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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,637

    What is Old Charter?

    In BOURBON, STRAIGHT I make the following statement:

    Old Charter bourbon, which is more than 80 percent corn, can call itself either straight bourbon or straight corn.
    Well, it turns out, I was wrong, and I mention it because it is kind of interesting. Straight Corn Whiskey must, indeed, be "not less than 80 percent corn," but Old Charter cannot be called corn whiskey because it, as a bourbon, is aged in new, charred oak barrels. A close reading of the regulations reveals that straight corn whiskey may be aged in "used or uncharred new oak barrels" but it cannot be "subjected in any manner to treatment with charred wood."

    I am assuming, and I believe this intent is obvious, that aging in a used barrel that was charred prior to its first use is not considered "treatment with charred wood."

    Interesting.

  2. #2
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Maple Valley, WA
    Posts
    158

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    I bought a bottle of the Old Charter 12 YO quite a while ago, back before I was recording my tasting impressions. IIRC, It was quite good - lots of vanilla and caramel followed by rye. I may have to revisit it again when it is available around here again.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Posts
    499

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    When the Buffalo Trace Distillery purchased Old Charter back in 1999, the brand came full circle. Several decades ago it was made by Schenely, the outfit that once owned Buffalo Trace. Our current Master Distiller, Gary Gayheart worked for them and distilled Charter over 30 years ago. When we acquired the brand, many of our sales reps and Division Managers from the southern states, who were aware of the quality of the brand, immediately adopted both the Charter 10 and 12 as their drink of choice. I had to beat them with a bat to encourage them to switch to Buffalo Trace! Bottom line, Old Charter is one of the better bourbons you will find. The 8 year old, 80 proof is okay, but the 10, 12, and Proprietor's Reserve are really nice.

    Ken

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
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    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
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    499

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    So Chuck, if XYZ brand is made from a mashbill of 100% corn (plus some enzymes), it can still be called bourbon (if all other regs are followed)? My reading of the legal requirements is that it can.

    Ken

  5. #5
    Guru
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Moscow Mills, MO
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    2,507

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    They are indeed quite nice and recently I picked up the 12yo that came with a nice little bag. Let's see, that makes a Red Pappy 20 bag, a black Old Charter bag, a brown Blantons bag, and a maroon Weller Antique bag. A few more different bags and I can make myself a shirt out of them. Keep em coming BT! How bout a yellow AAA 10 yr, a gold Benchmark, and a green Buffalo Trace bag?

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    867

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    The 15yo Johnny Drum sometimes comes with a bag (mine didnīt, though). It is red but lighter in colour than Pappy.

    If you are desperate to expand your collection then let me suggest Crown Royal special reserve. At least mine came with a violet bag.

    Apart from that I really agree about the Classic 90. It is indeed a tasty whiskey!

  7. #7
    Guru
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    May 2003
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    Moscow Mills, MO
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    2,507

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    I've got a bunch of the Crown Royal bags (used for various items such as fishing reels and poker change) but the shirt would be worn only at the KBF so I have to restrict it to bourbons only. So any of you who don't have any use for your bags, bring em with you to the Sampler or to KBF and help me build my shirt. All donations would be appreciated.

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    867

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    Aah! Didnīt realize you were a CR aficionado.

    Anyway, had I only been in possession of a Johnny Drum bag, I wouldīve been glad to send it to you. Maybe next yearīs KBF?

  9. #9
    Guru
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    May 2003
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    Moscow Mills, MO
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    2,507

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    I wouldn't call it an afficionado, but growing up in rural Missouri it was usually the best whiskey any local liquor store carried (according to the locals there). Needless to say, to keep myself high on the social register I drank it quite a bit at social functions and had quite a few bags at one time. Most now are old and faded from use as I haven't purchased a bottle in as much as 15 years. I found something I like MUCH better.

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
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    12,637

    Re: What is Old Charter?

    So Chuck, if XYZ brand is made from a mashbill of 100% corn (plus some enzymes), it can still be called bourbon (if all other regs are followed)? My reading of the legal requirements is that it can.
    My answer would be yes, with one caveat. The regulations also say that, for example, bourbon whiskey must be produced "in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to" bourbon whiskey. The regulators could use this clause to argue that the absense of any small grains renders it something else, but that would have to be tested. If, in fact, it does look, taste and smell like bourbon, that would be a hard argument to make stick.

    But don't do it anyway, okay?

 

 

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