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  1. #11
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    Sherry isn't an addition as such when bourbon is "finished" in an ex-sherry cask but the effect is the same (essentially) as if sherry is poured straight into the whiskey. Here we get into fine points of whiskey law (can you still call it bourbon on the label?) but I say leave bourbon as bourbon.

    That's exactly what I was just thinking. I mean, if TN whiskey can't be bourbon because of sugar maple charcoal being an active flavorant, what is sherry-cask aging? It's too late to be thinking about it. I think I'll just drink some regular ole bourbon...

  2. #12
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40


    I mean, if TN whiskey can't be bourbon because of sugar maple charcoal being an active flavorant, what is sherry-cask aging?
    Tonya,

    TN Whiskey is altered during the manufacturing process. The latter refers to a finished product, Bourbon, being transferred to sherry casks for a different taste profile. If you add ginger ale to your bourbon, it's still bourbon.

  3. #13
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    I agree with Buffalo Trace
    they are not interested in finishes because they consider that suited to scotch but unsuited to bourbon
    and Gary
    Bourbon is what it is through historical evolution but then the law fixed certain attributes. The result is an acknowledged, unique specialty liquor; bourbon is, in fact, finished.

    And, Tim's right about the charcoal. How can you finish it in anything but a new, white oak barrel and still call it Bourbon?!
    IMHO, if it ain't broke...don't fix it.

  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    Whether or not Jack Daniel's or any other "charcoal mellowed" whiskey can legally meet the test for bourbon is debatable. My interpretation of the regs is that Daniel's could call itself "bourbon" if it wanted to. There are arguments to be made each way but it has never been definitively determined, to the best of my knowledge.

    I also agree that bourbon plus ____________ doesn't make the bourbon component not bourbon, so I don't see anything wrong with a product described as "bourbon finished in sherry casks." I might have a problem with the product itself, but not with the producer's right to describe it thusly.

    This whole discussion also points out a certain silliness inherent in concerns about what is or is not bourbon. Meeting the legal requirements for use of the term has no mystical significance. The whiskey is still what it is, regardless of what it is called.

  5. #15
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    I look at it this way, and I'll speak of Canada but the analogy could apply in the States: if rye whisky had been protected (the "appellation" as they say) to mean traditional straight whiskey, the category might still exist in Canada. Instead, makers were allowed to call rye something that wasn't rye but sold for less (originally). People became confused about what was and wasn't rye. The original article lost its cachet.. Of course, there were people then, as now, who knew what the real thing was but not enough of them (else straight rye would be sold in Canada today, I believe). With legal protection, the original article might have resonated with a broader audience because it would be easier for them to recognise the thing they really liked. Every producer seeks to protect its appellation, e.g. Champagne, famously. You and we here know what bourbon finished in sherry casks means but the public at large may ultimately get confused about what bourbon is and that would not favour the survival of the category: until recently it had (at times) trouble enough, competing with the tsunami of white goods, for example. It is not the law (of course) that enshrines a drink in the alcohol hall of fame. Wheat whiskey and other strange-sounding whiskeys are defined in U.S. law but no one makes them because there is no market. But bourbon caught on big due of course to its lengthy pre-statutory history but the legal guaranteees of quality and nomenclature surely helped to keep the product distinctive and genuine. So, it has grown, with hiccups, since the late 1930's (I am thinking of the date use of new charred barrels became mandatory). If Congress allows (or at least this has to be thought through carefully) "bourbon" to be used on labels of liquors containing measures of other spirits or wines, people may end up not being sure what is bourbon and what isn't and the attributes of the compound product may affect adversely the standing in peoples' minds of the true and real thing. Not everyone reads all the words on a label..

    I am a devotee of blending as you know: I just feel that the word bourbon should be reserved for the true (legally defined) article. If it is okay to say, "bourbon finished in sherry casks", why not "bourbon with 2% prune juice added"? I don't see the difference.

    Gary

  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    There are no "legal guaranteees of quality," only of authenticity, but your point is well taken.

  7. #17
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    Chuck, we loved the article in Whisky #40, but I have to ask-

    How in the world did it come to pass that there was an article about whiskey and the blues in the same issue and you were not asked to write it?!

    We look forward to your other work to come. Tell the good folks at Whisky that if there is guaranteed a Cowdery article in every issue, they might get themselves a few more subscribers.

    Congratulations on the book, too!

  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    Well, I thought of that too. Interesting perspective, though it was more on the San Francisco and London "blues" than Chicago and Mississippi. One gets pigeonholed. The editor, who I know is a big music guy, only knows me as a bourbon writer. About all I could have added is that I have it on eye witness authority that Muddy Waters was an Old Fitzgerald man.

  9. #19
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    Re: Cowdery article in Whisky mag issue 40

    Very good point about increasing circulation in Whisky. So anyone that subscribes should WRITE ON THEIR CARD that it is because of Cowdery! (A hell of a good writer.)


 

 

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