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jinenjo
04-03-2007, 00:52
This is somewhat research for my rebarrel project, but also a genuine interest question:

Are barrels to be aged extra long stored in any particular place in the warehouse? For instance, are they in the deeper, more central (cooler regions, not exposed to the extreme temperature daily and seasonal changes) or could they be toward the periphery? Or perhaps lower to the ground as opposed to higher up in the ricks.

I'm suspecting there is no definitive answer and it depends on the distiller, the type of spirit, and the placement of the warehouse itself.

Edward_call_me_Ed
04-03-2007, 03:31
I remember Chuck telling me in another thread that he suspected that Knob Creek was aged in a slower aging section of the warehouse and that Booker's was in a faster aging section.

Blanton's is all from warehouse H. I believe from the same floor.

Ed

jinenjo
04-03-2007, 09:26
I wouldn't necessarily consider KC to be an oldie, but thanks for the info Ed. Is there anything special about BC's warehouse H? Again, Blanton's isn't extra old. I should probably check the fact sheet that came with the BTAC Stagg and Weller for clues.

If you have a thread link I'd be glad to see that.

barturtle
04-03-2007, 12:00
I may be wrong about this, but isn't the Blanton's warehouse a heated ironclad building?

ggilbertva
04-03-2007, 13:33
I believe that's correct. Blanton's is kept in a metal warehouse. The other Rack houses are brick if I remember correctly. Also, I thought that Booker Noe purposely kept the Booker brand mid house in order to control the temperature changes. Maybe they don't do that anymore but I remember Fred Noe talking about the premium barrels being kept in the middle of the rack house.

Vange
04-03-2007, 14:24
This reminds of a little memory I have about barrels in a warehouse.
A few years ago I was tasting the new OFBB at some whisky event. An attractive woman was pouring some into my glass while she told me this latest release was from honey barrels. She proceeded to say barrels used to make honey. HUH?? Someone else in the booth overheard this and quickly rushed over to correct her and to say she meant the "honey" barrels meaning the primo barrels in the warehouse that basically reside in the middle of the warehouse where the temperature is most consistent.

Barrel_Proof
04-03-2007, 16:30
This reminds of a little memory I have about barrels in a warehouse.
A few years ago I was tasting the new OFBB at some whisky event. An attractive woman was pouring some into my glass while she told me this latest release was from honey barrels. She proceeded to say barrels used to make honey. HUH?? Someone else in the booth overheard this and quickly rushed over to correct her and to say she meant the "honey" barrels meaning the primo barrels in the warehouse that basically reside in the middle of the warehouse where the temperature is most consistent.

At least she didn't tell you that the latest release was from honey buckets. :lol:

ILLfarmboy
04-03-2007, 17:15
In American Still Life The Jim Beam Story and The Making of the Worlds #1 Bourbon by Paul Pacult, Booker was quoted as saying he chooses (chose) his namesake bourbon from the center (fifth and sixth stories) of nine story rackhouses, calling it the "center cut".

ILLfarmboy
04-03-2007, 17:42
I think I remember someone posting about Beam 'barreling to brand' or 'distilling to brand' meaning they know based on warehouse location what brand it was going to be bottled as. And if I remember right KC was from the slower aging (lower floors) I would post a link but I am having some trouble with the advanced search function. Undoubtedly something I'm not doing right.

Edward_call_me_Ed
04-03-2007, 20:23
I think I remember someone posting about Beam 'barreling to brand' or 'distilling to brand' meaning they know based on warehouse location what brand it was going to be bottled as. And if I remember right KC was from the slower aging (lower floors) I would post a link but I am having some trouble with the advanced search function. Undoubtedly something I'm not doing right.


I think this is the thread you wanted.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6609

Ed

ILLfarmboy
04-03-2007, 20:30
I think this is the thread you wanted.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6609

Ed

Yep, that's it. Thanks

tango-papa
04-03-2007, 22:46
...A few years ago I was tasting the new OFBB at some whisky event. An attractive woman was pouring some into my glass while she told me this latest release was from honey barrels. She proceeded to say barrels used to make honey. HUH?? Someone else in the booth overheard this and quickly rushed over to correct her...

That's funny...:lol:

cowdery
04-04-2007, 07:30
When extra-aged bourbons (anything more than 8 years old to most distillers) first started to become popular, 15 years ago or so, it was all happenstance. The old barrels existed because of the glut, but they weren't particularly "managed." In the normal course of things, a distiller was more likely to dump barrels that were as good as they were going to get and let the barrels that were aging more slowly set a spell, but they weren't managed beyond that.

Once it began to look like this extra-aging thing was here to stay, distillers began to plan for it. Neither Beam nor anyone else "distills to brand" per se. Beam makes two bourbon recipes, as they have since they acquired Old Grand-Dad 20 years ago. However, maybe ten years ago they (and others) began to "barrel to brand," so they could manage the aging of whiskeys intended to be sold at more than 8-years-old. It's not that fancy. Everybody knows an internal location on a lower floor will age much more slowly than an external location on a higher floor.

I know Beam is doing this now, as is Buffalo Trace. I assume everyone else is too, to the extent they're selling any extra-aged products.

One reason for adopting these wood management practices is that in the "glut" days, if you wanted to bottle a 15-year-old, for example, you probably had a large number of barrels from which to choose, aged 15-years or more, so you could select the best ones. The ones that were too woody could then be blended away into a commodity product. That was expensive, i.e., wasteful, but the distilleries didn't really have a choice. Now, with the distilleries pretty much able to sell everything they make, they want everything to peak at exactly the age it's supposed to be. That's simply efficient, and therefore maximizes profits.

Ken Weber
04-04-2007, 13:40
Chuck, as usual you are right on the money. When we put barrels away at Buffalo Trace, we intend for them to become specific brands, though this does not always happen! We know that the barrels pulled for Buffalo Trace usually come from the middle floors (3 - 6) of warehouses C, I, and K. Why? Because those houses have a unique micro-climate that produce the taste profile we are looking for. When we lay down whiskey for a 15 year old plus brand (Van Winkle, Sazerac Rye, Stagg, etc.) we store these barrels on the first floor second floors of our brick and limestone houses. The temperature is more consistent year'round and the aging process goes much slower.

I just spoke with Ronnie, our warehouse manager who has been here 45 years. He confirmed that the barrels near the south facing walls and windows will average 3 - 5 degrees warmer than the barrels closer to the north facing walls. The barrels in the middle split the difference (1 - 2 degrees lower). Ronnie believes (this is all subjective after all) that the best whiskies are those which experience this slightly elevated temperature during the day. At night, all of the barrels cool off to nearly the same temperature. As the night air sweeps into the houses (prevailing breeze is from the southwest), the cooler air first comes in contact with the south facing barrels; as the breeze moves along, it slightly warms. The result is the whiskey in the south facing barrels penetrates deeper into the wood and withdrawls more of the wood sugars (caramel and vanilla) and tend to be noticeably smoother.

It is important to note that this happens at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. We have brick warehouses and are located along the Kentucky River in a valley. What happens at Wild Turkey, which is located along the same Kentucky River, but sits atop a high hill and uses metal clad warehouses, may differ greatly.

Ken

bluesbassdad
04-04-2007, 15:15
Ken,

I'm having a devil of a time framing my question in regard to aging. I hope the following makes sense.

When bourbon is located in a slower-aging portion of a warehouse, is the maturation that takes place different only as to extent or as to kind, as well?

IOW, is a ten year-old sample from the center of the first floor going to taste the same as a certain ten-minus-X year-old sample taken from the south edge of the top floor?

If so, then why have consumers come to value the older product more highly?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

ILLfarmboy
04-04-2007, 19:31
Ken,

I'm having a devil of a time framing my question in regard to aging. I hope the following makes sense.

When bourbon is located in a slower-aging portion of a warehouse, is the maturation that takes place different only as to extent or as to kind, as well?

IOW, is a ten year-old sample from the center of the first floor going to taste the same as a certain ten-minus-X year-old sample taken from the south edge of the top floor?

If so, then why have consumers come to value the older product more highly?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield


I see what you mean. I think. Perhaps some of the cogeners are modified into esters by long aging while at the same time the whiskey picks up fewer barrel notes than it would in a faster aging section of the warehouse? Or is the process of cogenors modifyed into esters dependent on the same action of the whiskey being absorbed into and then expelled from the wood?

oldironstomach
04-05-2007, 10:20
If so, then why have consumers come to value the older product more highly?
Even if it were so, and I don't believe that it is, the intrinsic costs of storage and loss of the angel's share make the older product more expensive to produce than the younger. Add to this the fact that multiple brands and ages tend to be drawn from the same stock, which amplifies the scarcity of the older whiskey.

Then there is the simple consumer behavior of "more is better"...in this case more age and more price (or more grains or more woods...) To some extent, people will assume that because a product has a higher price tag, it must be more valuable to somebody else, so it should be more valuable to them.

Not everybody values the older product more highly. Because whiskey doesn't fall off with age as precipitously as, say, ordinary wine or milk or juice, the grey area of what-is-an-overage-defect overlaps a much broader range of personal tastes, so while some of us will marvel at the extra age on a particular bottling, others will have decided that it's already too woody and past its prime (and that the former group is overpaying for some bottler's leftover stock).

jinenjo
04-05-2007, 19:26
Wow! Thanks for the great, informed replies. Especially, to Ken. I raise a glass to ya! Just the info I was looking to receive.

A limestone warehouse is a far far cry from the heating and cooling I'm doing with my rebarrel that goes from my car to my apartment!:slappin:

Cheers!