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mozilla
10-03-2007, 10:08
After reading some of the threads lately, I thought it would be a good idea for us to email or write to the distilleries and voice our opinions as to age statements, proof reductions, state allocations or anything else on your mind. We are a very well educated group of bourbonites that should be able to sway the manufacturing community to some degree.
I started making some inquiries and have recieved letters back on all occasions. I doubt that I alone have swayed the market, so I emplore y'all to take some action and voice your opinions. The links page of SB.com has most of the distilleries listed.

jinenjo
10-03-2007, 11:14
I'm glad you brought this up, Jeff. There has been something on my mind I thought might be worth pointing out for the distilleries to take note of.

While at Roger's the other night we were talking about entry proof, over a glass of the new Willett barrel proof 4yo. I mentioned how a recently finished bottle of mine (ND Old Taylor), while bottled at 80 proof, was still incredibly delicious. Roger's reply was the flavor is still there because of lower barrel-entry-proof. Even at 80 proof, the OT remained to have had less water added to it. This is why he thinks the quality of the white dog (i.e. proof) made a bigger difference than older-growth wood, which was my guess as to why many vintage whiskies are better than modern ones.

With Roger's help this led me to think that entry proof has risen over the years simply because of money (i.e. more concentrated whiskey in less barrels=more watered down whiskey in bottles=more money!). Therefore, out of the bottle comes less flavorful whiskey. This is not a revelation to many of you, I know, but for me was an important realization.

I think the distilleries would do well to take notice of how "dusty bottle" hunting is quite popular , examine WHY that is so, and perhaps make some changes.

Gillman
10-03-2007, 11:26
With respect, I don't agree: I think the use of wood that was in many cases hundreds of years old was the predominant factor in the quality of the older whiskies.

Here is why: both WT and Maker's Mark are still entered at notably low proofs (around 110-115 I believe). Yet, they do not seem as rich-tasting as the best of the older group we often discuss.

Also, wood seems to account for much of the taste of the final whiskey: accounts range from 60-70%, that neighborhood.

Therefore, it stands to reason that wood differences must account primarily for differences in taste today. It could be too that wood in the past was seasoned outdoors more often, or for longer, than today, that may play a factor as well but I doubt it is the main factor.

A tree that has lived and absorbed nutrients and other compounds for, say 2-3 times longer than another surely will impart a deeper quality to the whiskey.

Distilling-out proof is another factor of course and I don't doubt that on average such proofs are higher today. This may explain in part why a whiskey entered at 115 today and one entered at the same 30 years ago taste different. But overall I believe wood age to be the major determinative factor.

Gary

Rughi
10-03-2007, 12:39
With respect, I don't agree: I think the use of wood that was in many cases hundreds of years old was the predominant factor in the quality of the older whiskies....

Gary,
I agree that wood is a big factor, but that doesn't explain to me the night and day difference in 1980s and 1990s Old Forester.

I was talking with Mike Veach about Lincoln Henderson, and just how much hotter and thinner I find the 1990s whiskey compared to the 1980s Forester, of which he was master distiller of both. Mike's immediate reply was that the Reagan-era rule change that allowed higher proofs explained it. This change would have been about 1985 (Mike knew the exact date, but I can't remember). Allow 5 years for aging, and voila, you're firmly into that hot, thin 90s stuff.

I don't think tree availability had a night and day change in those particular 10 years, but distilling did.

Roger

mozilla
10-03-2007, 12:45
I believe that all the factors that make a bourbon great should be followed. Barrels, entry proof, yeast, the amount of beer in the mash and so on.
That is why I have started to communicate with the distilleries. Asking questions, stateing my preferences for longer age, full proof and higher flavor profiles. I don't expect them to change overnight, but they need to hear from their customers. Not just the accounting department. Let's give the distilleries some ammunition for doing a better job.
So far I have written BT, Beam and HH. I will continue to let them know how I feel, good or bad, regarding their policies.

cowdery
10-03-2007, 12:58
Back to the original subject of the thread, I heartily endorse the suggestion. This group is recognized, the producers lurk here all the time, and talking to them directly has an effect. Stagg was created based on a customer inquiry. Buffalo Trace has asked for suggestions for experiments. So has Brown-Forman (which has long had a pilot plant similar to the one BT recently installed), and I know of no producer that wouldn't take thoughtful suggestions seriously.

While a lot of these subjects do have financial implications, no one in business minds creating an expensive product if they can charge a generous price for it. A generation ago, that seemed impossible with American whiskey, but times have changed.

