott
07-11-2011, 08:42
My first try at re-barreling did not turn out so great I need to give it another go.

Rughi
07-11-2011, 08:54
My first try at re-barreling did not turn out so great I need to give it another go.

The nice thing about using barrels for spirits instead of beer/wine is that the barrel will never 'go bad' from microbial infection as long as you keep spiritis in it.

The barrel will just keep getting better - mellowing ever closer to what we expect of a big ol' bourbon barrel.

bgageus
07-11-2011, 10:06
My wife and I received a 5L barrell made by 1000 Oaks over a year ago to age some spirits. Our first batch was aged about 7 months, the second is on 6 months now and aging much slower. The problem I see is product loss, my first two attemps were filled with undiluted white dog (126 proof). After 7 months my 6 bottles was 2. (no leaks, just angels) I am expecting alot less loss this time hoping that the wood soaked up alot of the first batch.

If I lose alot in this batch, I will give it the bird and refill with 80 proof Old Crow at $11 a handle.

Bourbon Boiler
07-11-2011, 16:15
I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the toasting levels in wine barrels, even "heavy toast," is much lighter than actual charring.

This is my interpretation as well.

BBQ+Bourbon
07-11-2011, 20:23
When I think of an over oaked bourbon, Jefferson Reserve Presidential Select 17 comes to mind. I thought it was awful and was glad to unload my unopened bottles. What a waste of the last juice SW produced....

timd
07-12-2011, 09:34
I use http://www.oakbarrelsltd.com/

They have good products and good pricing (and free shipping at a certain level).

I use Tequila or lower-grade whiskey for my first fill. It will be oaky & smokey and if it's hot outside, it's going to go fast - and be very wood influenced.

Of note: the vast majority of hobby barrels are "toasted" - not charred. Oak Barrels LTD does offer Charred barrels, but if they are out of stock, it can take a special order. I don't know of any other places that will offer actual charred barrels, which rapidly increases the aging effect (for the better) vs. toasted.

Enoch
07-13-2011, 07:15
Where are you buying your barrels to age your whiskey? I'm going to start doing this and I need a good supplier of non-varnished barrels.

I just bought a 5L from a guy here in Columbia. WHite Oak, medium char $40. I'll let you know how it works out.

jcg9779
07-13-2011, 08:37
I just bought a 5L from a guy here in Columbia. WHite Oak, medium char $40. I'll let you know how it works out.

What do you plan on aging, Enoch?

Enoch
07-13-2011, 09:48
What do you plan on aging, Enoch?

That's a good question. I'm going to Green's today and get something cheap for my first experiment. There is clearly no consensus on SB on whether it works or is worth the time. I'm thinking about young EW or AA but will have to look around. The have a bunch of handles of Cabin Still on clearance for about $10 each so I may try that.

I figure if it doesn't work I'll just use it as a decoration.

I found an old store that has some UD Old Crow for about $10 a liter so I may try that.

Last Edit: I decided on Evan Williams BIB. It's less than $10 a liter with a fairly standard flavor profile. I plan on withdrawing some each month and saving to compare.

timd
07-13-2011, 12:14
If you are going to store it outside - check every few days. During hot months, and with a first-fill (if it's a "medium char" - and not "medium toast") it's going to age f-a-s-t. You are starting with something that's already a few years old - which I've not done, so not sure how it will impact. It may actually be more subtle since you've got a flavor profile from wood already.

With the 100+ degree days here, two weeks took a silver tequila to nearly black... It was a first fill/XXX char 2 liter barrel.

My last experiment (in Michigan, winter...) aged much, much more slowly - but had a heavier tannin/wood profile - far less vanilla/caramel, but I think that's because that barrel was toasted, not charred.

I put white dog (actually it's MBR's "Blackdog" new make) in the same tequila barrel, and I've already got color & a woody-nose 3 days into it...).

Granted - we've broken 100+ every day in Dallas for the past few weeks - AND I add another little trick: bring it in about every 2-3 days, put it in the fridge to get the wood to contract, and then stick it back outside in the morning.

I also suggest that you FREEZE it when you are ready to empty it - this squeezes out all the woody goodness and primes the barrel for the next use (you still have to soak with water, however).

