Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 62

Thread: Early Times

  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,043

    Early Times

    Is anyone interested to give taste notes on Early Times? Chuck (the Book) says it is almost a bourbon in that it has a bourbon mash, is aged long enough for straight whiskey (i.e. at least two years, and I think ET is at least three years old), and is aged mostly in new charred barrels. This has to be very close to bourbon in flavour. I would offer my notes but don't have any in the bunker at the moment.

    Also, does Early Times come in more than one expression, e.g., a high proof version?

    Gary

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,539

    Re: Early Times

    The only "other expression" of ET is that in non-US markets, it is a bourbon.

  3. #3
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Pelham, AL
    Posts
    3,889

    Re: Early Times

    Gary, even when it was a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, back in the 60's & 70's, it was not a very good one. I had it on several occasions and I don't recall ever enjoying it.

    Tim

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,043

    Re: Early Times

    Thanks, and I just saw that the Book in fact gives taste notes for Early Times (others' views are solicited too if they drink this). I believe young whiskeys, or whiskeys on the younger side of the spectrum, can benefit from high proof. A number of malt whisky distillers (Glenfarclas, now Macallan) sell their cask strength whiskies on the younger side for the range. The extra hit of alcohol seems somehow to off-set some of the less mature flavors. We see this too with some white overproof rum in the Caribbean. There was the opposite tendency too, illustrated in the discussion recently on the Michter's quarter whiskey, discussed I should add in Michael Jackson's 1988 World Guide To Whisky. That was, originally at least, a pot still distillate cut to 25 proof. In the 1700's/1800's, the drink (as the label of the latter-day recreation suggested) was often used as a beverage akin to the way wine or beer would be used today, i.e., to accompany meals; that explains, I think the unusually low historical proof. But returning to liquor sampled in high proof form, I think it would be interesting to sample Early Times (I mean, the whiskey, not the bourbon) at 90 or 100 proof. It can be interesting too to remind oneself of "distillery" flavors which mostly get effaced with long aging. Jim Beam's white label tends also to have a certain distillery or grainy character even after four years of aging. Recently I was looking at a photo of a modern Beam warehouse (not sure which one it was) and it was interesting to see barrels standing on end, palleted, in a very large hangar or shed-type facility. It seems evident, despite the ventilation which I am sure is done via HVAC systems, that maturation will take longer than in a smaller building which has more exposure to the elements by not being too large and having a cladding that is not too staunch. Thus, if Early Times (whisky or bourbon) was aged for the same time in a small country warehouse where the wind whistled through windows and cracks in the walls, would it taste more mature than at present? One wonders.. Proof, whiskey type, warehouse type, length of aging, char level for barrels, so many factors enter into a process that still has elements of mystery and unpredictability..

    Gary

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,539

    Re: Early Times

    Early Times is aged in masonry warehouses in the Louisville suburb of Shively. The warehouses can be heated, so the barrels can be artifically cycled in the winter. Not sure if they are actually doing this, as there continues to be a debate about whether or not it actually works.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,043

    Re: Early Times

    Good point but I was thinking also of Charlie Thomason's saws about ensuring a free flow of outdoor air around the barrels. He was speaking of facilities that had many apertures - one sees those little windows in old distillery buildings around the world including in the oldest parts of the disused Gooderham & Worts facility in Toronto - but also of situating a warehouse on a hillside to take advantage of winds. Some buildings were so porous he recalled seeing barrels with snow resting on them in winter. Now that's country aging. I do believe heating artifically can create aging cycles though, but the movement of fresh air over the barrels was something he insisted on as part of classical practice. He seemed concerned with two things: artificial heating sometimes worked too well in that too much tannin could be brought into the whiskey too soon, and also, the risks of mustiness were increased if there wasn't sufficient ventilation (and it stands to reason fresh air was important here). I have rarely if ever noticed a musty scent in any Fortune Brands bourbon, nor any issues with over-tannic tastes. I would say, though, that they don't seem to mature super-fast: even Knob Creek, a favorite of mine, never seems to show big barrel character, ditto Baker's, etc.

    Gary

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Louisville, Ky.
    Posts
    718

    Re: Early Times

    Gary,
    I have been with Chris Morris for the past several years at the Bourbon academy held at Woodfrod Reserve. Early Times is one of the products he talks about. He says that there is 3yo whiskey in the product, but some of the whiskey is as old as 8yo. The used cooperage is only about 20% of the product. It taste OK but it is what I call a "Brown Vodka" - not a complex taste or a lingering finish. It is similar to Jim Beam White Label in taste. It is meant to be your "bourbon and coke" type whiskey.
    On the other hand I have had some of the Early Times bourbon sold in Japan. It is quite good with some caramel from aging and what surprised me was a hint of cocoanut on the finish.

    They do heat the warehouses at Early Times in the winter. They claim it makes for faster aging, but I am not so sure. I still tend to prefer products aged in iron clad warehouses but admit there are some mighty fine products that come from the brick warehouse (AAA, Old Forester and Woodford Reserve to name a few).
    Mike Veach

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,539

    Re: Early Times

    The Beam pallatized warehouses have big industrial fans to ensure air circulation. They insist the combination of pallatized storage and forced air ventilation provides better air circulation. The biggest problem with the barrels stored on end is leakage.

    And they don't look good for the tourists.

  9. #9
    Moderator and Bourbonian Of The Year 2014
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Brisbane Australia
    Posts
    2,814

    Re: Early Times

    The only "other expression" of ET is that in non-US markets, it is a bourbon
    It's definately sold as a bourbon here in Australia..
    Not a big seller, and, from personal experience, not a great taste either. I'd put way down under Jim Beam White for preference..

  10. #10
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Japan, (American)
    Posts
    1,673

    Re: Early Times

    I just saw two different bottles of Early Times at the discount liquor store. Same price but one had a yellowish label and the other a brown label. Both said they were Straight Kentucky Bourbon. I couldn't find an age statement on either one. I haven't tried Early Times for maybe 10 years. At that time I preferred Jim Beam White label. I drank a lot of that at the time. I tried a number of bourbons in the same price range and always went back to Jim Beam. When I wanted something better, (a lot better!) and was willing to pay about twice what I did for Beam I got WT 101 8 year old.
    Now Beam White is pretty far down on my list. Not quite off my list, it is not bad for what it is. So Early Times has been even farther down the list. However, reading about it in Chuck's book and here on this thread I am getting curious about it. One of these days I will have a chance to try it again at a bar where it is the house bourbon. I am kind of looking forward to it.
    Ed

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Early Times-once again...
    By mrt in forum Other American Whiskey
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-14-2006, 21:08
  2. Early Times Private Stock?
    By MashBill in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-10-2001, 21:16

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top