View Full Version : Bourbon Not A Bourbon (JD)
I quote in part from a recent Jack Daniel's press release.
If Jack Daniel's were to be placed in a barrel and aged immediately after distillation, it would be a bourbon. However, that is not the case. Our whiskey is trickled very slowly through 10 feet of hard maple charcoal, right after distillation. It's this extra step in the whiskey-making process that makes Jack Daniel's more than a bourbon.
Oh God, not again! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
so having less of a nose, less complexity, less body, means its more then a bourbon?
i thinktheyre talking about pricing when they say More. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Haven't you heard the expression "less is more?" They've even applied that philosophy to their bottling proof!
I guess this proves that Mies was a drinker of Jack.
This whole thing is so silly. JD's competition won't ALLOW them under the bourbon umbrella, and the response is that they don't WANT the label. It's all a marketing game.
JD's competition won't ALLOW them under the bourbon umbrella, and the response is that they don't WANT the label. It's all a marketing game.
I don't know if the first part of your statement is correct, but the last part certainly is. I should have pointed out that the quoted statement is the producer's opinion. It is found nowhere in the federal regulations. When we discussed this before, it was pointed out that the law requires something to be labeled as what it is, so if it is bourbon, it's supposed to be labeled bourbon. Therefore, JD has to argue that the filtration process disqualifies it from being bourbon. The fact that it hasn't been challenged pretty much means it can't be, so even though it hasn't really been codified, for all intents and purposes Tennessee Whiskey is a "legal definition" and it is bourbon that has been charcoal rectified (probably a more accurate term than "filtered") before aging.
Actually, if the competition really wanted to f--- JD, they would argue that it is bourbon and force them to label it as such.
What about the fact that it has coloring added? From what I understand, even more coloring now that it's only 80 proof.
The only coloring in Jack Daniel's is what comes naturally from the barrel. No artifical coloring is added. You have been misinformed.
the 80 proof has coloring in it...
Where did you hear this? It has been my understanding that JD is identical to bourbon production, save the "mellowing". I have read nothing to indicate a change other than a proof reduction.
I do remember reading a reference from Jimmy Bedford about taking conscious steps to match the color of the new 80 proof to the old 86, but I took it to mean they were conscious of color in barrel selection, not that they added anything.
What OMINOUS language...
You are wrong. This will be my last word on the subject. If that isn't good enough for you, run a search on the words "cognitive dissonance."
When did they lower the proof to 80? Is this a recent development?
See this thread (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=34934&page=0&view=col lapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1) .
Also look here (http://www.drunkard.com/md_editors_rant.htm).
When did they lower the proof to 80? Is this a recent development?
They began bottling at 80 proof at the beginning of 2004. It took a while for the lower-proof bottlings to hit the shelf in some areas. Here in TN, we saw it by March, and knew it was coming last fall. But, then, we occasionally have folks who work there in the store. Anyway, it was a done deal long before enough people became aware of it to howl effectively.
Just as an FYI, JD can not be called a bourbon because federal laws prohibit the addition of anything other than the grains in the mashbill, yeast, and water. The charcoal filtration immediately after distillation adds a bit of a smokey, maple flavor to the whiskey. As far as I know they comply with the rest of the specs.
JD can not be called a bourbon because federal laws prohibit the addition of anything other than the grains in the mashbill, yeast, and water.
The above is probably arguable and we have had some long discussions about it on this board. One point is that the Lincoln Country Process isn't so much additive as subtractive and isn't substantially different from barrel aging and the process filtering most bourbons receive. Again "substantially different" is arguable. There never has been a ruling as such from any body of competent jurisdition stating that JD can't be called bourbon. However, the status quo seems to be acceptable to everybody, so why rock the boat?
the Lincoln Country Process isn't so much additive as subtractive
Well, here's my bone... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
That would be true if they were running it thru Oak charcoal. By using Maple, they introduce something into the process that wasn't there before.
Lincoln Country Process isn't so much additive as subtractive and isn't substantially different from barrel aging and the process filtering most bourbons receive. Again "substantially different" is arguable.