Even wood, for example. While no one is suggesting the rape of the old growth forest, old growth trees are available in small quantities and could be used to create luxury barrels for luxury products. BT and BF have both experimented with French oak, which costs about 7 times more than American oak.

So, by all means, write to the producers and tell them what you want.

Gillman
10-03-2007, 12:59
I agree fully re the thin and hot 1990's OF, I made that point in another thread yesterday.

I think Mike was referring to a hike of maximum entry proof from 115 to 125. Possibly the change in procedure did explain the differences in OF over the period mentioned, but I am not sure. OF for example uses cycling and depending on how that is used, the results could be variable. Even OF currently seems to change from batch to batch, I found a recent OF Signature pint quite hot and a little spiky in fact. Maybe some batches are more affected by cycling than others depending on how it used and the average age of the batches. Too much cycling can make the whiskey bitter I think (too much tannin entering too soon). In the 1980's, was cycling used by B-F, or with the same intensity as today...? Did distilling out proof change over this time, yeast, mashing vessels, etc.?

Also, is it possible wood sources did change over this period due to increasing conservation and legal measures re forests perhaps?

Gary

NorCalBoozer
10-03-2007, 15:06
Back to the original subject of the thread, I heartily endorse the suggestion. This group is recognized, the producers lurk here all the time, and talking to them directly has an effect. Stagg was created based on a customer inquiry. Buffalo Trace has asked for suggestions for experiments. So has Brown-Forman (which has long had a pilot plant similar to the one BT recently installed), and I know of no producer that wouldn't take thoughtful suggestions seriously.

While a lot of these subjects do have financial implications, no one in business minds creating an expensive product if they can charge a generous price for it. A generation ago, that seemed impossible with American whiskey, but times have changed.

Even wood, for example. While no one is suggesting the rape of the old growth forest, old growth trees are available in small quantities and could be used to create luxury barrels for luxury products. BT and BF have both experimented with French oak, which costs about 7 times more than American oak.

So, by all means, write to the producers and tell them what you want.

Recycle the old wood barrels! It seems that if you re-used the barrels you could help mitigate the cost substantially. I know it can't be called bourbon, but you could still call it whiskey, no?

what is the avg age of a barrel? 30 years?

This project doesn't seem far fetched to accomplish with 5 or 10 old wood barrels. You could do a 5 year experiment then reuse multiple times. Maybe I am missing something here but I would love to see someone try this.

whiskeyhatch
10-03-2007, 18:15
Originally posted by NorCalBoozer
Recycle the old wood barrels! It seems that if you re-used the barrels you could help mitigate the cost substantially. I know it can't be called bourbon, but you could still call it whiskey, no?

what is the avg age of a barrel? 30 years?

This project doesn't seem far fetched to accomplish with 5 or 10 old wood barrels. You could do a 5 year experiment then reuse multiple times. Maybe I am missing something here but I would love to see someone try this.


As for the re-use of barrels, wouldn't most of the flavor get leached out of the wood after the barrel's first use? Wouldn't the producer have to use progressively longer ageing times for each run? I'm thinking that this is one of the reasons that you often see 4-12 yr bourbons and 10-15+ yr scotches. Otherwise, this campaign does seem like a worthwhile use of time and energy.

TNbourbon
10-03-2007, 18:28
...both WT and Maker's Mark are still entered at notably low proofs (around 110-115 I believe). Yet, they do not seem as rich-tasting as the best of the older group we often discuss...

Gary, I believe that's because, while 110-115 would be 'low-proof' entry today, it wasn't until the past 25 years or so. I believe Wild Turkey, for example, used to be entered into barrels in the low- to mid-90s. Not too hard to figure out where (at least some of the) flavors came from at that proof.
Think about it: Rare Breed is 'barrel-proof' at around 108 proof. Are we expected to believe that -- even as a vatting of 6-, 8-, and 12-yos -- those barrels began at 125-proof? Not a chance.
Thus, when you and I comment about the luxurious flavor of an early-'70s Beam decanter, we're probably not even talking apples-and-oranges, proof-wise, related to today's Beam.

ILLfarmboy
10-03-2007, 18:58
...Think about it: Rare Breed is 'barrel-proof' at around 108 proof. Are we expected to believe that -- even as a vatting of 6-, 8-, and 12-yos -- those barrels began at 125-proof? Not a chance.
Thus, when you and I comment about the luxurious flavor of an early-'70s Beam decanter, we're probably not even talking apples-and-oranges, proof-wise, related to today's Beam.

This brings up a question. Are barrels selected for mingling for Rare Breed selected to hit a lower, tighter proof range as well as assist in hitting the RB flavor profile. I seem to remember bottles of RB some 10 or 12 years ago as high as 110 point something and perhaps 111 point something.

