I want to get people's thoughts on an heretical idea for a new American whiskey.
Single malt Scotch has (at least) one advantage over Bourbon. And that advantage is ironical. Scotch, but not Bourbon, can be aged in used Bourbon barrels!
Used Bourbon barrels create a more complex whiskey. This is because the liquor can be aged longer in a used barrel. Brand new barrels have too many chemicals in the wood for long term aging. Long term aging in a new barrel would ruin the whiskey. That's one reason why Bourbon barrels are charred; to neutralize some of the chemicals in the wood. Fritz Maytag may use uncharred barrels for his Old Potrero, but that whiskey only spends two years (I believe) in the barrel.
The result is that single malt Scotch is always more complex than Bourbon. For example I much prefer the flavor of Buffalo Trace or Woodford Reserve (I haven't tried George Stagg yet) to a lesser single malt like Old Fettercairn. But Old Fettercairn is still more complex.
So here's my idea. Why doesn't a Bourbon distiller with a lot of liquor and a lot of resources, like Buffalo Trace or Jim Beam, take some "Bourbon liquor" and put it into used Bourbon barrels for about 20 years? Legally they would not be allowed to call it "Bourbon," but they could call it something else like "New American Whiskey" or "New Kentucky Whiskey" or something. The purpose in all this would be to see what a more complex corn-rye whiskey would taste like.
One objection might be that you can't age a whiskey in Kentucky or Tennesse or Indiana as long as you can in Scotland because of the difference in the weather. Okay then I say brew it up in Kentucky and age it in Seattle.
Now I'm sure someone here, like Chuck, might want to take a shot at this idea. Go ahead, what do you think?