And - if you don't like "stuff" in your final product use cheesecloth or a strainer (any kind of physical barrier) as you empty it - because no matter how much you washed it, there will be big & little flakes of char coming out with it - enough to coat the bottom of the bottle.

Good luck - and keep us in informed on how extra aging an already aged whiskey goes. I think it could wind up being very dark, creamy, smooth and rich tasting in a very short amount of time (3-4 weeks)

macdeffe
07-13-2011, 13:59
Overaged bourbon

This is a subjext that I find more relevant for bourbons than single malts.

This has a lot to do with taste and your personal taste and is there fore a very subjective matter

End of the day it probably comes down to how much you like the woody flavours that bopurbons tends to pick up easy (due to new wood etc etc etc)

This weeknd I had a group of friends over and a few of us shared a couple (Or three, maybe seven) of bourbon and ryes

We had the PvW 15yo. I being the most experienced single malt drinker found it very woody. VERY woody. A friend found at absolute wonderful and the best whisk(e)y of the night

If we started arguaing about if it was overaged I am sure we would never agree

(We didn't, I just congratulted him with finding a whisky he really enjoyed!!)

Steffen

Bourbon Boiler
07-13-2011, 17:23
Overaged bourbon

This is a subjext that I find more relevant for bourbons than single malts.

This has a lot to do with taste and your personal taste and is there fore a very subjective matter

End of the day it probably comes down to how much you like the woody flavours that bopurbons tends to pick up easy (due to new wood etc etc etc)

This weeknd I had a group of friends over and a few of us shared a couple (Or three, maybe seven) of bourbon and ryes

We had the PvW 15yo. I being the most experienced single malt drinker found it very woody. VERY woody. A friend found at absolute wonderful and the best whisk(e)y of the night

If we started arguaing about if it was overaged I am sure we would never agree

(We didn't, I just congratulted him with finding a whisky he really enjoyed!!)

Steffen

Thanks for the comments. I've yet to find a bourbon I considered overaged, so I'm feeling a little safer. The more wood I taste, the more I like it. (Please refrain from immature jokes, I just read that last sentence back.)

sutton
07-13-2011, 18:09
Does the char in the barrel also act as a "filtering" agent, i.e., something like what happens with the Tennessee charcoal filtering process? So not only does the char open up the wood to allow for the barrel flavors to leach into the whiskey over time, but the char may remove or bind up, perhaps more slowly, some of the harsher congeners?

Is this why longer aged whiskey might have less edge/harsh notes, but there is a balance to how long it can remain before the woody notes could dominate the taste profile...?

macdeffe
07-13-2011, 22:10
Hi Sutton

I talked about the char in the barrel with a couple of distillery owners

I am not sure we talk about the same, but when casks are received by distilleries thay have been recharred and there's a handful or three woodchips like leftovers rolling around in the barrel

Now the first distillery owner, new in the business simply removed it. The 2nd I talked to confirmed the presence of these woodchips and he said he left them in. Apparently they have a cleansiong effect on the spirit, removing sulphurous element, ie helping the whisky to mature

Now the presence of sulphur is a lot bigger "problem" for single malts than bourbons so. Is this because of the stills or because of the new wood used. I don't know

Fact is that I only had one bourbon which I found sulphured

PS this is not the same kind of sulphur that you can gain from sherry casks, which is a more rubbery sulphur whereas the spirit sulphur is more ashy. HArd to explain the difference but I feel there is one

Steffen

sutton
07-14-2011, 04:31
Thanks Steffen - I was thinking about it in terms of the difference between "toast" levels for wine barrels vs. "char" for bourbon barrels. I guess it makes sense that if there are bits of char loose in the barrel you might get even more of a filtering effect - charcoal filtration is very effective at removing compounds but is not highly selective, so you can loose both good and bad elements (at least this is what I remember from my winemaking reading ...)

I was wondering if that alligator char you hear about might also provide more of a smoothing effect like you see in a Tennessee whisky...

birdman1099
07-14-2011, 04:38
Thanks for the comments. I've yet to find a bourbon I considered overaged, so I'm feeling a little safer. The more wood I taste, the more I like it. (Please refrain from immature jokes, I just read that last sentence back.)