Wild turkey would almost have to be selecting some barrels that loose proof (not the typical scenario) to hit 108, even if the entry proof was 108 or 110. right?

Gillman
10-03-2007, 22:52
Did WT really ever enter its whiskey at under 100 proof? This seems unlikely to me but I agree probably on average it entered at lower proofs (proportionately in other words bearing in mind the regulatory change) than today and probably "everyone" did. However, let's assume that NDOT was entered at 115 until the end of the Reagan era: why does its 80 proof seem so much richer than current WT? I would think that National Distillers must have used the top permitted entry proof (not sure about Beam but would think similar). These were large industrial organisations, possibly involved in lobbying for the changes in question. Surely at least one of the bourbons we admire from 30 or 40 years ago was entered "high" (and probably more than one) yet taste better seemingly than many bourbons entered at the same today.

It might be a question of all of the above, of course..

As for Rare Breed today, I just don't know. It must be an average of barrel proofs and as Brad says some of the components probably lose proof. Maybe it means the entry proof is only around 100 or 105 for WT (to get up to an average of 108 in other words and assuming proof generally rises).

But if so, good as RB is, I don't see its "building blocks" being as full flavoured as the whiskeys of the past. There is a notably "fresh woody" note to WT's products and I'm simply wondering if the same note of back then, for products entered at a similar or higher proof, was more mature-tasting.

Gary

Gillman
10-04-2007, 04:16
One thought which undercuts possibly my argument is that Old Taylor in the 1980's was considerable older than the labels of the bottles indicated. (Michael Jackson indicates this in his 1988 World Guide To Whisky). This may be why 80 proof NDOT seems richer than, say, current 80 proof WT. The perception of additional richness might be down basically to the average higher ages of bourbon in the time of the whiskey gluts.

NDOT was something like 9 years old, Jackson said.

Still, modern whiskey of that age (say Knob Creek), taken down to 80 proof, seems not as good to me.

When all is said and done, I am left with a feeling that the wood of today contributes less to the palate than then. My main reason is that since wood explains, say, 70% of the palate, and the palate has "changed", the change predominantly must be attributed to a change in the wood.

I don't think this can be proved conclusively and anyway it doesn't matter: despite some apparent changes there are many fine bourbons today, and maybe giving them extra age evens out some of the differences.

Gary

mozilla
10-04-2007, 06:06
All of the discussion has been great, so far. Now, if everyone will write to the distilleries and voice their questions to them, we can get this ball a rollin'.
I would think that Jimmy Russel could answer some of the barrel entry proof questions. Maybe one of you can get ahold of him.
I am not sure who is Beams spokesman these days, but I think we should let them know that their bourbon has not kept up with family traditions as much as they advertise.
Come on fellas, get those keyboards headed in the direction of the distilleries. No sense speculating when there are master distillers out there to answer questions.

mozilla
10-04-2007, 06:14
I received a note back from HH:

Your email below ended up with me for follow up.thanks for writing and for
your patronage. Evan Williams is available, as you point out, in several
different bottlings, both domestically and internationally. I assume you
were referring to our Evan Williams website (http://www.evanwilliams.com (http://www.evanwilliams.com/)
<http://www.evanwilliams.com/ (http://www.evanwilliams.com/)> ) as your point of reference, where there are
photos of the green, white and 1783 bottlings, but no mention of them. You
are correct in pointing out some discrepancies, which are as follows:



* The copy erroneously states that Evan Williams Black Label is 7
years old, which it is no longer. Over three years ago, removed the age
statement to give our Master Distillers more flexibility in the barrels they
choose. The majority of the whiskey in Evan Williams is still 7 years old,
however there is now a small amount of 5 year old Bourbon in there, and by
law if you have an age statement on your bottle, it must be the age of the
youngest whiskey, so we decided to drop the age statement. We will be
changing this copy shortly to correct.
* Even though Evan Williams Green label has been a four year old
Bourbon for at least 10 years, the photo on the website does have a shoulder
label with what appears to be a six year age statement on it. This bottle
visual is quite old and needs to be updated, I can tell because it still has
the 200th anniversary neck wrap on it and that anniversary occurred in 1983.
* The Evan Williams 1783 bottle also needs to be updated, we changed
this over from 10 year old to 9 year old early this year and removed the age
reference on the label.

