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fog
02-12-2008, 11:21
When I mix two bourbons in my glass, I tend to find the result disappointing. I find that I perceive the character of each bourbon separately, resulting in a disharmonious flavor profile.


A few months ago I combined a half bottle of WT 101 with a half bottle of Russel's Reserve 90. Initial, I found the result disappointing. I would first taste the Russel's Reserve 90, and then the flavor would jarringly shift toward the WT 101.

Recently, I have been enjoying this blend. The profile seems more continuous; I taste characteristics from each at all times, rather than tasting one bourbon and then the other.

Has anyone noticed mixtures of bourbons improving with age? Perhaps, being different bourbons, some of the chemicals can slowly react with each other?

OscarV
02-12-2008, 11:29
I would like to see a response from Gillman the Vatinator on this question.:grin:

NickAtMartinis
02-12-2008, 15:51
Fog, I too have tried mixing bourbon. Some I've liked, some I have not. However, I haven't mixed and then let sit in a bottle like you have with the Turkeys so I wouldn't know.


My favorite mix has been ORVW 10/107 and WTRB. But, WTKS works well too. Of course, this is very subjective. What I like, you may not. But, that's one mix I'd suggest. Heck, I've never let it sit in a bottle. I probably should and see what happens.

HipFlask
02-12-2008, 21:20
Fog my question to you is... are you mixing a large enough quanity of your boubons and then letting them marry in a bottle for a few months? or mixing a pour today and not liking it but trying it again 2 months for now and finding that they mix quite well?

Old Lamplighter
02-12-2008, 21:36
Purely out of curiosity, I recently experimented with bourbon and rye. I combined a 3:1 ratio of Russell's Reserve Rye:WTRB and came up with a pretty delicious result. Since all WT is pretty heavy towards the rye flavor, I wanted to see how it would compliment their 6yo straight rye or vice versa. It sounds funny, but the RB seemed to slightly 'tame' the rye and the RRR lightened up the heavier side of RB. All in all, not bad......though it might be viewed as outside the norm in terms of mixing bourbon with other bourbon.

ILLfarmboy
02-13-2008, 00:22
Some years back I tried mixing KC and WT Rye, roughly one to one. What a disaster. Even though I left the bottle sit for a couple months, I too found the flavors jarringly "disharmonious" After that wastefully experiment I'm kind of gun shy about blending.

mier
02-13-2008, 04:06
Scottish blenders take measures from some whiskies in small quantities only and the endproduct they let it merry,in case of a vatted(blended)malt it goes back in a barrel again for some years so i think it ages.
ERic.

Gillman
02-13-2008, 08:23
Okay, I'm just catching up with this discussion.

I can only of course attest to my own experience.

The main factor in blending bourbons and ryes is what you blend, and in what proportions. Only experience can tell you what is right.

I would have thought that it makes sense to mingle RR 90 and WT 101. They are made from one mashbill albeit to different profiles. Since RR 90 is a notably soft, mildish bourbon, I'd have thought it would smooth out some of the heavy big character of 101. But a lot depends too in what proportions it is done. A small change in the proportions can make all the difference!

The original question was, does the mingle age in the bottle? I don't think it ages technically, but I agree that some time in the bottle seems to smooth out and improve many blends. The only way it could age is if the mingle was barreled and allowed to mature through storage. In fact, blending manuals advised to do this, one source I have recommends a minimum of 3 months aging in the top tier (moreover) of the warehouse. This clearly assisted the melding and improvement of flavors.

However short of this, leaving it for a time in the bottle will usually help. Still, if the commingling or blend is good to begin with, a further resting period should not be necessary.

The main thing is to have a plan going in. E.g., if you have a large amount of a relatively bland drink and want to improve the flavor with something that is in harmony with it, it would make sense to use more of the latter than the former. This would preserve the overall profile but make a small change.

It might e.g., be good to blend 10 or 20% WT 101 into RR 90.

In this field, personal preference, predeliction and experience really rule, much like with "mixology" (cocktails). Some find it fascinating and rewarding to enter this world, some don't.

