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Mako254

SAOS 10, MGP mash bill same as Belle Meade

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Mako254

I try to be disciplined with my buying. Initially, I bought a bottle if the store guy suggested it, I’d seen a random review on twitter, or just felt I ‘had to have a xx’ on the shelf. This left me with a lot of bottles I wasn’t happy with. Finally, I sorted through it and started figuring out what I liked and didn’t like. I made a list of bottles to buy when ever I came across them and a bunker list of things to get back ups for if the primary bottles weren’t available. I budget abt $200/ month (or more. Sometimes) to this hobby and know I cant buy everything I want, so I focus on what I know I like and try to build from there. 

 

I say all that to say that while this is effective, I do miss out certain bottles or lines if they aren’t on my radar. Several months ago, I picked up a SAOS 10 on the advice of a store manager (who has proven he knows his business and has treated me well) and to help build a relationship with him. The bottle sat unopened until I took it to Jacksonville for Florida Georgia. I made a couple old fashioneds with it before doing a serious tasting and was very surprised. The bottle went up stairs and I used another bottle for drinks. 

 

Problem is, I cant find this stuff. I know it is a sourced product from MGP. I’ve heard that belle meade buys the same mash bill. I bought one of their standard bottles during the early phase and didn’t care for it but lately 3 different barrels with 9-11 years on them have showed up around town. 

 

So to wrap up, anyone know how close the Belle Meade single barrels are to the juice SA was sourcing for OS10 and OS cask?

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tanstaafl2

No one knows for sure except the bottlers I suppose. It has never said what the mashbill was on the label. They both use the same spirit in as much as they both got barrels from MGP. But the profiles they went for seemed to be a bit different.

 

MGP makes two main rye Bourbon mashbills, a high rye and a "medium" rye. The general mashbills are similar to Four Roses with whom they are kind of kissing cousins given they both descended from the Seagram's days.

 

I have been told in the past by one of the brothers at Belle Meade (can't ever remember which one!) that their usual bourbon batch is a blend of those two mashbills. If it is a true single barrel release then it would of course have to be one or the other but can't be both. But they could use either one and probably do.

 

I don't know if Smooth Ambler blended the mashbills for the standard bourbon batch too. I know they did so for a special bottling of bourbon for the K&L Wines Faultline brand. I recall that the SA single barrels could be either mashbill in the past. I seem to remember the 10yo they had was typically the medium rye mashbill. 

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Mako254

I didn’t even think of the seagrams connection between Four Roses and MGP. 4R is easily my favorite distillery and most of my budget goes to cask strenght single barrels. Might have to give some of the Belle Meade barrels a try. And keep an eye out for any stray SAOS10. 

 

Thanks for the reply. Good stuff. 

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LCWoody

I don't think you will be disappointed. They are very similar. I would buy one and try it. 

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Mako254

Thanks LC. Going to give one a try. 

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JoeTerp

My recollection is that the SAOS10 is the lower rye MGP (21%) and the SAOS7 is the higher rye (36%).  The SAOS SB's can be either, but I think most people believe they're generally the high rye.  I believe you can contact SAOS and they can tell you.  

 

As for Belle Meade, I believe they blend their normal offering and the website is pretty lacking in detail around the cask strength single barrel version.  Since it only states as high rye, my guess is that it's not consistently the same mash bill as 21% rye is still pretty high.

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JT3NSB

I find the belle meade single barrel cask strength store pics to be very similar to the SAOS in flavor and profile.  

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WhiskeyBlender

Mash bill alone, while obviously important, won't be the sole factor in how similar or different these bourbons will be from each other. In having worked with and blended a LOT of MGP-based bourbons over the years, one of the big things I've found that affects the aromatics and flavor is where and how the bourbon is warehoused during the maturation process. When distillers source from MGP and the like, they don't really get to choose what part of the rick house those barrels come from, so the aromatic profiles will be all over the map. And if the barrels were stored at the MGP campus vs. another bonded site, that will make a significant difference in how the aromas develop (say, for instance, maturation in a cool cement building will be very different than it is in a white-roof & sided metal clad warehouse, where there is a lot more diurnal variation, especially in the summer months). To complicate matters, barrels might spend part of their maturation life in one location, and then get transferred to a new location where the climate is very different. 

 

For example, I worked with some MGP distilled, 21% recipe that spent the majority of its maturation life in a very damp, cool, low-row environment at Heaven Hill. Over the course of 8 years, the proof had fallen from an entry of 120 down to around 100, so it gave the bourbon a lot of roundness, but also slightly muted the spice from the rye. This profile was vastly different from barrels from the same MGP 21% recipe that I've also worked with that have come from up high in rick house, where it can be quite hot, thus allowed from more acid, ester, etc. development. Thus, the temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and exposure to/lack of ventilation will have significant effects on the final aromatic profile. 

 

Of course, age can be a factor as well, as the barrels will continue to go in and out of oxidation cycles as well as the years roll by. 

 

And finally, the skill of the blender who assembles the batches will also have a big effect. I know that people in the bourbon world don't give as much credit to the masterful skills of a blender as they do in France, Scotland, and the Caribbean, etc., but if you don't know how to properly blend, you can take some really great barrels and turn out with something lesser than the parts themselves. I've taken, say, the 21% bourbon profile and have created very different bourbons from it, depending upon how I chose to arrange the base, supplementary, and nuance profiles. As for good blenders in the bourbon world, Andrew Robinson at Smooth Ambler, for instance, is a young man with a LOT of natural talent. I've helped teach him some things to add to that, but he understands on both an intuitive and intellectual level how to blend in order to achieve consistency, quality, and complexity, and how to change profiles using the same base ingredients. 

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Mako254

Thank you for taking the time and your thoughtful answer. I know I’m guilty (at times) of lumping all MGP juice in a category being dismissive. The SAO 10 really opened my mind up. 

 

Thanks again for taking time. I certainly appreciate it. 

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WhiskeyBlender
6 minutes ago, Mako254 said:

Thank you for taking the time and your thoughtful answer. I know I’m guilty (at times) of lumping all MGP juice in a category being dismissive. The SAO 10 really opened my mind up. 

 

Thanks again for taking time. I certainly appreciate it. 

Always my pleasure! I know MGP juice is often unpopular in the connoisseur community, but I will say that on the production side of things, it is very pliable, consistent in quality, and is fun to work with. Depending upon the factors I laid out above, you can mold and shape it so many ways. 

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WhiskeyBlender

It is sort of like taking two siblings, maybe even twins, and raising one at a horse ranch in rural west TX, and raising the other sibling with a family who lives a high rise in Manhattan. There will be a familial and genetic similarity, obviously, but these two siblings will most likely turn out to be very different individuals. Same goes with the MPG juice, given the factors laid out above. 

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Mako254

Are there any other blenders that you admire or possibly under the radar folks putting out good stuff? It is easy to get tunnel vision on the stuff I know I like. 

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WhiskeyBlender

@ Mako254, I'd prefer to PM you on that, okay? 

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flahute
4 hours ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

Mash bill alone, while obviously important, won't be the sole factor in how similar or different these bourbons will be from each other. In having worked with and blended a LOT of MGP-based bourbons over the years, one of the big things I've found that affects the aromatics and flavor is where and how the bourbon is warehoused during the maturation process. When distillers source from MGP and the like, they don't really get to choose what part of the rick house those barrels come from, so the aromatic profiles will be all over the map. And if the barrels were stored at the MGP campus vs. another bonded site, that will make a significant difference in how the aromas develop (say, for instance, maturation in a cool cement building will be very different than it is in a white-roof & sided metal clad warehouse, where there is a lot more diurnal variation, especially in the summer months). To complicate matters, barrels might spend part of their maturation life in one location, and then get transferred to a new location where the climate is very different. 

 

For example, I worked with some MGP distilled, 21% recipe that spent the majority of its maturation life in a very damp, cool, low-row environment at Heaven Hill. Over the course of 8 years, the proof had fallen from an entry of 120 down to around 100, so it gave the bourbon a lot of roundness, but also slightly muted the spice from the rye. This profile was vastly different from barrels from the same MGP 21% recipe that I've also worked with that have come from up high in rick house, where it can be quite hot, thus allowed from more acid, ester, etc. development. Thus, the temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and exposure to/lack of ventilation will have significant effects on the final aromatic profile. 

 

Of course, age can be a factor as well, as the barrels will continue to go in and out of oxidation cycles as well as the years roll by. 