I cannot speak to the Private Cellar change, but there is a general reason
for these changes. As you probably know, Bourbon sales and consumption have
really spiked in the past 4-5 years, but as it is an aged product, we cannot
just make more instantly when demand increases as it has. So what we have
been doing to ensure adequate supplies of stock for not only our Evan
Williams but also our super-premium Evan Williams Single Barrel, Elijah
Craig and Elijah Craig Single Barrel is to reduce the age of some of the
less distributed brands, and in some instances doing away with very small
labels altogether. Heaven Hill, as you pointed out, is the last remaining
family owned independent distiller; whereas most of our competitors have
done away with smaller labels entirely, we have had to reconfigure some of
the smaller labels to ensure continuity of the larger ones.



I apologize for the misleading information and images on the Evan Williams
site, I have brought this to the attention of the brand group who will make
necessary revisions. Please know that we appreciate your business, and take
great pride in our products, but given the incredible surge in demand for
Bourbons, particularly extra aged bottlings, we have had to make some tough
choices to maintain the integrity of our "core" brands. Please let me know
if there is anything more I can do for you.



Thank you,



Larry Kass

Director of Corporate Communications

Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.

lkass@heaven-hill.com (http://webmail.mlb.com/compose.php?Reply=lkass@heaven-hill.com)

4500 Bowling Boulevard, Suite 300

Louisville, KY 40207

(502) 413-0220

FAX (502) 413-0720



----- Original Message -----

From: mozilla

To: hhdmarketing@heaven-hill.com (http://webmail.mlb.com/compose.php?Reply=hhdmarketing@heaven-hill.com)

Sent: Monday, October 01, 2007 11:43 AM

Subject: website and agestatements



Dear Heaven Hill, Parker and Craig Beam,
I was looking at your website that talked about the ages of Evan Williams
bottlings. In the Austin Tx marketplace I can not find age statements on any
of your products. We get green, black, and 1783.
I see from the web that there should be a 6 year (green), white (?), 7 yr
(black), 10 yr (1783) and so on. Where did these statements go? Are all of
these products now being filled with younger bourbon?
Also, I saw that the age stated on the Private Cellar is now 3 years. What
the heck is going on up in Kentucky? Have y'all changed your philosophy? Can
I expect these trends to reverse themselves soon? Am I expected to be
satisfied with the downgrade of your bourbons?
Why do we not get many of your Bottled in Bond bourbons? I am more
interested in these than the 80 proof version of the same label. Why ship
all that water all over the country, it cost more?
Lastly, I would like to hear that you have reduced the proof at which you
distill your bourbon. The high proofs seem to really take the flavor out of
your distillet. Maybe, the barrel entry proof could be reduced as well. I am
sure that this will increase your costs, but I believe it will increase your
customer base. This is one of the last family owned distilleries and should
act like such. Not being greedy for stock holder profits should allow y'all
to push the flavor over the return on investment.
I look foreward to being interested in your products again soon. Currently,
I will sellect bourbons that continue to put an age statement on the label,
even if it is only four years, like Bottled in Bond.
Thanks in advance for your reply.

NorCalBoozer
10-04-2007, 09:05
As for the re-use of barrels, wouldn't most of the flavor get leached out of the wood after the barrel's first use? Wouldn't the producer have to use progressively longer ageing times for each run? I'm thinking that this is one of the reasons that you often see 4-12 yr bourbons and 10-15+ yr scotches. Otherwise, this campaign does seem like a worthwhile use of time and energy.

Good point, I hadn't though of that. It makes sense as the wood ages and becomes seasoned.

seems like barrels are pretty much still usable until they physically fall apart.

I suspect with the focus many here have on lower entry proof and barrel wood age as 2 major components of why older whiskey was so good, sooner or later someone is going to jump on this experiment and play around with it.

If not at a distillery then probably one of us nuts will go get some old wood barrel and stick some low proof white dog in there and give it a go. DougDog are you reading this??? :lol: :lol:

cowdery
10-04-2007, 10:17
Barrels. Brown-Forman re-uses barrels for Early Times. Heaven Hill re-uses barrels for Mellow Corn. The grain spirits for blended whiskey spends a little time in used bourbon barrels. There are a few other domestic re-users, but most used bourbon barrels go to Scotland and other countries.

Barrel Age. In Scotland, barrels are used and re-used until they are about to fall apart. Some remain in use for 100 years.

Entry Proof. Historically, American whiskey makers sought to distill out and enter at slightly more than 100 proof, so the final product would be 100 proof with a small amount of dilution, if any. Wild Turkey is the one distillery that still follows this practice pretty closely.

Old Taylor in the 80s. Due to the bourbon glut, most bourbons in the late 70s and early 80s were significantly older than advertised. I know that at one time Glenmore's modestly-priced, NAS Kentucky Tavern was being filled with 10-year-old whiskey.