Gary

cowdery
02-13-2008, 10:43
Remember too that the exact same drink may strike you differently on different occasions for a variety of reasons, from what else you may have eaten or drunk, to changes in your own body chemistry. Something can taste good to you one day and not so good the next, and it's not the whiskey that's changing.

Whiskey is a lot more stable than most people. If something has changed, it's more likely to be me than the whiskey.

felthove
02-13-2008, 10:57
My favorite mix has been ORVW 10/107 and WTRB. But, WTKS works well too. Of course, this is very subjective. What I like, you may not. But, that's one mix I'd suggest. Heck, I've never let it sit in a bottle. I probably should and see what happens.

Have you ever tried Weller Antique 107 adn WTRB? I own and enjoy both and figured it could be a close match. Your thoughts?

Gillman
02-13-2008, 11:07
Correction to my last post: I meant in my example given of vatting with a plan, that you might want to use more of the former than the latter (not the reverse). In other words, RR 90 might be given some zip by, say, adding maximum 20% WT 101. This might perhaps bring the drink closer to what RR was like before the drop to 90 proof, I mean in palate, not proof as such.

You could though do the reverse, add 10-20% RR 90 to WT 101. That might result in a slightly dampened down palate for the 101, no bad thing for some people.

Gary

jburlowski
02-13-2008, 17:03
Whiskey is a lot more stable than most people. If something has changed, it's more likely to be me than the whiskey.



But Chuck, we love you just the way you are!

T47
02-13-2008, 17:37
This might be a little off topic, but sort of an age related topic. I know there are a few people who have re-barreled Bourbons for more aging. Has anyone tried (or would it even work) adding toasted oak wine making sticks to a bottle to get a little more oak flavor? Or is the time re-barreling enhancing the bourbon in a different way?

NickAtMartinis
02-13-2008, 20:04
This might be a little off topic, but sort of an age related topic.


Speaking of which, Happy Birthday!!!!

T47
02-13-2008, 21:31
You are too kind...It's been a good day, and it looks like I will make it to the end to complete another year - always a reason to celebrate! a healthy pour of GT Stagg to send me off to slumber.


:toast:

NickAtMartinis
02-13-2008, 21:32
You are too kind...It's been a good day, and it looks like I will make it to the end to complete another year - always a reason to celebrate! a healthy pour of GT Stagg to send me off to slumber.


:toast:


Todd, since it's your Birthday, and you're drinking Stagg, I will do the same. Which year have you got?

Mark

spun_cookie
02-13-2008, 21:48
Has anyone noticed mixtures of bourbons improving with age? Perhaps, being different bourbons, some of the chemicals can slowly react with each other?

From a chemical standpoint, you are not getting aging, you are actually getting a homogeneous solution over time. Initially you had a mix that had pockets of the two original products... time lends to blending....

... hey... my chemical(ly dependent) engineering degree came in handy :grin:

T47
02-13-2008, 21:54
It is the 2006...I wish Stagg was more readily available out here, but it does make it a treasure when I can get it...

felthove
02-14-2008, 08:45
Happy belated B-day Todd.

fog
02-14-2008, 09:53
From a chemical standpoint, you are not getting aging, you are actually getting a homogeneous solution over time. Initially you had a mix that had pockets of the two original products... time lends to blending....

... hey... my chemical(ly dependent) engineering degree came in handy :grin:



I always imagined that homogenization occurred fairly quickly. Could homogenization take a few weeks?

Gillman
02-14-2008, 10:30
This is a very interesting question. Whether home-fashioned or the ones the distilleries give us, all bourbons not from a single barrel are a mixture to a greater or lesser degree (and even the single barrels are a kind of mixture, a condensate from different grains, aged in a barrel fashioned of oak from different trees and sources, etc.).

This being so, are some elements in the bourbon "heavier" than others and e.g. might they congregate at the bottom of the barrel, or bottle, and thus affect the taste unless re-amalgamated into the drink?

The obvious case in another thread has been mentioned of char particles (and they can affect taste, I noticed this quite palpably with a sample of a barrel strength ORVW not too long ago).

But are the chemical compounds associated with corn, say, (certain oils?) as likely to be present everywhere in the liquid in the same way as those derived from rye? True, pouring into a glass will upset whatever balance is in the bottle, but to what degree? And what if you drink from the neck of the bottle? (That last statement: read humour :)).

Whenever I pour a whiskey I always shake the bottle, it is a long-standing habit that may reflect a sub-conscious thought that the compounds are irregularly spaced in the bottle and I'll get a better result by shaking the whiskey much as one would shake or stir a cocktail before pouring.

Maybe all this is fanciful, I just don't know..

Gary

cowdery
02-14-2008, 10:47
One point that comes to mind is that the tanks which hold the dumped whiskey until it is bottled do not agitate the product. There are no stirring paddles as there are in the cookers, for example. I have read things that lead me to believe there are homogenization issues when whiskey is blended with neutral spirit, but not when aged whiskey from multiple barrels is mixed together.

Historically, the custom of shaking a bottle of whiskey before pouring from it was to check the bead, which is a rough indicator of proof. It was a way of confirming that the whiskey was good, i.e., full proof.

Gillman
02-14-2008, 12:45
Interesting. I am sure there is a good answer to all this in the relevant branch of science, chemical engineering or organic chemistry. Pure spirits are lighter than water because its ethanol component is. Whiskey is lighter than water because its ethanol component is, but not as light (I would think) as pure spirits (GNS) because of the secondary constituents contained in whiskey (plus perhaps particles of char, compounds from the wood).

I wonder why the pure ethanol in either form of alcohol doesn't separate from and float on the other components, "pousse cafe"-style (or take the American-invented black and tan variant in which Guinness is layered onto Bass Ale).

It is good for we bibulants that this is not so... As for blended whiskey, whatever amalgamation issues arise seem to have been overcome but I wonder how they do that?

Gary

Gillman
02-14-2008, 12:50
I think (or now recall) the answer is alcohol molecules have a remarkable ability to adhere to water molecules and no doubt to those associated with the secondary constituents in whiskey and other alcohol.

This is why it is so hard to vaporize a 100% pure ethanol.

This is why too no matter your vaporization temperature, some water will always come over with the ethanol and vice versa.

Gary

Thesh
02-14-2008, 14:21
Remember too that the exact same drink may strike you differently on different occasions for a variety of reasons, from what else you may have eaten or drunk, to changes in your own body chemistry. Something can taste good to you one day and not so good the next, and it's not the whiskey that's changing.

Whiskey is a lot more stable than most people. If something has changed, it's more likely to be me than the whiskey.

I think a good experiment for that would to be mix two whiskies, keep the other two bottles, and then a few months later mix the originals in the same proportions and try them out. See if one tastes different from the next. Of course, they would both have to be well sealed and there should be the same amount of air in all three bottles to keep the test as controlled as possible.

cowdery
02-14-2008, 15:56
There is, in the regulations, mention of blending compounds. I think there are some substances, alcohols themselves, that aid in blending. This is, as probably you can tell, an area in which I am pretty ignorant, except to say I've never experienced anything like separation.

My brother is a physicist. I have been referring to beverage alcohol as an alcohol and water solution. I asked him if that's correct. He said it's not wrong, although the term "solution" usually refers to what results when a solid is dissolved in a liquid. He said it is more correct to call the combination of two liquids a mixture.

spun_cookie
02-15-2008, 06:54
Here is my additional 2 cents worth.

You have two distinct chemical solutions. Even if you shook these up, you will still has some pockets of the original A and B components.

What is happening over time is you are also getting these two to blend further. There, is at some level diffusion of the two originals into one another...

I see a few things that could be happening over time. You are getting:

The two to mix ~100% (homogeneous)
True bleeding is taking place (diffusion)
Bottle shock is relaxing
Additional oxidation is taking place
Your taste are getting use to what you are consuming, not your original notion of the twoA combination of the above is occurring at some level. How much of any... I don't know. It would be fund to run a couple of experiments where you set out ~100ml sets (say 10) and try each one over a 10-20 week period.

This would not be as good at a large amount (say 250-500ml) because you will be getting less to work with for any of the above.

In any case, you get to consume you experiment.. and that always makes it a good day :drinking: