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  1. #1
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    Charcoal Filtration

    Chris's post about the upcoming trip to Tennessee reminded me of a question.

    Is Evan Williams the only bourbon that uses charcoal filtration? Is their charcoal from maple wood, as is Jack Daniel's?

    I've wondered why they choose to use charcoal filtration at all. I would think that it would alienate bourbon fans without winning over any Jack Daniel's fans.

    Is the EW Single Barrel also charcoal filtered?

    I picked up a bottle of EWSB 1992 at a supermarket last night (temporarly setting aside my search for entry-level bourbons!). I couldn't resist trying it when I got home. Thankfully, it didn't taste anything like the bottle of EW 12 y/o (charcoal filtered) that I finally gave up on a while back.

    At first blush it reminded me of Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve, although I haven't tasted RR since my vacation a couple of weeks ago.

    Tonight I plan to try them side by side to see how similar they really are.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield


    Retiree, Musician, Dog-Lover, Whiskey-Drinker

  2. #2
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Charcoal Filtration

    Dave there is a very BIG difference between the 'Lincolin County Process' wherein whiskey is leached through sweet sugar maple charcoal and simple filtration through activated charcoal. The 'LCP' is a kind of artificial aging process that is employed by Tennessee distillers. It sweetens the whiskey before it enters the barrels.

    Using activated charcoal after aging cuts barrel tannins. These tannins can leave a harsh taste in the bourbon, especially in the finish. The 'AC' filtration can be a bit intrusive, so 'chill filtering' has largely taken it's place. A. Smith Bowman uses both activated charcoal and chill filtration in its production of Virginia Gentleman Bourbon. VG90 or ' The Fox' as it is better known is young; clean, and spanky. I like it. I like it a lot. Some say any filtration strips flavor. That is true. I like filtration that strips out the unpleasent flavors and leaves the good flavors. Master Distiller Joe Dangler at Virginia Gentleman knows what he's doing. Just taste it and see for yourself. Virginia Gentleman 90 proof six years old -> better known as 'The Fox' -> high corn and low wheat. Doubled filtered for a cleaner crisper taste. Find it. Drink it. Love it. Once you try it you just can't live without it.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Charcoal Filtration

    To expand a little on Linn's answer, the Lincoln County Process uses a column of hard maple charcoal about 10 feet thick, through which the new whiskey is slowly dribbled. "Charcoal filtering" as practiced by other distillers involves a thin sandwich of filter material containing charcoal, through which the whiskey is piped just before bottling. The primary purpose of this filtering is to remove amino acids that cause "chill haze" in bourbon, which is a slight cloudiness that appears when the whiskey gets cold. This is primarily a cosmetic issue with retailers, who don't want their merchandise to appear cloudy on cold winter mornings after the heat has been on low overnight. Distillers always argued that this filtering does not affect flavor but now we know that isn't true and that the harm to flavor is worst with low proof (80-90) expressions. Since distillers are not going to stop filtering, the solution is the buy higher proof bourbons.

    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Charcoal Filtration

    Well said Sir,

    I found out for myself all about "CHILLIN" from the main man at Heaven Hill----Chris Briney----He explainded just what you said....We chill filter all our bourbon.....Even the single barrels......(I made a special note to make sure I found out the answer to it.....ya know the big black X on the top of your right hand).......At Heaven Hill it is strictly for cosmetic purposes....and ya know what.......CHARCOAL was never mentioned.....I have been in the processing in the upper tank rooms........that stuff that is in the chillers is white....I think they call it filtrate....I will find out for sure..

    Bettye Jo


  5. #5
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    Re: Charcoal Filtration

    Linn,

    I have a bottle of Virginia Gentleman that has no age statement on the bottle.

    How does it compare to the six year-old, 90 proof?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield


    Retiree, Musician, Dog-Lover, Whiskey-Drinker

  6. #6
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Charcoal Filtration

    Dave the regular 'red label' Virginia Gentleman is around four years of age and is a lower proof 80 vs. 90. It's the very same whiskey, but it doesn't possess the charms of the 'Fox'.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  7. #7
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    Re: Charcoal Filtration

    Linn,

    I am now officially on the hunt for "The Fox".

    I really like the red-lable. I even sneaked in an inconsequential tasting report at the end of my "Eureka!" post.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield


    Retiree, Musician, Dog-Lover, Whiskey-Drinker

 

 

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