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  1. #11
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    Re: That \"Pesky Vermin Taste\"...

    Maybe that explains for that awful taste I experienced in my recent purchase of Very Special Old Fitzgerald... J/K everyone! Though VSOF was the first bourbon I can honestly say I didn't care for... Not bad considering it was the first of many!

  2. #12
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: That \"Heaven Hill Taste\"...

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    I can just see someone with a snifter full trying to put their finger on that elusive flavor

    [/QUOTE]

    I would have said that it was an "earthy" green taste with hints of leather and sod

  3. #13
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: That \"Heaven Hill Taste\"...

    Mmm, do I detect a hint of...........

  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: That \"Heaven Hill Taste\"...

    Let's talk about backset, the good old sour mash method. There once was a legal requirement that a setback of 25% was nessesary before one could claim Sour Mash on the label. The rule has been relaxed but most use 20 % or more. Back in the old days when there was a shutdown they would get the first backset from a plant up or down the road. Which causes me to wonder how this is done now. Can it be saved at the plant ? How Long ? What Method? Can they freeze it and get the results , Can it be dried and reconstituted? Let's see Buffalo Trace has 96,000 gallon fermenters , 20% is over 19,000 gallons. What about Makers ? When they come back up do they run up to HH or Barton and put a Rye backset in the first time? Do they bring it back up after BT runs a little wheat? Vice Versa? Does it matter? I've posed more questions than I answered here, the Sour Mash is what gives consistency from batch to batch.

    When Heaven Hill lost the warehouses and their Distillery , they had product made to their specifications at Barton and JimBeam. Do you guys really think you're going to be able, a few years hence, to pick those out? I think a lot of things go together to make the " House Character" but at the same time I think you could take the Beam mashbill to Buffalo Trace and Buffalo Trace Mashbill to Clermont and each could make a reasonable facsimile of the other.

  5. #15
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    Re: That \"Heaven Hill Taste\"...

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    I strongly object to your call of "bullshit" regarding yeast.

    [/QUOTE]


    While I think that you may be right about this to some extent I think it may not be the largest factor in considering taste differences. To me It seems that the most obvious two "differentiaters" would be.

    1) Mashbill - Bourbons with similar mashbills taste similar to me, even if I prefer one to the other or whatever (ie WT stuff, Blantons &amp; ETL, HH stuff, etc etc.). Distilleries use different mashbills than each other and thus taste different. They use similar mashbill on product lines, they seem to me to taste similar. Maybe a little oversimplified, but it seems true.

    2) Like in Real Estate Location, Location, Location: If a bourbon is aged in a similar area and in similar barrels, then it seems that it would come out similar, if not it seems it would be different. A good example of how location changes the taste of something might be Brown Forman &amp; their L&amp;G site. Woodford Reserve while still tasting vaguely similar to OF products (they are the same mashbill after all), has a much different profile that must at least partially be attributed to being aged at an alternate location.



    Well there is my two cents.
    TomC

  6. #16

    but wait!

    Last night, I was drinking and hanging out with brewers from A. Busch. They told me the yeast was very propietary. They said, anyone even taking a sample or trying to mess with the yeast would be criminally and financially hunted down, by A.B. lawyers. I know beer isn't bourbon, but earlier stage of bourbon is. If they're that humorless about yeast, I would have to think it matters. Then we got onto drinking and trying different bourbons, with Elijah Craig 18 and Buffalo Trace coming out as favorites. Then we got to two enigmas, one is why A.B. doesn't distill, but the most puzzling one for us was Why people drink that, scottish stuff, when there is so much good bourbon everywhere. We all just looked at each other shrugged and poured another from the various bottles, and went on talking about whatever. It was a good night!

  7. #17
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: but wait!

    "[T]he most puzzling one for us was Why people drink that, scottish stuff, when there is so much good bourbon everywhere."

    I drink "that scottish stuff" --along with a lot of "american stuff" and "irish stuff" --because I like them. VIVA VARIETY!!

    SpeedyJohn

  8. #18
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    Re: That \"Heaven Hill Taste\"...

    &gt; While I think that you may be right about this to some extent I think it may not be
    &gt; the largest factor in considering taste differences.

    I think you're exactly right: yeast is not the largest factor.

    For instance: Wild Turkey.

    You can taste the huge influence of
    (1) Having a mashbill with ~15% rye (I can't recall the exact number)
    (2) Using barrels with a #4 char

    In my opinion, those things are the main flavor components of
    Wild Turkey, and serve to define the "house style" to a great extent.

    Tim

  9. #19
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    Re: That \"Heaven Hill Taste\"...

    &gt;Let's talk about backset, the good old sour mash method.

    This the other part of the bourbon making process that gets
    a lot of lip service by marketing, but which turns out to be
    not so important in the end.

    See the thread "Dunder / Sour Mash" ~ 5/18/02, with
    posts by myself and Chuck.

    The important bit:

    "
    Sour mash is mostly a quality control issue: it lowers the pH of the new batch
    of mash. Low pH discourages bacteria, which would otherwise produce
    "off" flavors. You can lower the pH of "sweet mash" by adding something
    acidic, and achieve the same result.
    "

    Perhaps we should include this in our FAQ (which probably needs
    updating anyhow):

    Q. The people from marketing won't shut up about how cool the
    sour mash process is, and how neat it is that distillers have been
    propigating the same yeast for years and years. Is this what gives each
    bourbon it's distinguishing characteristics?

    A. Learning to tell Bourbon Mythology and Lore from actual fact is a
    skill that takes years to acquire. It turns out other factors (mashbill, barrel
    char, etc.) determine the "house style" of a particular distillery to a great
    extent, with the yeast being an important (but minor) factor. Sour mash
    is merely a quality control issue, and you could probably get the same
    level of quality control using anything acidic to lower the pH of the mash
    and thereby discourage bacterial growth.

    Well, perhaps that should be cleaned up a bit to be a little more
    friendly...

    Tim

  10. #20
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: That \"Heaven Hill Taste\"...

    Dave,
    After reading all of the previous posts here, I have to think that barrel char and location play the most significant roles in determining a flavor profile. While mashbill does play a part, most bourbons have mashbills that are at least close to one another. I do think yeast plays some role, as some of the bourbons I have tasted actually taste "yeasty". But I believe that the degree of char, and the rate at which the bourbon moves through it probably contribute the most to the flavor. I would hazzard a guess that if you took the same bourbon and aged it in the same town, but on different sides of the same hill, you would get noticable variations. Now just take the whole distillery out of one towns climate and put it into anothers. Kentucky's weather can change from one mile to the next, so it's no wonder that this could have a drastic impact on the finished product. Just my 2 cents.

 

 

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