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Anyone tried or know anything about Joseph Magnus bourbon?


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Price seems  steep for sourced juice. Guy ahead of me in line says he thought it was great. I will trust you guys opinion over his however.

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Hi Earthquake! This might be a rather long post to fully answer your questions, so please bear with me. I work as a Master Blender and also as a maturation, warehousing, and blending consultant for a

@EarthQuake, yes, that's exactly what's going on after you mingle 2 or more barrels/bottles. And if you want to take your experiments a little further and you have a little $$ to spend on it, then you

Hi Tony, I haven't been on here in a few weeks and just now saw your question. So, the Magnus Murray Hill Club Special Release batch #1 is finished in Pineau des Charentes casks. For those not in the

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I tried it.  It's 8 years old finished in 3 different casks if I remember correctly.  It was OK, the finishes seemed to hide the bourbon taste.  In my book not worth $125

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So it's a sourced bourbon finished in sherry/port casks (don't we have enough of these?) that's place in very attractive packaging with a premium price.

Pass.

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Harry in WashDC
On 10/5/2016 at 9:48 AM, VAGentleman said:

I tried it.  It's 8 years old finished in 3 different casks if I remember correctly.  It was OK, the finishes seemed to hide the bourbon taste.  In my book not worth $125

 

I agree with VAG.

 

JosAMagnus is located here in Washington DC.  Its sourced straight bourbon and its sourced, blended (Murray Hill Club) whiskeys go for $85 plus tax per 750ml around town.  The blend is tasty, but at $85 per . . . 

 

They also make and sell Vigilant gin and Royal Seal vodka @ $30-35 per 750ml; their gin does make nice cocktails, but to me, vodka is vodka is vodka.  They are aging their own whiskey on premises, but it won't be ready for a few years.  If they can get the price down a bit (like into the Dad's Hat/Tom's Foolery/High West/Great Lakes Distilling range), and if their own distillate product is as interesting as their recently released Murray Hill blend, I will buy it occasionally.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with what's been said so far.  I had a couple small pours of the standard bottling at a tasting a couple weeks ago.  It was tasty but not worth the price in my opinion.

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  • 1 month later...

I recently tried both, and ended up buying the Murray Hill Club (blend).

Yes, it was priced at $85.

However after 2 pours, I found it to be one of the most complex whiskeys I've ever tasted.

It intrigued and delighted my taste buds.

Initially I got some citrus and orange flavors, then some light chocolate and eventually some shortbread/biscuit type flavors.  Then the orange again.

It just kept morphing as it spent time in the glass.

Is it the best thing I've ever had, NO. --It just hits the spot for when your in that mood for something completely different.  Also for messing with your friends minds a bit.

I think I got my money's worth.

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Harry in WashDC
55 minutes ago, 0895 said:

. . . I think I got my money's worth.

That's all that counts.

 

I haven't tried their bourbon, yet.  If somebody offered me a taste, I sure wouldn't turn it down, but until I can taste an NDP's product, I won't buy it @$70-80/750ml when I can get Smooth Ambler Old Scout for half the price.  OTOH, I have tried their gin, and it's well balanced and worth (to me) the $30 or so I paid for it.  When their own bourbon comes out, I will be near the front of the line.

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WhiskeyBlender

Hi there, I just thought I'd give a little insight into the production of the Jos. A. Magnus whiskeys, since I formulated and blend them. First though, sorry, I don't have any anything to do with the prices of the bottles. I keep strictly to production. 

 

When Magnus first contacted me several years ago, I was charged with the task of trying to recreate as closely as possible the whiskey that the original Jos. A. Magnus had produced. That production facility was open from 1892 to 1917 in Cincinnati, and they were distillers, blenders, and rectifiers. At any rate, a couple of old bottles from 1892 had been passed through the Magnus family for generations, which they gave to me, Dave Scheurich, and Richard Wolf to analyze. We got a needle and syringe and went down through the side of the bottle and cork to extract samples, since we didn't want to disturb the integrity of the bottles. Well, one of the bottles had basically turned to brown water, but the other one was one of the best bourbons any of us had ever tasted. And interestingly, it had notes that were very similar to sherry. We did some investigation, and found that when Magnus closed the distillery, they were selling off ex-Sherry casks that had been used for their whiskeys. 

