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  1. #1

    Nobody important here... just wondering...

    Is it just my imagination, or could it be

    that the truth is sometimes stretched on a few labels

    regarding the AGE of their product?


    After the sudden popularity of Makers in the last few years...how could...

    ...or after The Big Fire how could...

    ...or maybe after I discovered Elijah 18, and we drank all those bottles...

    What gives?

  2. #2
    Apprentice
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    Re: Nobody important here... just wondering...

    Welcome ..... I am new to the site myself and I have wondered about determining the age after blending. Don't know if they stretch the age or if some barrels magically appear.

    Also, I wonder if it is a common practice if they come across good barrels if they "sit on" them for a while to increase the aging.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Nobody important here... just wondering...

    I believe the age expressions, where used (Maker's does not carry one) are always accurate. I think the distilleries have too much riding if they get it wrong. I am not sure how in practice this is checked (there must be a way it is certified to authorities if asked) but I am sure all bourbon stated of a certain age is at least that age.

    I do think certain barrels are held back for more aging, and generally these will be those that either don't have a market (rare today as you noted) or will benefit from more aging.

    I will give you an example. Some bourbons retain an immature taste despite years in the barrel. Might be how it is made, or the particular warehouse location. So these will be held longer until ready although sometimes even at 10 years will show a vigorous grain character (e.g. Heaven Hill's 1783 brand).

    Also, where a bourbon is intended for long maturation, it will be warehoused sometimes in a slower-aging part of the building, e.g., on the bottom floor or center. In the scotch world, for a long aged whisky, a specific barrel will be used to hold the scotch or to which it is transferred so it ages more slowly (generally a cask reused many times). In bourbon of course it is all new charred barrels but there are variables to work with leading to the same result.

    Gary

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Nobody important here... just wondering...

    A further point I'd like to make, which may assist you, is that some brands regularly contained whiskeys of a higher age (at least in part) than is now the case. This is because in past years, bourbon makers could not necessarily sell all they made when the bourbon reached the minimum age for a given brand. Today, bourbon and rye sales have spiked so aged stocks are at a premium. This will generally mean that once the "legal" age is met for a brand the bourbon goes out the door for sale. So, maybe a brand that was identified as 6 years old had some whiskeys in it older than that whereas today, although still 6 years old, all the whiskey in the bottle is just that age when bottled.

    Also, it may be that a certain brand tastes somewhat different than it used to because a label check will show an age expression was changed or removed. Evan Williams Black Label used to be identified at 7 years of age, now that has been removed because it contains some whiskey aged 5 years which the distiller feels is mature enough for the brand profile. (Overall I think the profile has been maintained although the brand seems slightly less rich to me than 5 years ago or so).

    WT 101 used to be 8 years old in the domestic market, now it is a mix of 8 years and some younger barrels.

    So, overall probably many brands may seem "younger" in taste than in earlier years.

    Oddly though, EC 18 has always seemed different to me in this regard: at least up until last year, if you examined the label markings and factored in certain other information, it seemed many of the bottles were actually 21-25 years old. I don't know whether this is still so for the bottles coming out right now.

    As for Maker's Mark, it has for many years seemed to me fairly youngish in taste (I believe 4-5 years aged on average). Sometimes it has had a pine-like note which seems associated with this age band although recent samples seemed to me better integrated and very worthy.

    With bourbon, things don't stay the same for very long in certain details, which is a good thing, it is a living product one might say and influenced in its palate by many considerations.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 10-24-2007 at 06:20.

  5. #5
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    Re: Nobody important here... just wondering...

    I have a Bottle of EC 18 that was purchased in 2003. The back label states that the whiskey in this particular bottle was barreled in August 1982. Being a stated are of 18 years, one of 2 things happened: it was either bottled at 18 years and sat in the distribution channel for a few years or it was bottled at an older age and was sent to market soon after. I am no expert on this so maybe someone else has a better idea of how the process works!

    Thomas

  6. #6
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    Re: Nobody important here... just wondering...

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    I have a Bottle of EC 18 that was purchased in 2003. The back label states that the whiskey in this particular bottle was barreled in August 1982. Being a stated are of 18 years, one of 2 things happened: it was either bottled at 18 years and sat in the distribution channel for a few years or it was bottled at an older age and was sent to market soon after. I am no expert on this so maybe someone else has a better idea of how the process works!

    Thomas
    Age statements are minimums as it turns out.
    And it has been stated that some EC18 is 21 to 25 years old.
    I bought one in Sept. It was barrelled on April 1981, even if it sat on the shef for 2 years then it would be 24 year old whiskey.
    ovh

  7. #7

    Re: .. just wondering...

    WOW,

    Thank You all.


    I appreciate the thoughtful answers to my question.


    BTW:

    -Is it not true, that, Bourbon is aged in the barrel and Not the bottle?

    +

    -Sometimes, I've purchased what I know, for myself, to be a good tasting,


    well made brand of Bourbon, only to find it has a horrible aftertaste,


    something I can only liken to the smell or taste of furniture polish.


    It's truly undrinkable. It is skunked.


    Does Bourbon have a shelf life? What causes this?


    Thanks again,

    Y

  8. #8
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    Re: .. just wondering...

    Y.S.,

    Yes, the so-called "aging" of bourbon is due to the interaction between the distillate and the charred, inner surface of a white oak barrel (by Federal regulation). Any changes that may take place after bottling will most likely be due to interaction with air. Some disagreement exists as to the extent of those subsequent changes and whether they are positive or negative.

    Many members of this group have reported opening and enjoying bottles of bourbon several decades old. I've not had that privilege.

    I don't believe anything that might "go bad" would affect only the finish/aftertaste, but I could be wrong.

    The one thing to avoid is cork taint, which is guaranteed if one stores bourbon horizontally in the manner of wine. I ruined a few bottles that way before I learned here the damage I had done.

    It's been a while since I've plugged Chuck Cowdery's book; here goes. (His DVD is cool too, especially for those of us who have never visited bourbon country.)

    From your questions I would bet that you will find Chuck's book very informative. The one and only negative thing I can say about it is that time marches on; some of the information about specific bottlings is no longer current. Even so, I know of no better written introduction to bourbon.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Last edited by bluesbassdad; 10-25-2007 at 00:55.
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

 

 

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