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  1. #41
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Leopold and Tom - where do you guys purchase your barrels from (independent stave)? Are you still maturing in barrels less than 53 gallons?

    I've never had a problem with the distillate a lot of micros put out. In fact, I think some semi-micros put out the best distillate on the market right now. The pot still distillate I've had from Willett, High West and Journeyman (Michigan) was phenomenal (High West's stuff had this great buttery popcorn taste), and I enjoyed FEW and Quincy Street's distillate, too. But when I say phenomenal, I really mean potential, because I never feel an urge to go to the store and purchase a bottle of distillate to sip on, and pretty much all of my bourbon friends share that feeling.

    I know this has been addressed ad nauseam on the board, but I feel the disconnect is with the smaller barrels. IMO, the wood influence is too strong and most of the micro bottles I've had had a strong cedar(y) characteristic (taste kind of like a toothpick); the great vanilla and caramel flavors of bourbon are minimal or missing all together. Journeyman's Ravenswood Rye had less of the cedar characteristic and was pleasant, but it was still lingering in the background.

    There is a huge emphasis on aging these days, but I don't think ultra aging is necessary. There are great Willet Family Estate releases that are 5 to 8 years old (8 years is supposed to be the honey spot). I understand that for a smaller producer 5 years is a long time - but I'm excited for the micros to get to the point where they are releasing bourbons > 5 years aged in traditional casks. It could turn the market on it's head.

    These are just my thoughts as a consumer.
    Justin

  2. #42
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    We don't use small barrels. We use 53's, and always have. And yes, Independent Stave. #3's.

  3. #43
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold View Post
    We don't use small barrels. We use 53's, and always have. And yes, Independent Stave. #3's.
    Thanks for the info, Leopold. My wife really enjoyed the New York Apple Whiskey (great fall drink and awesome with Cider) and my friend said he really enjoyed the American Whiskey. Looking forward to trying it in the future.

    My buddy also said really good things about McKenzie's rye - another one on the pickup list.
    Justin

  4. #44
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    HTFD, CT
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold View Post
    Two things. One, the larger distillers generally age their spirits longer. As you said, sometimes you are not in the mood for that, and sometimes you are. I'm the exact same way, and that's why we have two whiskies that are younger----because I like to taste the work I did in the mash tuns and the fermenters. Sometimes I want heavier oak influence, and that's why we're putting away BIB expressions that will be 4-15 years old when bottled.

    And secondly, recall that we use pot stills while the majors use continuous stills. So for our shop, we're putting all the solids from the fermenters into the pot, where it sits on a hot copper surface for several hours. The continuous stills are operated with live steam, and any contact with hot surfaces are only for a matter of seconds. Pot stills tend to give a more grainy and oily whiskey. I'm speaking in generalities, of course.

    You should have fun comparing tmckenzie's whiskey over the next few years. He's switched from pot stills to continuous. You will be able to see the difference in the finished whiskey for yourself. I'm sure he can speak to the change better than I.

    Thanks. I figured stills would be a factor.

  5. #45
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Impersonally do not like independent stave barrels. We use McGinnis. Nothing but 53 gallon number 4 char, and here is the big deal, all of the wood is seasoned 36 months.

  6. #46
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    let me add to this, the rye you get from us today is 3 year old rye aged in standard 53 gallon barrels. Still finished in sherry barrels. When first released it was aged a year in small barrels. But the whole time, we were stacking it away in 53s as well.

    Ok you've done it now. I've got to find a bottle and try this.

  7. #47
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    Impersonally do not like independent stave barrels. We use McGinnis. Nothing but 53 gallon number 4 char, and here is the big deal, all of the wood is seasoned 36 months.
    That sounds awesome! Independent Stave's top of the line barrels, "the Cooper's Reserve," only receives 24 months of seasoning.

    This probably merits a new thread, but have you found that the more seasoned wood dramatically impacts the flavor of the whiskey? Pure speculation on my half here, but I have always thought that dusty whiskey had a better and thicker mouthfeel than today's whiskey because older, seasoned wood was used in the aging process.
    Justin

  8. #48
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dolph Lundgren View Post
    That sounds awesome! Independent Stave's top of the line barrels, "the Cooper's Reserve," only receives 24 months of seasoning.

    This probably merits a new thread, but have you found that the more seasoned wood dramatically impacts the flavor of the whiskey? Pure speculation on my half here, but I have always thought that dusty whiskey had a better and thicker mouthfeel than today's whiskey because older, seasoned wood was used in the aging process.
    yea, and IS charges one hell of a premium for it. Yes I find it makes way better whiskey. It seems to come around quicker and has more of the maple and butterscotch I am looking for.

  9. #49
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    Jackson, MS
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Tom and Todd, I meant to post the other day when this thread got started, just wanted to say I appreciate both you fellas taking the time to post here and provide us with first hand information.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  10. #50
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
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    Sep 2004
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    Just East of the Big Chicken, GA
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    Re: One for the little guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    Impersonally do not like independent stave barrels. We use McGinnis. Nothing but 53 gallon number 4 char, and here is the big deal, all of the wood is seasoned 36 months.
    Tom, I was watching an interview of Leroy McGinnis on their website, where he points out that the staves for wine barrels are aged 36 months, and staves for whiskey/bourbon barrels are kiln dried for something like 60 days. Do you just order the wine barrels? Or, are the barrels you buy a "special order" kind of thing?

    I think that he mentioned that the wood was somehow segregated/classified into which type of barrel it was going in to, as well. Is there a fundamental difference in why the two types are produced differently.

    Really pissed at myself for not doing the IS tour last month at KBF.
    JOE

    Wag more.
    Bark less.

    "Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama

 

 

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