 

The old bottle from 1892 had obviously been a sourced bourbon, since that was the year the distillery opened. It is possible that it could have come from the same plant that is now MPG, given its proximity to Cincinnati, but we don't know that for sure. It had a distinct sherry character to it, and it was clearly an older whiskey, so I was forced to use an older sourced bourbon and finish it in sherry casks if I wanted to approximate the taste of the original whiskey. However, I was finding that the sherry finish alone was not giving me all the right notes that came from the original whiskey, so I decided that using some medium-exhausted Cognac casks (I didn't want too much tannin) would do the trick. And it seemed to work. The sourced bourbon, which is now about 10 years old, did indeed come from MGP, but it had spent its entire maturation life at Heaven Hill. The barrels had been kept in a very damp, cool part of the rick house, so the proof had fallen down to somewhere between 99 to 103. Thus, the 100 proof on the Jos. A. Magnus Triple Cask finished bourbon is pretty much at cask strength when dumped, and it usually happens to fall around 100 proof anyway, so it really doesn't need much proofing down, if any. 

 

As for the Murray Hill Club Blended Bourbon, I didn't have any original bottles to go on. All I had that described the original whiskey were adds from the turn of the century that had nebulous descriptions such as "smooth," "the drink of gentlemen," "completely pure," "excellent quality," etc. I struggled and agonized for a long time about whether I should keep it as a straight bourbon, or be bold and make it into a blended bourbon. I knew that it might be criticized as a blended bourbon with the addition of light whiskey, but since I come from a brandy production background, I wanted to create something a little smoother and different from straight bourbon- more brandy-like, or more like a good quality Scotch Whisky blend such as John Glaser's Compass Box. Plus, I had remembered a quote from Chuck Cowdery from 1999 I believe, where he thought it would be great if producers started playing with this category and think of blending in the same way that Cognac and Scotch whisky blenders do. So, I have Chuck to thank for helping to make me take a chance and feel emboldened enough to explore the world of blended bourbon (many thanks Chuck!).

 

 I use about 75% straight bourbon on a PG basis in the MHC, which is well above the legal requirement of 51%. These bourbons are comprised mostly of 11 y.o. straight bourbon with some 18 year old to give it a little more depth. The light whiskey component is about 9 to 10 years old. @ Apprentice, I agree with you, it may not be the most earth shattering whiskey I've ever had either, but like you, I do think it is a pretty decent dram and aromatically, it does what I intended it to do. It will be a work in progress. I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

 

For those of you in or close to D.C., I'd love to hear your thoughts of the new Jos. Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon that was just released last week, if you get a chance to taste it. For that one, I used about 25% of the Jos. A. Magnus straight bourbon (the triple cask), married it with 11 and 18 year old straight bourbon with a higher rye content (the MGP 36% recipe), and finished it in Armagnac barrels. I was looking to create a little more depth and length on the palate than the other 2 whiskeys, with spice, prune, fig, leather, and tobacco aromas. 

 

At any rate, thanks for letting me ramble. I'm glad after all these years I finally quit trolling this site and joined!

 

Cheers,

Nancy

 

 

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10 minutes ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

Hi there, I just thought I'd give a little insight into the production of the Jos. A. Magnus whiskeys, since I formulated and blend them. First though, sorry, I don't have any anything to do with the prices of the bottles. I keep strictly to production. 

 

When Magnus first contacted me several years ago, I was charged with the task of trying to recreate as closely as possible the whiskey that the original Jos. A. Magnus had produced. That production facility was open from 1892 to 1917 in Cincinnati, and they were distillers, blenders, and rectifiers. At any rate, a couple of old bottles from 1892 had been passed through the Magnus family for generations, which they gave to me, Dave Scheurich, and Richard Wolf to analyze. We got a needle and syringe and went down through the side of the bottle and cork to extract samples, since we didn't want to disturb the integrity of the bottles. Well, one of the bottles had basically turned to brown water, but the other one was one of the best bourbons any of us had ever tasted. And interestingly, it had notes that were very similar to sherry. We did some investigation, and found that when Magnus closed the distillery, they were selling off ex-Sherry casks that had been used for their whiskeys. 

 

The old bottle from 1892 had obviously been a sourced bourbon, since that was the year the distillery opened. It is possible that it could have come from the same plant that is now MPG, given its proximity to Cincinnati, but we don't know that for sure. It had a distinct sherry character to it, and it was clearly an older whiskey, so I was forced to use an older sourced bourbon and finish it in sherry casks if I wanted to approximate the taste of the original whiskey. However, I was finding that the sherry finish alone was not giving me all the right notes that came from the original whiskey, so I decided that using some medium-exhausted Cognac casks (I didn't want too much tannin) would do the trick. And it seemed to work. The sourced bourbon, which is now about 10 years old, did indeed come from MGP, but it had spent its entire maturation life at Heaven Hill. The barrels had been kept in a very damp, cool part of the rick house, so the proof had fallen down to somewhere between 99 to 103. Thus, the 100 proof on the Jos. A. Magnus Triple Cask finished bourbon is pretty much at cask strength when dumped, and it usually happens to fall around 100 proof anyway, so it really doesn't need much proofing down, if any. 