Okay, then here's another question. There's a Jim Beam product that sporadiclly appears out here. I haven't tried it. I think it's called "Jim Beam Choice" or something. It has a green label. It is supposed to be charcoal filtered. As I understand it, the Choice charcoal filtering is done at the end of the manufacturing process as opposed to the earlier filtering done with JD and Charles Dickel. And I'm sure the filtering process is quite different.
But here's the question. Why is it that Jim Beam Choice is a bourbon? (Or is it? I don't remember whether or not the word "bourbon" appears on the label.)
It's a product that is found in most good outlets Downunder, though, I must confess to having never tried it..
I'm with you on this one.
Next thing you know someone may take up my cockamamie idea of substituting one stave of some other wood in each oak barrel. (I once opined that EC12 tastes a little like eucalyptus. Why not try just one, itsy-bitsy eucalyptus stave in each barrel.) Or "finishing" a bourbon in a barrel of some other wood. Or an uncharred oak barrel.
Would the resulting product in each case still be bourbon? I think not; but then who am I to say? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
Or "finishing" a bourbon in a barrel of some other wood. Or an uncharred oak barrel.
Wild Turkey has a product called "Sherry Signature" that is finished in a Sherry cask. They do not call the finished product bourbon. They do say it is made from bourbon.
All but a handful of whiskies, scotches as well as bourbons, are filtered before bottling, usually at temperatures approaching freezing. This "chill-filtering" process removes amino acids that cause flocking or "chill haze." This processing is only necessary for whiskies bottled at below full (i.e., 100) proof. In many and possibly all cases, the filtration material used includes some charcoal. The difference is that this filter is paper thin, whereas the tank used for the Lincoln County process is ten feet tall and jammed full of gravel-sized pieces of charcoal. It takes a second for whiskey to pass through the former type of charcoal filter, while it takes days for it to go through the Lincoln County one.
You'll notice that the "Beam's Choice" label resembles the JD green label in other subtle ways too. I believe they put that "charcoal filtering" statement on there deliberately to confuse the issue. They're not alone. Some other bourbons that, just coincidentally I'm sure also come in square bottles, do it too.
But you do raise an interesting point. Although I have described the difference between the two processes, both involve the whiskey coming into contact with charcoal.
Chuck I don't see it much now days but in the '70s it seems that every other square bottle on the shelves had "Charcoal Filtered" on the label somewhere prominent.
Chuck, do you think that the since JD only goes through a single distillation, the initial charcoal filtration basically accomplishes the same thing that a doubler does? In other words, do both processes "polish" the whiskey?
I'll let Chuck make the final call as you asked him, but Jack Daniel's is distilled twice before charcoal leaching. It exits the doubler at 140 F and then submits to the week-long mellowing process.
JD is what I call an adulterated product. As for the proof being lowered, it makes sense for them to do it. If you produce roughly 5,000,000 cases a year at 43% Alc/Vol like JD then you reduce it to 40% Alc/Vol, You gain approximately 79251.6 Proof Gallons(41,711 cases) without doing anything else. It makes a lot of sense to me.
Why do you say "adulterated", Drew?
Is JD not doubled? I did not know that. Doubling removes congeners, as does the Lincoln County Process (LCP), but doubling also removes water, increasing the proof, which the LCP does not. However, both are forms of rectification. This does once again raise the point that mere variation from normal bourbon practice, if the regs are silent about that particular practice, would not necessarily offend the regs.
There is very little doubt that the proof change was a way to increase profits by paying less in tax and at the same time getting customers to pay the same price for water that they were paying for whiskey. I suppose you could interpret that as "stretching" production, but I don't think Jack has any production problems that would force it to stretch existing inventory by reducing bottling proof.
I suppose that if you're buying whiskey to re-sell, rather than making it, stretching stocks would be an important consideration. If you're making it, and have sufficient capacity, you just make more. Once you've got a distillery up and going, whiskey is really cheap to make. The incremental costs are minimal.
It couldn't be simpler. If you can reduce the proof of an existing, high volume product without losing sales you totally should do it, because your customers will be paying the same price for water that they were paying for whiskey, and you'll pay a lot less in excise tax, since that's based on proof.
