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  1. #11
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    I very distictly remember being told this. I want to say that Lincoln Henderson said it but I'm really not sure. It may also have been Chris Morris. I do know it was someone in a position to know. When the Woodford-Reserve label was begun, it was with a small sub-batch of 7-year old Old Forester, which Lincoln hand-selected for the purpose. Now Old Forester should probably be considered a premium brand anyway, and this was the best of the best available from Brown-Foreman. The idea was for it to create and hold an interest in the bourbon-buying public right away, because they needed to show some kind of results and you couldn't expect the promise of things to come in six or eight years to do that. Anyway, the brand was intended to be replaced by the product being distilled at the new facility. Then two things happened that they didn't expect...

    (1) (really good news) Their experiments in distilling with the new equipment has been more successful than they thought. Instead of just one acceptable style, they are now looking to produce several different brands at L&G.

    (2) (more really good news) Public reaction to Woodford-Reserve has exceeded all expectations. The current plan (at least at the time we learned this which was admittedly a long time ago) is to continue producing Woodford-Reserve as it is, and adding native L&G bourbon under new labels.

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  2. #12
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Bushido wrote: "Tim wrote: "I enjoy the Woodford Reserve, however, I really can't wait to try the product they are producing at Labrot & Graham. It's triple distilled like a Scotch in those beautiful copper pot stills, and comes off the third still at very near the high limit of proof legally allowed for bourbon."

    It is an unfortunate personality defect that I just can't let some things slide.


    Yeah, me too I'm afraid. I hope poor Tim knows we mean only to enlighten, not flame, and he doesn't feel like we're dumping on him.

    Tim, I sure hope L&G's new bourbon is not coming off "at very near the high limit of proof legally allowed" (I doubt that it is). The purpose of the legal restriction is not to limit alcohol consumption by the drinker, but rather to protect the overall quality of the product. The higher the alcohol content, the thinner the flavor (all of which comes from the non-alcohol part -- alcohol is flavorless). No good distiller ever comes anywhere near the legal limit, and most feel proud about how low they can distill and barrel their product.

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  3. #13
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Hi,

    I don't take the posts as flames, but yeah, I misspoke about the triple distillate being more like an Irish whisky. Anyway, on the tour at L&G their comment was that the high wine comes off the second still at a bit over a hundred proof, but then they go through the third distillation and the result is their triple distillate that is within 2 or 3 points of the legal limit, as I recall this puts it in the 157 to 158 range. I can't remember the exact number, but I just remember being shocked at how high it was. They then cut it with water to about 110 proof before they put it into the barrel.

    Now I should mention that my tour was given by the wife of the master distiller, so I'm pretty sure she got the facts right. It makes sense too that a third distillation would result in a much higher proof off the final still. This is why I believe that the resulting product will be a very interesting bourbon.

    Tim
    p.s. I'm always interested in learning, that's why I'm here.


  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Very interesting stuff and not beyond the realm of possibility. Not all bourbon distillers go for low proof of distillation. Seagram's, if I remember correctly, is another one that comes off the still pretty high. It has always been my understanding that most come off at 120 to 140, so 150+ definitely qualifies as unusual but, you're right, why else triple it? Also, I'm sure there is still some experimentation going on, considering that those stills are unique in the USA. I really need to get down there and see that place, although I'm very glad I saw it before the restoration too.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  5. #15
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Tim said...

    > p.s. I'm always interested in learning, that's why I'm here

    Me too. Thanks for the opportunity.

    > the result is their triple distillate that is within 2 or 3 points of the legal limit, as I recall this puts it in the 157 to 158 range. I can't remember the exact number, but I just remember being shocked at how high it was.

    I've since learned the same from other sources. That really is unusual. Judging from things I've learned from Mark Mason (another contributor here, who brings to the party a background in chemical engineering, including distilling) it would seem that the resulting bourbon would be very thin on inherent cogeners and thus, flavor. Therefore, most of the flavor in the finished product would be a result of the barrel. Everyone expects the new bourbon to be ready around 2001 or 2002, but maybe we're being optimistic. Perhaps this whiskey is designed to be a lot older than that. I certainly agree with you that this will be an interesting whiskey (or maybe several interesting whiskey's).

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  6. #16
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Acording to the Regan's book "The Bourbon Companion" the following distillation proof's are listed:

    125: Wild Turkey, Jim Beam
    130: Maker's Mark, Stitzel-Weller, George Dickel
    133: Medley
    134: Ancient Age (Buffalo Trace)
    135: Barton
    138: Heaven Hill
    140: Early Times, Jack Daniel's, Bernheim
    143: Four Roses
    158: Labrot & Graham

    I will be very instructive when we finally get to taste the Labrot & Graham triple distilled product. Perhaps we can get a hint of what grain flavors lie in the 125 to 158 proof range, which presumeably this bourbon will not have (or contain to a lesser concentration). The same reference book stated that the L&G product was being barreled at 110 proof, which is at the lower proof end of the spectrum, so yes John, it looks like they are setting themselves up to extract lots of flavor from the barrel.

    With three stills, they would have some flexibility to select fractions (seperate out parts of the distillate, based on boiling point, while keeping both lower and higher boiling materials.) paritcuairly if they were operating the stills in batch mode and willing to sacrifice some alcohol. Chuck, do you know if any distillaries practice fractionation, or any other advanced distillation techniques?

    Also, I have read (most recently from Jim Murray) that it is believed contact with copper is benificial to whiskey making. Presumably this is due to copper catalyzing some of the negative congeners to other compounds. With the stills at L&G containing lots of copper, one would think that they would be setup for an interesting lower proof distillate. I have also heard that L&G are still experimenting with their parameters, so we might get to see more than one distillate strength.

    Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas

  7. #17
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Chuck, do you know if any distillaries practice fractionation, or any other advanced distillation techniques?

    It has never been mentioned therefore I doubt it.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    I recall a few years ago Ova Haney, former master distiller at Four Roses, intimating that he didn't think much of the way Jim Beam made bourbon. He didn't get into details, but I suspect proof of distillation may have been part of his criticism. The Beams pride themselves on being "practical distillers," as opposed to "scientific distillers." Although Ova was a country boy, he had the more scientific training.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  9. #19
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Actually the 3rd distillation does not produce a thin whiskey. The key is control of the heads and tails. Also we have always believed in the influence of the barrel and maturation.
    Lincoln W. Henderson
    Master Distiller
    Brown-Forman Corp./Labrot & Graham


  10. #20
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    Re: Woodford Reserve VIP

    Woodford VIP is about $6 more than regular Woodford. The extra packaging/production costs about $5 more. Its a nice gift for about $33 and still the fine Woodford taste. I spend most of my liquor allowance on VIP as gifts for friends. You can send in the neck hanger for personalized "copper" label that really is attractive.
    Lincoln W. Henderson
    Master Distiller
    BF/L&G


 

 

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