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  1. #1
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    Old Glenmore Mashbill

    O K people, I was at the United Distillers archive the other day and I copied a file from 1903 that was the grain bills for their products. I am still studying their contents but there is one thing that I would share with you now.

    Tkae a look in your old liquor cabinets to see if you have any pre-prohibition Kentucky Tavern or Glenmore bourbons. If you do then you have a four grain bourbon. The bourbon mashbills (for 1903 through 1917) have corn, rye, barley and oats. Sometimes it is listed as oat malt and other times it is listed simply as oats. Any home brewers out there that can tell me if oat malt is more or less efficient than barley malt?

    They also list rye malt for use in making rye whiskey, but even then they still use some barley malt. I have always heard that the reason for using barley malt is that it creates more of the enzymes needed than rye or corn malt thus giving a better yield per bushel.

    Mike Veach


  2. #2
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    I don't remember who all purchased the bottles of Old Rip Van Winkle prohibition era bottles at the Master distiller's auction, but if any of you did, that whiskey is a Glenmore bourbon made in 1916. That means you have a four grain bourbon.
    Mike Veach


  3. #3
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    Mike lets talk some more about Glenmore. Wasn't 'Buddy Thompson' (who appeared on this years Bourbon Heritage Panel) the General Manager/part owner of Glenmore? Wasn't Charles Wathen Medley the last master distiller at Glenmore?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  4. #4
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    Linn,
    James Thompson (Buddy's Grandfather) was a cousin of George Garvin Brown who came to America in the 1870's and becomes a partner in Brown-Thompson and Co. in 1881. He later sells his share to Forman and forms James Thompson and Bro. with his brother. They were rectifiers when they started in 1891 but bought the Glenmore distillery in 1901 after Monarch went Bankrupt. He placed his brother in law H.S. Barton there as distiller. After James Thompson's death the company changed its name to Glenmore. They went on to buy Yellowstone in the 1940's, Old Mr. Boston in the 1970's and Medley Bros. in the 1980's. Charles Medley was never the Master Distiller at Glenmore but did work for Glenmore for a while as Master Distiller of the Medley distillery in Owensboro.

    Mike Veach


  5. #5
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    Oh Momma!

    How convaltulted can you get?! This is a great example of why we need a definitive book by Mike Veach! Other than Chuck Cowdery just who in the hell knows this stuf???

    OK Mike just who did Charles Wathen Medley work for and just whose distillery did he buy?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    As Mike said, Charles Medley did work for Glenmore and was, in fact, the last Master Distiller on the Glenmore payroll when the Medley Distillery in Owensboro was the only one they had in operation. That was about the time I met him, in '90-'91, shortly before the sale to UDV.

    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

  7. #7
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    Mike lets talk about four grain mashbills. The Glenmore was oated. Are there some others? Can you do us the favor of a tasting of this four grain/oated Glenmore bourbon?

    I, like most forum members have no access to such vintage bourbons.Indeed we are trying very hard just to get a lot of the 'everyday' stuff that we adore.

    For you folks 'out there' Mike is not being eletist when he raises such intel, it is just that he deals with this kind of stuff everyday and to him it is 'no big deal'.

    Mike you might be mindfull that only about three forum members can reach into their bourbon supply houses and pluck out such and such vintage bourbon.

    So tell us - 1) Why is this important? 2) What ever happened to four grain formulas? 3) What the hell does this stuff taste like?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  8. #8
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    Linn,
    The importance of this mash bill is that before prohibition there were no stract rules as to what was bourbon. Four grains was unusual to my present knowledge and was probably done to achieve a particular flavor that would make it unique from other products. I am not sure this mash bill survived prohibition but you can be assured that is going to be a question that I will ask Buddy Thompson the first chance I get. I have never tasted this whiskey but I am working on a joint fund raising event with the Getz Museum and the Filson for next spring where I will get a chance to do so. I will keep tasting notes and post them.

    For the record there is still quite a bit of this whiskey still out there. It can be found at estate sales and maybe on ebay. What you need to look for is Glenmore distilled whiskey that was distilled prior to 1918. This would include Kentucky Tavern, Glenmore Bourbon and Mint Springs Bourbon but also other brands such as Rip Van Winkle that were sold by Glenmore during prohibition for medicinal use. Look for whiskey with "Distilled by H. S. Barton" on the back label.

    Mike Veach


  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    Here is one of the older historical threads I am fast-forwarding to give some additonal information or perspective.

    In a current magazine dealing with whiskey a roundtable of distillers and ex-distillers discuss using a four grain mash. Most dismiss the idea, one or two seem to imply they are looking at it as an experiment. Yet here we see via Mike Veach's research that such a mashbill was known before Prohibition. I recall in Sam Cecil's book that he mentions at least one distillery that used a four grain or more mashbill. So, the idea is not new. It is interesting how current practice becomes received knowledge until someone decides to do it differntly. But when that happens it often proves the adage, "everything old becomes new again".

    I believe the idea of a four (and even three) grain mashbill derives from the influence of old Irish distilling practice on American distilling. Until the 1960's, Irish distillers used unmalted barley, malted barley and wheat, rye and/or oats in the mash. Today, only malted and raw barley are used. I am referring to traditional Irish pot still whiskey. Surely the additional grains had an impact on flavour, subtle (?) though it may have been.

    Regarding adding barley malt even where malted rye is employed for rye whiskey, Mike, I think you are right that it is because of the increased and greater diastasing power of barley malt. One could make whiskey only from rye malt -apparently the Maytag ryes are made this way - but adding barley malt is felt to improve the starch conversion.

    Craig Beam, whom Bettye Jo kindly introduced me to at Gazebo '03, told me barley malt is, as far as he knows, added by all rye whiskey makers to their mash of corn and malted rye (and at a different temperature).

    Gary

  10. #10
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    Re: Old Glenmore Mashbill

    Gary,
    I had the opportunity to try some whiskey made with this 4 grain mash bill. It was an Old Rip Van Winkle made in 1918 and bottled in bond in 1933. It was not good! The best description of the taste was the medicinal taste of gauze when a dentist sticks a wad of guaze in your mouth after pulling a tooth. We determined that one of two things are true with that whiskey - 1) a bourbon should not be made with oats as well as corn rye and malted barley or at least, 2) that mash bill should not be aged for 15 years.
    Mike Veach

 

 

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