Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 28
  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,655

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    How widespread where malt whiskies in 19th century America?

    I would like to know that too. My impression is, not very. I just wrote an article in which I pooh pooh Fritz Maytag's contention that 100 percent malt rye whiskey would have been common or typical in the 18th century. Part of my reasoning is that every bourbon recipe we know about, including the one Mike V just found from 1800, calls for 10 to 15 percent malt and cooking the mash to complete the starch-to-sugar conversion. America doesn't have a tradition of all-malt brewing or all-malt whiskey-making, so I doubt it ever did.

    For that matter, how old is all-malt distilling in Scotland, Ireland and Wales? Does it go back to the beginning or is it a relatively recent phenom?

    --Chuck Cowdery

  2. #12
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    Lex,
    There is no list that you can look at to see how common malt whisky was, but there are several trademarks that I have seen andsome advertisements such as the one posted here. It was never a major market factor but then again there were a lot of immigrants that could be looking for whisky just like they had at home.
    Mike Veach


  3. #13
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Ascot, England, UK
    Posts
    32

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    For that matter, how old is all-malt distilling in Scotland, Ireland and Wales? Does it go back to the beginning or is it a relatively
    recent phenom?


    Hi Chuck

    Certainly goes back to the beginning. The earliest record of a spirit distilled from grain on Scottish soil specifically mentions 'malt' and dates from 1494. Malted barley as the base material is known through the centuries in Scotland / Ireland (Wales' whisky history is much more obscure). But just as often a mixture of malted and unmalted barley was used (people in the highlands often simply distilled from what they had available). Oats have been used as well, but it seems rye hasn't been used much if at all. There are 18th century records suggesting to replace growing rye instead of barley to reduce the amount of whisky distilled. This suggests to me that rye wasn't used for whisky.

    Cheers, Lex


  4. #14
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    Lex this "old world" connection is intriguing. My family is made up of English, Welsh, and Scotch/Irish Protestents. Why do you suppose that the farmer/distillers of early America discarded barley malts for rye and corn whiskey? Did it have anything to do with; pants, firearms, or large brested Germanic women?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  5. #15
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Ascot, England, UK
    Posts
    32

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    Hi Linn

    I'm not so sure that malted barley was actually discarded in favour of rye. Don't forget that there were many Germans among the early colonisers and that rye was the grain of choice for them for as far as distilling was concerned. Also, it may have been that the rye varieties of those days were better adapted to grow in the American soil than the barley varieties (but I'm guessing now). Obviously, corn got included in the mash bills because it was already there.

    Cheers, Lex


  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,655

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    Lex,

    Your explanation is correct as far as my information goes. There are records of corn beer and corn whiskey being made very early in the colonies, but not as a regular or preferred grain until the settlement of Kentucky. While I stand corrected about the use of all malt in the Celtic lands, it seems very likely that the German distillers did not generally use malted rye, but used a small percentage of barley malt to assist the conversion of rye and other grains in the mash, as is the American custom. Malt was too precious for beer making to squander more than was necessary on distilling.

    As Mike has pointed out before, much is made about the Scots-Irish roots of American distilling when, in fact, it looks like the Germans may have had an equal or even greater influence.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  7. #17
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Ascot, England, UK
    Posts
    32

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    Hi Chuck

    I didn't mean to imply that 100% malted rye was used by early German distillers. I'm sure you're right that they used unmalted rye with a bit of help from some malted barley.

    I've always been intrigued by how bourbon & rye are related to the Celtic whiskies. I'm a biologist by profession, so I can easily 'see' them as 'species'. If it was the Scotch-Irish who started making rye and corn-based whiskies from their barley-based experience, then the Celtic whiskies are the direct 'parents' of bourbon & rye. If on the other hand it is German distillers who made spirits from rye and later corn and bourbon & rye whiskies evolved from that then American whiskies do not descend from Celtic whiskies (but rather from some early form of 'schnapps') and Celtic and American whiskies are 'cousins' at most.

    What's most likely, I think, is that hybridization of Celtic and German distilling traditions gave rise to bourbons & ryes.

    Cheers, Lex


  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,655

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    What's most likely, I think, is that hybridization of Celtic and German distilling traditions gave rise to bourbons & ryes.

    That is exactly what I am coming to believe. The emphasis is usually placed on the Celtic traditions, since the end result there is clearly a whiskey, as opposed to a flavored neutral spirit, but there is more to it than that. Early schnapps, genevir, vodka and akvavit would hardly have been "neutral" as we understand the term today, because distilling techniques weren't that good. They would have differed from whiskey only in that they were flavored with botanicals and not aged in wood. In America, where several traditions came together, it may have been that familiar botanicals were unavailable but wood was. The discovery of corn also altered the equation, because of its high yield, sweetness and more neutral flavor.

    Humans are limited to two parents. Whiskeys are not. It is probable that American Whiskey as we know it today borrowed from all the distilling traditions of early immigrants.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  9. #19
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Ascot, England, UK
    Posts
    32

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    I agree very much with what you say, Chuck. Today's spirits (whisky, brandy, tequila, calvados, jenever, you name it) are all very strictly defined as to base material, subsequent treatment, etc, etc. But the more you go back in time, the less dogmatic people were about this and the different types of spirit sort of blur together. For instance, I have seen Scottish records from the 18th century where a spirit distilled from potatoes was specifically called 'whisky'; nowadays, given that maturation didn't happen in those days, that would be a vodka (although it wasn't distilled to the same high level of proof as today's vodka's). But in the 18th century, the word 'whisky' was more equivalent to 'spirit' in general than to a strictly defined type of spirit. What probably happened on American soil is indeed the coming together of different European distilling traditions and the subsequent evolution of specific types of spirit: bourbon and rye. They are called 'whiskey' because they are distilled from grain and matured in wood, not because they are direct descendents of Celtic whisky. Seen through a biologist's eyes, an interesting case of parallel evolution!

    Cheers, Lex


  10. #20
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Louisville, Ky.
    Posts
    734

    Re: An Interesting Advertisment

    Gary Gillman and I have been having an interesting discussion of rectified whiskey, early rye and bourbon so I decided to move forward yet another old thread on the subject for his viewing pleasure. If the rest of the forum is getting bored, my apologies, but it is seldom that I get a chance to discuss this with such a well informed person.

    Gary,
    If you look at the original post of this thread you will see an advertisment from 1858. It is interesting for it claims not be as much as what it claims to be. I would be interested in your comments.

    Mike Veach

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Interesting artical
    By NeoTexan in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-03-2006, 07:13

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top