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Schock
11-15-2005, 04:31
My understanding of single barrel bourbon goes something like this (please correct me if I'm wrong): Take a brand like Four Roses for instance. The distillers taste barrels and when they find a particularly good Barrel they pull it away from the rest and bottle it as single barrel. The non-single barrel bourbon will be made from combining many barrels to balance differences in taste.

Okay, now to my question - several brands are only available as single barrel. Specifically, I refer to Blantons and Rock Hill Farms. If barrels are not selected to be single barrel, then what bourbon do those barrels become? If every barrel becomes single barrel bourbon, doesn't that defy the whole point of single barrel bourbon?

Thanks,
Jimmy

Gillman
11-15-2005, 04:43
Interesting question but I don't think the concept of single barrel becomes negated or muddied just because every barrel of a particular brand happens to be bottled on its own. It simply means the brand by definition will show constant - not necessarily large - variations.

In fact however I believe there are barrels that "could" become Four Roses Single Barrel but do not because they become part of, say, Bulleit, or maybe Four Roses. And Blanton barrels that are rejected as singles (for whatever reason - maybe too because you can only sell so much Blanton single barrel) become part of another brand, say, Buffalo Trace. There are only two bourbon mash bills at Sazerac Brands. "Blanton" could theoretically go into any one of the bourbons with which it shares a mash bill.

Gary

Edward_call_me_Ed
11-15-2005, 06:02
I know we talk a lot about Buffalo Trace's mash bill #1 and mashbill #2. But I am sure I have read here that there are 4 or was it 5 mashbills there. There must be a straight rye mashbill, admittedly not a bourbon, and there would have to be a wheated bourbon, too. Mashbill #1 is high corn low rye and mashbill 2# has a higher percentage of rye.

Someone correct me it I am wrong, it happens all to often.

Ken? Are you out there?

Ed

kbuzbee
11-15-2005, 06:06
Hi Jimmy - first of all I agree with everything Gary said (as per usual). I would add that, today, distilling and aging are such sciences that there isn't much bourbon made today that you wouldn't want to use somewhere. Not always the case, I'm sure. But my guess here is Jimmy Russell knows when he puts a particular distillate into a certain barrel into a certain warehouse that there is a 90% likelihood it will grow up to be Kentucky Spirit. I would guess the underachievers become Wild Turkey 101 and the real slackers, WT 80 http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Ken

Ken Weber
11-15-2005, 06:15
Your recall is right on. We currently have 5 different mash bills, however, among our experimental barrels, several new mash bills exist. If they taste good when they reach 8 - 10 years of age, you will see some radical new recipes.

Ken

Ken Weber
11-15-2005, 06:29
When we produce a brand like Rock Hills Farm, we understand that from mash bill #2, less than 5% of the barrels will qualify for single barrel status. We purposely place barrels in specific warehouse locations with the intent they will become single barrel, however, they still have to meet the flavor profile. If they don't, we have larger brands the whiskey can be used in.

Ken

kbuzbee
11-15-2005, 07:12
When we produce a brand like Rock Hills Farm, we understand that from mash bill #2, less than 5% of the barrels will qualify for single barrel status. We purposely place barrels in specific warehouse locations with the intent they will become single barrel, however, they still have to meet the flavor profile. If they don't, we have larger brands the whiskey can be used in.

Ken



Wow, Ken, I had no idea the number would be so low. Amazing! Thanks!!

Ken

BarItemsPlus1
11-15-2005, 13:51
Wow Ken, I am learning so much from these forums. It is fantastic to have someone from the industry confirm all these facts and inform us on what is going on. I am really wanting to come over and have a tour so I am planning on early next year(I hope!!)
Tell me Ken how many wharehouses do you guys have and how many barrels do they hold in total??
Regards,
Troy.

Edward_call_me_Ed
11-15-2005, 13:53
Thaks Ken, I sure am looking forward to those experimental barrels. I hope there is enough to go around when they are mature.
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
Ed

Edward_call_me_Ed
11-15-2005, 13:56
Every time I see a post that mentions Rock Hill Farms I get thirsty. I have never seen it here in Japan, not even on the Japanese website I mentioned the other day in another thread. I may have to order some and have it sent to my parent's place.
Ed

gr8erdane
11-15-2005, 14:44
Hey Troy, just try to make it for either the Bourbon Festival Sampler in the spring or the full grown Bourbon Festival in the Fall and I'm sure there are many here that would enjoy taking the tour with you.

