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Steve L

To Vat? Or Not To Vat? That Is The Question...

I've pored over (and also poured over) the Vatting Thread and am kinda awed by the level of energy and the breadth of potions concocted by SB's many vatting-fiends -- but I'm also curious to hear from those less enthusiastic about the practice.  I've been mixing some old OF86 and OFSig and really enjoying the resulting 93 proof combo.  But I wonder if it's just something my brain is "rooting for" because hey, after all...I mixed it.

 

So, curious about two things:  

 

1) Those who vat: what have you found to be enduringly good blends that you mix up on a regular basis?  Like, vattings that have become a regular part of your rotation?   and:

 

2) Those who don't vat (or used-to vat but gave it up) -- what's your take on it?   

 

 

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Hey Steve,

I vat because I love to experience the taste of something that I / you /someone may have never tasted before, and I enjoy it. One of my all time fav's was  AAA10/Stagg Jr. however the AAA10 is no longer out there, fortunately I have a few bunkered. Most of my vattings come on Friday's when a friend and I get together for some pours, he always brings over 3 bottles and I match them with 3 of my own, so when we're tasting them I always go in and try a few vats with the selections, you never know what you may come up with.

 

Another long time fav for me was JBB/JBW - 40/60

 

If you are interested I have a vatting spreadsheet I would gladly send to you, just input your choices and how much / many of it you want and it calculates the proof for you. shoot me a pm if you would like it.

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I've got a decanter that always has some vat or another in it.  The two I come back to most often, though are:

 

Equal parts MMCS, Stagg Jr, ECBP, and water.  This is a play on the original Ron's Four Grain from years ago.

 

Equal parts MMCS, Stagg Jr, ECBP, Bookers, FR OESK, WTRB, and WR, and then enough water to dumb it down to 90 proof.  This is a play on the Unity Bottle from a couple years ago.

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When i first saw the vatting thread I was excited as hell to try it. I tried a couple with OGD 114, but just haven't found one that hits my taste buds right. One that i keep coming back to is the SB Blend (W12 and OWA) I started at 60/40 OWA:W12 and didn't care for it so much, but when I went to 50/50 I found I liked it so much it became a regular pour. Not only do I prefer it to both W12 and OWA alone, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. 

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41 minutes ago, Steve L said:

 

2)Those who don't vat (or used-to vat but gave it up) -- what's your take on it?   

 

 

I'm probably in this camp- meaning I don't do it regularly. I had a pretty long run with a wheated infinity blend. But consumption outpaced production. :) My take is (as you point out) there is a longstanding thread topic devoted to this subject. People like Gary Gilman have put in a lot of time and effort for the edification of the group. Plus it's a fun and interesting way for folks to play with their whiskey. We often talk about whiskey as a hobby. Beyond collecting -and of course consuming- I think things like vatting or barrel aging experiments are the clearest examples of "hobbyist" activities. 

 

It it is often repeated on here- if you aren't having fun then you are doing it wrong. If mini-barrels or mad scientist vattings make you happy then more power to you. 

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11 minutes ago, JTaylor said:

When i first saw the vatting thread I was excited as hell to try it. I tried a couple with OGD 114, but just haven't found one that hits my taste buds right. One that i keep coming back to is the SB Blend (W12 and OWA) I started at 60/40 OWA:W12 and didn't care for it so much, but when I went to 50/50 I found I liked it so much it became a regular pour. Not only do I prefer it to both W12 and OWA alone, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. 

The OWA W12 combo makes a lot of sense to me.  I have only one little lonely bottle of W12 -- so will start small!  

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26 minutes ago, Old Dusty said:

I'm probably in this camp- meaning I don't do it regularly. I had a pretty long run with a wheated infinity blend. But consumption outpaced production. :) My take is (as you point out) there is a longstanding thread topic devoted to this subject. People like Gary Gilman have put in a lot of time and effort for the edification of the group. Plus it's a fun and interesting way for folks to play with their whiskey. We often talk about whiskey as a hobby. Beyond collecting -and of course consuming- I think things like vatting or barrel aging experiments are the clearest examples of "hobbyist" activities. 

 

It it is often repeated on here- if you aren't having fun then you are doing it wrong. If mini-barrels or mad scientist vattings make you happy then more power to you. 

Agreed on all points.  Tinker if you want, don't do it if you don't.  Having fun with the hobby is the most important thing.

 

I do vattings if there is something open that I don't enjoy.  As I've gotten pickier about what I buy, the need to do this has mostly disappeared.  Every once and a while I'll get a wild hair and try it out, typically with decent results.  I do have a several year old solera bottle that has a bit of everything in it.  Right now it's in a 2013 OFBB bottle, but need to put it in something else because that is a pretty annoying footprint.  I don't think I have added anything to it in a year or two.  I'll probably top it off with an ounce or so of Michter's 10 when I think to do it.

 

I find single malts to be more fun than bourbon for blending.  The results aren't as predictable and can sometimes turn disastrous, but there is such a wide variety of flavors to work with.

Edited by garbanzobean

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29 minutes ago, Steve L said:

The OWA W12 combo makes a lot of sense to me.  I have only one little lonely bottle of W12 -- so will start small!  

 

One thing I HAVE learned from vatting is ALWAYS START SMALL! I have about 375ml of a OGD 114 / MM vatting (my first vatting attempt) that just did not become what I had hoped. Now I'm afraid I'll either be using it as a mixer or as a starter for a "last pour" vatting. I've seen a lot of folks doing that with mostly positive results.

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On 1/10/2017 at 0:04 PM, Steve L said:

. . .

 

2) Those who don't vat (or used-to vat but gave it up) -- what's your take on it?   

 

 

 

This is me. Every once in awhile, I try a vatting recipe in a vatting thread on SB and get really excited because I like it a lot.  Then, time passes, and I forget about it - particularly when I empty the vatting and forget to refill the decanter or lack one of the ingredients or the label comes off in the dishwasher, etc.

 

Plus, I'm lazy.  Plus plus, I'm easily satisfied by most bourbons.

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I need to re-visit the vatting threads because I do fall in the camp of being someone who enjoys tinkering as a way of learning.  The few vattings I have done I enjoy coming back with a blind tasting to evaluate. My problem is that I haven't done much vatting and my first attempts were unsuccessful at coming up with something that was better (or in a couple instances, even as good) as the sum of its parts. In these last dark months of winter, it may be time to re-kindle the flame of experimentation and looking at successful recipes shared on the Vatting Thread seems a great place to start.

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I made a small vatting of 3-4 parts EW BiB and 1 part Ritt BiB last night and it was pretty tasty. To me, the Ritt has a nice sweet and spicy component that mingled well with the EW's wood, spice, and nutty flavors. More experimentation is needed with this one.

 

On a separate note, I plan on starting a "last-pour" bottle with the last oz. or so of each bottle I empty and see if everyone plays well together.

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I would consider vatting if I ended up with something too woody.

In the past, I tried mixing W12 and OWA.  It was ok, but I sort of prefer each separately for what they are.  

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2 hours ago, PaulO said:

I would consider vatting if I ended up with something too woody.

In the past, I tried mixing W12 and OWA.  It was ok, but I sort of prefer each separately for what they are.  

That is a good strategy. I participated in a blending workshop at Bulleitt during the KBA. Some of the older bourbons were available to us (Orphan Barrel type ages) which blended up very nicely with some 7yr old bourbons. I ended up really liking my blend a lot and was wishing I could take a whole bottle with me.

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