Maybe I'll bring a bottle of my first rebarrel to Tom's. It was in there 3 months or so... very woody.... I used to think like you, but this project changed my mind.

the second rebarrel I did was much better... It only aged a week, perfect !!!

jinenjo
07-14-2011, 09:44
I just got one from http://www.bluegrassbarrels.com to rebarrel some Fleichmann's Rye. Haven't put it to use yet, but can't wait!!

You're using what?????

Yes, it's youthful spirit, but hell, I'll trade you ND Old Taylor or OGD handles for that rare juice!

timd
07-14-2011, 11:56
Most probably already know this, but Char & Toast are two very different things... I've had the difference explained - and can't recall the specifics, but "toasting" - I think - is more a result of non-direct, high-heat (for wine, mostly), whereas char is caused by direct flame - causing blistering/charring on the wood (for spirits).

This is pretty broad/general - and I'm sure somebody can clarify.

The only place I found in calling around that knew - or marketed - that difference was Oak Barrels Ltd... and the charred barrels I got from her were VERY different than my previous toasted ones, and stamped "XXX" for being charred vs. toasted.

tmckenzie
07-14-2011, 14:07
I will send you a barrel for those ud old crow's.

Rughi
07-14-2011, 14:35
...I found an old store that has some UD Old Crow for about $10 a liter so I may try that...


I will send you a barrel for those ud old crow's.

I'm sure it's just a slip, but you both meant National Distillers (ND), not United Distillers (UD).

That said, I wonder if Old Crows from the last few years before the Beam sale need more barrel time so much as a proof infusion. Bottles that I've had often seemed a bit off and soft or even weak, but I'm not so sure it's from youth.

Unfortunately, high proof spirit is always difficult to obtain cheaply, but I wonder if some white dog or even bonded whiskey might not be a great thing to mingle in with that latter day Crow to give it some punch and brightness.

Roger

Bourbon Boiler
07-14-2011, 16:37
I have been talking to many barrel makers (for craft wine/beer/whisky/hot sauce purposes) that use the terms char and toast interchangably. When I make the question specific, I usually find that it's really toasted. Some really don't understand the clarification I'm asking for. That is usually a sign for me to move on.

sailor22
07-14-2011, 17:18
After some pretty awful failures with small barrels and pieces of charred wood in ball jars filled with Bourbon and tasting some juice from micros aged in small barrels I gave up trying to improve Bourbon with more aging in small barrels.

I got my hands on a full size 53 gallon barrel that originally held BT's Eagle Rare for ten years until my local liquor store picked it as a vanity selection. Still, I knew it made some good juice. Immediately added a few 750's of whatever was laying around to keep it wet. Rolled it around and discovered no leaks. Also noticed the wood soaked up nearly all of the juice.

Some friends and I put a vatting consisting of 30 handles of EW 1783, 2 handles of WT101, 2 handles of WLWSR, 10 750's of Baby Saz and 2 750's of tax strip OC 7yr into the barrel. Oh yeah, we added a fat splash of Jefferson's 17 just so there was some SW in there for good luck. The barrel was about half full when we were done.

It wasn't a bad vatting but didn't really improve on any of the original elements. Now 18 months into the experiment the juice has come together nicely and tastes batter than any one of the elements did originally.

Whatever flavors the barrel may have added are subtle but the disparate original flavors have melded into a complex whole that is more enjoyable than any of the original single elements were. The most noticeable new flavor the barrel added was some char or smoke character.

As it aged my friends and I sampled regularly and very often we were surprised at how much it changed in just a short period of time and not always for the better. It seems to taste better in summer which is a little counter intuitive in that we assumed it would be better when the cold squeezed the juice out of the wood. Also surprising was how much it changed in just a few months between this spring and now.

The barrel we are using had already been busy aging juice for ten years by the time we got it so we didn't expect any of the Vanillas or Caramels that seem to come out of a good barrel first. There has been a lot more evaporation than we anticipated but there is no way to measure exactly. We are going by how heavy it feels, or how much seems to be inside when we roll it around.

The barrel is on the ground floor of a 3 story all wood barn with a concrete floor here in North Florida. We haven't kept a record of ambient temp or anything like that.

flintlock
07-14-2011, 17:55
Some friends and I put a vatting consisting of 30 handles of EW 1783, 2 handles of WT101, 2 handles of WLWSR, 10 750's of Baby Saz and 2 750's of tax strip OC 7yr into the barrel. Oh yeah, we added a fat splash of Jefferson's 17 just so there was some SW in there for good luck. The barrel was about half full when we were done.

