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OldJack
05-08-2008, 13:07
I've got about two fingers left in a 350ml bottle of Bulliet and about 3 fingers of a 750 of Buffalo Trace (my second bottle of BT in a month!) which I'm thinking of using to start a vatting.

Ideally, I'd like to find a lower-cost bourbon to use as a base to add these last bits to. Is this worth doing, and if so, which bottom-shelf bourbon or whiskey would be a good possible base and how much to add?

Gillman
05-08-2008, 13:39
Absolutely. Add them to, say, a sufficient amount of low-cost bourbon (a Beam brand such as Old Taylor perhaps, or one of the Heaven Hill-branded bourbons) to make up a 26 oz. bottle, and you should get an excellent vatting from it. By the way, legally the definition of bourbon includes a mixture of bourbons, so you are not creating anything weird or unusual, a merchant might well do something similar and sell it under his own name if he bought similar constituent whiskeys in bulk.

Another thing you can do is add them to enough Canadian whiskey (any kind) to make up a standard bottle.

You will get a richer, probably excellent version of Canadian whisky, I do this all the time.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
05-08-2008, 13:43
I've got about two fingers left in a 350ml bottle of Bulliet and about 3 fingers of a 750 of Buffalo Trace (my second bottle of BT in a month!) which I'm thinking of using to start a vatting.

Ideally, I'd like to find a lower-cost bourbon to use as a base to add these last bits to. Is this worth doing, and if so, which bottom-shelf bourbon or whiskey would be a good possible base and how much to add?

If you want to go with a BT product I'd say Benchmark. If that doesn't matter then Evan Williams Black Label.

As for quantity, an amount equal to the combined Bulliet and BT would probably be okay. Maybe even a little more.

Gillman
05-08-2008, 13:43
Excellent suggestions.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
05-08-2008, 14:26
Add them to, say, a sufficient amount of low-cost bourbon (a Beam brand such as Old Taylor perhaps, or one of the Heaven Hill-branded bourbons) to make up a 26 oz. bottle, and you should get an excellent vatting from it.

I'm sure that's true.

It occurs to me that most Cognacs follow a blending formula which starts with a large percentage (like half) of a relatively young brandy and adds progressively smaller amounts of progressively older spirit. An XO for example might be 50% 7yo, 20% 10yo, 15% 12yo, 10% 15yo and 5% 18yo.

There are some SM Scotchs that do this too, examples being Aberlour a'bunadh and Ardberg Uigeadail (and they can still be called "single malt" because it's all whisky from the same distiller). The a'bunadh starts with a base of 12yo and has progressively smaller percentages of older whisky.

WT RB is a mix of 6, 8 and 12yo bourbon. My guess is that the formula is similar, something like 50/30/20.

An interesting experiment might be to vat 450ml of EW BL, 150ml of Old Ezra 7/101, 100ml of EC 12 and 50ml of EC 18 and compare the result to EC 12 and EC 18.

OldJack
05-08-2008, 14:34
Thanks for the suggestions! I'm not really worried about buying from a particular distiller, I just want a nice mix. So if Old Taylor and Benchmark would both work equally well, I would probobly buy the cheaper one. However, if one is substantially better than the other (either in terms of quality and/or in terms of vatting potential,) I'd buy the better one.

Out of curiosity, what happens if you add small amounts of ryed bourbon to a base of wheated bourbon- say a lower-end Weller or Old Fitz? Could the results be tasty and well-rounded, or is a four-grain collision like that too much mojo?

CorvallisCracker
05-08-2008, 14:42
Out of curiosity, what happens if you add small amounts of ryed bourbon to a base of wheated bourbon- say a lower-end Weller or Old Fitz? Could the results be tasty and well-rounded, or is a four-grain collision like that too much mojo?

Haven't tried a 4G vatting with the ratios you describe, but have had several succesful 4G vattings, most recently a 1:1 of Old Ezra 7/101 and Weller Antique. Worked very well and I'll be doing it again.

Some vattings don't work even if it's the same type of whiskey. A few months back I combined an ounce of BMH 18 rye (a bit more wood than I like) with an ounce of Ritt BIB rye (a bit more burn than I like). The result? A rye whiskey with too much wood and too much burn!

OldJack
05-08-2008, 14:57
OK- I just re-read Gary's suggestion about mixing with Canadian whiskey. What about Irish whiskey? I enjoy Bushmill's white lable, but often wish it had more gusto. I've considered stepping up to Bushmill's Black, but if crossing whiskey genres is doable, I'm wondering what a dash of corn and a splash of rye would do to a bottle of barley.

