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Thread: Important Date

  1. #31
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    The Cooper and his Trade, by Kenneth Kilby, an English cooper, suggests that protection of cooperage jobs was the primary reason for the rule, although I disagree with that. The coopers would certainly be in favor of it, but it has a significant effect on the product too.

  2. #32
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    I was just rereading the other day my notes from when we tasted that Mammoth Cave and the fact that some used cooperage may have been involved would explain why it was not overaged as you might expect an 18-year-old bourbon to be. A lot of the prohibition era stuff, aged that long, really isn't very good because it is too woody, but the Mammoth Cave was not.

    I speculated once in The Reader about what style might emerge if you took a bourbon-formula whiskey and aged it like scotch, i.e., for 12+ years in used cooperage. It wouldn't be bourbon, both legally and in fact, but it might be interesting.

  3. #33
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Chuck,
    I agree with you here. New cooperage does make for a better bourbon, at least that is what Atherton implies in the 1880's before Congress, but would it really hurt to have some recycled cooperage as well? The Mammoth Cave is a case in point. I forgot that you were one of the people we let taste the Mammoth Cave. I seem to remember a strong minty flavor in the nose of the bourbon. That was one of the characteristics that made Mike Wright to do the analysis of Mammoth Cave. He said that indicated to him used cooperage and he wanted to see if there were other properties as well.

    Mike Veach

  4. #34
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    Chuck,
    When we looking at whisky for the U D "Rare Bourbon" collection we had looked at some corn whiskey, aged in used cooperage for 18 years and had a barrel proof of about 163. The mash bill was about the same as the Old Charter I W Harper mash bill of 85% corn, 9% rye and 6% malt. It was actually a very good product when cut with water to a managable proof. The used cooperage kept it from being too woody.
    Mike Veach

  5. #35
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    If the char level and redline impact only a few millimeters of the wood, could barrels be re-charred, producing a new interface deeper in the wood?


  6. #36
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    I would guess, and if anyone has better information I would be pleased to hear it, that the answer is no. My reasoning for this is that they do re-char barrels before they use them for Scotch. I believe they also re-char the barrels before they reuse them for Early Times. I suspect the act of charring and creation of the original "red line" uses most of the sugars in the wood.

    Mike Veach

  7. #37
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    That new Michter's "unblended" whiskey might qualify if it was kept that long. Right now it is, I would think, 4-6 years old, but if Chatham Imports keeps the barrels that long this might show what a bourbon or rye formula aged that long would taste like. Chuck, I didn't follow the earlier part about certain cooperage practices in England. Surely they did not char casks in England? Or did they..? Or was the writer talking simply of using new casks that (presumably in England) were uncharred?

    Gary

  8. #38
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    I would have thought mint implied a high rye content. When I tasted blind Trace it struck me as spearmint-like and it has a high rye content and (of course) no aging in non-charred or reused charred barrels.

    Gary

  9. #39
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    The writer, an English cooper, was commenting on the American practice and, naturally, got it wrong in implying that the only reason Americans use barrels only once is to keep coopers employed.

    One thing about barrel-making. As bulky as they are for their value, you have to make them close to the customers. Those jobs will never be sent to Mexico.

  10. #40
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    Re: And the Answer Is....

    As Mike indicates, dechar-rechar is a common practice in Scotland, so I'm not sure the answer is "no," otherwise why would they do it? Click here for a good Whisky Mag article on the subject.

    Of course, a dechar-rechar still wouldn't be "new" and couldn't be used for bourbon, and undoubtedly would be diminished in its effect, which may have been Mike's point.

 

 

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