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  1. #1
    Novice
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    Nov 2005
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    Louisville, KY
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    Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    My understanding of single barrel bourbon goes something like this (please correct me if I'm wrong): Take a brand like Four Roses for instance. The distillers taste barrels and when they find a particularly good Barrel they pull it away from the rest and bottle it as single barrel. The non-single barrel bourbon will be made from combining many barrels to balance differences in taste.

    Okay, now to my question - several brands are only available as single barrel. Specifically, I refer to Blantons and Rock Hill Farms. If barrels are not selected to be single barrel, then what bourbon do those barrels become? If every barrel becomes single barrel bourbon, doesn't that defy the whole point of single barrel bourbon?

    Thanks,
    Jimmy

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    Interesting question but I don't think the concept of single barrel becomes negated or muddied just because every barrel of a particular brand happens to be bottled on its own. It simply means the brand by definition will show constant - not necessarily large - variations.

    In fact however I believe there are barrels that "could" become Four Roses Single Barrel but do not because they become part of, say, Bulleit, or maybe Four Roses. And Blanton barrels that are rejected as singles (for whatever reason - maybe too because you can only sell so much Blanton single barrel) become part of another brand, say, Buffalo Trace. There are only two bourbon mash bills at Sazerac Brands. "Blanton" could theoretically go into any one of the bourbons with which it shares a mash bill.

    Gary

  3. #3
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    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    I know we talk a lot about Buffalo Trace's mash bill #1 and mashbill #2. But I am sure I have read here that there are 4 or was it 5 mashbills there. There must be a straight rye mashbill, admittedly not a bourbon, and there would have to be a wheated bourbon, too. Mashbill #1 is high corn low rye and mashbill 2# has a higher percentage of rye.

    Someone correct me it I am wrong, it happens all to often.

    Ken? Are you out there?

    Ed

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    Jul 2005
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    Mentor, Ohio, USA
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    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    Hi Jimmy - first of all I agree with everything Gary said (as per usual). I would add that, today, distilling and aging are such sciences that there isn't much bourbon made today that you wouldn't want to use somewhere. Not always the case, I'm sure. But my guess here is Jimmy Russell knows when he puts a particular distillate into a certain barrel into a certain warehouse that there is a 90% likelihood it will grow up to be Kentucky Spirit. I would guess the underachievers become Wild Turkey 101 and the real slackers, WT 80

    Ken

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
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    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
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    499

    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    Your recall is right on. We currently have 5 different mash bills, however, among our experimental barrels, several new mash bills exist. If they taste good when they reach 8 - 10 years of age, you will see some radical new recipes.

    Ken

  6. #6
    Enthusiast
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    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
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    499

    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    When we produce a brand like Rock Hills Farm, we understand that from mash bill #2, less than 5% of the barrels will qualify for single barrel status. We purposely place barrels in specific warehouse locations with the intent they will become single barrel, however, they still have to meet the flavor profile. If they don't, we have larger brands the whiskey can be used in.

    Ken

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Jul 2005
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    Mentor, Ohio, USA
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    837

    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    When we produce a brand like Rock Hills Farm, we understand that from mash bill #2, less than 5% of the barrels will qualify for single barrel status. We purposely place barrels in specific warehouse locations with the intent they will become single barrel, however, they still have to meet the flavor profile. If they don't, we have larger brands the whiskey can be used in.

    Ken
    Wow, Ken, I had no idea the number would be so low. Amazing! Thanks!!

    Ken

  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria - Australia
    Posts
    229

    Re: New recipies??

    Wow Ken, I am learning so much from these forums. It is fantastic to have someone from the industry confirm all these facts and inform us on what is going on. I am really wanting to come over and have a tour so I am planning on early next year(I hope!!)
    Tell me Ken how many wharehouses do you guys have and how many barrels do they hold in total??
    Regards,
    Troy.

  9. #9
    Disciple
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    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    Thaks Ken, I sure am looking forward to those experimental barrels. I hope there is enough to go around when they are mature.

    Ed

  10. #10
    Disciple
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    Feb 2005
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    Japan, (American)
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    Re: Bourbons that are only available as single barrel

    Every time I see a post that mentions Rock Hill Farms I get thirsty. I have never seen it here in Japan, not even on the Japanese website I mentioned the other day in another thread. I may have to order some and have it sent to my parent's place.
    Ed

 

 

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