 

And finally, the skill of the blender who assembles the batches will also have a big effect. I know that people in the bourbon world don't give as much credit to the masterful skills of a blender as they do in France, Scotland, and the Caribbean, etc., but if you don't know how to properly blend, you can take some really great barrels and turn out with something lesser than the parts themselves. I've taken, say, the 21% bourbon profile and have created very different bourbons from it, depending upon how I chose to arrange the base, supplementary, and nuance profiles. As for good blenders in the bourbon world, Andrew Robinson at Smooth Ambler, for instance, is a young man with a LOT of natural talent. I've helped teach him some things to add to that, but he understands on both an intuitive and intellectual level how to blend in order to achieve consistency, quality, and complexity, and how to change profiles using the same base ingredients. 

Thank you for this detailed post.

I'm one who has great respect for the art of blending. It's something I used to not know much or think much about. After spending some time with Jim Rutledge and learning about many things, including blending, I came away with a much greater appreciation for how important it is.

I also mentioned this here in the past - not sure if it was a thread you were a part of - about my experience at Wild Turkey back in June. We were given the component parts of Rare Breed along with an actual bottle of it, and were tasked with matching the blend. Jimmy Russell then tasted our blends to declare a winner. That was hard! (We did not win).

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WhiskeyBlender

@flahute, wow, that must have been an absolutely incredible experience with Jim Rutledge! I'd really like to hear more about that experience. I do seem to remember seeing something in an earlier thread about your experience at Wild Turkey. While I'm sure trying to match Rare Breed was a lot of fun, I can only imagine that it would have been more than a little intimidating being judged for it by Jimmy Russell! (LOL) ;-)

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kevinbrink
11 hours ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

Mash bill alone, while obviously important, won't be the sole factor in how similar or different these bourbons will be from each other. In having worked with and blended a LOT of MGP-based bourbons over the years, one of the big things I've found that affects the aromatics and flavor is where and how the bourbon is warehoused during the maturation process. When distillers source from MGP and the like, they don't really get to choose what part of the rick house those barrels come from, so the aromatic profiles will be all over the map. And if the barrels were stored at the MGP campus vs. another bonded site, that will make a significant difference in how the aromas develop (say, for instance, maturation in a cool cement building will be very different than it is in a white-roof & sided metal clad warehouse, where there is a lot more diurnal variation, especially in the summer months). To complicate matters, barrels might spend part of their maturation life in one location, and then get transferred to a new location where the climate is very different. 

 

For example, I worked with some MGP distilled, 21% recipe that spent the majority of its maturation life in a very damp, cool, low-row environment at Heaven Hill. Over the course of 8 years, the proof had fallen from an entry of 120 down to around 100, so it gave the bourbon a lot of roundness, but also slightly muted the spice from the rye. This profile was vastly different from barrels from the same MGP 21% recipe that I've also worked with that have come from up high in rick house, where it can be quite hot, thus allowed from more acid, ester, etc. development. Thus, the temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and exposure to/lack of ventilation will have significant effects on the final aromatic profile. 

 

Of course, age can be a factor as well, as the barrels will continue to go in and out of oxidation cycles as well as the years roll by. 

 

And finally, the skill of the blender who assembles the batches will also have a big effect. I know that people in the bourbon world don't give as much credit to the masterful skills of a blender as they do in France, Scotland, and the Caribbean, etc., but if you don't know how to properly blend, you can take some really great barrels and turn out with something lesser than the parts themselves. I've taken, say, the 21% bourbon profile and have created very different bourbons from it, depending upon how I chose to arrange the base, supplementary, and nuance profiles. As for good blenders in the bourbon world, Andrew Robinson at Smooth Ambler, for instance, is a young man with a LOT of natural talent. I've helped teach him some things to add to that, but he understands on both an intuitive and intellectual level how to blend in order to achieve consistency, quality, and complexity, and how to change profiles using the same base ingredients. 

Nancy, thanks for this really informative, I find your contributions here really insightful and informative.

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EarthQuake

I've seen some stores specify which mash bill is used for SAOSSB, The Wine and Cheese Place had 2 or 3 different single barrels earlier this year and they had both the high and medium rye if I remember correctly. I'm not sure if all stores do this or if it's just a TWCP thing.

 

TWCP has a Belle Mead SB store pick currently ($56), 10 years, but they do not state which mash bill it is.

 

Redemption bottles both MGP mash bills at cask strength too (and ryes at various ages), they recently put out a 9 year medium rye and a 10 year high right, ($84 at TWCP).

 

Since SAOSSB is scarce (non-existent?) these days, the Belle Mead looks like a good value.

