View Full Version : Botch -- the scotch/bourbon crossover

02-02-2006, 10:45
so there have been threads about which bourbons would "bridge" a scotch drinker over to bourbon and which scotch would be a good first try for a bourbon drinker...

now here is my wild idea.......has anyone actually thought about Gillmanizing a bourbon and scotch to create what I would have to call "botch"??????

I don't know if this would be a vile mixture or if it might be quite decent....knowing that scotch is aged in old bourbon barrels leds me to believe it could be decent

I have zero scotch knowledge so i would have no idea which scotch might be a good one to mix together. any recommendations????

I plan on trying it this weekend, probably going to use a WT or Beam product and some random scotch i pick up.

02-02-2006, 11:59
I think you have to take quit a lot more scotch than bourbon to get it in balance, since the bourbon is heavier in style.


02-02-2006, 15:29
...now here is my wild idea.......has anyone actually thought about Gillmanizing a bourbon and scotch to create what I would have to call "botch"??????..

Well, as Gary would say, I think the idea is to wind up with something that's an improvement of both. In this case, seems like you'd only be improving one of them. So, why?
Oh, okay -- that was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But, really, I would think you'd have to use a bottom-shelf bourbon and a rich, flavorful Scotch -- maybe, for example, Jim Beam white and The Dalmore 12 or Cigar Malt. I just can't see doing this with one of the nicer bourbons.

02-02-2006, 17:01
Gentlemen, this has been discussed before, possibly before you both joined the board. Of course one can blend both, and here is why: barley malt is a component of bourbon or straight rye. Barley malt is 100% of a malt scotch whisky. In the 1960's, it was remarked (in writing, I have this) by an old-time practical distiller who had worked for Willett's that modern production methods were changing the taste of bourbon. One way this was being done was by reducing the amount of barley malt (relatively costly) in the mash.

Ergo, a way to return bourbon to a more traditional taste is add malt whisky to it. Use a non-peated example and one not sherried or too sherried. Say, Glenlivet or Balvenie. What is the difference between malt made into whisky on its tod in a Scots mash and malt made into whiskey as part of a multi-grain mash? None, it is still malt being turned into alcohol and fermented. Not only that, the Scots malt is subsequently aged (usually) in - bourbon barrels - which just brings it back to old Kentuck were further reason needed.

Try, say 4:1 bourbon to Glenlivet. It will be very good. Believe me, I've tried. :)


02-02-2006, 17:08
why? because it's there!

Im gonna try it, it may taste like swill, but what the heck, i'll give it a go. I'm not a scotch guy so I'm not going to feel bad abusing some of it, i'm more worried about wasting some good bourbon, but a few ounces is worth the enjoyment of what this evil concoction might taste like. If it's bad, I can use it to start my BBQ on superbowl sunday.

my purpose? to see if maybe mixing bourbon and scotch is a better bridge than a "scotch-like bourbon" or a "bourbon-like scotch".

02-02-2006, 17:13
thanks for the info. i guess i should have tried to seach on this, but your brief history is very informative.

ok so 4:1 Glenlivet, should I go with a high rye bourbon, then?

what bourbons/rye whiskeys would complement the scotch best? thank Gary!

02-02-2006, 17:38
I would choose almost any bourbon, say Jim Beam Black Label or Evan Williams 7 year old - a commercial style that is well made but might have used more barley malt 50 years ago. Find a malt that is not too assertive in peat or sherry - Glenfiddich would work nicely. 4:1 might work but that might be too much barley malt: maybe 6:1 or 7:1 is best; trial and error should reveal an ideal proportion.


