View Full Version : Vatting For Pleasure and, uh, Pleasure

05-20-2007, 09:55
Recently I bought an extra-large bottle of WR, the one with the Derby horse motif. I found the whiskey middling, showing some of the acetone-like traits another poster mentioned recently. (I have found that bourbons packaged in extra-large bottles are not generally to my taste, I wonder if specialty and large packages are reserved for the slightly less good stuff).

So I bought a standard-size bottle of WR and this one was much better I thought, showing the typical "burned cherrywood" nose and taste. It had little of the acetone-like edge of the other one. However, the body of the smaller bottle seemed a bit lacking and the flavour a bit sharp. So I vatted the two bottles and tried different proportions.

It is interesting (I find) how the different combinations were noticeably different in nose and taste. Finally I hit on the perfect combination or rather two: by adding some of each bottle to the other, I now have two bottles of WR that really please me. The large bottle's acetone flavor is much diminished, filled out by the wood and cherry of the other. And the smaller bottle is fuller-tasting and smoother all round than it was before - maybe it needed a little congener.

WR is comprised (Chuck Cowdery was the first to mention this) of, I understand, whiskeys of 4 ages or lots, two from Versailles and two from the main plant of B-F, used in varying proportions to obtain the desired profile.

So I've stayed of course with the same approach but have obtained a particular complexity and balance that I like by working with twice the number of the variables (which inevitably won't have been exactly the same, e.g., the older WR pot still element in the one bottle probably was slightly different from the one in the other bottle, etc.).

From having two bottles of something decent that I wasn't completely happy with, I now have two still somewhat different things I am really happy with. It isn't in my head, I reserved samples of the original contents and comparative tastings show the difference.


05-20-2007, 19:45
In the words of Dave Scheurich:

“Each batch contains a minimum of four different production dates from both plants. At least one lot in each batch must be from each distillery. Does that mean a minimum of 25 percent? Not exactly. Lot sizes vary—a lot isn’t exactly 25 percent of the batch—and the composition of each batch is different. Therefore, some batches contain a little Woodford whiskey and a lot of Jefferson, others the opposite, and still others a nearly 50:50 mix. It all depends on the selections made by the tasters and how well the whiskey available from either source matches the Woodford taste profile."

05-20-2007, 20:54
Thanks, Chuck. On the side of the Derby bottle is a label stating that the barrels were "specially selected". I find such general statements hard to parse, but if I had to choose, the Derby iteration would not be my choice. I think there is indeed a WR profile and I'd call it "burned cherrywood". OF 100 can be like that too but WR is generally heavier and seemingly more congeneric (in a good way). If the balance is right, as my vatting was, it can be very good. Another thing I like about good WR is the lack of a tannic aftertaste or excessively smoky finish - it is a medium-aged whiskey at its best.


05-21-2007, 10:45
Right, they're all "specially selected." I guess some are more special than others.