TBoner
10-04-2007, 14:48
I'm all over this. Some e-mails already sent. More to be sent soon.

It's definitely got to be a customer-driven thing if any trends are going to change.

BTW, there's a book out this week called "The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want," by Joel Waldfogel. I read a few excerpts, and while I don't fully agree with his premise, I think you can see from the title that some of the questions raised in the book relate to our situation with American whiskey.

ILLfarmboy
10-04-2007, 15:26
..."The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want,"...

Man! Ain't that the truth! It seems I can hardly ever get what I want. everything from the frequent difficulty in finding loose tea as opposed to tea bags, shaving supplies (see my post in the thread on wet shaving in the off-topic forum) to getting a drink in a bar. The market caters to the lowest common denominator. And I'm almost never the "average" consumer.

Although the title of the book sounds like something I would never read. I think I'll pick up a copy!

pepcycle
10-05-2007, 10:20
Is it time for a Bourbon Manifesto.

Does SB.com have to put together a position paper and get all the members to sign?

Do we need to have a meeting (chat) and reach a consensus opinion that we can use as a platform to distribute to all distillers.

We, the bourbonians..........

Its time for us to unite and present our opinions.


Who will be our Ben Franklin??

NorCalBoozer
10-05-2007, 11:12
Who will be our Ben Franklin??


I think the best way to do this would be to pick the person who most closely resembles Ben Franklin. nominations?

:70358-devil:

SBOmarc
10-05-2007, 21:06
Is it time for a Bourbon Manifesto.

Does SB.com have to put together a position paper and get all the members to sign?

Do we need to have a meeting (chat) and reach a consensus opinion that we can use as a platform to distribute to all distillers.

We, the bourbonians..........

Its time for us to unite and present our opinions.


Who will be our Ben Franklin??



Ben was indeed chosen, by a group motivated by the need to both organize one voice and give it legitimacy.

I can help and aid in in anyway. Where are you, who are you?

mozilla
10-07-2007, 10:09
Sent a letter to Beam:

Dear Master Distiller, I have long been a fan of the Old Grand Dad line of Ky bourbon. I was lucky enough to find a bottle of OGD from 1980 recently in Dallas. I was very surprised to find such a taste difference between my 2001 bottel of 86 proof and the one from 1980. The '80 was out of sight! Lots of sweet caramel and great barrel flavors abound. The 2001 was very one dimesional. After the initial dry spice, there was nothing that compared to the OGD of old. Why have you changed the flavor profile so much? All of the products from National Distillers, which you bought in 1987, had this extra aged sweet profile to them. Why is it that you do not replicate this? In my opinion, Beam is being very neglectful to the tastes of these products and their traditions. I understand and appreciate(but do not purchase) the small batch collection. Is this all that Beam has to it? Those National products were once at the top of the market, for a reason. Please go back and taste some of those brands before Beams acquisition, you will agree, the market should be able to handle the extra range of flavors. National Brands: Bellows, Taylor, OGD, Bourbon de luxe, Overholt and Sunny Brook. Also, please consider that bourbon enthusiasts appreciate Bottled in Bond brands more than the 80 proofers. I would love to spend some of my hard earned money on Beam brands, though, I will not until the flavor of the original brands reappears. It is not interesting to find one bourbon recipe in so many different bottlings all at 80 proof. Thank you for your time. I await eagerly your transition

mozilla
10-07-2007, 10:11
Here is what came bace:

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for your suggestions and comments and please accept my
apologies for not responding sooner.

I've tasted a good many whiskies that have been in the bottle 20 years and longer and can say with some certainty that what it tastes like now is not exactly what it tasted like when it was bottled. Sealed or not, some oxygen will have gotten into the bottle and the subsequent oxidation can introduce notes that simply weren't there in the '80's. I suggest that you taste Basil Hayden's Bourbon. Basil Hayden's is an incredibly smooth and approachable whiskey. I think it may remind you of the OGD of yesteryear. If not, then OGD 114 may give you the more robust flavor that the old Bottled in Bond whiskies did.
Thanks again for writing. It's always good to hear from a fellow bourbon enthusiast.
Best regards,
Jerry

Jerry Dalton
Master Distiller/Senior Director - EH&S/QC
Phone: 502-215-2387
Fax: 502-543-6660

Gillman
10-07-2007, 14:10
This is a very interesting answer, I have a few comments.

First, and I mean this sincerely, we have to be appreciative that Jerry Dalton took the time to write this reply, and for what he said. He has an advanced degree in distillation science (PhD in fact) and has worked for many years for one of the largest distillers, so he knows a huge amount evidently about bourbon and whether we agree with what he is saying or not his comments deserve the greatest of respect.