 

As for the Murray Hill Club Blended Bourbon, I didn't have any original bottles to go on. All I had that described the original whiskey were adds from the turn of the century that had nebulous descriptions such as "smooth," "the drink of gentlemen," "completely pure," "excellent quality," etc. I struggled and agonized for a long time about whether I should keep it as a straight bourbon, or be bold and make it into a blended bourbon. I knew that it might be criticized as a blended bourbon with the addition of light whiskey, but since I come from a brandy production background, I wanted to create something a little smoother and different from straight bourbon- more brandy-like, or more like a good quality Scotch Whisky blend such as John Glaser's Compass Box. Plus, I had remembered a quote from Chuck Cowdery from 1999 I believe, where he thought it would be great if producers started playing with this category and think of blending in the same way that Cognac and Scotch whisky blenders do. So, I have Chuck to thank for helping to make me take a chance and feel emboldened enough to explore the world of blended bourbon (many thanks Chuck!).

 

 I use about 75% straight bourbon on a PG basis in the MHC, which is well above the legal requirement of 51%. These bourbons are comprised mostly of 11 y.o. straight bourbon with some 18 year old to give it a little more depth. The light whiskey component is about 9 to 10 years old. @ Apprentice, I agree with you, it may not be the most earth shattering whiskey I've ever had either, but like you, I do think it is a pretty decent dram and aromatically, it does what I intended it to do. It will be a work in progress. I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

 

For those of you in or close to D.C., I'd love to hear your thoughts of the new Jos. Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon that was just released last week, if you get a chance to taste it. For that one, I used about 25% of the Jos. A. Magnus straight bourbon (the triple cask), married it with 11 and 18 year old straight bourbon with a higher rye content (the MGP 36% recipe), and finished it in Armagnac barrels. I was looking to create a little more depth and length on the palate than the other 2 whiskeys, with spice, prune, fig, leather, and tobacco aromas. 

 

At any rate, thanks for letting me ramble. I'm glad after all these years I finally quit trolling this site and joined!

 

Cheers,

Nancy

 

 

Thank you for that wonderfully detailed report.  That kind of thought and effort is never considered rambling on SB, and in fact we LOVE IT!  Thank you, again.

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WhiskeyBlender

Thanks Smokinjoe! I could ramble all day about production stuff, but then I'd never get any blending done! ;-)

 

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Harry in WashDC
30 minutes ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

. . .

 

For those of you in or close to D.C., I'd love to hear your thoughts of the new Jos. Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon that was just released last week, if you get a chance to taste it. For that one, I used about 25% of the Jos. A. Magnus straight bourbon (the triple cask), married it with 11 and 18 year old straight bourbon with a higher rye content (the MGP 36% recipe), and finished it in Armagnac barrels. I was looking to create a little more depth and length on the palate than the other 2 whiskeys, with spice, prune, fig, leather, and tobacco aromas. 

 

At any rate, thanks for letting me ramble. I'm glad after all these years I finally quit trolling this site and joined!

 

Cheers,

Nancy

 

 

Oh, boy - no rest for the wicked.  I just finished a JD 150th anniversary BP last night so a spot opened up on the shelf.  And, my local deli/wine shop two blocks from my house carries Jos.P.M. plus I''m on the email list.  I guess I am obligated to go buy a bottle after all.  Oh, poor me.

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mark fleetwood
36 minutes ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

Hi there, I just thought I'd give a little insight into the production of the Jos. A. Magnus whiskeys, since I formulated and blend them. First though, sorry, I don't have any anything to do with the prices of the bottles. I keep strictly to production. 

 

When Magnus first contacted me several years ago, I was charged with the task of trying to recreate as closely as possible the whiskey that the original Jos. A. Magnus had produced. That production facility was open from 1892 to 1917 in Cincinnati, and they were distillers, blenders, and rectifiers. At any rate, a couple of old bottles from 1892 had been passed through the Magnus family for generations, which they gave to me, Dave Scheurich, and Richard Wolf to analyze. We got a needle and syringe and went down through the side of the bottle and cork to extract samples, since we didn't want to disturb the integrity of the bottles. Well, one of the bottles had basically turned to brown water, but the other one was one of the best bourbons any of us had ever tasted. And interestingly, it had notes that were very similar to sherry. We did some investigation, and found that when Magnus closed the distillery, they were selling off ex-Sherry casks that had been used for their whiskeys. 

