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Flyfish
03-22-2013, 16:29
If terroir is defined as the influence of place on taste, just how significant is the KY terroir on the great taste of bourbon? The distillery tour guides always point to the wonderful limestone springs (or the Kentucky River) that yield iron-free water. And the marvelous KY climate that has just enough hot and cold to drive the whiskey in and out of the barrels. And even to the locally grown corn that has those nice, long dents that, somehow or other, are superior to all the other corn in the known universe.
Still (so to speak), we know that before 1792 (or whenever) Americans were making whiskey all over the place. G. Washington even had to go put down a rebellion in PA because the distillers didn't like the tax. (Just picture that happening today.) G. himself made whiskey at Mt. Vernon.
Today, bourbon is made in IN, CO, and TX and Lord knows where else. (I don't know how to count bourbon distilled at BT and supposedly distilled again and aged in VA.) Seems like the Old Boys would have made whiskey no matter where they settled but, by fortunate happenstance, they settled in KY. The water is pretty good in Tennessee but their whisk(e)y ain't quite exactly bourbon. Why aren't we drinking Iowa Straight Bourbon Whiskey? There's an awful lot of corn in I-o-way.
So, the question for SBers is, do you think there is really something terrific about KY or do we just love KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey because we are slaves to tradition?

squire
03-22-2013, 16:51
What I think is there's a reason why heretics were burned at the stake.

MyOldKyDram
03-22-2013, 17:53
When someone, somewhere else starts making it consistently better than they do here, then I'll start drinking it.

squire
03-22-2013, 18:32
Sean, what are you saying? Have you considered shipping costs from the Twilight Zone?

MyOldKyDram
03-22-2013, 18:36
No but yummmmmmmm Twilight Terroir. Now that's gotta be worth something.

Grain Belt
03-22-2013, 18:48
It has to make me say "Damn!, that's a good drink." I haven't done it with a micro/craft yet. I've done it with some Indiana rye but not a bourbon from out of Kentucky.

Old Dusty
03-22-2013, 19:08
Look some things are done better some places than others. Period. Indiana does open wheel racing, popcorn and basketball and Kentucky does horses and bourbon. I'm ok with the division of labor and of quality. Play to your strengths.

MyOldKyDram
03-22-2013, 19:15
Uh, KY does basketball too.

Okay, maybe not this year. :(

Old Dusty
03-23-2013, 06:36
Uh, KY does basketball too.

Okay, maybe not this year. :(

I put that in there just for you :grin:

p_elliott
03-23-2013, 09:34
Actually there is Iowa Bourbon Whiskey just wish they would age it longer and up the proof. Label doesn't say straight Lord knows how young this stuff is. I took this one to the gazebo went over like a fart in church. There are a couple of other distilleries in Iowa making bourbon.

Old Dusty
03-23-2013, 13:41
Indiana has two NDP labels: Spring Mill and W.H. Harrison. Tasted Harrison and its not bad. I believe both are LDI/MGP juice. Will support the locals with an occasional purchase but will always go to KY for my wheaters.

HighHorse
03-24-2013, 08:52
If terroir is defined as the influence of place on taste, just how significant is the KY terroir on the great taste of bourbon?...

Conversely, though, one can't deny the significance of the great taste of bourbon on the "terroir" of the great state of Kentucky. It makes me want to go there and return .. and return .. and return.

Kalessin
03-24-2013, 09:25
Conversely, though, one can't deny the significance of the great taste of bourbon on the "terroir" of the great state of Kentucky. It makes me want to go there and return .. and return .. and return.

Lucky for me I can live in Boston because they keep sending those fine Kentucky bottles over this way...

tmckenzie
03-24-2013, 09:29
We are making some nice stuff NY, but I have had this conversation with Steve Nalley, and he like me for sure thinks there is something about where a bourbon is made and how it tastes. While our bourbon favor is like that out of KY, there is something a little different, I think it is corn mainly, but climate has an effect as well.

squire
03-25-2013, 13:44
Tom I assume you mean the climate in which the barrels are aged?

tmckenzie
03-26-2013, 05:27
yes and in weather. In Steve's case altitude effects how that still runs. On a pot like we use for now, I do not know about a column but will soon find out, but the weather can change during a run and you will have to adjust the thing. Barometric pressure I say. And weather here changes a lot. If you do not like the weather, wait a minute, it will change.

unclebunk
03-26-2013, 05:40
Conversely, though, one can't deny the significance of the great taste of bourbon on the "terroir" of the great state of Kentucky. It makes me want to go there and return .. and return .. and return.

Very good point. I was thinking along the same lines. Kentucky is hard to beat!

squire
03-26-2013, 11:11
I was thinking of latitude Tom but overlooked something, don't you guys get the Lake effect weather in your area?

tmckenzie
03-27-2013, 05:18
yep a lot of lake effect. May be while the still react like it does. Weather changes quick. Yesterday morning I was mashing and you have to go outside to open the bins while you are milling. When I mash it is straight through the mill and to the cooker all at one time. Anyway First cook it was snowing, and hour or so later, the next cook it was raining. Weird.

squire
03-28-2013, 15:18
Ah, thought so, unique climatic conditions.

Peter_Pogue
03-28-2013, 15:50
Tom is correct; climate makes a big difference. That's why we don't distill from mid July to mid August - heat and humiditiy causes the mash to get gummy and runs very slow; it is not worth it. Your yield is very low, as compared to what we have gotten over the last 4 months. We also think what it is aged in (we only use 53 gallon barrels from ISC) makes a big difference (but, that's a different debate for a different thread). We also think altitude affects maturation and taste. We sit 400 feet up a hillside with a prevailing wind off the Ohio River which we have noticed is definitely affecting the maturation rate and taste.

Flyfish
03-28-2013, 16:24
Tom is correct; climate makes a big difference. That's why we don't distill from mid July to mid August - heat and humiditiy causes the mash to get gummy and runs very slow; it is not worth it. Your yield is very low, as compared to what we have gotten over the last 4 months. We also think what it is aged in (we only use 53 gallon barrels from ISC) makes a big difference (but, that's a different debate for a different thread). We also think altitude affects maturation and taste. We sit 400 feet up a hillside with a prevailing wind off the Ohio River which we have noticed is definitely affecting the maturation rate and taste.

Thank you. It is this kind of input that makes SB worth more than the price of membership.

Leopold
03-28-2013, 16:49
The other thing to remember is that many of us are using wooden fermenters--- and this was especially the case back before prohibition----- and bourbon/rye mash is never boiled unlike beer. So there will be indigenous bacteria both in the wood and riding in the grain that will add, for want of a less snooty term, terroir and a sense of place.

To top it off, out here in Colorado, our humidity is next to nothing many days out of the year. This has a profound effect on evaporation reactions.

squire
03-28-2013, 17:50
So in the future we may look forward to the Finger Lakes style, the Mile High style, hmm, the next decade portends some interesting stuff.