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  1. #17
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Re: New Mash Bills from LDI/MGP

    I'm tickled about this but I have some reservations. Just about everybody, including me, loves their 95% rye. I have much less love for their current bourbons, which seem a bit off. Now they want to go from about four recipes--one rye, two bourbons, one corn--to at least 10. (They also seem to make light whiskey and maybe one or two other recipes, and are willing to do custom recipes, so we could be talking 12 or more.)

    I'm not saying that can't be done, but it's not usually done.

    I compare them to Buffalo Trace, a distillery of similar size and vintage. Buffalo Trace has a lot more experience with straight whiskey. What is now MGP of Indiana has mostly made ingredient whiskeys for blends, not straights that have to stand on their own. Of the four whiskey recipes MGP is making now, only one is a bona fide winner. Buffalo Trace, by contrast, limits itself to four whiskey recipes; two rye-recipe bourbons, one wheat-recipe bourbon, and one rye, and is the master of them all. Can MGP be the master of 10, 12, or more different recipes? At best, it'll probably take some time.

    You might also compare them to Four Roses, which was once in the same Seagram's family. They're both using proprietary Seagram's yeasts. Four Roses makes ten recipes, true, but they're all rye-recipe bourbon. They are able to switch from one recipe to another on the fly. They don't have to stop everything down to start up again with a new recipe. Can Indiana do that?

    On the other hand, I know from spending most of my career as an independent contractor that the key to success for any provider of that sort is versatility. You never say no. You say yes and try to figure out how to deliver. This is the sort of challenge that is high risk, high reward. It pushes a person or a company to take chances and test their own limits. Since you're judged daily, you usually get some of both and just hope you win more than you lose. There's a lot to be said for it--I have no regrets--but success is far from a sure thing.

    And, of course, I should live so long to taste one of these new recipes fully mature. I'm especially excited about the 45% wheat bourbon, which presumably will be 51% corn and 4% malt, no doubt with supplemental enzymes. There's never been a wheater with more than about 15% wheat.

    The press release says nothing substantial about how these were developed. I sure hope they were at least piloted at some level. Ideally they've run at least one fermenter of each of them through the actual distillery. I don't know, I'll ask.
    Last edited by cowdery; 04-02-2013 at 17:34.



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