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  1. #11

    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    Yeah, in the blended category, a blend of straight whiskeys can be flavored/colored with caramel & sherry, which I think is consistent with what most would expect.
    In the Bourbon category, it is my understanding that flavoring/coloring cannot be added at any point without changing the class/type. So for Bourbon, the only meaning added by the term "straight" is that it has been in oak barrels 2+ years (barrel-finishing Bourbon in a sherry or other used barrel might be a way to add flavoring to Bourbon without changing the category).
    For other whiskeys, "straight" has more meaning.
    For "rye whiskey," for example, flavoring and coloring can be added and does not need to be disclosed as long as it falls within the "HARMLESS COLORING/FLAVORING/BLENDING MATERIALS" and is less than 2.5% of volume (limited to caramel for coloring, and for flavoring vaguely defined as whatever is natural and customary).
    The practice of adding color/flavoring is prohibited for straight whiskeys (blend of straight whiskeys being sort-of an exception).
    So that brings me back to this interpretation of what is "straight" (and therefore what is not "straight"): § 5.22 (b)(1)(iii) Whiskies conforming to the standardsprescribed in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section (this is the section that defines Bourbon, rye, corn whiskey, etc), which have beenstored in the type of oak containers prescribed, for a period of 2 years ormore shall be further designated as “straight”.
    If your rye whiskey is 2+ years old, and has no coloring/flavoring added to it, it shall be designated as straight. I am not a lawyer, but "shall" sounds more like "will be designated" than "can be designated at the producer's discretion."
    If your rye whiskey is 2+ years old, and does have coloring/flavoring, then it is not straight.
    Yes, to the consumer, "straight" generally means the good stuff. And, yes it tells you if the product is 2+ years old or not.
    But I think the more meaningful aspect of the modifier "straight" (for whiskeys other than Bourbon) is that it tells you if the producer has added flavoring/coloring or not.

  2. #12
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    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    A blend of straights can be a straight so long as nothing else is added.

    Only charred new oak barrels may be used for a straight. One that previously held sherry is used.

  3. #13
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    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    I read section 5.22(b)(5) of Title 27:

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-200...l1-sec5-22.xml

    to mean that a label may state that a product is a blend of straight whiskeys, or (if applicable) a blend of straight ryes, say, and contain the permitted flavouring and colouring indicated (see also section 5.23) without stating on the label what the flavoring is. None of the component whiskeys are blends, they are straights. As I read 5.23, if you exceed the permitted maximum per cent of flavoring or coloring, then there is a redesignation, but not otherwise.

    I have seen many old label reproductions of blended straights of different kinds and they don't state what the flavorings or colorings are. I don't believe the law has changed in this regard.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-17-2013 at 17:16.

  4. #14

    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    That is the way I understand it too, Gillman. If it is "blended," even a "blend of straights," no label disclosure is required for coloring/flavoring.

    The section Gillman referenced also clarifies that “A blend of straight whiskies” ... does not conform to the standard of identify for “straight whisky.”

    With regard to new oak barrels vs used barrels and “straightwhiskey”, I think that straight corn whiskey can be aged in used barrels. And as far as Bourbon or Rye Whiskey go, my understanding is that as long as the whiskey is aged in a new barrel first, so that it meets the barrel requirement and first becomes Bourbon or Rye, it can then later be stored (not aged) in a used barrel. However, the years in the a used barrel, in the case of Bourbon and rye, cannot count towards the number of years the producer can use in an age statement.

  5. #15
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    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    When it speaks of a blend of straight whiskeys not conforming to the standard of identity for straight whiskey, it is (IMO) referring e.g. to a combination of straight whiskeys made in different states. If you combine straight whiskeys of the same type from one state, bourbon say, or rye, or other straight whiskey including whiskey of which no grain forms 51% or more, then that is straight whiskey of that type full stop. But if you combine whiskeys of the same type made in different States, that is the kind of straight whiskey mixture for which flavoring and coloring are allowed (without needing to be disclosed, again as I read this).

    Another example is combining straight bourbon and straight rye.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-17-2013 at 19:55.

  6. #16

    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Flavoring and coloring can be added only if disclosed, i.e., "straight bourbon whiskey with ..." You can't add flavoring or coloring and just call it "bourbon" or, if 2 years old, "straight bourbon." In the dichotomy of "straight" vs "blended," blends can be flavored/colored while straights cannot.
    Hi Chuck. You know the rules are unclear when we have to try this hard to understand if you can add color and flavoring to bourbon!
    Good point above, and I agree that yes, you can add color and flavoring to Bourbon ... but IMHO then it is not Bourbon any more. It becomes a distilled spirits specialty (or mint julep, maybe, if you do it at home).
    Example: FD&C Yellow #5 is added to straight bourbon whisky. The resulting product is no longer “straight bourbon whisky.” The product is now a distilled spirits specialty and must be labeled with a statement of composition such as “STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKY WITH FD&C YELLOW #5 ADDED" (this example is from page 7.1 of the Beverage Alcohol Manual).
    Pages 7-10 and 7-11 have a table on when flavoring/coloring can be added, and when it needs to be disclosed. Not as good as the CFR, but easier to read. http://ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapter7.pdf
    Every time I review the BAM, or the CFR, I come to the conclusing that flavoring/coloring can not be added to any "straights," regardless of label disclosures.
    But I have not spoken to the TTB on this topic, so I could have it wrong ...

  7. #17
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    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    You can't add coloring and flavoring to bourbon or straight bourbon, or rye or straight rye, say, as such, agreed, i.e., without disclosure. The chart confirms that. But they can be added to mixtures of straight whiskeys in certain circumstances, without disclosure, that is my only point. What is interesting is that the chart can be read to go further than I think it means to, e.g., I don't think color or flavor can be added without disclosure to two straight bourbons from the same state. You can read the chart to go that far but it is just a summary and I don't think the law actually intends that.

    Gary

  8. #18

    Re: When was the term "straight" first used with bourbon?

    Thanks Gary. I agree, it's just a summary.

 

 

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