Schock
11-15-2005, 15:53
Ken,

I want to start by saying that I am huge fan and a happy customer of the products of Buffalo Trace. (Rock Hill Farms is my personal favorite) Please convey my appreciation to your coworkers. You guys really know how to do it right.

Now, please tell us more about these experimental mash bills. I live in Kentucky and I'm willing to make the drive if there is an opportunity to get a taste. How does one create an experimental mash bill? Is it basically inventing a new recipe? What types of new flavors are you going for?

Thanks,
Jimmy

SBOmarc
11-15-2005, 17:28
I second that thank you for the information.I find it quite fascinating and feel fortunate to learn so much along the way. I am but 47 years old and can only look forward to tasting the results.

BarItemsPlus1
11-15-2005, 19:34
G'day Dane, mate thanks for the heads up the festival. Can you offer any info on dates on so forth and I would be more than happy to have a group come along and join me, Cheers http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif I just also want to say that I am totally impressed by the way people have welcomed me to this forum. Cheers every one http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Kindest Regards,
Troy @ Bar Items Plus http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

bobbyc
11-15-2005, 19:56
The Sampler will occur sooner, In April of 2006.

TNbourbon
11-15-2005, 20:12
...Can you offer any info on dates on so forth and I would be more than happy to have a group come along and join me...



Keep an eye here:
Bardstown Events (http://www.visitbardstown.com/tourism/festivalsEvents/festivals-events.htm)
and/or here:
Kentucky Bourbon Festival website (http://www.kybourbonfestival.com)

Note that not everything is updated for 2006 yet -- but it will be!

mobourbon
11-15-2005, 20:26
The Sampler will occur sooner, In April of 2006.



April 29th, as a matter of fact. I made my reservations at the GN tonight! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/icon_pidu.gif

Ken Weber
11-17-2005, 06:01
Troy,
We have a dozen aging warehouses that hold from 1 barrel to 50,000! Actually the smallest usable warehouse holds about 16,000 barrels (Warehouse H from which Blanton's is derived) up to Warehouse I which holds 50,000 barrels. The interesting thing is the construction of each warehouse. Some are made of Limestone and brick, others of tile, yet another is ironclad. Some of the houses are 5 -6 stories high with a story classified as being 3 barrels high. Other houses are 7 stories high with a story classified as being 9-10 barrels high. A quick look on the outside reveals some houses with several rows of windows, while others have very few. Some houses have open ricks from the ground all the way up to the roof, while others have concrete floors. Finally, some are close to the river and some are further away.

The bottom line is that we have several very distinct aging environments. If we distilled and put 12 barrels away today, each in a different warehouse, there is no way we will have a consistent tasting product in 8 - 10 years. Perhaps in 4 years the taste will be closer, but given the extra time we believe a fully developed bourbon needs, the flavor profiles are very different.

Ken

Ken Weber
11-17-2005, 06:07
Has the perfect bourbon been made? NO! Until we get there, we intend to play with various mash bills, change the proof coming off the still, change the barrel entry proof, ....... I am not at liberty to say what we have in the way of experimental barrels, though I have let a couple of experimental mash bills slip in the past. Let's just suffice it to say that I do not know of any recipes currently in use that we do not have an experiment of currently in our warehouses.

Ken

TNbourbon
11-17-2005, 10:21
Has the perfect bourbon been made? NO!..



Interestingly, I'd bet few of us have even pondered the concept (much). I know I haven't. We talk and debate about 'best', but not perfect. How could we tell?
And -- even discounting the subjectivity of personal preference -- would it even be possible to 'make' the perfect bourbon, Ken? What if the 'perfect' bourbon is put in the wrong warehouse for best aging, or what if the next 8-10 aging seasons aren't also perfect? What if the perfect Weller 12 is bottled as Special Reserve at seven years old?
Isn't the 'serendipity factor' an elemental part of both the taste and allure of bourbon? I like to think so.

Ken Weber
11-19-2005, 16:43
Tim,
You have nailed it! These are so many factors over which we have little or no control. The Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey Distilleries are located on the Kentucky River. We are in a valley and they are high on a hill. Aging conditions have to be different. Why were the distilleries built where they were? Was it because there was a rational decision to do so or was that the only available piece of land? I know our distillery was built in response to the rapids on the river. Warehouses were built as boats had to be off-loaded so freight could be portaged around the shallows. The distillery followed because warehousing and transportation were available. I don't believe anyone considered the aging characteristics of a valley location; heck, they didn't even age whiskey back then!

Ken