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  1. #1
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    Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    I know it wouldn't be bourbon if it was aged in used barrels but has any company tried this as an experiment? Has anyone tasted the results? For example, what if beam dumped an OGD barrel after four years then refilled it with OGD white dog and aged it for twelve years?

  2. #2
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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    It would taste a lot like Early Times.

    True, Early Times has some whiskey in it aged in new charred wood, but 12 years in a second fill bourbon barrel alone might approximate a whiskey like Early Times, which is aged half that time in both new charred and refill charred wood.

    Gary

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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    It would taste a lot like Early Times.
    Lol. Nothing against Early Times, but that doesn't sound promising. I guess that process just works well for Scotch.

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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    Well, what about aged corn whiskey, like Mellow Corn? That is a bourbon mash aged (apparently) in re-used wood. Or take Michter's U.S. No. 1 American Whiskey, another bourbon mash aged (apparently again) in re-used bourbon barrels.

    The new barrel gives a lot to whiskey - makes it bourbon - the same base aged in whole or part in re-used bourbon barrels can't be bourbon, but it might still be good...

    Gary

  5. #5
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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve have used wine barrels for "finishing" bourbon, but both were originally aged in new oak.

    My guess is that the reason people don't experiment more with different barrels is that they couldn't legally call the result "bourbon".

  6. #6
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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    The industry has a lot of experience aging spirits in used bourbon barrels. Most scotch is aged in used bourbon barrels, as is most Canadian whiskey, as is most domestic brandy, even some rums (specifically Appleton) and tequilas (specifically Herradura).

    Companies sell the used barrels but also use them themselves. Used Jack Daniel's barrels have a second life aging Canadian Mist Canadian Whisky, Korbel Brandy, Appleton Rum and Herradura Tequila.

    Early Times is only unusual in that it is a bourbon-style whiskey that combines actual straight bourbon with bourbon-style whiskey aged in used cooperage. When barrels are dumped for Early Times, four-fifths of the barrels are straight bourbon. Only one-fifth are from the used cooperage.

    If you find Early Times unedifying, it's probably more because it's only 3 years old, rather than because of that little bit of used cooperage.

    As Gary mentioned, Mellow Corn is aged in used bourbon barrels. So is Seagram's Gin. The grain spirit used to make blends like Seagram's Seven also spends a few months in used bourbon barrels.

    The use of new charred barrels is one of the unique characteristics of American straight whiskey. It's what makes American straights what they are.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    I would have to assume that putting new bourbon in old bourbon casks has been tried and failed to produce a good product. The companies have the used barrels on site and are aware that other kinds of whiskey and spirits are succesfully aged in them. I don't see how someone doesn't try it unless it is to maintain tradition. If it works, I don't see how they don't try to make money off of it.

    I've never tried Early Times so I shouldn't have suggested it wasn't good. I guess I read Gary's post as saying "this would produce a bottom shelf product."

  8. #8
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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    I meant there are products in the market (a number have now been mentioned) that offer the taste of whiskey aged partly or 100% in re-used bourbon barrels, so it is possible to see in other words what the method produces.

    Early Times is a good product but as Chuck said it is three years old - so that must be taken into account when sampling it. Because it has true bourbon it, I thought too that might make it taste to a degree anyway like a bourbon mash aged in re-used bourbon barrels for twleve years - by a kind of off-set if you see what I mean.

    Another instance: Hotalings Old Potrero - that is a rye mash aged I believe in a toasted cask - not re-used bourbon barrels but something not so different from them I think.

    And the result is quite good, the grainy qualities are still evident but modified with age.

    I think it is true that aging a bourbon mash wholly in ex-bourbon barrels or new oak probably won't deliver something with the overall quality and appeal of bourbon. Interesting products might result I suspect from combining whiskeys aged by bourbon and non-bourbon methods, but here the length of aging and other factors become more important. Early Times at 6 or 10 years barrel age might be quite interesting for example. The BTEC shows an interesting result of holding an all-bourbon subsequently in an ex-wine cask.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 03-07-2008 at 04:28.

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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post

    Early Times is a good product but as Chuck said it is three years old - so that must be taken into account when sampling it. Because it has true bourbon it, I thought too that might make it taste to a degree anyway like a bourbon mash aged in re-used bourbon barrels for twleve years - by a kind of off-set if you see what I mean.

    Gary
    I see what you mean by that offset. I guess I'm thinking along the lines that aging wise, in one barrel, years 1-4 don't necesarily equal years 5-12 or 5-16 and that some tannins or other properties would dissapear in those first years.

    Thanks for the info about Mello Corn, Michters No.1, Early Times and Old Potrero. I didn't know any of that. Old Potrero was already on my buy or taste at some point list and I think I will add the others (especially Michters No. 1.)

  10. #10
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    Re: Bourbon aged in second fill barrels?

    No problem and just a caution, most Old Potrero whiskey (whether aged in charred barrel or toasted wood) is about 2-3 years old. Hotalings was a special edition aged 11 years.

    Gary

 

 

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