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  1. #1

    How important is growing the corn?

    Do bourbon distillers get involved with growing the corn? There are a lot of different kinds of corn out there. I've grown several of them, and I find that the pancakes I make from some blue and especially a red corn are really great. So, this is a two part question:

    1) Does carefully tended, well grown corn have a significant influence on the taste and smell of the whiskey? If so, how much attention is given to this by today's distillers?

    2) What would whiskey taste like made from good red or blue corn? I know that the color would not likely come through the still, but I wonder about the flavor.

    -Mark Walberg

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: How important is growing the corn?

    I don't know if it would or could make a difference, but the fact is that to all American whiskey distillers, corn is just a commodity. All of the distilleries use U.S. No. 2 grade corn and similar standard issue rye and wheat. They all buy from the same suppliers in Kentucky and Indiana. They inspect the grain before they accept it, primarily to avoid mold. That's about it.

  3. #3
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    Re: How important is growing the corn?

    Yeah, I was thinking that it may just be too expensive to buy blue or red corn. It's probably jut not as abundant as US. No. 2. Even if there was a bit of an improvement in final product it may not be cost effective. And that's if there is a difference because it may be like many other things out there... Sometimes the cheapest choice is the same if not better than its more expensive counterpart.

  4. #4
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    Re: How important is growing the corn?

    I'm surprised we haven't seem somebody marketing some crazy blue corn bottling. I know that the Rain vodka is made in Kentucky from organically grown corn, and I've always wondered if someone will some day market an "organically grown" bourbon. No. 2 commodity it is for now.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: How important is growing the corn?

    Since Rain is made by and at Buffalo Trace, they would be the ones to do it.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: How important is growing the corn?

    Mark,

    When Willie Nelson came to Heaven Hill to launch his, Old Whiskey River bourbon. Lots of folks were invited. Front and center, were local farmers that grew corn and were suppliers for Heaven Hill. It was really great to see that the "farmer" was there for all the press and hoop-la that came with it

    Bettye Jo

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: How important is growing the corn?

    Do bourbon distillers get involved with growing the corn
    You bet ...Craig, owns Harvest Express, a trucking company that hauls grain for Heaven Hill. Parker, maintains that "really sharp looking fleet" of Evan Williams 18 wheeler trucks...The shop for that trucking company is located right beside his house. He's a working distiller...If you shake Parker Beams hands they are rough...He can work and keep up with the best of 'em...

    If you happen to see a Evan Williams truck hauling down the road, look in that cab...If it's a new Volvo rig...then...more that likely you will see Parker Beam behind that wheel...

    Bettye Jo

  8. #8

    Re: How important is growing the corn?

    Thanks for the reply, Bettye Jo. One batch of corn can taste so different that the next. I'll bet that the corn variety, the place it is grown, when it is harvested, how it is dried, etc, etc, all have an effect on how the whiskey tastes. It would be interesting to know more about what goes into making good whiskey corn.
    Thanks ! Mark

 

 

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