02-02-2006, 17:55
Well, okay, I did it, just for the experience (it's tough being the Gillmanzer's Apprentice!) -- using some 1968 Jim Beam 86 proof 120-month-old, and my instinctual choice, The Dalmore 12yo (I first had the Glenfiddich in my hand, but opted to match identical proofs -- The Dalmore, too, is 86). The ratio is 4:1 Dalmore:Beam, as instructed.
At first taste, the Beam seemed to simply be lost among all that Scotch. But after a couple of minutes of 'marriage', the corn from the bourbon starts to assert itself a bit in the nose. Still, this seems more like a 'finished' Scotch -- say, in a second-use bourbon barrel -- than any kind of blend or vatting.
It's not bad, but -- like with the port- or madeira-wood finished Glenmorangies -- I think I enjoy the component parts separately more (The Dalmore is a consistent favorite among my handful of single malts).
While I don't feel like I've wasted the whiskies here, I don't think it'll become a habit, either.

02-02-2006, 18:54
Well, okay, I did it ... The ratio is 4:1 Dalmore:Beam, as instructed.
Well, not quite "as instructed":

Try, say 4:1 bourbon to Glenlivet.
You've reversed them.

At first taste, the Beam seemed to simply be lost among all that Scotch. Not too surprising. :)

Hope you'll try again with the proportions reversed. I'm planning to.


02-02-2006, 19:06
"Kids, don't try this at home."



02-02-2006, 19:27
Well, not quite "as instructed":

You've reversed them...

Oops! Botched the 'Botch'! Can you tell my heart wasn't really into it?:grin:

02-02-2006, 19:40
Tim, you're turning out to be the sorcerer's apprentice. :)

It's the other way 'round: that Corvette-era Beam and Dalmore 4:1 - respectively - would be fine (or 5: or 6:1).

Try again. :)


02-03-2006, 08:23
Dalmore has more sherry influence than, Glenfiddich or Glenlivet---it's not overpowering (see e.g. Macallan) and not necessarily a bad thing, but if the goal is to recreate a bourbon made with more malt in the mashbill, the sherry could introduce another flavor element that would not have been there in bourbons past.

The Signatory Vintage line has some good cheap un-sherried and un-peated malts that could be good for a Scotch-bourbon Gillmanizing project, including Signatory Vintage Lowland (Auchentoshan) and Signatory Vintage Highland (Glenrothes). Actually, Auchentoshan Select is another good cheap malt that could work.

02-03-2006, 09:15
Good points, Chuck. The Lowlands whiskies, especially triple-distilled Auchtentoshan, sound ideal. Only a little should be added to bourbon to increase the barley malt component by, say 10%, maybe the math experts on the board can help with some numbers here. Charlie Thomason of Willett's, its master distiller back in the 1960's, who started in the industry before Prohibition, wrote (in the 1960's again) that modern large distilleries were cutting back on barley malt because of its cost and this in his view adversely affected the bouquet of whiskey. Thomason wrote that the bouquet of whiskey should be like a "ripe apple" or "other ripe fruits". Some straight whiskies today have that but not that many, really. The 70's/early80's Old Grandad did, I don't find that feature in today's Grandad (still a pretty good drink, but different than 30 year ago, I find).

One could add a little bourbon to malt scotch to get some corn in there but here there seems less logic since scotch blends are legion. The corn when added to malt scotch via adding some bourbon would have been aged in new charred wood so that would be a filip as it were.

Or just combine different types of scotch and bourbon in 50/50 or any other proportion, just to get a pleasing and unique taste. This has been tried, with varying results: Whisky Magazine reported on an experiment some time ago of this type.


02-03-2006, 15:05
I once found only half my normal pour in a bottle of Buffalo Trace, so I tried mixing it 1:1 with one of the more extreme Scotches, Aberlour A'Bunadh. This particular Scotch is heavily sherried (and it's one of my favorites when I'm in a Speyside mood).

The results were better than I expected - the sherry/malt sweetness of the Aberlour worked very well with the BT's corn sweetness and rye spice. Even though the A'Bunadh was about 60% ABV, it didn't really dominate the drink.

