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Thread: Holy Grail

  1. #21
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    Since the thread is hijaked and I just to throw another wtench into the works and see what some of your ideas are...
    Why is it that black mold (angels breath) grows on the rickhouses and on nearly everything standing still at a distillery but not on the barrels themselves nor on the ricks. Sunlight is not a factor as whiskey filled barrels outside will not get mold on them and barrels by windows don't get mold? I have my theories but want to here some from ya'll.

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  2. #22
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    And to correct OscarV, mash bills are not all the same. Pappy's is a wheated bourbon. Wheat takes extra aging much better than rye bourbons.
    Metal clad vs limestone vs brick vs tile. Heat conduction and insulation is a factor. Air flow definatly affects the micro climates, but for floor to floor consistency it is about temperature conduction. High houses fluctuate and get more sun therefor hotter and faster aging. lower floors-consistent temperature-stagg, PVW, ER17YO.
    All of this is generalities of course, Mother Nature loves to throw a quick aging floor into the middle of a warehouse just for fun. Every distillery knows how their houses and floors age, but nobody has any conclusive proof on why
    Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Who brought the chips?

  3. #23
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    On black mold: I would hypothesize that tannins in the wood (barrels, ricks) inhibit growth of the mold. At first I thought the answer was that a higher ethanol concentration in and around the barrels would "kill" the mold, yet I've seen such molds on the inside portion of old corks (and not necessarily that old, I can see it developing on corks in bottles I've kept for just a couple of years or so). So it must be the acidic nature of wood. Now, very old barrels slowly become denuded of their tannic acid, which is why, i) they start to fall apart, ii) impart off tastes (sometimes) to very old whiskey, i.e., the lack of tannic preservative starts to rot the wood, hence the "rancio" (mushroom-like) taste of some old spirits. So if I am right, I would expect that some mold may develop on the oldest barrels, say barrels held 20 years and over.

    Comments?

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-10-2006 at 13:05.

  4. #24
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    Why is it that black mold (angels breath) grows on the rickhouses and on nearly everything standing still at a distillery but not on the barrels themselves nor on the ricks.
    It must be a function of transpiring Water or Alcohol. I have old barrels around the grill ( Look at my Avatar) and they have a good growth of mold on them.
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  5. #25
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    Since the mold grows on trees, it certainly doesn't eschew wood. My theory would be that the ratio of alcohol to air is too high on the barrel surface but just right on the walls outside.

    Differences in aging are the same as differences in real estate values. It's all about location, location, location.

    The original point of this thread has gotten lost. My point was that over-aged and over-priced private label bottlings do not represent what is most desirable in American whiskey and people who make such products their Holy Grail are deluded.

  6. #26
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    I find the question of mold growth interesting. My understanding is that the black mold that grows on the stone and metal exterior of distillery buildings is a special mold that feeds on or has some relationship to alcohol. It is not the same as molds in nature you see on trees, and I wonder if this special distillery mold can't exist in a tannic acid environment. As for Bobby's decorative barrels, maybe weathered wood loses its tannin through ... weathering. If a low degree of alcohol concentration was the answer, why does the mold appear seemingly on the underside of old and not so old corks? It was all over the cork underside on the 1919 Belmont Randy gave me, on the side exposed that is to the spirit which was 100 proof.

    Alternate or possibly cumulative explanation: molds need (I think) water to live and grow. The alcohol concentration may be too high in the barrel to make the water work for this purpose. On the outside of the barrel and in the warehouse, it may be too dry, or too dry for too much of the year. Why though does the underside of the corks get blackened? Maybe enough moisture gets in from the outside. Or maybe that blackness is not alcohol mold but something else (oxidation of some kind?).

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-10-2006 at 14:35.

  7. #27
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    [that over-aged and over-priced private label bottlings do not represent what is most desirable in American whiskey and people who make such products their Holy Grail are deluded.[/quote]


    The older the better assumption is probably due to fact that scotch whisky over 20 years is not only common but what is desired.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV
    The older the better assumption is probably due to fact that scotch whisky over 20 years is not only common but what is desired.

    Don't forget the much cooler climate of scotland requires/allows much longer maturation times
    More whiskey. Less complaining. - Overheard at SXSW music festival.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV
    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    that over-aged and over-priced private label bottlings do not represent what is most desirable in American whiskey and people who make such products their Holy Grail are deluded.
    The older the better assumption is probably due to fact that scotch whisky over 20 years is not only common but what is desired.
    I think Chuck C.'s statement applies to Scotch too. It ages more slowly than bourbon, true, but after 20 years or so you are still rolling the dice with any given cask whether it will be past its prime. I would be very leery of buying a single-cask bottling of Scotch at that point---I suppose some independent bottlers are trustworthy, but I have gotten burned. Distillery-label bottlings, where they can vat multiple casks and have access to the entire warehouse to pull from, are probably a safer bet. But IMHO most single malts get pretty darn good in the 15-18 year old range, and some might get better beyond that age, but maybe not. (Of course, some older malts are really fantastic. But separating the wheat from the chaff at those ages can be a pretty expensive proposition.)

    I like Scotch but it cannot be denied that there is a snooty, snobby element to the Scotch enthusiast community. I suspect that a lot of really old, expensive bottles of malt whiskey are sold to people who never intend to open them, or if they do, the whiskey inside benefits from the 'emperor's new clothes' effect: "I paid $300 (or more) for this bottle of Scotch, ergo, it must be nectar of the gods. My gut feeling that it is thin and woody just shows my own lack of discernment." My point being, the fact that really old Scotch is desired doesn't necessarily correspond to really old Scotch being what's desirable, if you get my meaning.

    FWIW, my "holy grail" whiskey is a pretty simple one: Fleischmann's Rye. Later this year I am going up to Wisconsin (the only place it's sold, according to the Barton's rep I spoke to at WhiskeyFest), and while I'm there I'm going to make finding a bottle something of a mission.

  10. #30
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    I agree with you. But as you said too there are exceptions. Highland Park's 25 year old is very good. So are the Ardbeg distillery bottlings over 20 years (some just don't taste that old for whatever reason). And there are other examples.

    In general, IMO, where aged malt whiskies (18 years plus) find their place is in blending and vatting. The logic of an undertone of oak flavour which isn't dominant and tannic and blends well with younger, fruitier and/or smokier whiskeys is hard to gainsay. This is why the great aged blends are deservedly famous (e.g. Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Chivas' Royal Salute, etc.). The same logic applies to other countries' whiskies. Crown Royal is put together on the same idea, it is a combination of some very old whiskeys and some mid-aged ones (and some of these, straight) on a frame of aged but not overaged high proof whisky.

    The logic can also apply to straight U.S. whiskey. A blend of straight whiskeys was once the industry category for this. Some fine whiskeys were, I believe, produced. E.g., Tim kindly served a 40's Four Roses of this nature at recent Gazebo which was superb (like an American equivalent to a sherryish rich Scots vatted malt). In effect, this is still being done at the simpler level of mingling within one distillery, but scope exists to create it amongst a range of straight whiskeys from different distilleries.

    This is an idea for the independent whiskey merchants. The logic is there IMO especially when aged whiskey stocks are said to be at a premium.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-12-2006 at 12:39.

 

 

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