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  1. #51

    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    Mark Brown goofed by interjecting the word "perfect" into the conversation. What if he DOES manage to make the best bourbon I've ever had? And, then, next year, he (or someone else) issues something I like better?
    Which one's "perfect"? Both? Neither? If multiples are allowed to be "perfect", then maybe something I've already had is already "perfect", no? In which case, what's the big deal if BT manages 'another' perfect bourbon?
    Is perfection singular, or can it be plural?

    (Just as an aside, there have been 20 "perfect games" pitched in the 135-year history of Major League Baseball.)
    Tim

  2. #52
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    Quote Originally Posted by kickert View Post
    Interesting idea... I like the shotgun approach to be able to identify the effects of variables, but I think too much emphasis has been placed on the specific tree. There are so many other variations I would like to see played out (like more variance with mashbills or a couple options with barrel proof). They mentioned different warehouses, but no talk of the how warehouse location could affect thing.

    To me, the specific tree is the one variable that you can't duplicate. Sure you might get a honey barrel, but how will the aspects that made that barrel be identified and repeated (beyond ring count and top v. bottom).

    I love the vast experimentation in order to find winning combinations, but at the end of the day I think the variables that can be duplicated are taking a backseat to the single tree novelty.
    It won't. I know a thing or two about wood. Every tree is different... even the ones growing in the same stand. Minerals in the soil will have a lot to do with it, as will exposure to sunlight, how crowded the stand is, etc...

    At the saw mill: is the log being flitch cut, quarter sawn or rift sawn? 6 months of air drying is NOTHING. It can take up to three years to air dry lumber, depending on how thick it was sawn. There are so many variables just in the age of the tree, soil it is growing in, the sawing and drying process............. it is virtually impossible to repeat anything.

    It's cool that BT is trying something new, but I seriously doubt they can come up with a consistent product with this "single oak" project.

  3. #53
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    Quote Originally Posted by RegChumpington View Post
    Turn it upside down. What if it was made available solely through 2oz samples, say $4 per, pre-buy as many as you want, mail order only?
    Another awesome idea. Or box 'em up in a convenient gift box sampler for the Christmas season.

  4. #54
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    Quote Originally Posted by TNbourbon View Post
    Mark Brown goofed by interjecting the word "perfect" into the conversation. What if he DOES manage to make the best bourbon I've ever had?
    Wait, BT is going to be giving away free bourbon?

  5. #55
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    i do think that what they are doing really is worthwhile. BUt perfection will never be achieved, Even if you polled the audience here, you would get a wide variety of ideas on what perfection is.

    Over the years, every distiller has done this, but probably never to such a extent. They knew which yeast batched worked the best, and refined them over the years. The water was always key point too. It had to be of great purity and of the right mineral type. I'm sure they also had particular cooper and farmers that they liked to work with. And on and on and on........

    BUt when you really think about it, they are just too many variables to take complete control of to insure the perfect barrel. And now way could you replicate this from barrel to barrel.

    In the end I really do appreciate what they are doing. Push the limits, expand upon the conventional notions of what should be done.

    In the end, they will probably stumble on a couple of new things that will take products to the next level. It makes it a really exciting time to be a bourbon drinker!!

    And besides, it makes for great conversation fodder on the forum.

    B

  6. #56
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    At the very least, I'm sure there will be some great bourbon to come from this. If it could be replicated on a consistent basis, no one would look forward to the next offering. The "unknown" in all of this is what will keep us waiting for the next "single oak" offering. There will undoubtedly be some exemplary bourbon produced... as well as some duds. If nothing else, it will create another "collector" niche.

  7. #57
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    I'm not going to go chapter and verse on the posts since my last one. I think what's lacking here is a full understanding of what this project is really about. That's not a criticism of anyone. I just spent the better part of two days wrapping my head around it and talking to the people who have worked on this project for a decade.

    I'm sure not there yet. There is no reason you should be.

    This thing is really deep and the only reason they're putting it out is to please people like the people on this board. Yes, they are a profit-making business that exists to make and sell whiskey. But this is real science in which they are giving you and me an important chance to participate, so give it a chance.

    I don't want to take this too far -- it's also supposed to be fun -- but it's deeply geeky and was created by and for people who care as passionately about American whiskey as you do. It may not be "perfect" (ironically), but it is sincere.

    What I experienced today, tasting the first release set of 12, is that they have compressed the number of variables for each release. One bottle teaches you nothing but any two bottles will teach you something really cool. You can, for example, taste two whiskeys in which the only variable is grain coarseness. Everything else is controlled for, and I mean everything, and they do taste different.

    Think about this. You can taste two bottles of Blanton's, from two different barrels, and know that any difference you taste is coming from the barrel, but you can't know what it is about the barrel that is causing the difference. With this you know, because the only difference is that one is fine grain and the other is coarse, for example. Everything else about the distillate and barrel is the same. Hell, all of the wood is from the same tree. (That's the point of 'single tree.')

    You know what makes a huge difference? Whether the wood came from the top of the tree or the bottom of the tree. Who knew?

    That's pretty cool.

    I will add this. If you think it's possible to overstate the importance of the barrel to American whiskey, you know very little about American whiskey.
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    Last edited by cowdery; 04-29-2011 at 21:20.

  8. #58
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    chuck, i was thinking about whether or not to be on the hunt for another limited edition bourbon (VERY limited edition) and you just convinced me to gas up the truck, goto the atm and find another hiding place inside the house!

    the bt press release says the first release should be in the stores at the end of may. it's only a month from now but the manager at the big store here has not heard anything about the single oak project - he wasn't aware of it until i told him. he's still dealing with ticked off customers venting about the spring pappy release.

    that's a cool acorn.

  9. #59
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I'm sure not there yet. There is no reason you should be.

    This thing is really deep and the only reason they're putting it out is to please people like the people on this board. Yes, they are a profit-making business that exists to make and sell whiskey. But this is real science in which they are giving you and me an important chance to participate, so give it a chance.
    If you don't mind, I'd like to give a perspective on this from a small American whiskey producer.

    What they are doing here, and have been doing with their other projects is so....totally... if you'll pardon the expression, badass.

    As a fellow craftsman, operating at a much lower level (i've only been at this for 15 years), I don't care about the end result. That doesn't concern me. I look at distilling whiskey as a verb, not a noun. In other words, I'm much more interested in the process than I am what does in the bottle.

    This is, in relative terms, one of the largest whiskey distilleries in the world. Yeah, they aren't Diageo, but BT is a large shop. And what they're doing is so very Rock and Roll. They're saying, "right. ***ing watch this, mates", and flexing their formidable creative muscle.

    It's so very cool. And I'm so very proud that they're out there showing what American distilling is all about.

    My unasked for advice is: enjoy that they're playing their song to you. Not the general market, not on the advice of their bean counters.... but they're doing this for you, and most certainly, themselves as craftsmen.

    Unreal.

  10. #60
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    Re: Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist? Buffalo Trace's quest for "The Holy Grail".

    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold View Post
    What they are doing here, and have been doing with their other projects is so....totally... if you'll pardon the expression, badass.
    And what's really amazing is that it all started over 10 years ago. That's one long project. Kind of cool to see a guy start a project he knows he may not (and apparently did not) see finished. Wow. Making whiskey sometimes seems like building pyramids or something.

 

 

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