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Whiskeythink.com

Blaum Brothers out of Galena, IL, has a ten year barrel strength single out now called Oldfangled Knotter Bourbon (as in Not Our Bourbon) that reminds me very very much of SAOS 10. They are always very upfront about their sources, & I think they said they got three barrels from MGP and blended them. I cant find the SAOS anywhere anymore, but this is available (but about $10-20 more). I thought it was excellent.

 

Ive heard some great things about the Belle Meade picks. The guys on the Podcask podcast have been raving about a Belle Meade store pick they got.

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EarthQuake
On 12/1/2017 at 8:12 AM, Whiskeythink.com said:

Blaum Brothers out of Galena, IL, has a ten year barrel strength single out now called Oldfangled Knotter Bourbon (as in Not Our Bourbon) that reminds me very very much of SAOS 10. They are always very upfront about their sources, & I think they said they got three barrels from MGP and blended them. I cant find the SAOS anywhere anymore, but this is available (but about $10-20 more). I thought it was excellent.

 

Ive heard some great things about the Belle Meade picks. The guys on the Podcask podcast have been raving about a Belle Meade store pick they got.

I was planning on ordering a bottle of Belle Meade online, but I found Blaum Borthers 10 year at a local shop here. I just cracked it open. I've had MGP a number of times in various products but never a straight 10 year barrel proof.

 

So far it's quite nice, it reminds me very much of a bottle of Four Roses OESF that I have open currently. The FR kissing cousins thing mentioned above, I certainly get it.

Edited by EarthQuake

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HoustonNit

Wow whiskeyblender and tanstaafl bringing with some great contributions.

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smokinjoe
On 11/21/2017 at 10:50 AM, WhiskeyBlender said:

 

For example, I worked with some MGP distilled, 21% recipe that spent the majority of its maturation life in a very damp, cool, low-row environment at Heaven Hill.  (Emphasis mine)

 

Wooo.  I missed this the first time around.  There are many potential implications with this.  Nancy, can you elaborate?  

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LCWoody

^^^^^ Yea, SB members should try some of this "mine" stuff. ^^^^^

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grantsi

SAOSSB 10 and 11 were some of my
Favorite “go-to” bottles - I recall as recently as 18 months ago buying it regularly and it was a daily pour. Now I have 1 sealed of each in the bunker and a fear I may not find it again. It seems like the lack of desirable product coincided with them being acquired. Does anyone have insight regarding wide future releases?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Clifford
On 11/21/2017 at 3:48 PM, flahute said:

Thank you for this detailed post.

I'm one who has great respect for the art of blending. It's something I used to not know much or think much about. After spending some time with Jim Rutledge and learning about many things, including blending, I came away with a much greater appreciation for how important it is.

I also mentioned this here in the past - not sure if it was a thread you were a part of - about my experience at Wild Turkey back in June. We were given the component parts of Rare Breed along with an actual bottle of it, and were tasked with matching the blend. Jimmy Russell then tasted our blends to declare a winner. That was hard! (We did not win).

Really great post thank you!

Edited by Clifford
mispelled word

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WhiskeyBlender
On 12/2/2017 at 4:57 PM, smokinjoe said:

Wooo.  I missed this the first time around.  There are many potential implications with this.  Nancy, can you elaborate?  

Sorry Smokinjoe, I've been meaning to get around to elaborating on this, but I'm just now finding some time to do it. So, with MGP, given the fact that the warehouses are concrete and are generally cool and damp, there isn't a lot of diurnal variation in temperature, but rather a seasonal variation. The proof will often go down in these barrels, so it will go from the entry proof of 120, and will fall a little bit every year. The MGP barrels I was telling you about that were matured at Heaven Hill fell very quickly over the course of 7, 8, and 9 years, so much so that some of them actually became a little flabby, meaning that they lost so much alcohol that they became a little like brown water. Fortunately, flabbiness doesn't occur that much in the U.S., given our general warmer, drier maturation conditions this side of the Big Pond. For that to happen, the humidity usually has to be a 95% plus on a regular basis. I have a colleague in Germany whose distillery clients aged their whisky in a cave, where the humidity was 95% plus. The whisky in the barrels not only dropped alcohol %, they actually GAINED water, so much so that the bungs popped off! 

 

 At any rate, I actually don't mind for the proof to drop somewhat over time, whether it be an MGP bourbon or other stock, because it means that I just have to add that much less water, if any at all. Water, even though it is natural, is still considered an additive, and the less of it I have to use, the better. Also, it makes the bourbon a little rounder on the palate than it might ordinarily be. 

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