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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
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    Oct 2011
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    Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    Hey there, I was with the wife at a high end local restaurant. They usually have a bunch of Creative Drinks and Menu items. Anyhow, I was there last weekend and they had a Smoked Margarita on the menu. So I chatted up the bar keep who seemed to be really proud of the drink and he filled me in on the process of smoking booze and the history of this drink in general. Needless to say, curiosity got the best of me and i order a round. Mentioning to the barkeep, I like maragritas but am very particular with how they are made. Basically I can not stand the sticky sweet sour mix and order them with an anejo, a splash of Grand Marnier and 2 limes. He told me to give his recipe a shot so I defer to his recommendation.

    Upon the arrival of the drink I could dsitinctively smell the smoke, it was definitely forefront but, not overpowering. I take a sip and the thing was entirely too sweet for my palate but, the smokiness of the tequila had me intriuged so I choke back the maragrita tell the barkeep it ws not my bag but The tequila really interested me. I ask him to give me a dram of the smoked tequila straight up. The tequila in question was milagro anejo a decent tequila but, not particullarly one of my favorites. Upon getting the rocks glass the nose was very interesting the twang and slight vanilla ofthe anejo were present but were intermingled quite nicely with the smokiness. Taking a sip and rolling it on the toungue I began to pick up the standard tequila profile backed by a smokey finish. It was really pretty good. I mentioned this to the bartender that I liked it but, that the smokiness might be best partnered with a bold bourbon. He told me that next weeks drink will be a smoked manhattan with Woodford Reserve.

    Anyhow, I plan to go back and try this. I was wondering has anyone every heard or tried a smoked bourbon? Seems like something that the bourbon whores here, no offense I include myself in this category, here might have experimented with or tried?

    I will be certain to post my followup thoughts this weekend if I can coax the wife away from the kiddos for a beverage this weekend.

  2. #2
    Disciple
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    What process is he using to smoke these spirits? I really love smokey flavors in spirits - Islay malts and mezcals - but those flavors are results of smoking that occurs before distillation, not after. In any case, sounds interesting.
    Jim

  3. #3
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    He was using a special smoking device that looked like a torch gun with a hole for the wood and tubing coming out that was placed in the bottle. He said they only smoke for about 1-2 minutes with ample air in the bottle, basically like 2/3rd filled. Get the smoke in there cork it off and shake. After shaking the smoke disappears and is encorporated into the booze.

    It definitely has me ineterest and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with it before.

    FYI I am a huge islay fan. Laphroaig CS with some extra smoke sounds phenomenal.

  4. #4
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by GreggJ View Post
    He was using a special smoking device that looked like a torch gun with a hole for the wood and tubing coming out that was placed in the bottle. He said they only smoke for about 1-2 minutes with ample air in the bottle, basically like 2/3rd filled. Get the smoke in there cork it off and shake. After shaking the smoke disappears and is encorporated into the booze.

    It definitely has me ineterest and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with it before.

    FYI I am a huge islay fan. Laphroaig CS with some extra smoke sounds phenomenal.

    Sounds interesting - sorta like bong water except it tastes good.

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
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    Jun 2011
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    Kilgore, TX
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    Re: Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    Check out Balcone's Brimstone, a Texas Scrub Oak smoked whiskey.
    "this hobby is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, check yourself, because you're doing it wrong." Charles Cowdery

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Blacksmith View Post
    Check out Balcone's Brimstone, a Texas Scrub Oak smoked whiskey.
    The Balcones uses smoked corn though right? It does does not add the smoke flavor in the bottle. Personally I think the smoked corn route is more my thing.

  7. #7
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    Re: Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ejmharris View Post
    The Balcones uses smoked corn though right? It does does not add the smoke flavor in the bottle. Personally I think the smoked corn route is more my thing.
    I agree. I'd really like to try the Balcones Brimstone; I'm less interested in some smoke-infused Bourbon. The Balcones seems like a very interesting idea. I like that they're using a local wood to smoke it rather than trying to duplicate a Scotch-like flavor.

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    How they do it is a secret that I don't know.
    "this hobby is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, check yourself, because you're doing it wrong." Charles Cowdery

  9. #9
    Apprentice
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    Jan 2009
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    Nashville, TN
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    26

    Re: Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    The Brimstone is great. I am a big fan of what Chip is doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Young Blacksmith View Post
    How they do it is a secret that I don't know.

    Darek Bell
    Corsair Distillery,
    www.corsairartisan.com "Craft Distillery of the Year" - Whisky Magazine
    Author of Alt Whiskeys

  10. #10
    Apprentice
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    Jan 2009
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    Nashville, TN
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    26

    Re: Smoked Bourbon (or smoked alcohol in general)

    Chip won't say how they do it but it tasted like he was using a smoke injection technique, due to the ashy, creosote flavors I could taste. This made me assume he was not using smoked malt either during mashing or post distillation. Though you could also get that taste by presmoking the barrels or using a condensation method, see below. At my place, Corsair, we have experimented with several different ways of smoking:


    Smoking the malt, a time tested and great process but labor intensive and with not the best yield of smoke flavor for the effort.
    Adding liquid smoke, to me this is cheating unless you make your own liquid smoke by forcing water and smoke to condense together, see spray condensation below
    Smoking the barrels before filling, we just did this so too early to tell results
    Smoke injecting, using a reostatic pump to force smoke air through a stainless steel air stone into the liquid, either whiskey or water at proofing/bottling.
    Surface transfer, smoking barley or other grain but adding it to the whiskey in the barrel before bottling, great yield for small amount of smoke but can add suphury off flavors if using certain woods.
    Surface agitation, similar to putting smoke and whiskey in a martini shaker and shaking it to add the smoke. You can run smoke into the bottom of the condenser or use another vessel that adds as much agitation to the whiskey as possible, if the whiskey is colder than the smoke you will get some decent smoke transfer.
    Cold drop, if you run the smoke into a cold vessel it will drop down into a vessel beneath it and settle. However you tend to get more heavy ash flavors some people do not like.
    Spray condensation, running the whiskey through a microdroplet spray over a smoke source, and then collecting the condensate. Great yield, but there is definitely a loss of
    Angel share whiskey through evaporation.
    Forced smoke distillation, forcing smoke that has run through a water bath into the still column so the smoke and alcohol condense together, small amount of smoke used with big contribution to smoke flavor, highly controllable, removes some ashy tastes so milder

    I'd like to write another book just on smoking whiskey techniques.

    Quote Originally Posted by Young Blacksmith View Post
    How they do it is a secret that I don't know.
    Last edited by WhiskeyTaichou; 09-05-2012 at 12:33.

 

 

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