He is saying that some of the tastes we are getting from 20 and 30 year old bottles are imparted by oxidation and that the whiskey when new was not that different from what is put in the bottle today.

The implication is, that good as many of the dusties we find are, you can't conclude from that that whiskey was always "better" in the past.

I know from my own reading that some scientists have been concluding for some years that whisky improves in the bottle. This makes sense to me too because clearly no torque as normally applied will prevent oxygen from entering the head space and also there is air in there to begin with. And oxygen works on all substances, nothing can stay in stasis...

I know, too, that a bottle I kept for 25 years of a congeneric Jamaican rum, Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum, went from an aromatic, flowery, earthy drink to one that tasted very close to vodka at the end. How did that happen? It had to be that the air space worked some changes in the rum. In that case, the bottle had been kept partly full for many years (about half or less over most of the period). Probably had it been kept full or almost full the changes would have been lesser but still would have proceeded to a degree.

I have noticed too, as have many here, that a bottle of bourbon seems to improve for weeks and months after being opened.

This is not to say that changes in production methods do not have some impact (entry proofs and so forth). I think they do, but I also think that long bottle storage can probably only improve most whiskeys.

This is good news. The dusties we can still find will taste (I believe this truly) better and better as time goes by. But we should also stock up on whiskeys that seem ordinary-tasting.

I intend to buy some current Old Grand-dads and put them away for ten years, for example, and I may even do that with some Beam White and Black. They may well end up tasting like the ND dusties we find today.

Gary

mozilla
10-07-2007, 15:02
Doesn't oxidation require that oxygen is getting in, and therefore fluids getting out. It can not be a one way door.
Physics aside....I noticed that he mentions nothing of mashbill, yeast, barrels or age. Seems a bit odd that someone of his qualifications would overlook these eliments.

Gillman
10-07-2007, 15:21
Jeff, your points may be valid too. But I think part at least of the story is in his reply. And it may vary depending on the specific distillery and its practices. We simply don't know what changed exactly over 30 years in Beam production methods if anything, for example, (on the specifics that count) but he would. And I think it's great that these guys take the time to answer queries such as you sent. They don't have to, of course, but when they do we have to tip the hat. It is only a process of dialogue that you initiated that can start to get answers, but they may not always be up the alleys we think...

Gary

mozilla
10-07-2007, 15:32
I'm very glad to have gotten any response from my three letters(the other being ETL). I hope that some others are attempting it as well.

Dr. Franois
10-08-2007, 05:14
Jeff,
Can you post your correspondence with ETL? The other letters were fascinating.
Jeremy


I'm very glad to have gotten any response from my three letters(the other being ETL). I hope that some others are attempting it as well.

mozilla
10-08-2007, 09:57
As requested:

Dear Mr.Lee,
Thank you so much for all the effort you have put into the bourbons I have enjoyed. I was able to meet you breifly in early April outside the gift shop. I was on the Hard Hat tour at the time.
My questions for you are:
1. How closely related are the BT and UD mashbills for Old Charter? I know the two distilleries were brothers at one point. Do y'all use the same yeast as what was used in Louisville and BT back then? Didn't you provide yeast for a number of local distilleries while under Schenley and do you still access those libraries?

2. Now that all these new fangled bourbons are hitting the market at high prices, am I, a person who likes medium priced quality bourbon, going to be out in the cold? Will supplies of inexpensive 6,8 and 10 year old bourbon dry up?

3. I brought an empty bourbon barrel home from the Old Fitzgerald dist.(BT). I would like to do an experiment that ages bourbon. My plan was to get some cheap 90proof H.H. Private Cellar and try to make it taste better. Do you have any recomendations for alternatives in proof or variety. Maybe a rye or something? My plan is not set in stone and I can not afford to fill the whole barrel. Just need some guidence from a master.

Thank you for taking the time to answere some of my bourbon questions. If you have an extra DVD's on hand, I would surely like one.

Sincerely


His reply was hand typed, I will try to get it scanned and up soon.

mozilla
10-08-2007, 10:28
I feel very fortunate to have had Mr. Lee correspond with me. He is a very interesting fellow and has a style all his own. Some of my questions should have been directed to Gary Gayheart since I believe that he was MD while UD was running things. Hope y'all enjoy:

Rughi
10-08-2007, 10:48
I feel very fortunate to have had Mr. Lee correspond with me. He is a very interesting fellow and has a style all his own. Some of my questions should have been directed to Gary Gayheart since I believe that he was MD while UD was running things. Hope y'all enjoy:

He didn't really tell very much, but what a classy fellow he shows himself to be.

