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Mamba
03-05-2008, 01:14
Been sitting on a bottle of ORVW 10 90-proof for awhile, and have noticed I don't think lustfully of it when I look over my bunker. Not that it's bad, because it's really not, but because I generally prefer rye over wheat and higher proof over low (I find it somewhat amusing that 90-proof is now considered low to me...)

Anyways, I wasn't raised on waste and don't believe in it, so I wanted to use it somehow. A vatting seemed the ideal place to start. Needs rye. Needs higher proof. OGD 114 immediately sprang to mind. Mixed up 50/50 in a snifter and I gotta say I'm really really enjoying it (note: most of the vattings I've attempted in the past I did NOT enjoy; one of the worst was Macallan CS and Laphraoig 15 :))

This seems to be a good use of all the low-proof wheaters I have that don't get enough attention, and a good way for me to expand my whiskey experimentation. Are there any other vattings that people here would recommend that would fall within the 4-grain demographic? Anyone want to give it a shot?

Tomorrow I think I'll try Pappy 15 and Handy 07. Two great whiskies... what could possibly go wrong? ;)

Gillman
03-05-2008, 03:46
Interesting. I tried a vat of Macallan CS with just a little Lagavulin and it was great. Laphroig has a particular profile that shows up in vattings even when used in very small quantity. If just a little had been added to Macallan it might have made for a slightly smoky sherried whiskey.

I find Jack Daniels (SB if possible) does well with bourbons and ryes as a "seasoning", i.e., just a little often helps out both drinks.

Gary

Sijan
03-05-2008, 05:45
FYI in case you're looking for other uses for your ORVW 10/90 - I consider it to be the perfect introduction to fine bourbon for friends and acquaintances who express an interest. It has that great Van Winkle flavor, and approachable wheat smoothness, without the high proof (or high cost!) of the other VW bourbons. I try to keep a bottle or two on hand for precisely that purpose.

Mamba
03-05-2008, 11:56
Interesting. I tried a vat of Macallan CS with just a little Lagavulin and it was great. Laphroig has a particular profile that shows up in vattings even when used in very small quantity. If just a little had been added to Macallan it might have made for a slightly smoky sherried whiskey.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I remember a third single malt in there. Pretty sure it was Highland Park 12, roughly 20% of that, with the other 80% split in half between the Laphraoig and Macallan. From what you say, I probably had way too much of the Laphraoig. It was worse than any of the constituents alone.

Gillman
03-05-2008, 12:51
It's interesting (I find) how many flavors can result from combining three whiskies. It's all dependent on the proportions of each used.

In a case like this, let's say I wanted overall a sherry approach with some peaty character.

I might do something like 60% Macallan CS, 30% HP 12, 10% Laphroig.

The HP would "fill out" and soften the Macallan CS (which I've found quite robust but unsubtle) but not take away too much from its sherry character.

The Laphroig would lend an overtone of peaty and maritime flavors. It is so assertive (even the older expressions) that I'd start by using just a little. More can always be added.

You could reverse the percentages of HP 12 and Macallan CS. That would tend to preserve a malty profile somewhat influenced by sherry (the HP already has some) and the Laphroig would add to the peat notes in the HP.

THis is how I would go about it but it doesn't mean it would be successful (even to me). Still, I have found that certain tried and true approaches often produce something good.

By the way HP 12 and 18 are whiskies whose quality I try to emulate in vattings, so balanced and good are they. At the same time, they can be used successfully in vattings because due to their roundness and good taste they tend to modify and smooth out flavors which I find not to my taste on their own. Laphroig is a good example, I have found it a very pungent whisky, just too big on its own (even as I say the older ones I've tried - I haven't had the very oldest though). Yet,I've bought a good dozen bottles in the last few years, which I use in vattings.

Recently I've found Four Roses NAS performs very well in a combination of bourbons, due I think to its round, mild character. But I like it on its own too.

Gary

Mamba
03-05-2008, 14:48
I like what you're saying. Some whiskies make a better "base" since they're already well balanced, while others are better for flavoring, spice, additional flavors. I'll remember that next time I try my hand at vatting. It's a new process to me still. I have both the HP 12 and 18 and I know what you're saying about their balance.