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Thread: Mixing Bourbons

  1. #1
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    Mixing Bourbons

    I've noticed from several posters that there seems to be a small (but accepted) practice of mixing several different bourbons together. I believe the last one I read mixed wheated bourbons with ryes or maybe it was a Van Winkle. Regardless, this is not something I ever really considered. Of course I wouldn't put anyone down for their method of enjoying our favorite libation. I just wanted to see what others thought of this practice. Would it be something you would try, or are you adamantly against it, and why? Also from those who do, what some of the best/most interesting combinations you have come up with. Or even some of the worst to avoid.

  2. #2
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    I have no problems with doing this, but I haven't done it, and don't intend to in the foreseeable future. I'm new enough to bourbon that I'm still trying to experience the bourbon the way the master distiller or bottler intended it to taste. I would imagine that I might take to vatting after I have experienced most of the bourbons out there and am looking for something new.

  3. #3
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    The only times I mix bourbons is when I have 2 or 3 bottles with not enough in either bottle for a full pour. Otherwise I want to taste each bourbon seperately.
    Fred

  4. #4
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    I feel the same way as wrbriggs. I'm still learning the language of describing what I get out of any given bottle, let along the combined effects of multiple bottles intermingled. I'm not even sure what I'd be trying to do with such experimentation. Also, my wallet isn't really deep enough to sacrifice good bourbon in the name of science, even if that science might be ultimately worthwhile.

  5. #5
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    Without any disrespect to recent devotees, one should only mingle with a good knowledge of the characters and constituents of the base whiskies. This is, after all, what the experts do. Elmer Lee does it (choosing whiskies of different ages and tastes), Jim Rutledge of Four Roses does it (choosing whiskies not just of different ages but made from different mashbills and yeasts), the Kulsveens and other merchants do it (possibly choosing whiskies of different origin), everyone in the business does it; and you can, too, but you don't have to, and I wouldn't advise it unless you are confident you understand the palette of whiskies available at present. In saying this, I am endeavoring to be honest and frank but in no way superior-sounding and I hope it doesn't come across that way.

    Gary

    N.B. You don't need many whiskies in your bar to do this, two or three will often suffice. And, if your experiment goes awry, it will make (I guarantee it ) a very good Manhattan Cocktail.

  6. #6
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    I'm going to post a somewhat dissenting opinion (it doesn't look like anybody's done that yet!)

    I don't mix bourbons. It's not that I consider it sacrilegious or anything, I just don't feel the need or see the point. Put simply, I don't ever remember going to my bar with an 'itch' that a prefabricated bourbon couldn't 'scratch'.

    Sure, I'm sure you can have some pleasant surprises and "happy accidents" with such experimenting, but why bother?

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    To expand the range of palates out there and - maybe - improve on them.

    (Another) Gary

  8. #8
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    I believe the last one I read mixed wheated bourbons with ryes
    Just this weekend I went to fill my flask prior to camping. I had a couple bottles that were near the end and figured I might as well vat them to get rid of the space they were taking up in the cabinet.

    I ended up with a mixture that was ~75% EWSB 1993 and the remainder Virginia Gentleman. It was surprisingly tasty.

  9. #9
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    I don't mix bourbons. It's not that I consider it sacrilegious or anything, I just don't feel the need or see the point. Put simply, I don't ever remember going to my bar with an 'itch' that a prefabricated bourbon couldn't 'scratch'.
    I think I fall into this Gary's camp for the most part. The only exception on my part is more alchemy than science. I will sometimes vat the dregs of bottom to middle shelf selections just to see what happens. The last go round included four very low end bottles we hadn't touched literally for years - Echo Spring, Colonel's Pride, Old 1889 and Old Crow. Oddly, the vatting, while still very young and somewhat harsh tasting, was certainly better than any individual component. But that was blind mixing, not scientific calculation.

    Hmmm...maybe the magic is in the empty ceramic George Dickel jug I used.

  10. #10
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    Re: Mixing Bourbons

    As we all know, Gary Gillman is quite a mixmaster and very inquisitive. He also is what I picture as one of Chuck's Bourbon County Reader's "supertaster". He picks up a lot of subtle hints that I certainly don't have the talent to do (yet hopefully). Having met Gary at the Sampler last year and reading his posts here, I hatched a diabolical plan to confuse and befuddle his taste buds by mixing an ounce to ounce and a half of every bourbon in my collection in a used mason jar. I even labelled it. Dr Bourbonstein's Monster appeared at the KBF but unfortunately not before Gary had departed. Several of the BIG GUNS here had a taste and I was impressed that Jeff tasted a hint of oregano in the mixture. It seems the jar and lid I used was from a spagetti sauce bottled locally. Still most found it not unappealing once past the smell but Jim and Chuck found it very vulgar and "downright nasty". So much for my experiments in vatting. I'll stick with my favorites to tickle my still developing taste buds. Unfortunately Gary did not get to partake but I fear The Monster may rear it's head at the Sampler again.

 

 

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