At the recent Festival, a slim magazine called "Spirit of Kentucky" was handed out. Amongst the articles is one reprinted from the 1960's in which a distiller, Thomason, was recalling old-fashioned bourbon such as his company, Willett, still made.
This article is full of interesting information. One detail given is that traditional whiskey had a typical bouquet, which the writer describes as like a "ripe apple" or other fruits, although he says it is unique.
He was bemoaning that modern production methods were rubbing out this feature.
Years ago in the 70's, I recall some bourbons still having a bouquet like that: Yellowstone did, so did the bonded Jim Beams sold in those decanters.
Does anyone think:
1) That this characteristic still exists in some bourbons, and if so, which ones?
2) What might explain that rich fragrant nose he is talking about? He seemed to ascribe it to a high malt content in the mash, but this seems unlikely to me. Those who know beer know that top-fermented mashes produce estery, fruity tastes. Could it be that modern distillers all use bottom yeasts or hybrids at cold temperatures that result in a grainy but un-estery mash and therefore spirit? What else, if not the barley malt or yeast and fermentation type, could explain that savour?