 

The old bottle from 1892 had obviously been a sourced bourbon, since that was the year the distillery opened. It is possible that it could have come from the same plant that is now MPG, given its proximity to Cincinnati, but we don't know that for sure. It had a distinct sherry character to it, and it was clearly an older whiskey, so I was forced to use an older sourced bourbon and finish it in sherry casks if I wanted to approximate the taste of the original whiskey. However, I was finding that the sherry finish alone was not giving me all the right notes that came from the original whiskey, so I decided that using some medium-exhausted Cognac casks (I didn't want too much tannin) would do the trick. And it seemed to work. The sourced bourbon, which is now about 10 years old, did indeed come from MGP, but it had spent its entire maturation life at Heaven Hill. The barrels had been kept in a very damp, cool part of the rick house, so the proof had fallen down to somewhere between 99 to 103. Thus, the 100 proof on the Jos. A. Magnus Triple Cask finished bourbon is pretty much at cask strength when dumped, and it usually happens to fall around 100 proof anyway, so it really doesn't need much proofing down, if any. 

 

As for the Murray Hill Club Blended Bourbon, I didn't have any original bottles to go on. All I had that described the original whiskey were adds from the turn of the century that had nebulous descriptions such as "smooth," "the drink of gentlemen," "completely pure," "excellent quality," etc. I struggled and agonized for a long time about whether I should keep it as a straight bourbon, or be bold and make it into a blended bourbon. I knew that it might be criticized as a blended bourbon with the addition of light whiskey, but since I come from a brandy production background, I wanted to create something a little smoother and different from straight bourbon- more brandy-like, or more like a good quality Scotch Whisky blend such as John Glaser's Compass Box. Plus, I had remembered a quote from Chuck Cowdery from 1999 I believe, where he thought it would be great if producers started playing with this category and think of blending in the same way that Cognac and Scotch whisky blenders do. So, I have Chuck to thank for helping to make me take a chance and feel emboldened enough to explore the world of blended bourbon (many thanks Chuck!).

 

 I use about 75% straight bourbon on a PG basis in the MHC, which is well above the legal requirement of 51%. These bourbons are comprised mostly of 11 y.o. straight bourbon with some 18 year old to give it a little more depth. The light whiskey component is about 9 to 10 years old. @ Apprentice, I agree with you, it may not be the most earth shattering whiskey I've ever had either, but like you, I do think it is a pretty decent dram and aromatically, it does what I intended it to do. It will be a work in progress. I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

 

For those of you in or close to D.C., I'd love to hear your thoughts of the new Jos. Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon that was just released last week, if you get a chance to taste it. For that one, I used about 25% of the Jos. A. Magnus straight bourbon (the triple cask), married it with 11 and 18 year old straight bourbon with a higher rye content (the MGP 36% recipe), and finished it in Armagnac barrels. I was looking to create a little more depth and length on the palate than the other 2 whiskeys, with spice, prune, fig, leather, and tobacco aromas. 

 

At any rate, thanks for letting me ramble. I'm glad after all these years I finally quit trolling this site and joined!

 

Cheers,

Nancy

 

 

Now THAT'S a reply! Thank you, Nancy, great read. 

We can barely get 36 bottles of Armagnac out of France and into the U.S. each year. How do you get barrels?

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WhiskeyBlender

@ Mark Fleetwood: the Armagnac barrels were fairly easy to get through NAO-OAK, and brokered through my mentor, master distiller & blender Hubert Germain-Robin. They were about 11 years old before they were used for cask finishing the Cigar Blend, so fortunately they didn't have too many tannins to offer. 

 

@ Harry in WashDC: wow, I bet that 150 anniversary JD bottle was interesting! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the Cigar Blend. 

 

Cheers,

N

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Most of us here have very low opinions of NDP whiskey, especially when it's really expensive.

When we get detailed information about it's creation like you just provided, our ears perk right up.

Thank you for the report as well as the "why" behind it. Super interesting. It's not in my market (to my knowledge) but I'll keep an eye out for it.

