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  1. #11
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    Re: What is Old Charter?

    I have "discussed" this with some high ranking officials from other distilleries and they have maintained that 80% is the top limit on corn; I have maintained that according to the regs, you can use 81% up to 100% and still call it bourbon (providing the rest of the regs are followed). Corn whiskey is basically a euphemism for product aged in used cooperage.

    Ken

  2. #12
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: What is Old Charter?

    I have "discussed" this with some high ranking officials from other distilleries and they have maintained that 80% is the top limit on corn; I have maintained that according to the regs, you can use 81% up to 100% and still call it bourbon (providing the rest of the regs are followed). Corn whiskey is basically a euphemism for product aged in used cooperage.
    I agree with you. I have heard that other argument and seen it presented in print as fact but I believe it is a misreading of the regulations, an assumption arrising from the fact that to be labeled "corn" the whiskey must be at least 80% corn, so the reader extrapolates and assumes that "bourbon whiskey" becomes "corn whiskey" at that 80% threshold, but you don't read laws that way. They only say what they say and you can only draw inferences when they are inescapable. The regs say nothing about a maximum percentage for the principal grain nor about a minimum percentage for the secondary grains nor, in fact, anything about the secondary grains.

    If the intent of the law were to require that bourbon whiskey be at least 51% corn but not more than 80% corn it would say that, and it doesn't. In fact, the regulations go to pains to ensure that corn whiskey aged in new charred oak barrels is not labeled "straight corn whiskey." Why? Because it's bourbon!

  3. #13
    Bumping this forward to go backward to this post:
    http://www.straightbourbon.com/forum...87&postcount=1

    Explains why I've always found Old Charter to be as consistent as any brand from producer to producer.
    Tim

  4. #14
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    I enjoy the OC 12 and am happy to hear that BT is committed to its consistency. Nice to have something on the shortlist of favorites that I can reasonably hope (expect ?) to be able to get for years.
    Bob

  5. #15
    Connoisseur
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    Mar 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery

    But don't do it anyway, okay?
    I'm gonna bet he already has...and he's lookin' at labeling the product correctly...

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Weber
    When the Buffalo Trace Distillery purchased Old Charter back in 1999 ...
    What puzzles me is that BT has only two rye bourbon mash bills - one with low rye, and the other with high. But how can Old Charter and Buffalo Trace, both apparently made from the same low-rye mash bill, taste so different? Not just different in ways that I can see could come from handling differences, but OC seems devoid of rye bite or backbone, as least the 13 yo I have, whereas BT seems to have plenty of character or bite, which I think comes from the rye.

    BT apparently has only two rye-bourbon mash bills. When they acquired OC, did they just start making it with the pre-existing low-rye mash bill? Or did the OC mash bill just happen to be the same as the BT mash bill?

    This lineup has been almost been confirmed by Ken in this thread:

    Mash Bill 1 (low rye) - Old Charter, Eagle Rare, George T. Stagg, Buffalo Trace
    Mash Bill 2 (high rye) - Ancient Age, Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock Reserve, Blantons

    What Ken actually wrote was not quite a full confirmation:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Weber
    Nearly every comment made in this thread is accurate.
    But I think that both Ken and Etohchem (Truman Cox, BT chemist) have said that there are only these two rye-bourbon mash bills.

    So what accounts for the differences? Ken also eliminated one other possibility:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Weber
    As far as I know, and I will confirm this with Harlen, all BT Mash bill #1 is entered into the barrel at the same proof (likewise for the other Mash bills).
    So I can think of four other possibilites, and I am sure there are more.

    1) Different yeasts

    2) Different distillation - maybe higher proof for OC than BT and others, or perhaps different cuts, even if the proof came out the same (I think that column stills can be manipulated in this manner).

    3) Different barrel chars.

    4) Different warehouse conditions. (I know this can make a big difference).

    Any ideas? Ken and Etohchem especially?

    Of course, we may never know, as Etohchem wrote

    Quote Originally Posted by etohchem
    Recipe's are secret even within the company. Most Masterdistiller's won't even tell people in the same company the exact recipe's used. There are generality's made like "70-10-15" or "approximately 60% Corn, 20%wheat, and 20% malt". But the true masterdistiller's know down to the ounce what the true proportions are and they don't tell.
    But that doesn't keep me from asking.
    Jeff
    "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943

  7. #17
    Taster
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    89
    I may have said this before but when I started I was told by Harlen Wheatley:
    5-15% of the flavor comes from the mash
    5-15% of the flavor comes from the yeast
    5-15% of the flavor comes from the distillation
    60-75% of the flavor comes from the barrel.

    To your points
    1) we have one yeast
    2) sorry didn't hear the question
    3)Our barrels aren't seperated. They all come in the same and are filled.
    4) now you are on to something!
    Our Wharehouse Manager has been working here for something like over 43 years. He knows where the sweet floors are and where the slow aging floors are. On most floors he can tell which ricks are going to taste different by the airflow they get. He decides which BT barrels are pulled from specific floors of specific warehouses and we taste and test from there. BT and OC are different because we want them to be.

    Etohchem
    Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Who brought the chips?

  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    To elaborate a little bit on Etohchem's excellent answer, the part of whiskey-making that most whiskey enthusiasts miss is profiling. Every product in the company's portfolio has a profile, embodied in a library of reference samples. The reference samples are bottles of whiskey from previous batches. A "batch," for purposes of this explanation, is the contents of the tank into which the aged whiskey is dumped prior to bottling.

    To make a batch, barrels made with the correct mash bill and being of the right age are selected and sampled (i.e., tasted). If they are as they should be, they are withdrawn and dumped. Then the contents of the tank are tasted and compared to the profile for the product in question. If they miss the mark, additional barrels are added that have characteristics intended to move the needle in the right direction.

    In other words, two products that seem identical on paper (mashbill, proof, age, barrel char, etc.) taste different because the master distiller wants them to taste different.

    Since bourbon enthusiasts, by their nature, drink lots of different whiskeys, they may not be as sensitive to consistency as are the loyal drinkers of a particular brand. Distillers use profiles and reference samples and work very diligently to ensure consistency from batch to batch. They do this because loyal drinkers, especially, will notice immediately if anything has changed and scream bloody murder.

    What I have described applies to all straight whiskey. The practice for bonds and single barrel products is somewhat different.

  9. #19
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    Thanks for the info, Etohchem, especially to question #2.

    Jeff
    "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943

  10. #20
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    Great info! Makes me curious to do a tasting with bourbons from the same distillery with the same mashbill with a similar age range. Would be interesting to see the differences generated primarily by microclimate.

 

 

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