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My great uncle wrote of his childhood in pre civil war Green County, Kentucky, of "oily bourbon" being consumed at Christmas and on other special events. What is or wasoily bourbon"? Is it just another name for the beverage or was it somehow different? This was not a family that had much money and my great uncle wrote his autobiography in 1916 and did not drink at all. (He was a preacher)
Good question hatch. 'Oilyness' is one of many varibles addressed by master distillers and their tasting panel when creating a new flavor profile or in the selection of barrels for an existing one. It may refer to the amount of fusel oils in the bourbon, but I am not sure. Pour yourself a glass of bourbon and give it a swirl. See how the bourbon clings to the glass and then begin to sag in rivulets? These are called 'legs'.Now swirl the bourbon around in your mouth and you will feel it coating your tongue and teeth. This is the amount of oilyness you just observed in the glass and we just simply call this 'mouthfeel'. Two modern bourbons that I consider very oily are Labrot & Graham's Woodford Reserve Master Distiller's Select and Jim Beam's 'Baker's'.To my way of thinking drinking "oily bourbon" for special holidays is the same as saying they drank 'the good stuff'. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
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