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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    What would a new Bourbon be like?

    Sometimes it is possible to innovate in a field by releasing something which makes a breakthrough. It isn't a new product category but sets a new standard. In the current All About Beer magazine, there is an interesting article on the history of the American style of lager beer (the one pioneered by German-Americans in the 1800's) and it is explained how Budweiser really broke the mold at that time.

    What forms could a "new" bourbon take, either based on things people have tasted or your idea of what shape it could take, that would attract wide popularity?

    I suppose one of the new Buffalo Trace experimental whiskeys might qualify but I haven't tried those yet.

    Is it even possible to create a "new" bourbon or is it perfect as it is?

    Gary

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
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    I think there's lots of unexplored space within the definition of "bourbon". I can see possible variations on at least two features:

    First: mashbill. Every bourbon I'm aware of is a relatively minor variation on the same general proportions of corn, malt, and rye/wheat. The rye/wheat distinction reminds me of the joke from The Blues Brothers: "We have both kinds of music: country and western!" There are other grains that could be used---what would a bourbon made with, say, rice, or oats, or unmalted barley taste like? How about bourbons with mashbills like 51% corn/49% malted barley, or 80% corn/20% malted rye? When you start putting together the possible combinations, it becomes clear that only the tip of the iceberg has yet been sampled.

    Second: distillation. I don't think anybody outside the Woodford Reserve tasting rooms knows what sort of effects could be obtained with pot-still bourbon. Even they don't know what you could get out of differently configured pot stills. SMSW varies clearly and drastically depending on the height, shape, etc. of the stills used. Inasmuch as every generally available bourbon is either column-distilled or blended with column-distilled whiskey, this is a huge grey area. The thought of a bourbon made in a short, squat pot still and distilled off at a low proof is certainly intriguing.

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
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    Oct 1999
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    Sweden
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    As hinted at in another thread, Ive often wondered how a Bourbon aged in Alaska would turn out.

    Climate is supposed to be an important factor in shaping a whiskeys character. This is often held up as an explanation for the differing styles of Scotch and Irish. Even though they are neighbours, they have radically different climates.

    But maybe the artificiality of the places where whiskey is stored has reduced this factor?
    Delighted to see you if you can find me!

  4. #4
    Guru
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    And while you're at it, send a barrel from the same batch to central Arizona. The temperature in my storage shed varies from 70 (degrees F.) to 110 in July and from 10 to 50 in January.

    On second thought maybe we'd better go with a lighter char on the Arizona batch.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Well, we're making progress. How about a 60% corn 40% barley malt mash distilled 100% in a pot still, aged in a warehouse in Anchorage and the barrel transferred to central Arizona for two years' finishing. I'd add (for good measure) that 50% of the barrel staves should be made from black oak (an alternating pattern with regular Ozarks white oak). Wow!

    Gary

  6. #6
    Guru
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    Speaking of barrel staves, somewhere down the line I would want to depart from bourbon by trying one stave of eucalyptus per barrel. My intent would be to compare the result with Elijah Craig 12 y/o.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2005
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    this wouldn't qualify as being a bourbon....but I would like to take some bourbon and barrel it in already used bourbon barrel straight after the distilation process instead of using new ones. I know barrels have been used to finish bourbon, but what about sticking it in a used barrel from the git go?

    I think you would get possibly richer product and it would be interesting to see what effect a seasoned rye barrel, for example, would have on new bourbon (wheat or rye dominate). Seems like you could try plenty of combinations.
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    How about a barrel that only had its heads charred and the rest of the barrel merely toasted...it says charred oak barrel, but doesn't say the whole barrel must be charred
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    According To Harlan Wheatley at BT

    They have some experimental barrels with combinations of chars and toasting, including barrel heads vs staves. He also indicated they have barrels with alternating staves of different woods and even barrel heads of different woods.
    He didn't mention Eucalyptus, but I didn't ask.
    Perhaps they could soak a batch of whiskey with Kuala Bears.
    Ed
    Colonel Ed
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006

    Comissioned by Paul Patton, 1999

    "It ain't the booze that brings me in here, it's the solace it distills"

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Ed it's hard to keep ahead of these guys at BT!


    Gary

 

 

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