SBOmarc
10-08-2007, 11:14
Thanks for sharing that letter Jeff.

Phischy
10-08-2007, 13:15
Someone should ask the bourbon distilleries to label their bottles "For Medicinial Use" so I can use my flex spending account to make purchases!! Nothing like buying bourbon with pre-tax dollars. ha ha ha!

whiskeyhatch
10-09-2007, 11:54
I recently explored the WildTurkeyBourbon.com website and found this quote:

"Wild Turkey is distilled at a very low proof to seal in its flavors. When Wild Turkey is released from the barrel, it is diluted with less water than most bourbons, producing a higher proof products. This leaves you with a taste closer to what was in the barrel."

This was found in the FAQ section under "What makes Wild Turkey different from other bourbons?" It was also found in the 'Special Characteristics' section. I haven't been to this website in a long time so I'm wondering: does anyone know how long WT has been touting this? Did WT have an even lower entry proof/distilled proof in the past? (I saw this question posed in earlier posts but not sure if it was answered.) Jeff Mo., I was also wondering if you wrote to the folks at WT? Anyway, I hope that this practice does not deteriorate as I have never been disappointed by a single WT product. I'll be sending letters soon.

mozilla
10-09-2007, 12:32
I have sent emails to Customer Care, all were answered by Earline. IMO, she doesn't know her head from a hole in the ground. So, if anyone has an email for someone else....get to writting.

mozilla
10-09-2007, 12:52
Well, this post has been up for a week. Has anyone besides Tboner sent any emails or letters? What did you write about? Have any of the guys up in the North West inquired about allocations and new shipments?
Now is the time to make your voices heard by the distilleries....it doesn't have to be negative input, just input! Let's hear your stories.

Gillman
10-09-2007, 13:49
Jeff, we all have our own style and mine has been in person to discuss and urge traditional techniques on the distillery personnel I meet in Kentucky. I have frequently discussed for example issues such as palletized storage, use of naturally seasoned (outdoors I mean) wood and traditional ways of firing barrels, yeast management, and other production issues. I feel it's played its little part together with the effort undertaken by yourself, many others of course, and the existence of SB in general which has had a large impact I think on distillery thinking. People from the companies read SB and other sources of on-line bourbon thinking, they deal with the groups that have formed to buy barrels from them, they meet us at Gazebos, etc. It all goes I think to helping to ensure a traditional product. I used to write to companies online (my preferred initial way, through their websites) but stopped because I rarely got an answer. So I contribute my thoughts here and talk to them directly when I can. As Jim said recently, SB really is a juggernaut and but for its existence I doubt we'd have seen most of the recent specialty releases which form the basis of a lot of current discussion here. So not to discourage anyone from writing, but just want to make the point that there is more than one way to skin the cat.

Gary

cowdery
10-09-2007, 16:22
I recently explored the WildTurkeyBourbon.com website and found this quote:

"Wild Turkey is distilled at a very low proof to seal in its flavors. When Wild Turkey is released from the barrel, it is diluted with less water than most bourbons, producing a higher proof products. This leaves you with a taste closer to what was in the barrel."

This was found in the FAQ section under "What makes Wild Turkey different from other bourbons?" It was also found in the 'Special Characteristics' section. I haven't been to this website in a long time so I'm wondering: does anyone know how long WT has been touting this? Did WT have an even lower entry proof/distilled proof in the past? (I saw this question posed in earlier posts but not sure if it was answered.) Jeff Mo., I was also wondering if you wrote to the folks at WT? Anyway, I hope that this practice does not deteriorate as I have never been disappointed by a single WT product. I'll be sending letters soon.

I first interviewed Jimmy Russell in 1992 and he was singing that song then. He described Wild Turkey as an old-fashioned, full-bodied bourbon.

whiskeyhatch
10-09-2007, 17:46
Originally posted by cowdery
I first interviewed Jimmy Russell in 1992 and he was singing that song then. He described Wild Turkey as an old-fashioned, full-bodied bourbon.