Someone warn me if I'm heading for trouble. I really don't know what I'm doing- but I'm willing and ready to learn.

Gillman
05-08-2008, 15:39
In the 1930's, Jameson marketed a whiskey in America which was a combination of an Irish whiskey and American whiskey. Probably they blended an aged pot still Irish with young, post-Prohibition American straight whiskey (i.e., young bourbon or rye).

In a sense, you've suggested the opposite, i.e., blend a youngish Irish (which is what Bush White is) with aged U.S. bourbons. Excellent idea!

Your 5 fingers should go very well with 12 ounces or so of Bush White. Remember too that in the past, Irish whiskey used a mashbill that incorporated very small amounts of rye and wheat or oats. (Today they use malted and unmalted barley only, or just the former). Therefore, to duplicate the old Irish mashbill, add small amounts of your ryed bourbons to the Bush White (start with just a little, less than I suggested initially). It will probably make a great drink.

Scott, the BMH 18 and Rittenhouse rye are a good idea for a combination but I'd have used much less of the BMH 18, maybe 1:4. If you do that, the burn will go and the woodiness of the BMH will dissipate in and enrichen the Rittenhouse. Maybe do 1:3 BMH 18 to the Ritt.

Proportions can be so important.

GaRY

OldJack
05-10-2008, 18:02
I was torn between Benchmark and Bushmills and I decided to go with the cheaper option since I don't know what I'm doing. I'll be mixing later tonight and will report back on the end result.

TNbourbon
05-10-2008, 18:30
In the 1930's, Jameson marketed a whiskey in America which was a combination of an Irish whiskey and American whiskey. Probably they blended an aged pot still Irish with young, post-Prohibition American straight whiskey (i.e., young bourbon or rye)...Your 5 fingers should go very well with 12 ounces or so of Bush White...It will probably make a great drink...
Gary
I've followed this thread with some interest, but without much thought -- until I saw this post of Gary's.:cool: He and others know that I'm a sucker for a new taste sensation, and so I dug around for the youngest near-post-Prohibition straight whiskey I have open, which is a 4yo, 1947-distilled Kentucky Tavern (much fruitier nose today than when we opened it two weeks ago in Bardstown); and pot-still Irish, some Midleton Very Rare 2006. Ratio is 2:1 Irish:bourbon.
Ever had one of the Brach's Milk Maid flavored caramel rolls? Well, this nose is the raspberry one. The straight bourbon adds a little 'bite' to the former juicy-fruit Midleton, who's character still shows through, but is brightened at the finish by the lightest heat and acidity.
A few minutes' aeration allows both the caramel from the nose, and the pot-still copper/fruit from the Irish to progress to the palate. The fruitiness is probably not as aggressive as it is in the Midleton alone, but has a much lengthier and satisfying finish, now less acidic that at first taste.
Gary's right (naturally!) -- a great drink!:toast:

OldJack
05-11-2008, 13:29
OK- I used the Bulliet 375ml bottle as my vatting vessel. The Bulliet was already in the bottle, and when I added the BT, the bottle was just over one-third full. I topped it off with Benchmark, put the cap on, gave a few shakes and let it sit overnight.

The end result is vastly better than straight Benchmark (which, BTW, I am very fond of- what a wonderful bargin!) It is very similary to a standard bottle of BT- not surprising since Benchmark is a BT product and there is a siginifigant amout of BT in the vatting.

From now on, whenever I see good deals on flask or airline-sized bottles of good bourbon, I will be snagging them up so I can jazz up bargin bourbons.

Now if I could only think of an addition which could make the Sperburn 10 I bought more paletable, I'd be getting somewhere.

Gillman
05-11-2008, 18:14
Glad it worked out, you approached it very well and the results sound great.

As for the Speyburn, I'd add small amounts of sherried and regular malts, say, Aberlour and Glenfiddich 12. A little peated malt would help, too. I think with a young single malt like Speyburn, you are in a similar position to a blender who is looking at how many and what type of malts to add to the base to a get a good taste. Even 3:1 Speyburn to some well-flavored malts would make an excellent vatting, I think. (Not that Speyburn on its own is bad, far from it, but to a palate new to malt whisky, I think a vatting would offer a more approachable experience).

Excellent essay there, Tim! I'd have assumed that because of cost, the 30's Jameson transatlantic blend was mostly straight whiskey (bourbon or similar) and a little pot still. Because Midleton is a blend, you probably went in effect 1:1:1, i.e., pure pot still to bourbon to aged grain whisky. No surprise it tasted good (the constituents are all high class grain-derived spirits) but it might be interesting to do about 3 parts Kentucky Tavern or a younger, less distinguished bourbon to the Midelton. The richness from the malted and unmalted barley in the Irish should deepen and enrichen a relatively young bourbon and the grain whisky in the Midelton would serve a useful display function. A dash of water might make it even better.

Gary

Stu
05-12-2008, 00:14
I'm sure that's true.

There are some SM Scotchs that do this too, examples being Aberlour a'bunadh and Ardberg Uigeadail (and they can still be called "single malt" because it's all whisky from the same distiller). The a'bunadh starts with a base of 12yo and has progressively smaller percentages of older whisky.

Scott,
I agree with most of what you said, however I think the only A'bunadh that is 12 years old is the silver label, which is hard to find. If you have an A'bunadh with an age statement, please post a picture of it, 'cause I'd like to get some. I was told at the distillery that A'bunadh does not have an age statement because it is so young that they didn't want to scare people away from trying it. I was told six to eight years old, but the entire time it was aged in a first fill olorosa cask, that's what gives it its color and the heavy sherry flavor. It has been several years since I've been to the distillery so it may have changed since then.
Thanks,
Stu

CorvallisCracker
05-12-2008, 08:56
Scott,
I agree with most of what you said, however I think the only A'bunadh that is 12 years old is the silver label, which is hard to find. If you have an A'bunadh with an age statement, please post a picture of it, 'cause I'd like to get some. I was told at the distillery that A'bunadh does not have an age statement because it is so young that they didn't want to scare people away from trying it. I was told six to eight years old, but the entire time it was aged in a first fill olorosa cask, that's what gives it its color and the heavy sherry flavor. It has been several years since I've been to the distillery so it may have changed since then.
Thanks,
Stu

I got the 12yo figure from this (http://www.whisky-distilleries.info/Aberlour.shtml#aberlourabunadh) site. Because, as you say, a'bunadh is NAS, I assumed that the "12yo" meant that this was the youngest whisky in the mix.

It may be that their information is incorrect, or perhaps they were referring to the silver label version.

If you're right, then they're asking a lot for a very young whisky. Here are the local (OLCC-set) prices:

12yo: $35.95
16yo: $55.95
a'bnd: $63.95

That's a big premium to pay for high proof and non-chill-filtered.

I know where there are some dusty bottles of the 15yo, that IIRC cost less than the 16yo (don't remember exact price tho). When my bottle of a'bunadh is gone perhaps I'll get one of those.

TNbourbon
05-12-2008, 20:03
...it might be interesting to do about 3 parts Kentucky Tavern or a younger, less distinguished bourbon to the Midelton. The richness from the malted and unmalted barley in the Irish should deepen and enrichen a relatively young bourbon and the grain whisky in the Midelton would serve a useful display function. A dash of water might make it even better.

Gary

Well, okay, Gary -- you know I trust you! I didn't want to use too undistinguished a bourbon, so I've poured about 3-1/2:1 from a 1950-distilled OGD BIB. Is that okay, do you think?:grin:
It's a very fine mix of fruit and oak on the nose, much like some Hirsch 16yo and original Michter's we've enjoyed together, only of a different motif, I think. Rather than that pear/apple sense, I get something more like quince and under-ripe plum here. On the palate, I surely sense the underpinning of the pot-still Irish, but it only shows here, and is not the main attraction. I'm hard-pressed to describe the remaining flavors -- other than some old-oak (as in, 'first-growth' oak/eucalyptus) menthol -- but they are berry fruit rather than tree, I think. (Interesting -- in that sense, it reminds a bit of the Parker's HC.) Indeed, 4-5 drops of water open up a splendid nose which now displays some caramel, but the palate is over-much watered down, though still better than average.
I guess the lesson here is that the pot-still character of the Midleton withstands all of dilution, rye and oak (a lesson we learned less pleasantly from the WR Four Grain, eh?).
Noted.

Gillman
05-13-2008, 04:23
Thanks Tim, it was intrepid of you to try these experiments. Pure pot still is a pungent drink and I think your last statement was what the 1930's blenders were going after: give a larger amount of relatively uncomplex, American straight whiskey a defining taste from a concentrated amount of pure pot still whiskey. They could have done similar with an aged straight rye but to suggest this just restates the problem they had.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
05-20-2008, 08:58
Scott, the BMH 18 and Rittenhouse rye are a good idea for a combination but I'd have used much less of the BMH 18, maybe 1:4. If you do that, the burn will go and the woodiness of the BMH will dissipate in and enrichen the Rittenhouse. Maybe do 1:3 BMH 18 to the Ritt.

Proportions can be so important.

GaRY

Tried the 1:3 vatting last night. Worked quite well. Thanks.