As has also been pointed out here, in countries where whiskey sold at less than 80 proof doesn't have to be labeled "diluted," as it does here, JD black is 70 proof.
As for "adulterated," that is a word you don't want to throw around lightly and you should at least minimally justify its use, not just leave it hanging out there like that.
Does the lower proof add more of marketablity to those who mix their booze?
Do all lower prooffing have less flavor then higher proof?
In my option the high proof bourbons have more flavor than the 80/90 proofs except in older agging bourbon.
Next qeustion how big of a part does the yeast play in the flavor role? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif
In 1995 Jimmy Bedford stated Jack Daniel's is redistilled in a doubler. He stated the purpose is to remove undesirables from the whiskey. See www.realbeer.com/maltadvocate/u95/U95DAN.html (http://www.realbeer.com/maltadvocate/u95/U95DAN.html)
A modern column still can achieve 160 proof in a single pass, but the doubler provides "polish," as Ken said, so I would have been surprised if Jack is not doubled.
By the way, "doubler" is just a name. It doesn't, for example, double the proof.
Proof differences in whiskey are primarily about value, although some people prefer the taste of a higher proof whiskey drunk neat. Traditionally (by which I mean before Prohibition and immediately after), straight whiskey was always 100 proof. Proof cutting began in part because consumers wanted a lighter taste and in part because a proof cut always represents a hidden price increase (substituting water for whiskey). As this process went on, the trade tended to expect so-called "premium" products to be higher proof than the minimum of 80. The common proof points were 80, 86, 94 and 100. Then people started doing "odd" proofs, just to be different. There is no magic to any particular proof. The equation is really just more proof, more whiskey, less water.
Yeast is a significant contributor to flavor.
If you can reduce the proof of an existing, high volume product without losing sales you totally should do it, because your customers will be paying the same price for water that they were paying for whiskey, and you'll pay a lot less in excise tax, since that's based on proof.
Please forgive me for asking a question with what I expect has an obvious answer. But I'm still troubled by your use of the word "should" in the quote above. Given what you have said in this post, and given what you said in your 11/26/04 response to jace33, I assume that "should" means what the distillers should do from a purely business standpoint, right? It's not something that distillers should do for the high quality whiskies that the people on this forum like, right?
Actually as I proof this post I notice the term "high volume" in your quote. This makes me feel better. This makes the answers to my questions all the more obvious.
I assume that "should" means what the distillers should do from a purely business standpoint, right?
Yes, that is a correct assumption.
wow, i can only imagine how flat a 70 proof JD would taste and feel. who would buy such a bottle if not for novelty reasons?
A question that arises in my mind: is any Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey made today subjected to only one distillation?
I believe the answer is no.
Sam Cecil in his book states that over the years some distillers have distilled once only, e.g., in a short-chambered beer still without a rectifier or doubler attached or in a true pot still because he refers sometimes to a "charge still" (one that you have to recharge with mash after the previous distillation). He writes that when single runs were last tried, in the early 1970's, the plan was soon abandoned because the results were not good. This means of course the liquor was too congeneric and would take too long to age. I am sure the Rowan's Creek I bought recently was made in a continuous still with doubler or thumper annexed. Still, at some nine and one-half years of age it shows a big "distillery" character. This may reflect a higher level of natural flavouring compounds than is found in many other whiskeys that age. This ain't no sissy whiskey, in other words, and I am glad of it. Perhaps it started out like all the others but simply has taken longer to mature and the house deemed it meet to release at this time for connoisseurs of robust taste. I think were it aged a few years more those "vegetable roots" (great term from Chuck C) would dampen down somewhat. Sometimes a whiskey can be too clean, though, I was thinking that the current Knob Creek is an example of a very clean whiskey and some people like that of course. I did (in the glass) recently vat this Rowan's Creek and Knob Creek (1:2 respectively) - a confluence of creeks you might say - and man is the result good. The distillery character of the Rowan's Creek is eased down a bit and is given a nice frame of vanilla and peanut brittle-like tastes; correlatively the Knob Creek is amped up by its riverine relation. Oh yeah!!!!!!!!!
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