02-04-2006, 01:04
Well, even many premium scotch blends are 50% malt and 50% grain, and some are relatively well-sherried (a taste I like too). By adding a corn-based whiskey to Abelour A'bunadh, you are following in a sense the recipe for such a grain whiskey. The difference is the corn whiskey is distilled out at 160 or under instead of circa 194 proof as Scots grain whiskey is and is aged in new charred wood instead of reused wood as all Scots whiskey is. Of course the intensity of flavor from the lower proof corn element and new wood treatment will manifest, making the blend different from a true Scots blend, but not all that different in the concept of it, really. If you reduce the bourbon part, say using 2:1 Abelour to the bourbon (or even go back to 50/50 with a mild bourbon, say Early Times - technically not a bourbon in the U.S. but here that helps) one might get closer to a Scotch blend idea. But one can buy Scotch blends everywhere of course... Still, if you want to make something close to a Scotch blend, combine a malt whisky (or 10 of them) with a Canadian whisky (or 10 of them!) - the Canadian element is very much like Scotch grain whisky (both are made from essentially the same materials, distilled to the same proof, aged in sound reused old cooperage. The Canadian whisky may have some low proof straight-type whskey in it but you can use less Canadian in your blend to compensate for that, should you wish. You may come up with something quite good.


02-04-2006, 08:53
I did an interesting experiment a while ago along these lines.

I took one part Elmer T Lee and mixed in one part Macallan 10 year old Cask Strength. I took a sip. That wasn't quite right. I wanted some peat smoke to balance it. I added one part Laphroaig 15 year old. Wow, was it good! I tried one other time with the same result, Wow! Another time I tried the same blend with Laphroaig 10 year old which is a lot smokier that the 15. It was really good. I was also pretty , well, drunk, at the time so I don't really trust my impressions of that blend. I will try them both again in the future to see which I like better. I hope it is with the Laphroaig 10, much cheaper than the 15.

02-04-2006, 13:38
If you want some quality fairly cheap scotch to conduct your experiments on then try the McClelland's which are really 5 yo Morrison-Bowmore products.
The Lowland one is Auchentoshan, the Highland Glen Garioch, and Islay is Bowmore.

02-06-2006, 22:53
Yanno, you could always skip to the end result and buy Chivas and be done with it... :-)

02-08-2006, 18:01
Since I came to the board to learn about Bourbon after drinking Scotch for 30 years, there is no way I could pass up this thread. Since like Crispy Critter, I have a fond affection for Aberlour A'Bunadh (plus the fact that I had an open bottle), I decided to pair it with the Boubon I opened up tonight for the BOTM, Stagg Fall 05. I mixed them 1:1. I tasted both individually before trying the mix.

1). IMHO, this is a case where the individual products are definitely superior to the mix.
2). While enjoying both of the individual products straight, the mixture cried for a small bit of water to cut the heat. The addition of proof the the Aberlour was just to much for me to handle, the water I added was probably enought to bring the mix down to the 55/60% range where it drank fine.
3). Once calmed, the mixture was a very pleasant drink with nice body. It just was not as well defined and crisp as either of the individual drinks.

Since the beginning of this post related to a bridge mixture between Scotch and Bourbon, does anyone have an opinion about St. George Single Malt. It is the only whiskey/whisky that I can honestly say I hated. One retailer that I discussed it with said it reminded him of a cross between bourbon and scotch. I didn't agree (thought it tasted more like a cognac/scotch mix that definitely did not work for me). Definitely can not compete with the Stagg/A'Bunadh mix.

Probably won't post on the BOTM thread for a couple of days until I can give the Stagg a night to itself.


02-08-2006, 18:10
I would have thought the Aberlour to be too sherried to be a good test subject for this mixing. Perhaps something like a Balvenie 15 would work out better?

02-08-2006, 20:06
Never tasted the St. George but would like to. I suspect it may be aged in well toasted if not charred new oak, and this may confer the hint of "bourbon" flavor noted by one taster.