Thanks Mr. Cowdery. The following may be a bit naive but I guess it's a start. I just sent it to the e-mail address available on the Wild Turkey website:

Hello. My name is Kevin and I am more than a casual bourbon drinker. Besides water, bourbon is basically all I drink. I have tried many different kinds of bourbon from many different distilleries, including 3 of your own (Rye, 101, Rare Breed). I have been very happy with all three of these Wild Turkey products and I look forward to trying all others that are available. Recently, I have become interested in contemporary whiskey production methods and how they differ from those of approximately 25-50 years ago. I noticed that your production methods, in terms of choice of grains, barrel construction and char no., distillation methods, etc. are available on your website. My question, however, is this: has Wild Turkey changed any of these methods throughout your company's history, and if so, why? Also, does Wild Turkey foresee any market forces that may require any future changes in your current production methods? I would like to pose these questions mostly with regard to barrel construction, distillation proof and barrel-entry proof. Thank you in advance for your response. Your continued efforts in supporting traditional methods of whiskey production have made me a solid fan of Wild Turkey bourbon!

mozilla
10-10-2007, 06:20
Gary, Tboner, Kevin......anyone else have stories to be mentioned?

whiskeyhatch
10-11-2007, 10:05
Here is the reply that I received yesterday (10/10/2007) from the Wild Turkey Consumer Relations Dept., regarding my post #40:



Dear Kevin,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about Wild Turkey Bourbon. We always enjoy hearing from loyal customers.
Wild Turkey Bourbon is one of the few remaining distilleries to bear the mantle of tradition with grace and noble heritage. As Jimmy Russell states “We make Wild turkey Bourbon the old-fashioned way. It’s a totally natural process which takes substantially more time and money, but we believe it’s worth it.”

We appreciate your continued patronage of Wild Turkey Bourbon and hope you continue to enjoy our products.

Best regards,

Earline
Wild Turkey Bourbon
Consumer Relations

whiskeyhatch
10-12-2007, 05:22
BTW. I noticed that neither of my questions were addressed.

Dr. Franois
10-12-2007, 07:54
It appears that people in PR departments have figured out how to use the "copy" and "paste" functions on their computers.

CrispyCritter
10-13-2007, 20:01
First, and I mean this sincerely, we have to be appreciative that Jerry Dalton took the time to write this reply, and for what he said. He has an advanced degree in distillation science (PhD in fact) and has worked for many years for one of the largest distillers, so he knows a huge amount evidently about bourbon and whether we agree with what he is saying or not his comments deserve the greatest of respect.

He is saying that some of the tastes we are getting from 20 and 30 year old bottles are imparted by oxidation and that the whiskey when new was not that different from what is put in the bottle today.

The implication is, that good as many of the dusties we find are, you can't conclude from that that whiskey was always "better" in the past.

I also recall from earlier days keeping an eye on Scotch-related sites, there was a debate over whether (or how much) whisky aged in the bottle. I recall the typical wisdom was that, if unopened, there was a definite but extremely slow aging - which would fit in with oxidation and the small air space in the bottle. This would also be borne out by the differences between blue wax, gold wax, and gold foil Hirsch - all the same juice that spent different lengths of time in stainless steel.

I can also recall a bottle of Isle of Jura 10yo that I didn't particularly care for - until I revisited the half-full bottle after a long period of time and found that it had noticeably improved. Since then, my advice for Jura 10 is, pour half of it into an empty bottle, seal both half-full bottles, and wait at least eight weeks.

The first release of Baby Saz also needed to breathe a bit to reach its full potential, although it was quite nice even with the first pour.

jinenjo
10-31-2007, 09:14
Here is what came bace:

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for your suggestions and comments and please accept my
apologies for not responding sooner.

I've tasted a good many whiskies that have been in the bottle 20 years and longer and can say with some certainty that what it tastes like now is not exactly what it tasted like when it was bottled. Sealed or not, some oxygen will have gotten into the bottle and the subsequent oxidation can introduce notes that simply weren't there in the '80's. I suggest that you taste Basil Hayden's Bourbon. Basil Hayden's is an incredibly smooth and approachable whiskey. I think it may remind you of the OGD of yesteryear. If not, then OGD 114 may give you the more robust flavor that the old Bottled in Bond whiskies did.
Thanks again for writing. It's always good to hear from a fellow bourbon enthusiast.
Best regards,
Jerry

Jerry Dalton
Master Distiller/Senior Director - EH&S/QC
Phone: 502-215-2387
Fax: 502-543-6660

First, I would like to say how Mr. Dalton's generous and thoughtful reply did not go unnoticed. Nevertheless, I have been pondering the ideas of this gentleman for some time now and still remain skeptical. Yet, without proof I cannot dismiss his claim.

I suppose the thing to do would be to taste two Bourbons, say OGD, bottled within a year's time of each other but at the time of the Beam acquisition of ND--one right before, the other right after. Both would be close to 20 years old, so they'd have had ample time to oxidize in the bottle.

Has anyone tried this? Perfect West Coast Study Group material...right after our overdue rye night, Old Forester night, Old Taylor night, Willett 4yo night, Rutledge tribute night....:falling: