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View Poll Results: Given the choice between two high middle shelf bourbons produced by the same distiller.

Voters
13. You may not vote on this poll
  • I'd pay more for a lower barrel proof bourbon than a higher barrel proof bourbon that is aged longer

    3 23.08%
  • I'd pay the same for a lower barrel proof bourbon as a higher barrel proof bourbon that is aged longer

    2 15.38%
  • I'd pay less for a lower barrel proof bourbon than a higher barrel proof bourbon that is aged longer

    1 7.69%
  • I have no interest in a lower barrel proof bourbon

    2 15.38%
  • I have no preference between a lower barrel proof bourbon and a higher barrel proof bourbon that is aged longer

    5 38.46%
Results 1 to 8 of 8

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  1. #1
    Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Nara, Japan
    Posts
    98

    Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    <font color="red">EDIT: PLEASE IGNORE THE POLL ON THIS PAGE AND USE THE POLL ON MY SECOND POST BELOW!</font> I've changed the poll, but not the votes, to allow people to view the results without having to vote again and again, so if you voted on the first poll please vote again on the second. Sorry about the confusion.

  2. #2
    Guru
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Central Arizona (near Prescott), U.S.A.
    Posts
    4,235

    Re: Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    TMH,

    I chose the first option, but I am only supposing. I would have to have the various options available and compare them in the glass to know for sure.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  3. #3
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    48

    Re: Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    The problem for me with that question is that how much age a bourbon can handle seems to depend on a couple of things, like to what proof it was distilled. This is a bit of a murky subject, and I haven't met anyone who has been able to clear it up for me yet, but this is what I seem to have found:

    If you distill to a high proof and barrel at a high proof, a spirit will be able to take a decent amount of age, simply because you'll be watering it down so much before it enters the bottle, like how they make most aged rums. I've never had any, but I'm guessing this is what "aged light whiskey" would taste like.

    If you distill to a low proof and barrel at a low proof, a spirit will be able to take a decent amount of age because the character of the mash will be strong enough to compete with the character of the barrel. Since less dilution is involved, you end up with a relatively heavy spirit, supposedly like vintage bourbons from back in the day. (I really need to get my hands on some of those!)

    If you distill to a high proof and barrel at a low proof, a spirit will tend to age more quickly, because there are fewer flavors from the mash to compete with those from the barrel, and you won't be diluting the spirit so much before it enters the bottle, so it takes less time before the wood flavors and the mash flavors "balance eachother out".

    So if it were barrelled at a low proof and distilled at a high proof, I wouldn't mind if the whiskey were younger. But in any of the other instances, I'd prefer older whiskey.

  4. #4
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Pelham, AL
    Posts
    3,893

    Re: Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    I have no idea. I just want the best tasting bourbon I can get. I don't like paying over $35-40, but between $15 and $40, I make my choices pretty freely. I will pay up to about $55 for exceptionally wonderful bourbon.

    I would, of course, like to see prices go down if and only if quality remained high.

    I will let the distilleries decide on their barrel proofs and lengths of aging. But if their quality goes down, I will buy someone else's.

    Tim

  5. #5
    Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Nara, Japan
    Posts
    98

    Re: Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    Please use this poll instead of the top one.

    Given the interest on this board over the bourbon industry's use of higher barrel proofs and longer aging, I think it would be interesting to take a poll and see where people stand on the issue. I've broken down the poll questions based on the assumption that both aging bourbon, as well as lowering the barrel proof increases costs. My assumption is that longer aging means more holding costs (taxes, angel share, etc.) and lower barrel proof means less bottles per barrel.


  6. #6
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    621

    Re: Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    I don't know how to vote on this one. Basically you're asking what is better--lower vs. higher barrel proof. Then there's the variable of aging: young vs. old. I certainly know my generalized preferences, but will I pay more for either 'factor'?? Not merely on the basis of the 'factor' alone. Like others have replied--let me taste it first and afterwards I'll vote with my wallet.

  7. #7
    Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Nara, Japan
    Posts
    98

    Re: Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    I guess this poll is difficult because you have no actual product to base it on, which I understand. The idea is to get a generalized opinion from members. Granted there are some members who in theory would prefer a low barrel proof to a high barrel proof aged bourbon, but might not like the taste of brand x's lower proof bourbon.

    Maybe a better way to look at it is, if you walked in to your local liquor store and were faced with two new bourbon's by one of your favorite distillers and could only pick one, which one would you pick? Assuming everything else was sold out.

    If I'm a distiller and have been successful selling a higher barrel proof aged bourbon and read about members claiming to want lower barrel proof bourbons, I'd want to have a general idea of how such a bourbon would compete against aged bourbons before I committed any resources.

    As I've mentioned before, if members truly want a low barrel proof bourbon, distillers need to know how it will be received by us compared to aged bourbons. This board seems like an ideal place to express our preferences.

  8. #8
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Joliet, IL
    Posts
    40

    Re: Barrel Proof vs. Age Poll

    There are so many other dimensions to the process of making bourbon that I would not attribute anything special to one or the other.

    For me, the proof is in the tasting, and that's it.

    Given that the common perception is "the older the better", if distillers want to go away from making age statements on the label, it's fine with me, so long as there is a "profile" that they are aiming to maintain.

 

 

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