View Full Version : General Distillery Question...
Hello everyone, I lurk and search these forums a lot, but rarely post... mainly because there are already so many good posts to learn from, but I have some questions I wasn't able to find an answer to...
What will different brands/bottlings share from being produced from the same distillery? I've enjoy Blanton's, Eagle Rare and Stagg (as many others have) but only recently realized they are all from the Buffalo Trace Distillery. I had just assumed that since each seemed to have their own history they were made at different places. Are there characteristics they share because they come from the same place, or do they share characteristics because they share the same quality production techniques (if that makes sense).
Finally, is it safe to make assumption about bourbon's based on their distillery... grouping the Beams, Wild Turkeys, Buffalo Traces and Heaven Hills together... and using a couple of small samples to make broad short term generalizations about the families (until more funds come along to make more purchases :) )?
Thanks for any help!
Well, yes, and sort of.
Certainly, there are characteristics innate to certain distilleries -- few among us would mistake the herbal, minty sense of Heaven Hill bourbons, for example -- but also there is a reason distilleries bottle their products behind different labels, too. They ARE different.
Buffalo Trace, for example, has two basic mash bills:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4978&highlight=Buffalo+Trace+mash+bill, the similarities which can be obvious once known.
But, through warehousing and barrel-selection, taste-profile differences, the distillery personal -- led by the master distillers -- can vary the product and produce a variety of end results.
The good news is that this encourages the broadest sampling from both within a single distillery's offerings, and throughout the several distilleries, in order to note the similarities/differences.
Just to add a bit to what Tim said:
You must remember that while there are well in excess of a hundred bottlings available, there are very few companies actually distilling whiskey in the U.S. and while more than one of those companies run more than one still/distillery that in itself is not nearly enough to account for the wide variety of styles being produced, as far as just being related to the different distilleries.
Once you think about this, you run into the problem of trying to figure out what bottling would be used as each distillers' signature product. If you think it should be the one they sell the most of, then you're gonna be drinking a lot of bottom shelf whiskey. Try going with the premium for each distiller and you're going to have to pick which one to use, as most everyone has more than one brand that gets used as such.
However there is help. At least once some of the great minds of our site added some of their picks as to what the signature bottling for each distiller is. Maybe this (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads-6.5/showthread.php?t=5858) will help until more funding is available for your bourbon research.
I only know of three distilleries that make both standard and high-rye bourbons, the others being Jim Beam and Four Roses, and only one (Buffalo Trace) that makes two rye-recipe bourbons and a wheater.
So Heaven Hill, for example, makes two bourbons, one wheat recipe and one rye recipe.
The similarities from brand to brand within a distiller's portfolio will also come from the water, possibly the yeast, and more subtle things such as the type of grain mill they use, how long they usually run their fermenters, what type of doubler they use; in other words, things that are inherent to their house processes.
The differences happen in aging and then in the profiling or barrel selection process, when those differences can be amplified.
A self-clarification, resulting from Greg Kitzmiller's eagle eye -- I should have stated above that Buffalo Trace has two basic 'rye-recipe' bourbon mash bills, not simply two mash bills.
They also have, of course, mash bills for Rain vodka, straight rye, and wheated bourbon.
Thanks for the great info...
And thanks to everyone who posts, I'm constantly searching the archives...
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