What an awesome experiment - and to come out with something better than any of its constituent whiskies...that's great. When you pull the plug and bottle it up?

nblair
07-14-2011, 18:17
You're using what?????

Yes, it's youthful spirit, but hell, I'll trade you ND Old Taylor or OGD handles for that rare juice!

:lol: I just figured it was a prime candidate for a little experiment. Good base juice, little extra (faux) aging wouldn't hurt, good price. PM coming your way.

Bourbon Boiler
07-14-2011, 18:40
After some pretty awful failures with small barrels and pieces of charred wood in ball jars filled with Bourbon and tasting some juice from micros aged in small barrels I gave up trying to improve Bourbon with more aging in small barrels.

I got my hands on a full size 53 gallon barrel that originally held BT's Eagle Rare for ten years until my local liquor store picked it as a vanity selection. Still, I knew it made some good juice. Immediately added a few 750's of whatever was laying around to keep it wet. Rolled it around and discovered no leaks. Also noticed the wood soaked up nearly all of the juice.


Sounds like fun. I'm nowhere near ready to try something like this, but is there a consistant way to get your hands on a used barrel this large?

sailor22
07-14-2011, 19:34
When you pull the plug and bottle it up?

We have pulled about 5 or 6 750's out so far, maybe more.
It drinks good :grin:

Thinking of doing a solara thing and after pulling more out later this summer adding another big batch of new handles. Experimenting with what to add. We have a source for some barrels that have recently had 3yr rye dumped from them and we might move the new juice to a younger barrel. The trick is getting a barrel that hasn't had time to dry out.

When a group or retailer does a barrel pick they can usually have the barrel delivered along with the juice if they want. After all they bought the barrel and the juice in it. Also, when I was looking a couple years ago you could buy new barrels from the same guys the big boys bought from.

sutton
07-15-2011, 03:33
The barrel was about half full when we were done.

Have you thought about topping up the barrel? Just wondering if that might slow some of the evaporation. IIRC, when RH% is higher than 75% more alcohol evaporates than water; lower than 75% and water evaporates more rapidly. Being in N. Florida I wonder if your months above 75% exceed the months below - you might concentrate the flavors and increase the proof by keeping the RH% under 75%....

I've seen this in my winemaking after 18mo-2yrs in barrel - the loss of water intensifies the taste with a slight increase in alcohol content ... which could be a good or bad thing depending on the quality of what went into the barrel in the first place!

Of course, finding 53 gallons of anything is a challenge - great experiment!

sailor22
07-15-2011, 06:34
If we find a younger barrel that has had known good juice come from it we will move the remaining whiskey to it and then fill it at least to the 3/4 mark with something that blends well with the taste we have now.

One of my concerns with this project is that since every barrel brings something different to the aging process it is important to use a barrel that is a known good barrel. That's what kept me from getting a new one - it would be a crap shoot.

Bourbon Boiler
07-20-2011, 18:21
Where are you buying your barrels to age your whiskey? I'm going to start doing this and I need a good supplier of non-varnished barrels.

I brought home a 1 Liter barrel today. I picked it up from an Ebay seller at his residence where they are being made. He advertises "medium char". Looking in through the bung hole was difficult in such a small barrel, but after examining with a flashlight and a laser pointer it was definitely charred and not toasted. I also sensed that it was charred to what IS would call a 3 or 4, but again it wasn't a great view.

I put distilled water in it, and there were no leaks in three hours. Impatiently, I dumped this (it already had a noticable coloring) and put in the 51/49 corn/wheat white dog this evening.

ethangsmith
07-20-2011, 18:47
(Anxiously awaits results....)

Bourbon Boiler
07-20-2011, 18:58
(Anxiously awaits results....)

I'm tempted to start tasting this thing hourly. Patience is not a strength of mine lately.

timd
07-20-2011, 19:39
I'm tempted to start tasting this thing hourly. Patience is not a strength of mine lately.
In time, you'll forget about it - it's just 'there' - and if you taste it too early, you'll be convinced that it's not any good... that also helps you have more patience, because it's pretty rough in the early days...

