Gary Gillman is our master mixer, with his penchant for combining various straight whiskeys to create his own special vatting.
I thought of Gary last week when I was in Washington, at Mount Vernon, watching three veteran distillers create a "vatting" of American whiskeys. Unlike Gary, who can use anything in his vast collection, we were limited to the whiskeys donated by the members of the Distilled Spirits Council, which sponsored the event in conjuction with the reconstruction of George Washington's 18th century distillery.
Joe Dangler from Virgina Gentleman figured out the formula, Dave Pickerell (Maker's) and Ron Call (Cruzan Rum) tasted it and pronounced it good, so that's what we used. The components were Maker's, VOB, JD, Woodford, Rebel Yell, Harper, Dickel, Beam, Platte Valley (McCormick), Turkey and Virginia Gent. All of it was well aged, the oldest being about 17 years. We rebarreled it to mingle for about a month, then it will be bottled and sold, probably auctioned, with the proceeds to benefit Mount Vernon educational activities.
Mount Vernon, for anyone who doesn't know, was the home of George Washington, our first president. Recent scholarship is revealing him to be quite an entrepreneur. His distillery--which made fruit brandy, rye whiskey and other spirits--had five stills and was one of the largest of its day. The Mount Vernon estate is privately owned, not government owned.