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WhiskeyBlender

I completely understand why a lot of people feel that way, Steve, as so often NDP products are procured and bottled with little thought or understanding of how one can use the art of elevage and assemblage to create something truly unique. At any rate, I blend for a lot of distilleries- some distill their own juice, while others don't. Either way, my job is to create a spirit that is as good as I can possibly make it taste with the materials at hand. I figure if I can help bring someone a few hours of happiness while enjoying a dram or two , the world will be a better place! :-) 

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Nancy,

 

Thank you for your input here.  You can never 'ramble' too much, with this bunch!  We applaud, and appreciate, your time and effort.

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3 hours ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

I completely understand why a lot of people feel that way, Steve, as so often NDP products are procured and bottled with little thought or understanding of how one can use the art of elevage and assemblage to create something truly unique. At any rate, I blend for a lot of distilleries- some distill their own juice, while others don't. Either way, my job is to create a spirit that is as good as I can possibly make it taste with the materials at hand. I figure if I can help bring someone a few hours of happiness while enjoying a dram or two , the world will be a better place! :-) 

I totally respect what you do. I didn't use to really appreciate the art of blending. Then Jim Rutledge told me about two bourbons that were not very good on their own and how getting the blend right resulted in a very good end result. He wasn't talking about his own product and had no reason to be embellishing so it made an impression on me.

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Nancy -

Thanks for your detailed description of how you blended these whiskeys. I'll echo Steve and say I am not big on MGP whiskey that's been relabeled as something else. I'll add to it that I don't like finished products too much. Not a fan of Angel's Envy nor Alberta Dark Batch (also sherry finished I think?) nor even fruit in my beer! I do like 1792 port finish as I find the port flavor more subtle than the other finished whiskeys I've had. I also try to keep an open mind though I know my taste preferences.

Anyway, a friend gave me a bottle of the triple cask finished JM for my birthday last week. It was a very generous and well meaning gift. I was thinking it wasn't the best way to spend money on me given my tastes and not looking forward to it. I do have an open mind, but it will help me to taste it knowing what went into creating it and what you were trying to do. Thanks again for speaking up. I'll be sure to share my thoughts after giving it a try.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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7 minutes ago, T Comp said:

A little more on WhiskeyBlender here. I know this. By being so forthcoming I now consider myself a buyer. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-sniffer/386240/

This is awesome, thanks for sharing.

 

This entire thread is exactly why I log in to the site. I can drink my own whiskey just fine, but getting perspective from people in the industry like Nancy, and hearing the thoughts of some of the more seasoned vets really gives this alcoholic corn juice some added meaning.

 

Also, the article does a good job explaining a little more about exactly WHY cognac casks made sense in this Magnus bourbon.

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Thank You for taking the time to write that for Straight Bourbon. I find your job to be very interesting. Me & my twin brother's sense of taste & smell are also very strong. My oldest son (9) inherited the same trait. What you do is on another level though & I can truly appreciate that very much. Cheers!

 

This paragraph in " The Sniffer " issue made me laugh!

 

 

Quote

 

This sampling session, which lasted nearly eight hours, felt at times like a mid-semester parent-teacher conference. “I’m pleased with this progress,” Fraley said of one sample. “This one needs the most help,” she said of another. On the ninth sample, Fraley sniffed a bit more than usual, and scowled slightly. Finally, she likened it to a C student. “This will be okay for blending,” she noted. Jonathan looked up, slightly disheartened. “It’s like telling your kid, ‘You’re going to be a taxi driver,’ ” he said.

 

 

 

 

Edited by jbutler
Removed formatting from quoted passage.
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Nancy,

Thanks for the long winded reply.  I think it's fantastic that you are so upfront and transparent about the products.

I think that will only help you get the respect and support you're looking for.  Keep up the good work.

 

Very interested in trying the "Cigar Blend".  Any knowledge on if this one will make its way to Saint Louis?

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Harry in WashDC
17 hours ago, T Comp said:

A little more on WhiskeyBlender here. I know this. By being so forthcoming I now consider myself a buyer. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-sniffer/386240/

Thanks for the link, Thad.  And, thanks for being forthcoming, Nancy.  I feel better about spending my $80 in the next couple days.  Truth be told, I'll take THIS kind of hit for the team any day - I have some inside info.B)

Edited by Harry in WashDC
why I'll take the hit
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Thank you to Nancy for the insight on these bottles and thank you to Thad for the insight on Nancy! Great info all around. Thanks to your input, Nancy, I'm very interested in trying these products whereas I likely would have passed them by without the background. If only more NDPs would put this kind of thought into their work.

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Thanks for the input Nancy!

I got to sample some of the Triple Cask last week and found it very tasty myself.

I Put my name on the pre-order list.

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