Bourbon Boiler
07-20-2011, 20:23
In time, you'll forget about it - it's just 'there' - and if you taste it too early, you'll be convinced that it's not any good... that also helps you have more patience, because it's pretty rough in the early days...

You're probably right. I saved about 3-4 oz of the white dog for comparison as it progresses.

bgageus
07-20-2011, 21:35
The barrel is on the ground floor of a 3 story all wood barn with a concrete floor here in North Florida. We haven't kept a record of ambient temp or anything like that.

As if I did not need another reason to head to N. Florida.

sailor22
07-21-2011, 04:27
Let me know when your coming and you can sample directly from the barrel. I have lots of open bottles we can work on too:grin:

Bourbon Boiler
07-29-2011, 16:20
I got some 2 oz bottles this week so I can record the progress.

gburger
07-29-2011, 20:48
Bought three barrels from http://www.thebarrelsource.com/

Good prices and great service. One of my barrels leaked and she replaced it without having to send the bad one back. I put Buffalo Trace White dog in them at the end of May. Looking forward to tasting them.

Enoch
08-02-2011, 07:15
If you are going to store it outside - check every few days. During hot months, and with a first-fill (if it's a "medium char" - and not "medium toast") it's going to age f-a-s-t. You are starting with something that's already a few years old - which I've not done, so not sure how it will impact. It may actually be more subtle since you've got a flavor profile from wood already.

With the 100+ degree days here, two weeks took a silver tequila to nearly black... It was a first fill/XXX char 2 liter barrel.

My last experiment (in Michigan, winter...) aged much, much more slowly - but had a heavier tannin/wood profile - far less vanilla/caramel, but I think that's because that barrel was toasted, not charred.

I put white dog (actually it's MBR's "Blackdog" new make) in the same tequila barrel, and I've already got color & a woody-nose 3 days into it...).

Granted - we've broken 100+ every day in Dallas for the past few weeks - AND I add another little trick: bring it in about every 2-3 days, put it in the fridge to get the wood to contract, and then stick it back outside in the morning.

I also suggest that you FREEZE it when you are ready to empty it - this squeezes out all the woody goodness and primes the barrel for the next use (you still have to soak with water, however).

And - if you don't like "stuff" in your final product use cheesecloth or a strainer (any kind of physical barrier) as you empty it - because no matter how much you washed it, there will be big & little flakes of char coming out with it - enough to coat the bottom of the bottle.

Good luck - and keep us in informed on how extra aging an already aged whiskey goes. I think it could wind up being very dark, creamy, smooth and rich tasting in a very short amount of time (3-4 weeks)



Thanks for the advise. I dumped the barrel after just two weeks and the bourbon is nearly black and has a very strong new wood taste almost pine-ish. It's good but has to be cut with water. If I had left it for a couple of months I suspect it would have been undrinkable. It doesn't taste anything like the EW BIB I put in there.

StraightNoChaser
08-02-2011, 10:03
Bourbons I've tried that I've found to be "overaged" aka too woody while lacking the sweet tones I want:

Michter's Small Batch American Whiskey
Rowan's Creek
Pure Kentucky XO - worst of the bunch IMO

mosugoji64
08-02-2011, 20:18
Bourbons I've tried that I've found to be "overaged" aka too woody while lacking the sweet tones I want:

Michter's Small Batch American Whiskey
Rowan's Creek
Pure Kentucky XO - worst of the bunch IMO

That's interesting. Your experience with Pure Kentucky was completely unlike mine. The bottle I had was lacking in complexity and showed little evidence of wood. It wasn't bad, but just very simple: a lot of corn, a little rye, and even less oak. If not for the overwhelming heat and the fact that it's overpriced, I would recommend it as a starter bourbon. I wonder how much variation exists from bottle to bottle with that one.

StraightNoChaser
08-03-2011, 08:42
That's interesting. Your experience with Pure Kentucky was completely unlike mine. The bottle I had was lacking in complexity and showed little evidence of wood. It wasn't bad, but just very simple: a lot of corn, a little rye, and even less oak. If not for the overwhelming heat and the fact that it's overpriced, I would recommend it as a starter bourbon. I wonder how much variation exists from bottle to bottle with that one.
That's the sentiment I've heard from most who have had the XO. I found it to be offensive to my nasal passages.