From my many years of whisky reading, I know that in the 1930's a blend of Irish pot still whiskey and American whiskey (probably straight whiskey but I am not 100% sure) was marketed here under the Jameson name. The experiment didn't last. After WW II, blends of mixed Scots and Irish whiskey were sold in the U.S., and were more recently by a whiskey merchant and blender (the John, Robo and ... company, can't recall the exact name). As I mentioned earlier in another thread, either Order of Merit or Limited Edition, two well-known luxury Canadian whiskies of the 1950's-1960's, was composed of 50% bourbon.

Really there is nothing new under the sun, as saith Ecclesiastes. Not that that is validation for anyone's experiments but it is worth mentioning.

I think 15 Balvenie would be a good whisky to blend with bourbon, say with ORVW 15 year old. I'd try 4:1 Van Winkle to the malt.


02-08-2006, 20:20
It might be that Aberlour 10yo would be a better pairing with Stagg - it's a vatting of bourbon- and sherry-aged whisky, and thus not as heavily sherried as the A'Bunadh; also, it's 43% ABV instead of ~60%. Hmmm... my BT/A'Bunadh combo was the reverse as far as strength (BT is 45%). Perhaps the mixing of two very strong components might be a bit of an overload - sort of like the irresistable force meeting the immovable object. :)

As for St. George, I have a bottle, which I don't drink often. It's one of the weirdest single malts I've had - I get a strong cocoa/hazelnut note from it. I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite, either. I'd prefer Aberlour 10 or Ardbeg 10 (hi Dane! :stickpoke:) any day.

02-08-2006, 21:05
...does anyone have an opinion about St. George Single Malt?..

I have a bottle from the distillery's second batch (I think), and I don't especially care for it. Redolent of orange/citrus -- reminds me of orange muscat dessert wine in flavor, and it overwhelms anything and everything I try to blend it with.

02-08-2006, 21:34
It might be that Aberlour 10yo would be a better pairing...

Your post reminded me of somethng, I don't think I used Macallen 10 yo CS in my vatting experiment, but Aberlour 10.

02-09-2006, 06:27
and were more recently by a whiskey merchant and blender (the John, Robo and ... company, can't recall the exact name).


It's Jon, Mark and Robbo's - The Smooth Sweeter One

The blend is 70% Single Irish Malt Whisky from Cooley’s Distillery matured in first fill bourbon barrels and 30% Scotch Single Malt Whisky from Bunnahahhain Distillery matured in American oak fino sherry casks

02-09-2006, 09:18
Thanks. Of course both those are single malts in the strict sense so there is no stylistic objection whatever to vatting them. Same thing if you used say Bushmills Malt, or Black Bush except with the latter you get a touch of grain which if anything may help matters, to display those malts. Blending true Irish ("pure") pot still with malt whisky makes sense too, I was doing it for years before reading in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible that he did not understand why there isn't a commercial one on the market. There is already some malt in the pot still, by adding malt whisky you are just adding "more".

Certain things I wouldn't do. I don't think a well-peated Islay would blend well with a rye whiskey although maybe I am wrong.

Blending is a fascinating art. As Sam Bronfman, the founder of Seagrams and a genius of a peculiar kind, said: distillation is a science, blending is an art.


02-09-2006, 11:21
yikes! i had this last night with 3 parts glenlivet to 1 part eagle rare SB. I guess i need to go back and use 4 parts bourbon to 1 part scotch.....but i can say that I still enjoyed it.

It was interesting to get that peat taste(somewhat muted) followed by some sweet caramel/brown sugar bourbon flavors and then some nice wood finish with the scotch smoke (that's what I term it, im scotch limited).

my original thesis was wether botch is a better bridge than a bourbon-like scotch and to me, so far, the answer is yes.

When I first tried scotch the flavors were so intense and sharp that it really was hard to take. even bourbon-like scotches seemed harsh to me. I think this botch is a good marriage to introduce someone to scotch flavors without turning them off by the intense scotch flavors.

Thanks! Greg.

Well, not quite "as instructed":

You've reversed them.

Not too surprising. :)

Hope you'll try again with the proportions reversed. I'm planning to.