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View Poll Results: What is the Most Important Factor in a World Class Bourbon

Voters
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  • Quality of Mash Components (Grain)

    3 5.36%
  • Mash Bill / Composition (Percentage Corn, Rye, Wheat, Barley)

    4 7.14%
  • Water

    1 1.79%
  • Yeast

    1 1.79%
  • Distillery Equipment / Process

    1 1.79%
  • Age in Barrel

    2 3.57%
  • Barrel Location

    7 12.50%
  • Final Barrel Selection

    29 51.79%
  • Blend of Barrels (If Not Single Barrel)

    4 7.14%
  • Other

    4 7.14%
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Results 11 to 20 of 24
  1. #11
    Guru
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    Dan,

    You're right, but . . .

    If I lived in Australia, I'm sure I'd agree with Cam. A world-class product that one cannot obtain loses some of its lustre.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  2. #12
    Guru
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    3,889

    Cool

    Okay, I took the original poster's advice and considered my favorite bourbons and thus came up with the answer, "Final barrel selection".

    Some of my top favorites are Blanton's, Rock Hill Farms, and Elmer T. Lee. All are basically the same whiskey, but they are distinctly different from each other due to the selection process by the master distiller and his associates.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  3. #13
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Of course, if someone in the know tells me that barrels are a mere commodity (identical save for char level), just as corn is, I would have to accept it.
    Not going to say that but some here have reported a bit about barrels and there's been a change. I have some HH barrels I got along with the antique cooperage equipment, some with staves as narrow as 3/4 -1 inch. They say Beam has the highest standards for barrels and they may well "have" had. I have an old Jim Beam barrel that the staves were all very closely the same width with none less than 2 inches wide. I followed a load out the other day and I saw barrels with staves down to the 3/4-1 inch width. Now how much if any difference this makes I have no clue. Nevertheless they are accepting the narrower staved barrels.
    ___Bobby Cox___
    ____________

    May you have wonderful things thought of to do...

  4. #14
    Connoisseur
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    I have to agree with Cam, as well. True, the pure definition of 'World class' has nothing to do with global availability but somehow I feel that being able to retain high quality even if you increase production numbers should be an important criterium in defining something as top notch.

    For instance, I love Makerīs black and JD Master Distiller but would these be able to remain as classy as they are if they were produced in higher quantities? I suspect not.
    Delighted to see you if you can find me!

  5. #15
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Bobby, dollars to donuts the smaller stave size is to hasten maturation. Brick and other modern structures tend to mature bourbon more slowly than in the past. I believe it is in Waymack and Harris where Booker Noe was interviewed and said the warehouses currently used (I guess he meant the big one pictured looking like a hangar) mature the product more slowly and another "year or two" (as I recall) is necessary to bring the product to the desired state compared to what was done in earlier years. I suspect even HH, which owns well-insulated storage space in Louisville, is seeking ways to mature the whiskey faster (even though currently no bourbon is stored there). I would think the extra space lines from the smaller staves, tight as they may be, would encourage more air exchange and therefore faster maturation. True, outage may increase but perhaps the net savings are reckoned to be worth it. Other theories I have are possibly modern woods are not as susceptible to being cut as wide as before (strength factor?) although this seems not likely to me. Innovation, within of course the regulations that prescribe how the product is made, is never-ending, nor should it be otherwise.

    Gary

  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    I left an important piece of information out, sorry. The staves are random width to a degree. Of course the widest is the bung stave approaching 4 inches, then all the others. On an old Beam barrel one would not see the narrowest get below the 2 inch that I mentioned, but other barrels, including the HH barrel goes down to the 1 inch width. As I said I see Beam is letting them get that small now. When I read your post, Gary it looked like perhaps I drew a picture of a barrel made completely of those 1 inch staves. At any rate, Jim Beam uses iron clad country warehouses as far as I know.

    I bet Booker was talking about the palletized houses they have that stand the barrels on end rather than the sides and are low as are the 4 roses houses.
    Last edited by bobbyc; 07-11-2006 at 06:52.
    ___Bobby Cox___
    ____________

    May you have wonderful things thought of to do...

  7. #17
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Thanks Bobby, but even the increased (non-exclusive) use of smaller staves may be calculated to hasten maturation time. I know that Beam uses different warehouses but the one I was referring to indeed is a huge palletized warehouse and was pictured in the account mentioned. Is it not being used to age bourbon anymore?

    Gary

  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    They have both, presently are building more rick type houses some to be used for Knob Creek only I believe.
    ___Bobby Cox___
    ____________

    May you have wonderful things thought of to do...

  9. #19
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    That should improve the aging and the fact they will use them for Knob Creek suggests to me they realise the big well-insulated centrally heated and cooled hangars are not suitable for that kind of product. By the way I have never accepted that cycling is all that great a process. Yes, it ages products in a predictable way but I don't think it can be as good as natural ventilation and warming. I had some Birthday bourbon (2005's) that seemed to me a little awkward in palate and I wonder if cycling may explain why. I can't be sure of course but it seemed kind of simplistically woody/sweet in a way I don't ever recall from HH's products or Four Roses' or WT's. Birthday when first issued though wasn't like that, so there may be other variables. All things being equal though, I think a country house will deliver the best product. I've never noticed anything from BT suggesting an effect of cycling but I recall reading on the board that its use of the process is not systematic, e.g., some of the cycling equipment is not used, or they also ventilate the same buildings naturally, etc. Maybe it depends too how each producer who uses it handles the process.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 07-11-2006 at 13:08.

  10. #20
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    I finally worked up enough nerve (necessary because of a total lack of first or even second-hand knowledge) to cast a vote -- for "Final Barrel Selection". I was a little surprised to view the overall results.

    My vote is based on the status quo in the industry today. If I were to embark on such an enterprise, my failure to achieve world-class status would probably arise from an earlier action, probably "Distillery Equipment/Process", and that's if I were very lucky. I wouldn't know enough to reject moldy corn if someone tried to foist it off as top quality.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

 

 

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