Strangely, however, my palate has been shifting around all over the place lately. For instance, a friend in California sent me a small sample of his Black Maple Hill small batch (never seen it in TX). My first sampling of it reminded me of Jack Daniel's of all things. It had that overripe banana flavor that characterizes JD (in my experience). However yesterday I poured a little more of the BMH sample and the banana aroma/flavor was completely absent.

There are days as well where all I can sense in some bourbons is a strangely off woody character. I think in the spirit of experimentation I will pour a PKXO tonight and compare it to the memory of my first pour.

StraightNoChaser
08-03-2011, 08:43
For the record I also recently quit smoking so I suspect there has to be a little influence there.

SMOWK
08-03-2011, 09:11
Strangely, however, my palate has been shifting around all over the place lately. For instance, a friend in California sent me a small sample of his Black Maple Hill small batch (never seen it in TX). My first sampling of it reminded me of Jack Daniel's of all things. It had that overripe banana flavor that characterizes JD (in my experience). However yesterday I poured a little more of the BMH sample and the banana aroma/flavor was completely absent.

I've always found banana in the BMH SB bottles I've purchased. SERIOUS banana.

StraightNoChaser
08-03-2011, 10:57
I've always found banana in the BMH SB bottles I've purchased. SERIOUS banana.
I'm starting to think that this whole banana sensation has to be some sort of genetic thing. I have friends who swear up and down they've never smelled bananas in whiskey. Could be similar to the gene that allows one to sense thje notorious "asparagus pee"

http://www.livescience.com/10758-scientists-stalk-mystery-smelly-asparagus-urine.html

craigthom
08-05-2011, 05:34
I'm starting to think that this whole banana sensation has to be some sort of genetic thing. I have friends who swear up and down they've never smelled bananas in whiskey. Could be similar to the gene that allows one to sense thje notorious "asparagus pee"

http://www.livescience.com/10758-scientists-stalk-mystery-smelly-asparagus-urine.html

That's an interesting idea. I wonder if the people who don't smell banana in Jack Daniel's also don't smell it in, for example, a Bavarian weissbier.

PaulO
08-05-2011, 06:13
That's an interesting idea. I wonder if the people who don't smell banana in Jack Daniel's also don't smell it in, for example, a Bavarian weissbier.
That's exactly what I was thinking. Some people (like me) really like Bavarian weissbier. Others don't like it, but like other beers. There is a genetic component to taste that I have heard of; that effects whether or not a person can or can't taste certain flavors. There are also cultural influences. There are even some people that can taste nothing at all.

mosugoji64
08-05-2011, 09:36
Taste is definitely variable. I've never detected the menthol in HH products that others have described, and while I do get a yeast note in Beam products it's more like bread for me than the vegetable or wet cardboard flavor that others get. It's a good thing there's a wide variety available out there or there would be a lot fewer SB members!

StraightNoChaser
08-05-2011, 09:51
That's an interesting idea. I wonder if the people who don't smell banana in Jack Daniel's also don't smell it in, for example, a Bavarian weissbier.
From my Google-fu, I've learned that Isoamyl Acetate is the ester that gives bananas their distinct aroma.


Isoamyl acetate, also known as isopentyl acetate, is an organic compound that is the ester formed from isoamyl alcohol and acetic acid.

According to an old book titled Aroma of Beer, Wine and Distilled Alcoholic Beverages, there is a small proportion of isoamyl acetate in whiskey

http://tinyurl.com/3khjmco

I suspect that the threshold for detection might be influenced by genetic variance http://smiliesftw.com/x/dunno.gif

Sorry to derail the thread, maybe this topic deserves its own :grin:

IowaJeff
08-05-2011, 09:57
I get a lot of banana in stranahan's, kind of a banana bread, but haven't picked it up elsewhere.

Bourbon Boiler
09-25-2011, 10:14
I get a lot of banana in stranahan's, kind of a banana bread, but haven't picked it up elsewhere.

Maybe we're talking about the same flavor, but all I taste in Stranahan's is liquorice.

sku
09-25-2011, 11:41
I get a lot of banana in stranahan's, kind of a banana bread, but haven't picked it up elsewhere.

