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  1. #91
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    How long did ND make Taylor whisky? I thought they bought the place in 1935.

  2. #92
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    But ND made the better bourbon (in the opinion of most here from what I can gauge). If not mash bill, what explains it? I think it may have been the particular yeast used and possibly the effects of wooden mashing vessels and fermenters. I don't think age alone explains it, the Beam/OG profile is just too different.

    Gary
    I wonder about the corn itself. With corn genetics often largely controlled by Big Ag like Archer Daniels Midland, I wonder what corn is bought by the distilleries, and how much effort they put into ascertaining breeds. I know they carefully watch quality/contamination/moisture, etc. I've read that modern corn has a lot more carbohydrate, whereas corn used to have a lot more protein. This has to be a huge factor - certainly as big a factor as water or barrel char or a dozen other variables. And I'm certainly not a geneticist or a farmer, but I think breaking corn down by "white versus yellow" must be an oversimplification along the lines of breaking spirits down as "clear versus brown".
    "Brown eyed women and red grenadine...
    the bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean." -Jerry Garcia

  3. #93
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    The Old Taylor Distillery ran its last batch in 1972. Thereafter Old Taylor was made at the adjacent Old Crow Distillery, where it presumably was made until the Beam acquisition in 1987. It's possible they made it at Old Grand-Dad. It's also possible they used the two distilleries interchangeably.

    Old Grand-Dad always had a special mash bill and yeast. It's entirely possible and, I think, likely that Crow and Taylor were the same yeast and same mash bill, i.e., the same whiskey, except Taylor was a six-year-old whereas Crow was a four-year-old. National had a lot of other bourbons at that time -- Bellows was one of them -- and I imagine that all of them except Old Grand-Dad were essentially that same whiskey, made at Old Crow.

    We don't know what mash bill, yeast and other specifications they were using. We just know that recipe was never made again after 1987. We know Beam retained the Old Grand-Dad formula only. For every other bourbon they obtained from National, as well as for Old Overholt Rye, they used up the National stock, then switched everything over to the Jim Beam bourbon and rye recipes.

    So I don't see what the mystery is. Of course Old Taylor changed after Beam bought it. The whiskey was a different mash bill, a different yeast, and made in a different distillery by a different company with different operating procedures, etc. That is more than enough to explain the difference and we know all of that happened.

    The most unlikely theory is that they were using some kind of special corn specification for Taylor. In the post-prohibition era, despite what a lot of people dearly want to believe, 'corn' has meant #2 dent and nothing else. Possibly some distilleries had slightly different moisture content specs but that would be about it. It's also possible that some of the crappier distilleries were using crappier corn, but the industry standard is and long has been #2 dent.

    Nobody has ever used anything 'special' in the modern era (excluding micro-distilleries, of course). Distilleries in the 70s and 80s certainly were not using anything that cost more than #2 dent. That's when everyone was cutting costs so they could compete on price, which might have tempted some people to use some #3 or #4, but not #1.

    To bourbon distilleries, corn is a commodity. Anything they might say about 'the finest choice grains' is pure marketing fluff.
    Last edited by cowdery; 04-03-2011 at 19:15.

  4. #94
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    My Grandmothers, who agreed on almost everything, were disparate in one regard. One made corn bread with yellow corn meal and the other used white corn meal. Dent yellow and Shoepeg white were the varietals I think but the resultant bread flavor was different. Doubt if Bourbons made in the last 50 years or so have used other than yellow dent. Perhaps one of the Micros might explore this if they really want to do something different.

  5. #95
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    My Grandmothers, who agreed on almost everything, were disparate in one regard. One made corn bread with yellow corn meal and the other used white corn meal. Dent yellow and Shoepeg white were the varietals I think but the resultant bread flavor was different. Doubt if Bourbons made in the last 50 years or so have used other than yellow dent. Perhaps one of the Micros might explore this if they really want to do something different.
    Well, don't know if any micros have, but BT has been it seems.
    Last edited by Rughi; 04-03-2011 at 22:13.

  6. #96
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    #2 dent corn now, and #2 dent corn then are 2 different animals. I do not know when all of the hybrids started coming along, but it was probably after ww2, but this has had a serious impact on the flavor of corn. Now, corn is bred to have way more starch in it than it used to have. To have more starch, it has to have less germ, and that is where the flavor comes from. I had this very conversation with 2 corn genetic folks last week. 1 from cornell and the other from some school in missouri. I do know that we have had to try several different farmers corn around here until we found a corn that balanced flavor and alcohol yeild. There was one we tried that had a hell of a lot more corn flavor, but the yeild was half of what it is with the corn we use now. We have played around with open pollinated corn and use a small amount of it, just because the taste is so distinctive.
    I know that Steve Nally has had to do the same thing out where he is at.

    I wonder if the amount of backset used back when the nd plants were operating is one of the causes of the huge change. Maybe they used a lot more backset than beam does. More backset means lower ph and therfore makes a yeast act totally different and produces different flavors. We also had to experiment to find just the right amount.

  7. #97
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    Makes a lot of sense Tom, thanks.

    Gary

  8. #98
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    #2 dent corn now, and #2 dent corn then are 2 different animals. I do not know when all of the hybrids started coming along, but it was probably after ww2, but this has had a serious impact on the flavor of corn.
    Thanks Tom. I wondered if that wasn't the case. They talk about water and copper and oak all day long, but they don't talk about the corn. It's the single largest ingredient, and also the one thing the distilleries can't control. It's amazing, and a little frightening, how completely crops are controlled by the corporations that sell the seed and the geneticists who tailor it to specific market needs.

    Seems like a big issue to me. But, like the weather, whaddaya gonna do?
    "Brown eyed women and red grenadine...
    the bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean." -Jerry Garcia

  9. #99
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    What I'm going to do is buy the products that please me most and refuse for the most part to pay for fancy packaging.

  10. #100
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    Re: The New Old Taylor, First Batch.

    One of the most unusual things I was told when working on the documentary in 1991-92 was said by a man who identified himself as the last master distiller at Old Crow and who was by then a Beam employee working at the Forks of Elkorn (Old Grand-Dad) plant, which is where Beam stuck all of the National production people it retained.

    He told me that in the 1960s, National enlarged the Old Crow plant and accidentally altered the percentage of setback they were using. He said this completely screwed up the flavor and everyone, including he and the distillery tasting panel, told management it was screwed up, but at that point they were selling all they could make, so nothing was done to fix it. A few years later, when the bottom fell out, it was worse for Crow than just about any other major brand. He said they finally figured it out and fixed it a couple of years before Beam bought the place, so for the last few years of production from that plant the whiskey was good.

    I've never found another source that could either confirm or deny that story.

 

 

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