View Full Version : Taste vs. Proof????
Being new to the board, there is something that I do not understand. In the barrel proof bottles, why does the taste generally run smoother (IMO) than the lower proof bottlings? These lower proof bottlings are just cut down versions of the high proof ones, aren't they? I found a bottle of Old Grand Dad 114 and tried it after I had the BIB version. I found it much smoother with less burn and loads more taste than the BIB! Almost without exception, I have found the higher proof bottles to have a lot more flavor. Am I missing something here? http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif
Fred I went ahead and moved your post to the 'General Bourbon Topics' board as your thread was not an actual tasting. Now on to your question. Many folks do perfer higher proof expressions. I happen to like 90 to 100 proof best. I've found that both the 114 proof Old Grand Dad and Rare Breed to have a finish that is unpleasently hot. Booker's is flame thrower hot. Some folks like their chili as hot as a nucelar meltdown, but I don't. To me heat doesn't equal flavor, but your point is well taken. 100+ proof = more spirit than water. More spirit = more flavor.
In the case drfred mentioned, OGD BIB vis a vis OGD 114, is it possible that the 114 comes from barrels selected for better flavor? Or is it, in fact, just the same bourbon with less water added?
If it's the former, then I'll probably try the 114 someday. If it's the latter, then I'll pass.
That's to close to call Dave. We know that BIB requires all the barrels selected to be from the same season. With the 114 the barrels selected could be from almost any season as long as it is mature enough to meet the flavor profile. This is really very much the same types of differences as Russell's Reserve at 10 years and 101 proof compaired to Rare Breed at barrel proof and made up of barrels selected across a wide range of maturities to produce an established flavor profile. Just as we may prefer one distiller's bourbon over another, it is likely that we will have a favorite among their bottlings. It's not nuts to perfer one over the other, or to prefer something different from time to time. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif
>In the barrel proof bottles, why does the taste generally run smoother (IMO) than
>the lower proof bottlings?
Others have chimed in, but I'll give you my opinions:
>These lower proof bottlings are just cut down versions of the high proof ones,
1) Maybe, but not neccessarily. There are probably bourbons that are bottled
this way: take the same bourbon merely dilute it to different strengths. On
the other hand, blenders might think along the lines of "we need to use
sweeter barrels for the lower proof bourbon, since it's being diluted more,
so that both bottlings taste the same in the end." Or, they might decide
that different bottlings at different proofs *should* taste different from each
2) Even if you do take the exact same bourbon and merely add more or less
water to produce bottlings at different proofs, there's another step involved
that no one likes to talk about: chill filtering. If you bottle at lower proof, you
have to take out some of the tasty goodies in bourbon. The higher the proof
that you bottle at, the fewer goodies you have to take out, and the better the
bourbon tastes (in my opinion).
I generally prefer higher proof bourbons. Most of my favorites are 100 proof or higher, and I try to avoid any bottling under 90 proof. One of my top two favorites is Rare Breed at 108+ (the other is 101 proof Kentucky Spirit).
Rare Breed is bursting with flavor and, to me, it is quite smooth.
The only one of my top favorites that is less than 100 proof is Woodford Reserve, which is still more than 90 proof (94, I think?).
Tim, Woodford weighs in at 90.4 , still more than 90 but not much. I bet most would be hard pressed to detect that small difference. EC 12 is 94 . I too like the higher proof bottlings. I like to stay above 90 but an occassional drop to 86 is sometimes nessessary . A favorite of mine is the 107 10yo VanWinkle.
Oh, and I forgot Blanton's, which is also between 90 and 100.
"These lower proof bottlings are just cut down versions of the high proof ones, aren't they?"
That's the flaw in your assumptions. In fact, every bottling is a result of a judgment that a particular product should taste a certain way. The lower proof versions of OGD are not merely diluted versions of OGD 114. Each is a unique product in its own right, with a flavor "profile" selected by the master distiller. Higher proof products are usually lower volume and higher price/higher profit. Therefore, the best barrels go into these.
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