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  1. #21
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    Re: What is Early Times?

    So only 20% is aged in used cooperage, how much could they be saving.
    I would just go all the with used or none at all and make a bourbon.

  2. #22
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    Re: What is Early Times?

    Chuck once explained the economics of that. B-F has certain profit requirements for each brand. To keep ET from slipping under, they used 20% used bourbon barrels, the saving was enough to keep them north of the line. That is how I recall the explanation anyway.

    Gary

  3. #23
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    Re: What is Early Times?

    That's the gist of it.

  4. #24
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    Re: What is Early Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    Chuck once explained the economics of that. B-F has certain profit requirements for each brand. To keep ET from slipping under, they used 20% used bourbon barrels, the saving was enough to keep them north of the line. That is how I recall the explanation anyway.

    Gary
    I could agree that there is an "economics" reason for doing this, but I just can't help but think it goes beyond using the used barrels. I think that may be only part of the equation. I gotta believe that the economic impact of using 20% used barrels is minimum, and that savings on this whiskey are achieved with what is going INTO those 20% of used barrels. Or, it's more involved than just dumping 20% of the same distillate in used barrels that just happen to be laying around. Otherwise, the economic impact is literally pennies/bottle. Maybe, that's enough?

    Does the used cooperage come directly from the same location that ET is produced? And, when they say "used", does that mean that a bourbon has been aged in them prior to, or are there other definitions of "used" in this case?

    JOE

  5. #25
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    Re: What is Early Times?

    The savings could be more than you think. Remember that when you buy a bottle of whiskey at retail, you have in that a retail mark-up, a wholesale mark-up and a lot of taxes. Relative to the producer's actual profit, a small production cost savings can make a big difference in the bottom line. My dad was an engineer for an appliance manufacturer and he would work on projects that might reduce the cost of a certain part by two or three cents per unit, and that was important.

    A new barrel today costs in the neighborhood of $135. The cost of a used barrel is simply how much you won't make by selling it because, yes, the used barrels they use are their own used bourbon barrels. Sometimes the price for used barrels is as little as four or five dollars.

    So, yes, pennies per bottle is significant.

  6. #26
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    Re: What is Early Times?

    But is there any reason to expect a deterioration, or even a difference, in the taste? How can that difference in taste be described? Other than the fact that it misses by a technicality the definition of "bourbon", it is not a blended product and it doesn't strike me as a layman why the use of the product's own used cooperage for a small percentage of the inventory ought to mean a diminution in quality.

    I had a bottle last years of Michter's "Unblended American Whiskey", which I guess is the same basic deal as the ET (although presumably not aged in the product's own old barrels). I recall it had a distinctively fruity quality. I liked it, and would buy it again.

  7. #27
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    Re: What is Early Times?

    It should be said there was a little more method to ET's madness than just the cost savings. The use of used barrels helped them also achieve the taste profile they wanted, which was a pretty mild one. Aging bourbon in a first refill bourbon barrel gives you something that tastes like bourbon but has fewer barrel notes and more grain and yeast notes.

    I suspect that the "reformulated" Seagram's Seven being sold in Europe is made like a Canadian whiskey. They're taking a bourbon-type mash but distilling it above 160 proof, maybe approaching 190 even, then aging it in their own first refill bourbon barrels.

 

 

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