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Thread: Important Date

  1. #21
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Mike,
    Thanks for answering early this morning. I found myself thinking about this last night as I was trying to go to sleep (Gawd, I need a life... ).
    Cool little tidbit,
    Bj

  2. #22
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Interesting. I didn't know the rule was that recent. Do you know what led to its adoption?

  3. #23
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Chuck,
    The regulations were part of the government's regulations defining the industry after prohibition. This specific rule came about because of a strong lobby for the cooperage industry. Reusing barrels means less business for the cooperage companies and they were in the middle of a depression.

    Mike Veach

  4. #24
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    Re: Important Date

    2 March 1938

    This date is important as the first and last time
    the unused barrels were filled and then flash-charred.
    They're still cleaning up the mess!

    Sorry for the humor.

  5. #25
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: Important Date


  6. #26
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Yes, Mike, but surely the measure was also the adoption of a quality standard in that fine whiskey and new charred barrels had been associated from the beginning - not exclusively, but at the top end of the business. No?

    Gary

  7. #27
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Gary,
    Even in the 1880's Atherton was telling Congress that Kentucky Whiskey, whiskey made for aging, was put into new charred oak barrels. It was not manditory, but that was how the best whiskey was made back then, at least publicly. Did they reuse barrels -yes. While at U D we tasted some prohibition era whiskey. Mike Wright, our Quality Control specialist was curious and ran some of the whiskey through some test and found that some of the qualities he analyzed were associated with the use of used cooperage. Some of that whiskey, in his professional opinion was aged in reused barrels. The product, Mammoth Cave Bourbon if I recall correctly was not bad tasting, in fact it was better than many other prohibition era products I have tried.

    It does make we wonder though, what would the end product taste like if you took 10 barrels of Early Times, 7 new cooperage and 3 reused, and aged it for 10 or 12 years. I have some Early Times Bourbon from Japan and I rather like it. It is very superior, in my opinion, to the Early Times Kentucky Style Whiskey they sell here in the states. Would the use cooperage hurt the product? I don't know. I would like to find out.

    The point is that if you drink a bourbon made before 1 March 1938 there could very well be some aged in used cooperage married in with the new cooperage product to create the whiskey in the bottle. Knowing that they had accountants back then as well as now, I suspect that a lot of the bourbon made before 1 March 1938 was made with used cooperage.

    Mike Veach

  8. #28
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Thanks, Mike. At the very least, one could see that a combination of whiskey aged in reused charred barrels and whiskey aged in new charred barrels could be very good, especially if aged for 10-12 years as you were bruiting. The taste of whiskey aged only in reused charred barrels is familiar to me. Most Canadian whisky, or much of it, is aged in such cooperage. This lends it a distinctive taste. Not fresh oak; not new charred oak; but rather the former with a hint of the latter. A charcoal-tinged woodiness, one might say. This can be nice but no straight whisky is made in Canada (setting aside experiments such as Lot 40 and Forty Creek). Thus, it is hard to tell what that "signature" would be like as applied to whiskey otherwise straight and aged for a decent time. You cited Early Times whiskey as a potential candidate but one too young to appraise properly. I agree. If Early Times was aged for, say, 8-10 years it might taste like ... that Mammoth Cave you mentioned. Or maybe it wouldn't unless the cooperage matrix had included barrels that were new-charred when filled. It is hard to say.. But my point was, presumably in 1938 someone thought, all obeisance made to the lobbies (there are always lobbies!), that aging in all new-charred barrels makes the best straight whiskey.

    Gary


  9. #29

    Re: Important Date

    I wonder if the different char levels resulted from how quickly they could put those flash-charred barrels out!

  10. #30
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Gary,
    Early Times does use new charred barrels as well as reused barrels. I am not sure what the exact percentage is, but I do know that over 50% of Early Times is aged in the same manner as bourbon with new cooperage.
    Mike Veach

 

 

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