I also get a lot of banana in Stranahan's.

T Comp
09-25-2011, 16:35
I'll add Bartons BIB to the list of Banana whiskeys and put it a touch above Stranahans and way above JD in how it pleasantly integrates with the whiskey as a whole.

Flyfish
11-15-2011, 10:44
That's exactly what I was thinking. Some people (like me) really like Bavarian weissbier. Others don't like it, but like other beers. There is a genetic component to taste that I have heard of; that effects whether or not a person can or can't taste certain flavors. There are also cultural influences. There are even some people that can taste nothing at all.

I met a fellow who had been in a serious accident--a falling tree smacked him in the face, crushing his sinus cavities (not to mention coming this close to killing him). He said he couldn't "taste" any more except for the sweet, sour, salt, and bitter which the tongue can detect. He still liked steak--because he still likes the texture of meat, and bourbon--the enjoyment of which is not solely dependent on taste.

keith18
11-15-2011, 11:45
About a month ago I acquired some 2 liter barrels from 1000 Oaks Barrels (http://1000oaksbarrel.com/). The priced seemed reasonable and they arrived quickly.

Then I got the bright idea that since white whiskey has proliferated in my favorite liquor stores, I could create my own bourbon by using white whiskies made with only one element. For example, one of the barrels I filled with 66% XXX Shine White Whiskey (made with 100% corn) and 33% with Koval's wheated whiskey (made with 100% wheat). I mixed in some oat whiskey from Kovals in another barrel just to see what would happen. I also used some rye in another. (I was not able to find any white whiskey made with barley.)

I'm concerned after reading through this post, that the small barrels will negatively impact my juice whenever I decide to bring it out.

So a couple questions:
1.) Given the equipment at hand (2 liter barrels), is this type of experiment bound to fail?
2.) Since the white whiskey didn't come off the same still, will my flavors ever come together nicely?

Thanks for the advice!

Gillman
11-15-2011, 13:47
The different still sources doesn't matter except crucially if the whiskeys or some were distilled at over 160 proof (give or take). If under, the whiskey when aged should have good straight whiskey character. If over, it may still be good, but won't likely taste like typical straight bourbon or rye. Depending on how much of these whiskeys was distilled under 160, there might be a good character to it though.

As for the small-cask aging, people here have tried it with varying results. It seems small barrels don't always deliver what big ones do. You might get some good early wood extract but not the typical flavours a long process of oxidation imparts.

Also, it depends on the heat and cooling cycles if any it's getting, you want to try to mimic what they would get in a natural environment to the extent possible, i.e., hot days for part of the year and cool nights, cold days for part and colder nights.

But you never know.. In theory what you have done makes sense and it could turn out great. If not, you can blend the output with commercial bourbon or rye or make cocktails from it or both. Doubtful you won't be able to use it.

Gary

keith18
11-15-2011, 14:27
Thanks much for the advice. Nothing even close to 160 proof, so good there. Since I didn't put the juice in until late October, I'm considering leaving it there until late summer 2012 so I get some of the heat cycle that is apparently needed.

I'll make sure and report back what I come up with!

Bourbon Boiler
11-15-2011, 19:29
You might check out this thread if you haven't already.

http://straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16346

If your goal is to make your own to save money or keep yourself stocked, you're probably fighting a losing battle. If your goal is to learn about the process and the variables involved in whiskey-making, it is a fun way to do so.

keith18
11-16-2011, 06:16
You might check out this thread if you haven't already.

http://straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16346

If your goal is to make your own to save money or keep yourself stocked, you're probably fighting a losing battle. If your goal is to learn about the process and the variables involved in whiskey-making, it is a fun way to do so.

It's the latter with me--Mostly a hobby for me. How is your stuff turning out? How long has it been in the barrel?

Bourbon Boiler
11-16-2011, 14:26
It's the latter with me--Mostly a hobby for me. How is your stuff turning out? How long has it been in the barrel?

Some as long as four months, and some as long as short as 2.5 months. The apple brandy that is aging in a barrel with used BT char is coming along very well. The 51/49 corn/wheat is iffy. It went from ok to awful to better, and seems to be improving.