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View Full Version : Finished Bourbon vs Mixing



Bmac
06-03-2013, 22:58
I was reading a review on Angel Envy's new Rye finished in rum barrel whiskey (Jason Pyle's Sour mash Manifesto). Reading the tasting notes basically made it seem like all the finish really did was impart (too much) rum flavor.

So I began to think about what finishing really does.

Obviously, whatever flavor was in the cask is going to mix with whatever is then added to it. I get that. But, because it's only ever in these barrels for a few months (although in this case a year and a half), I wonder if oak (if oak was used) really plays a significant influence? If it doesn't; why bother with the additional aging? So you can still call it bourbon; because technically it was left in a charred oak barrel? The rum barrel that was used in this instance had come from cognac. So we don't know how "used" the barrel was before it aged rum , so I doubt there is much wood sugar or char left to influence the "finished" bourbon. :( To top it all off, the LDI rye used has no age statement. We know it at least aged 1 1/2 years but how old was it before that? New make, two years, four years? Based on the tasting notes from Jason, I'm going to go with new make because the rye influence is practically taken over by rum.

I want answers because many of these bourbons or whiskeys come in at WAY beyond their price point. 70 bux for Angel's Envy? Madness. I got Parker's Heritage Collection Cognac finished for 67 dollars. By far a better product. I mean really, what would be the difference if I took Rittenhouse Rye and mixed it with Meyers Dark Rum, maybe even a splash of cognac. It would still be cheaper than Angel's Envy.

darylld911
06-04-2013, 03:17
Sounds like an interesting experiment! When they extract the whiskey from the spent barrels (ie - Devil's Cut), it is a bit more woody - so the rum might be a bit different from just taking a splash from the bottle. I do agree that Angel's Envy is very proud of their stuff (and while it ain't bad, there are too many products out there that hit my wheelhouse better for that kinda money).

tanstaafl2
06-04-2013, 08:51
While I have no definitive proof I have been told by the Henderson's that the AE bourbon is generally in the 4-6yo range before finishing occurs. Whether this is true of the MGP rye in the AE Rye I can't say. It doesn't taste like it is exceedingly young to me. I feel like I can taste more maturity in the rye than that or else I would expect the tangy new make taste of the rye would likely cut through the rum finish more than it does. But my palate is hardly an extensively experienced one so that may be just my perception.

But I will take my chances with Lincoln Henderson's palate as my guide. And perhaps my interest in finished whiskeys makes me more inclined to like it and put it in my wheelhouse. Would I like it to cost less? Sure! So I will instead drink a little less of it at the current price point than I might otherwise. But I plan to keep drinking it all the same.

Bmac
06-04-2013, 22:12
Thanks tanstaafl2 (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/member.php?8493-tanstaafl2) for the background info.

In case anyone wondered, I did mix a bit of Meyer's Dark Rum with Rittenhouse Rye. It was very tasty. I thinking about finding a perfect blend ratio and making it a new drink :)

michaelturtle1
06-05-2013, 06:42
I really liked the vatting of V21 and Zaya I did the other night, the flavors mingled well. I am going to try a few more combos tonight to see how well the Zaya mixes with other ryes

nblair
06-06-2013, 18:50
I want answers because many of these bourbons or whiskeys come in at WAY beyond their price point. 70 bux for Angel's Envy? Madness. I got Parker's Heritage Collection Cognac finished for 67 dollars. By far a better product.

It sounds like you haven't tried Angel's Envy Rye. In your quest for answers sometimes trying the product is the best way to get them. Anyone expecting it to taste like a straight rye will probably be disappointed, but it is a tasty whiskey regardless. I would venture to say the rye that was used is far from new make or even 1.5 years old...

Bmac
06-07-2013, 00:12
It sounds like you haven't tried Angel's Envy Rye. In your quest for answers sometimes trying the product is the best way to get them. Anyone expecting it to taste like a straight rye will probably be disappointed, but it is a tasty whiskey regardless. I would venture to say the rye that was used is far from new make or even 1.5 years old...

