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  1. #1
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    Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    I think it would be interesting to compare Manhattans made the same way with three bourbons: one with Heaven Hill BIB 6 years old (or any comparable inexpensive bonded), one with a decently aged rye-recipe bourbon, say JBBL (or WT 101, or BT), and the last with a well-aged wheat recipe-bourbon, Pappy 15, say.

    Ideally small adjustments should be made with water so the proof of the liquor is the same, otherwise a more alcoholic bourbon may seem more attractive than it should.

    Make enough to combine the three for a fourth "vatted" Manhattan.

    And then taste the four blindly.

    Which would win?

    Gary

  2. #2
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    I tried making some for my wife, using basic stuff - Noilly Prat sweet vermouth and 2 dashes of bitters (can't remember if I used Angostura or Peychaud's) using (separately) Russell's Reserve Rye, ORVW 10/107, Ritt BiB, and Redemption Bourbon. Boy, it's been a long time since I did that... I did them blind because she doesn't like bourbon and wouldn't drink anything she knew had bourbon in it.

    Turns out she loved the one with ORVW the best! In her opinion, it was far ahead of the Ritt BiB, her second-favorite.

  3. #3
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    That's very interesting. Two of the whiskeys were rye though, and one a craft bourbon. These would reflect very assertive flavors which I think someone not accustomed to bourbon, let aloneprobably. straight rye and craft (young) bourbon, might understandably shy from. ORVW 10 in contrast, even the 107, is fairly mild-tasting.

    It's good data but I think a tasting by one familiar with straight rye and craft bourbon would be a good follow-up.

    I project that he or she wouldn't choose the Van Winkle bourbon Manhattan, but I may be wrong!

    Gary

    P.S. Ideally, the taster should not know what is in each, but this would be difficult in practice to do, probably.
    Last edited by Gillman; 05-04-2012 at 10:23.

  4. #4
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    Forgot to mention that she loves rye Manhattans, so she's used to up-front, bracing flavors. I just threw in a wheater to see what she would do, and it was surprising that she preferred it, since it's, as you said, a lot mellower than most ryes.

    I'll see if she can make me Manhattans based on your recs, and blind me, since I love rye and bourbon.

  5. #5
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    Okay, interesting! (Given she didn't like bourbon I thought rye Manhattans would be a no-go).

    It would be great to hear your reaction to the range proposed!

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    Quote Originally Posted by bad_scientist View Post
    I just threw in a wheater to see what she would do, and it was surprising that she preferred it, since it's, as you said, a lot mellower than most ryes.
    It is, and it isn't.... the barrel really starts to make it's presence known in the ORVW and I can see where the other ingredients (bitters, mostly) might actually bring that to the fore.

    I really like this idea, by the way. I need to dig out my barware and do a comparison.
    Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.

  7. #7
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    Gary,
    Great idea for a thread. I've been wondering the same thing lately. A little bored by staright bourbon and having a few cocktails. Sours a few weeks ago and more recently Manhattans. My problem is I'm usually drinking my whiskey alone.
    But i've picked up some High West barreled Manhattans and some Noily Pratt so looking forward to various Manhattan versions.
    "Brownest of the brown liquors..so tempting. What's that? You want me to drink you? But I'm in the middle of a trial!" L. Hutz

  8. #8
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    I think it would be interesting to compare Manhattans made the same way with three bourbons: one with Heaven Hill BIB 6 years old (or any comparable inexpensive bonded), one with a decently aged rye-recipe bourbon, say JBBL (or WT 101, or BT), and the last with a well-aged wheat recipe-bourbon, Pappy 15, say.

    Ideally small adjustments should be made with water so the proof of the liquor is the same, otherwise a more alcoholic bourbon may seem more attractive than it should.

    Make enough to combine the three for a fourth "vatted" Manhattan.

    And then taste the four blindly.

    Which would win?

    Gary
    I'm guessing there won't be a best in that group but it would depend on the tasters preferences in Whiskey in general.
    When it was much more available Van Winkle Rye was my favorite staring point for a Manhattan. Today it's Bookers if I'm going big and 4r small batch or Blantons if light is the goal. When I want a Rye based Manhattan I use Baby Saz now but that's getting hard to find too.

    When you settle on a Bourbon or Rye you prefer in your Manhattans then it's time to start trying different brands of Vermouth. There is a huge difference between some of them and they have a profound effect on the flavor. Some Vermouth can overpower the lighter tasting whiskies pretty easily so you might need to adjust the ratio.

  9. #9
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    Quote Originally Posted by sailor22 View Post
    I'm guessing there won't be a best in that group but it would depend on the tasters preferences in Whiskey in general.
    When it was much more available Van Winkle Rye was my favorite staring point for a Manhattan. Today it's Bookers if I'm going big and 4r small batch or Blantons if light is the goal. When I want a Rye based Manhattan I use Baby Saz now but that's getting hard to find too.

    When you settle on a Bourbon or Rye you prefer in your Manhattans then it's time to start trying different brands of Vermouth. There is a huge difference between some of them and they have a profound effect on the flavor. Some Vermouth can overpower the lighter tasting whiskies pretty easily so you might need to adjust the ratio.
    Glad to see Steve uses Bookers as it is fairly close to my preferred whiskey of Knob Creek bourbon (either version) for a Manhattan. I've used many different ryes and bourbons but keep coming back to Knob Creek and it has the benefit of being availabe in most restaurants. The yeasty and penaut flavors of KC seek to take well to Vermouth and bitters for me but in the spirit of the thread will continue to try more. I don't drink enough of them to justify the more expensive vermouths and oxidation so stick with 375 ml bottles of Noilly Prat when making my own.
    Thad

    BTOTY-2011

  10. #10
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    Re: Comparing Manhattans With Different Bourbons

    I actually tried using a bunch of different whiskeys in Manhattans, but I found after the second that I don't like Manhattans. Oh well.

 

 

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