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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: 1959 Hiram Walker barreling proof research article

    I wonder just hw much kiln dried wood comes into play. I would imagine in the glut period for certain that the wood was air dried.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Chicagoland, Illinois

    Re: 1959 Hiram Walker barreling proof research article

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    I am aware of the Maker's situation, which was discussed at length earlier on the board. Being a wheater though, I think distilling out any higher would risk making an already light-tasting bourbon bland. WT is the classic case of distilling at and entering fairly low, but I've never really been a fan of its house flavor - of course the reasons could lie elsewhere. I like Rare Breed a lot, which is a mingling of three different ages of its make. I do note a characteristic woody quality to WT, so perhaps that does come from the low entry proofs, yet regular WT (the current 80 proof) tastes fairly young and non-grainy to me, so I'm not sure there either. In the end, it's never just one or two things and even when something seems to add up it doesn't in the sense that taste is either to one's liking or not, the reasons are indefinable ultimately.

    But overall and generalising as a theory, bourbon does seem lighter to me than 30 years ago and I've wondered if distilling out and barrel entry are part of a complex process of change. But once again this doesn't mean I will always dislike a bourbon distilled out and entered relatively high or like one made in a more traditional way.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    This is why the whole "nothing changes" thing is such a joke. Producers have been deliberately lightening the taste of bourbon (although they won't admit it) since the end of Prohibition, because that was the consumer trend. They can do it in all the ways you mentioned and probably some others. Remember that flavors are produced in fermentation and aging, and can be removed in distillation, so there are many opportunities.
    Gary and I have talked before about about a distinct rummy flavor that is now absent in modern bourbons. Of course not all the dusty ones had it either but Old Forester, Wild Turkey and Ezra Brooks, from the glut era, certainly did. I have snuck in an Old Forester BIB from '83 in rum tastings with friends and it has gone undetected as anything other than a rum. That WT still distills and barrels at close enough proofs to old times would suggest something else is responsible for the disappearance of this congener and Chuck and Gary's comments as usual hit the nail on the head.


  3. #13
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Toronto, Canada

    Re: 1959 Hiram Walker barreling proof research article

    Amazing as it sounds (viz. that '83 Forester BIB subbing for a rum), I can see it, and would offer up a good sample of 70's Benchmark as a further example. Another: that Eastern KY rum from coal country (I can't recall the name) Jeff Yeast found and kindly gifted to me. (Jeff: now you know why you didn't like it: it tastes like rum! ). That congener, if congener it was, seems absent from current bourbons on the market. Yet another example: that square bottle Beam's Choice from the 70's Doug Philips has. I think Chuck must be right, that various ways have been worked out to lighten bourbon's flavour, indeed since the 30's.

    Yet I must say again, we still like many modern bourbons. Bourbon is versatile enough, and has enough variations in mashbill and aging, to allow for this.

    Chuck has made the point that in the past, bourbon arguably was somewhat uniform in taste and profile: all probably within a certain modest age range (allowing for the glut factor when it applied), all mostly from one kind of mashbill (at least in terms of what was widely available), all made pretty much the same way.

    Today, especially regarding age, there is a greater range of bourbon flavours than back then, so it kind of evens out. This results from a range of ages being available from a few months to 23 years and more.

    Still though, I do miss those old heavy-bodied flavors.

    Last edited by Gillman; 08-07-2011 at 18:22.



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