I would happily try a sample. 70 bux right now is far too much for me at present moment. That's two dinners, or 2 tanks of gas, or 1/3 groceries or 2 bottles of Willett Rye at cask strength. It's like Garrison Brothers. I get what they are trying to do, and I don't fault anyone for trying to make a buck; but I don't like being gauged. It's like they fluffed up a basic product and tried to say it was special so pay a special price.

Who knows, maybe one day when/if it goes on sale I will pull the trigger....

Although my question about finishing in other casks wasn't answered.

TomH
06-07-2013, 09:28
While I have no definitive proof I have been told by the Henderson's that the AE bourbon is generally in the 4-6yo range before finishing occurs. Whether this is true of the MGP rye in the AE Rye I can't say. It doesn't taste like it is exceedingly young to me. I feel like I can taste more maturity in the rye than that or else I would expect the tangy new make taste of the rye would likely cut through the rum finish more than it does. But my palate is hardly an extensively experienced one so that may be just my perception.

But I will take my chances with Lincoln Henderson's palate as my guide. And perhaps my interest in finished whiskeys makes me more inclined to like it and put it in my wheelhouse. Would I like it to cost less? Sure! So I will instead drink a little less of it at the current price point than I might otherwise. But I plan to keep drinking it all the same.

According to the fine folks at AE, the rye is 6 YO MPG which has then been aged an additional 18 months in rum casks which had previously been used for Cognac.

TomH
06-07-2013, 09:30
I want answers because many of these bourbons or whiskeys come in at WAY beyond their price point. 70 bux for Angel's Envy? Madness. I got Parker's Heritage Collection Cognac finished for 67 dollars. By far a better product. I mean really, what would be the difference if I took Rittenhouse Rye and mixed it with Meyers Dark Rum, maybe even a splash of cognac. It would still be cheaper than Angel's Envy.

If you have not tasted AE rye, how can you make the determination that PHC Cognac is better ?

jaycamm
06-07-2013, 11:34
I thought I was the only one who wondered about this. Thanks for starting this discussion Bmac. I am planning on doing som experiments. I will let you know how they turn out. Also interested in the new Beam flavored with Brandy.

mbroo5880i
06-07-2013, 12:03
I think that "finishing" whiskeys, be it Bourbon, Rye, Scotch or whatever, is the only real frontier left. This is how distillers and/or finishers can differentiate their product. I know Woodford lovers who compare Angel's Envy to Woodford. I taste a difference. However, I am still undecided about whether that difference justifies double the cost of Woodford. If all things were equal, I think I prefer Angel's Envy. But, the price makes them not equal. Further, the market availability of other whiskies along the price spectrum between the two provide other competing options that I prefer over both.

I think you do see an influence in the flavor of a spirit based on the additional time in a "used" barrel with a different flavor profile. You see the same thing with bourbon barrel aged beers. I have to believe that the folks at Angel's Envy have criteria what type and from whom they purchase their "used" barrels since it have a significant impact on their product. Unlike the Pappy's and a few other high profile bourbons (even scotches) where the market is irrational, the market will eventually establish the appropriate price. If the distiller/finisher feels that the market price is to low to produce the product, they will either discontinue or modify it to justify another price level.

Meanwhile, as a consumer and bourbon enthusiast, it is very fair and prudent to be asking these questions.

squire
06-07-2013, 12:08
There's no reason Bourbon can't be blended with Port, Sherry, Brandy, Maderia or Rum for that matter.

compliance
06-07-2013, 12:37
I just put together a Handy El Dorado 15 mixture, 3/1 ratio. Let it mingle for 30 min and drinking it now. It's decent. Cheers!

