Benjamin Prichard's Double Barreled Bourbon Straight from the Horse's mouth
It is generally agreed that the cost of the barrel may be the single most expensive element used in the production of bourbon. Thatís why bourbon is aged at significantly higher proof than is declared to be the brandís bottle proof. The industry has determined that it is cost effective, almost without exception, to put the whiskey into the barrel at 125 proof and reduce the bourbon to bottle proof with water. The water is essentially free. Always remember, ďCost effectiveĒ is another way of saying, ďitís cheaperĒ. There is nothing cheap about Benjamin Prichardís Double Barreled Bourbon. In fact, our exclusive process is very expensive. Double Barreled Bourbon is aged in two, new charred American oak barrels. The process includes cutting the Bourbon from its original barrel proof to a very drinkable proof and aging it for a minimum of two more years.
Explaining the Process
Youíve just poured yourself a bowl of chicken soup and it was too hot. You drop in an ice cube to cool it down. Being successful at cooling it down, you find it now tastes like chicken soup dilute! The solution to the problem; put it back in the stock pot and reinforce the dilute soup with those bones and flavors in the pot. Water has no flavor and water dilutes flavor. Just like the chicken soup, water does the same thing to bourbon. Re-barreling the bourbon is somewhat like putting the chicken soup back in the stock pot.
Double Barreled Bourbon began with the purchase of a select batch of seven year old, premium Bourbon by Prichardís Distillery for production using our own unique process of cutting the bourbon from its original 125 proof to 90 proof. Dumped from the original barrels, cut and re-barreled in the new, charred American oak barrels, the aging process begins anew. To understand why we chose to pursue this very expensive process, you must understand what makes Bourbon, Bourbon and other whiskies different.
Trees are in the Business of Making Sugar and Alcohol is made from Sugar!
We know trees are in the business of making sugar because we all understand maple trees make maple syrup. Hardwood trees like white oak, store much of the sugar produced in the wood of the tree. When the barrel is burned, the sugars stored in the wood are caramelized much as the way sugar is burned on the stove to make a caramel dessert. When alcohol, being made from sugar and having an affinity for sugar, is poured into the barrel, the first elements of the barrel to be absorbed into the alcohol are the natural, caramelized sugars stored in the burnt wood, hence the natural caramel color of bourbon whiskey. Eventually and rather quickly, virtually all the sugars are leached into the alcohol and bourbon takes on the slight sweetness for which it is noted and the rest of the oak tannins and woody flavors complete the absorption process over time. Time however, is not Bourbonís best friend. With time, because the barrels are new, the barrel notes can become too woody a!
nd bitter, perhaps best described as the flavor of tree bark! There is such a thing as over aged Bourbon; a condition generally occurring somewhere after twelve or more years.
Bourbon is Sweet / Scotch is not Sweet
Herein lies the difference in those who like Bourbon and those who like Scotch. Bourbon is sweeter than Scotch. Scotch is aged in used barrels, barrels long stripped of most of the natural sugars by the whiskies or wines stored originally in the barrels. People who like Bourbon like it because of it sweetness; folks who prefer Scotch do so because it is not so sweet. The exclusive process used to make Benjamin Prichardís Double Barreled Bourbon provides a second infusion of the natural sweetness stored in the second barrel, and reinforces the flavors for which Bourbon is so noted. The bitter tannins and other favor agents associated with time are minimized since the second barrel is aged for less than three years.
Benjamin Prichardís Double Barrel Bourbon is truly a Limited Edition! As previously mentioned, Prichardís Distillery purchased a select batch of premium Bourbon. The original purchase was for 4000 gallons, the first year, and the plan was to purchase a second batch of 400 gallons the second year and to increase our purchase to 6000 gallons the next, etc. The plan seemed viable. There was a glut of unsold bourbon with consumersí taste focusing largely on super premium vodka; it seemed there would be ample bourbon for us to enter the whiskey market with a really profitable venture. Few predicted the turn of the market to bourbon and producers where caught short. Regardless, there was no surplus bourbon to buy the following year, especially of the quality we demanded for our Double Barreled Bourbon.
Now, the industry has met the challenge; there is beginning to be surplus bourbon available, but it will not taste the same as the bourbon we originally purchased. If Prichardís Distillery were to purchase bourbon today, the re-barreling and additional aging will require at least two years before it is ready for sale. Yes, there will be another addition of Benjamin Prichardís Double Barreled Bourbon someday and we promise it will be wonderful. Another thing we promise, it will not taste the same!
As of June 1, 2008 there are only 12 barrels of the original purchase of Benjamin Prichardís Double Barreled Bourbon remaining. We will commence the bottling the remainder of the barrels within the next few weeks. Depending on how thirsty the Angels have been, there may be as few as two hundred cases left for sale in the world! There are no more!!
Phil Prichard, President