View Full Version : Malt Advocate Bourbon roundtable interview

05-02-2005, 20:45
I'm sure this has been posted here before, but I just stumbled across a Malt Advocate article that had some great insight. link ( It is a 2 part article.

05-02-2005, 21:37
thats a good read. I know bourbon is taxed a lot but i didnt know it was THAT much. these guys are selling it just to break even. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/Demonstration.gif

Hedmans Brorsa
05-03-2005, 06:59
I might have slept at some crucial stage but the most interesting thing to me was in part 2 where they talk about a change of regulations. A straight bourbon nowadays cannot include whiskey from different distilleries.

I had no idea about that change.

05-03-2005, 12:00
Actually, the folks in the roundtable are wrong. Just goes to show even "experts" can make mistakes. Here are the actual regs.

'Bourbon whisky,' 'rye whisky,' 'wheat whisky,'malt whisky,' or 'rye malt whisky' is whisky produced at not exceeding 160[deg] proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125[deg] proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type. (Emphasis added.)

05-03-2005, 12:24
You quit reading after paragraph (1)(i). In Paragraph (iii) it describes the "STRAIGHT bourbon whiskey". on the bottom of that paragraph is a peculiar sentence that reads ""Straight whisky" includes mixtures of straight whiskies of the same type produced in the same State". Some very strict BATF/TTB agents have read into that sentence that whiskey distilled from a different formula constitutes a different type. Therefore different distilleries can not blend to make a straight bourbon whiskey, only a bourbon whiskey. No real regulation change, just the current interpretation. Government has such INTERESTING people.


05-03-2005, 12:42
You mean an otherwise straight whiskey made strictly from 70% corn, 15% rye and 15% barley malt at each of, say, Trace and Brown-Forman cannot be combined and called a straight whiskey but a rye-recipe and a wheat-recipe whiskey made at Trace can?


05-03-2005, 13:24
No, different recipe would constitute a different bourbon. So blending different recipe's, or different location's makes a bourbon but not a "Straight bourbon" under the current interpretation of the CFR 29.

05-03-2005, 13:35
But doesn't Four Roses use different recipes (at the one distillery) in this sense and mingle them to form Form Roses straight bourbon (e.g. different bourbon mashbills, different yeasts)?


05-03-2005, 14:14
I would certainly argue that "type" means "bourbon" and a mixture of straight bourbons, albeit from different sources, is straight bourbon.

Can you give us more information about this interpretation? I can imagine an overzealous agent perhaps having such an opinion, but I've never heard of such an incident. Have you? I'm skeptical because I know of no obligation for distilleries to report their exact mash bill, yeast strain, or other aspects of their "formula" to the ATF or TTB, so unless one simply assumes that Heaven Hill's bourbon is different from Barton's bourbon, how would one know?

As a practical matter, it's rarely necessary for someone to mix different bourbons together, but Beam certainly combines the products of its two distilleries, abeit both using the same formula. And as Gary points out, Four Roses uses two different mash bills and five different yeasts, effectively making ten different bourbons, all of which go into standard Four Roses, which is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

I happen to know that Heaven Hill, because it lost so much whiskey in the fire, has combined its whiskey made in Bardstown with whiskey made for it at Brown-Forman in Shively, and possibly other bulk whiskey it obtained, all of which is labeled "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey."

05-03-2005, 14:15
Gary, I believe they use three or four different bourbon recipes in their "straight" bourbon whiskey.

05-03-2005, 14:24
If "mixtures of the same type" refer to bourbon, rye , wheat, etc. in the first paragraph, then any reference to "mixtures of straight whiskies of the same type" in the second paragraph can ONLY refer to bourbon, rye, wheat, etc.
To interpret the wording any other way is just plain stupidity.

05-03-2005, 18:26
I agree, Dave, and thank goodness the United States government never does anything stupid.

(But I'm skeptical too.)