Bmac
06-10-2013, 00:06
Thanks for the replies. I suppose I am judging AE by the cover rather than the book. I see "special" edition releases from other companies within the same price point. The reviews, for the most part, align to my views when I purchase them. I am not saying that distillers SHOULDN'T continue with finishing in other barrels. I am saying, stop passing the aggressive price for doing it. If I had the expendable income, I would buy AE and then test whether I could MIX the same flavor profile with the selection of Ryes (under 7 years) with Rum (of which I have numerous selection of).

Again, my argument is price, for what appears to be an experimental product. I think for what amounts to be a 7 to 8 year rye should be priced appropriately. Somewhere around the 35 - 40 dollar range tops. If it was a 10+ year old rye, then yeah. I would understand the 70+ price tag.

I have a guy at a liquor store tell me that price depends on age and providence. For the most part I have found that to be true. Although, I have also discovered price is affected by available quantity.

ATXWhiskey
06-10-2013, 06:07
Thanks for the replies. I suppose I am judging AE by the cover rather than the book. I see "special" edition releases from other companies within the same price point. The reviews, for the most part, align to my views when I purchase them. I am not saying that distillers SHOULDN'T continue with finishing in other barrels. I am saying, stop passing the aggressive price for doing it. If I had the expendable income, I would buy AE and then test whether I could MIX the same flavor profile with the selection of Ryes (under 7 years) with Rum (of which I have numerous selection of).

Again, my argument is price, for what appears to be an experimental product. I think for what amounts to be a 7 to 8 year rye should be priced appropriately. Somewhere around the 35 - 40 dollar range tops. If it was a 10+ year old rye, then yeah. I would understand the 70+ price tag.

I have a guy at a liquor store tell me that price depends on age and providence. For the most part I have found that to be true. Although, I have also discovered price is affected by available quantity.

In this case you're also paying a premium for novelty and scarcity. People hear about the product and think, "Interesting, I'd like to try that," and then snap up the only bottle they see. If they're thinking 40-50 dollars along regular parameters (which isn't far off the mark given the current rye craze) then a 20 dollar premium for the novelty of it and it being available right in front of them while known to be scarce isn't going to drive away too many consumers.

Bmac
06-10-2013, 15:49
In this case you're also paying a premium for novelty and scarcity. People hear about the product and think, "Interesting, I'd like to try that," and then snap up the only bottle they see. If they're thinking 40-50 dollars along regular parameters (which isn't far off the mark given the current rye craze) then a 20 dollar premium for the novelty of it and it being available right in front of them while known to be scarce isn't going to drive away too many consumers.

I am not so sure I can agree. Maybe it depends on region or social types. Most people I talk to (who don't know anything about bourbon) just go with brands they know. None of them are into forking over 30+ dollars on a product they don't know anything about. Most of these people drink for effect and are just going to buy 9 - 19 dollar Vodka or Wine. if they buy whiskey they are simply mixing it with Coke. Only those, that I know, who drink Scotch, know to drink it straight and will plunk down massive cash for just about any obscure single malt (of age.) The owners of small, non-chain, liquor stores, say that 80% of their business is people buying cheap Vodka and cigarettes. So the demographic matches up. Again, this could just be a regional thing. You're in Austin TX and I am in the Dallas/FTW Texas area.

To me, this AE product is specifically geared towards enthusiasts. I consider myself an enthusiast, so I therefore look at it from my perspective. From my perspective it is over priced. When compared to other products that have been "finished" is it worth the price it is at?

Lastly, I am not 100% in agreement with the concept that "finishing" is the last resort distillers have to make a unique or better product. They could simply go back to the basics. Spend the money for better, higher quality casks, higher quality grain, higher quality but less yield practices. They've been aging barrels for decades. I am quite sure they know which locations in their warehouse yield the best juice. Point is, if they wanted to, they could make a super, ultimate, premium product that would be worth the price. Stitzel-Weller is a prime example. Yeah, I am aware that towards the end they made 'some' crappy bourbon; but quite a lot of it is so good it's extremely hard to match. SW didn't 'finish' in other barrels. They made it the same way the others do; just with more expensive, less yield methods.

That is what I would have wanted for this AE product.