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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    The proof of the pudding...

    ...is in the eating. But what about the proof of bourbon? Last night I was enjoying some EWSB and got to thinking about its proof--86.6. What kind of number is that? I understand 80 pf because that is legally as low as it can go. And 100 pf BIB is also a matter of regulation. Two recent trends in bourbon marketing are barrel proof at one end and reduced proof at the other. The first increases revenue by appealing to bourbon enthusiasts who know that alcohol transports flavor. The second enhances revenue by stretching the bourbon with water--a price increase for the less attentive. I think I understand the marketing motivations. But what are the master distillers motivations? Can anyone really distinguish 101 or 103 from 100? When we get to 107, maybe. At 114, definitely. Headed the other way, most of us find 80 pf decidedly "thin." But how in the world did they come up with 86.6? Would I have enjoyed the EWSB less at 86.4 or more at 86.8?
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  2. #2
    Guru
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    Who knows, could be those tricky Woodland Elves again.

  3. #3
    Moderator
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    I think the decisions on proof come down from management and the master distiller has to do the best with that number. I think a lot of times management and the MD are going in two separate directions. Some times the MD wins most time not. I think WT has made some bad decision in the last year or two and either Jimmy or Edie have had to take "credit" for those decision when they were not theirs at all.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  4. #4
    Advanced Taster
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    Indianapolis
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyfish View Post
    ...is in the eating. But what about the proof of bourbon? Last night I was enjoying some EWSB and got to thinking about its proof--86.6. What kind of number is that? I understand 80 pf because that is legally as low as it can go. And 100 pf BIB is also a matter of regulation. But how in the world did they come up with 86.6? Would I have enjoyed the EWSB less at 86.4 or more at 86.8?
    That's a good question. I'm pretty sure that Wild Turkey used to have an 86.6 also (before it dropped to 80). I'd have to go back and watch the interview with Jimmy Russell, but I believe that's the number he gave.

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
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    Chicago
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    I remember hearing or reading an interview with JVW where he said distillers (himself included) often picked odd proof numbers just to stand out a bit as different on the shelf.

  6. #6
    Disciple
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    Aug 2012
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    1,779

    The proof of the pudding...

    WT did have an 86.6 proof expression. Isn't Angels' Envy also 86.6? There are Scotches at that proof as well. You've got me curious - why 86.6?
    Jim

  7. #7
    Moderator
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    WT still has a 86.6 proof it's just an export only now.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  8. #8
    Guru
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    Jim I think it has something to do with the dilution math from back when 100 proof Bourbon was sold by the gallon/quart or some fractions thereof.

  9. #9
    Moderator
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    A lot of this has to do with taxes and how they are figured as well.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  10. #10
    Guru
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    Re: The proof of the pudding...

    Paul's correct, different proofs have different tax rates.

 

 

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