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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Florida
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    Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon


    Interesting article from Australia.

    Watered down to 74 proof, (37% ABV) bourbon importers in Australia are saving millions in excise fees.

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...103581789.html

    Omar

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Nov 2003
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    Birmingham, AL
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    540

    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    Maybe we should start watering down shirazes to a more reasonable proof and see how they feel!

  3. #3

    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    Don't get me wrong, Aussie shiraz, in general, is my favorite red -- but, honestly, I've tasted some of the newer, cheaper bottlings, and I think they're watering them down pre-shipment.

  4. #4
    Disciple
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    Mar 2002
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    Bryan, Ohio
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    1,907

    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    I dont like the precedent set by someone allowing a whiskey of less than 80 proof be called straight bourbon. I hope that it doesnt catch on.

    TomC

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Nelson County, Kentucky
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    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    Omar,

    This is not uncommon for a Export (rare but not uncommon). I can remember putting labels on bottles more than ten years ago with 74 proof. My first big "blunder" in being a label machine operator was on this proof...I accidentally ran 80 proof, instead of 74. Caught the mistake late in the order.

    Bettye Jo

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Toronto, Canada
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    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    Bettye Jo, how is proof actually measured at Heaven Hill? Whose job is that and is there an (industrial) tolerance, e.g., would 80.2 proof be acceptable for a label stating 80 proof spirits?

    Also, (unless any of this is a trade secret), what kind of water is used to let down the whiskey to the proof level you want? Is demineralized water used?

    Thanks as always!

    Gary

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    I will ask on the proof points...I know for certain, the "fill point" we are legally allowed 4 points either way over or under...

    On the proof point, I know, what "I want" to say and have said "in the past" but I believe "I was told the wrong answer". Cause, I have heard (on the walkie talkies) them sayin' "bring tank fourty up two tenths"...

    The lab and Quality Control (processing) takes care of this. There is a small machine that calculates the proof in minutes. The product is checked often. Especially, on the lines, after every break and tank change, they are proof checked. This is not counting the times it is checked before it is put into a bottling tank.

    I asked your very question because it says dead up on the label 74.7...I asked is it exactly 74.7 or is there a "gimme" factor like on the fill point? Why put .7 if there is a "gimmie"

    I will ask again, but this time I will go higher up

    Ya know, they probably hate to see me coming...It's usually drill time but they are alway nice and take time to see me Even Max One time, I pecked on his door, (opened) I have never seen it shut. I poked my head in and said, "Ya got a minute"? He looked up then, looked at his watch and said 59, 58, 57, 56...then just laughed and said come on in ...Heck, when he is there and I have visitors during the daylight hours he has always taken the time to say hello and talk with them Every, time

    Yes, we use demineralized water...We have a two of massive tanks just for water. One tank, is a holding tank and the other one is processing. The demineralized water, is used in everything from washing tanks out, clearing the lines and processing the right proof...Thats alot of water. On several occasions we have moved lines for "lack" on water.

    Bettye Jo

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2009 and Virtuoso
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    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    Gary....I don't recall the exact regulations, but for the wine industry if you state alcohol content in either whole numbers or 1/2 percents, the gov't gives you some leeway on actual alcohol content. If your label says 14.2%, it has to be extremely close to that. That's why most wine labels are in whole or half percent figures. The liquor regulations are similar, I just don't recall the specifics.

    Randy

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    Thanks, and to Bettye Jo also for her response. I find the type of water I use to dilute whiskey can impact flavour significantly. Tap water seems the least effective except in New York City where it tastes very fresh and "clean" and is an excellent diluent. I find Evian water and many other spring waters quite good. The Saratoga Springs carbonated water is also very good and has the ability seemingly to neutralise acidity in whiskey. Some whiskeys seem a touch acid or "spirity" and the right water can turn that around.

    Ideally one would use branch water for a bourbon highball. I have read different theories of what branch water is. One says it is water from the limestone shelf. Another says it is river water from a branch (tributary) of the main watercourse. I looked for branch water at Liquor Barn in Louisville and couldn't find any, they sold a spring water produced in central Florida that was good, but it wasn't from Kentucky. .

    So with all my bourbon experience, I have never had a "bourbon and branch".

    Gary

  10. #10

    Re: Watered \'Down Under\' Bourbon

    You might be interested in this exchange of letters (see attachment -- Adobe Reader required) between government trade representatives from the U.S. and Australia in March on this very issue. Looks like if Aussie retailers continue to water it down, they'll have to call it something else.
    Attached Files Attached Files

 

 

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