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wadewood

How long does it take whiskies to marry together?

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wadewood

My latest blog post covers this topic - https://tater-talk.com/2018/10/31/owa-w12-how-long-does-it-take-whiskies-to-marry-together

 

I give a shout out to this group's member who originated the OWA/W12 mix - Gary Gillman.  And Nancy Fraley, aka WhiskeyBlender,  provides some great insight on the topic.  

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dcbt

Another vatting subtopic I've been curious about, and Nancy alludes to it in her quote on your post, but what effect does "hyper-decanting" have on a whiskey marriage?  She seems to think the vigorous blending (literally, if done in a blender) or shaking in a bottle disrupts the alcohol molecules, but those even out over time, but is there a long-term difference between vigor and non-vigor?

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Charlutz

Really good read. Thanks Wade. I’ve been drinking a 1:2 Stagg Jr. and ER10 ratio a lot lately and really enjoying it. I’ve been ‘marrying’ it in the glass. It seems appropriately ‘angular’ to me, but I just chalked it up to the inherent punch of the Jr. You and Nancy have inspired me to try a bigger batch and longer marriage. Thanks!

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Harry in WashDC
10 hours ago, wadewood said:

My latest blog post covers this topic - https://tater-talk.com/2018/10/31/owa-w12-how-long-does-it-take-whiskies-to-marry-together

 

I give a shout out to this group's member who originated the OWA/W12 mix - Gary Gillman.  And Nancy Fraley, aka WhiskeyBlender,  provides some great insight on the topic.  

Thanks, Wade.  You (tater-talk.com) are now double-bookmarked (forgot you were in there already).  The dregs of my SB Blend were disappointing me lately.  Nancy's comment - " Occasionally, you might find that your home blend develops to a point, but then goes “flat” or dead, where it doesn’t seem very interesting anymore. In that case, try making minor adjustments to it, such as adding maybe no more than 5 mL of another whiskey component that might have more spice, sweetness, fruitiness, etc. You can always add more, but it is best to make these adjustments a little at a time and watch how they start to affect the mix before adding more.” - was timely.  I just happen to have some unopened W12.

 

The one month waiting period has worked for me on several vattings; anything shorterusually leaves sharp edges for me.

 

I appreciate your sharing with us.B)  And, thanks to Nancy, too. 

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flahute
12 hours ago, dcbt said:

Another vatting subtopic I've been curious about, and Nancy alludes to it in her quote on your post, but what effect does "hyper-decanting" have on a whiskey marriage?  She seems to think the vigorous blending (literally, if done in a blender) or shaking in a bottle disrupts the alcohol molecules, but those even out over time, but is there a long-term difference between vigor and non-vigor?

I've talked to Nancy enough to know that it's all about molecular bonding. I'd guess that more vigor prolongs the bonding process. 

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WhiskeyBlender
Posted (edited)
On 10/31/2018 at 9:49 PM, flahute said:

I've talked to Nancy enough to know that it's all about molecular bonding. I'd guess that more vigor prolongs the bonding process.

 

@flahute, @wadewood, @dcbt, @Charlutz, @Harry in WashDC and everyone else who posted, this is very strange, I only just saw this whole post. Looks like it came out way back in October. Sorry that I'm 6 months late to the party! 

 

In the alcohol production tradition in which I initially started, which was in the ancient artisanal Cognac production methods that I learned while I worked at the Germain-Robin brandy distillery, I learned that you have to be very gentle when working with alcohol. It is actually quite delicate. I'm no chemist so I can't intelligently articulate exactly why this is, but at this point in my career in working with it, I've seen from experience that this is true nonetheless. When you are working with alcohol in a large 10,000 or more liter stainless steel tank, for instance, it is even more obvious than it is when you are making small home blends in a 750 bottle or in a glass. You REALLY notice the agitation and angularity right after mingling barrels or adding water. 

 

The adding water part is pretty easy to explain. When you add water to ethanol, you can feel the mixture heat up because the H2O and ethanol are creating hydrogen bonds together. Essentially, the water molecules fit more closely with the ethanol molecules than ethanol molecules do with other ethanol molecules, so you have an exothermic reaction and a loss of volume. If you taste the alcohol/water mixture right after that, it is super angular and agitated. In large volumes, it takes a few days to a few weeks for it to calm down.

 

As to your point @Harry in WashDC, I'm glad to hear that making a small adjustment (or even several small adjustments) to your home blend helped bring it back to life. Did you end up adding some of the W12? How did the blend transform? Your comments left me wanting to know what has transpired with your home blend in the months since the original post came out. @Charlutz, I'd like to hear about how your home blends have come along as well. 

 

Whether it is a home blend or you're mingling barrels on a large scale, I always advocate for making very small "course corrections" when trying to get the blend back on track. Sometimes, all you need is a very small percentage of a particular component (as in less than 3%, maybe as little as .05% or less) to make the thing come back to life or turn around. A little bit can go a long way. 

 

As a slight aside, I saw somewhere on the SB forum recently where someone was becoming frustrated with his home blend and was ready to give up the experimentation. I wish I'd had time to respond. I don't remember where I saw it or who it was, but I'm a big advocate for "home blenders." Playing around with blending different bourbons at home can teach you SO much about just how difficult the art of mingling really is, and how hard it can be to keep consistency, quality, and complexity over time. Even if you think you've "screwed up" your home blend, it can be usually be fixed or righted out with some patience and by making small adjustments over time, and of course, giving it time to marry. 

 

At any rate, many thanks for getting this thread started @wadewood! This is a fantastic topic. I hope to see more folks on here experiment with home blending and watching how long it takes for their components to marry and for changes to begin to happen. 

 

Cheers,

Nancy

 

 

Edited by WhiskeyBlender
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Harry in WashDC
3 hours ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

     *  *  *  *  *

 

As to your point @Harry in WashDC, I'm glad to hear that making a small adjustment (or even several small adjustments) to your home blend helped bring it back to life. Did you end up adding some of the W12? How did the blend transform? Your comments left me wanting to know what has transpired with your home blend in the months since the original post came out . . .

My 700 ml vatting of SB Blend (1 to 1 OWA and W12) vatted in DEC 2017 was a little flat by OCT 2018.  Right after posting to this thread, and seeing the hints, I added a 1/4 oz. of W12 for wood and caramel without the heat.  I waited a month or so.  It still missed something.  I tried another 1/4 oz.  Better.  BUT, instead of trying to tune it (and since I had no real idea of what I was doing AND WAS GETTING IMPATIENT!!!), I decided to top it off by adding 6 oz.(177 ml) of EACH.  That was in late DEC 2018 or early JAN 2019.  It now tastes like it should.  Or, at least it did about 3 minutes ago when I went in the laundry room and tasted it.

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flahute
1 hour ago, Harry in WashDC said:

My 700 ml vatting of SB Blend (1 to 1 OWA and W12) vatted in DEC 2017 was a little flat by OCT 2018.  Right after posting to this thread, and seeing the hints, I added a 1/4 oz. of W12 for wood and caramel without the heat.  I waited a month or so.  It still missed something.  I tried another 1/4 oz.  Better.  BUT, instead of trying to tune it (and since I had no real idea of what I was doing AND WAS GETTING IMPATIENT!!!), I decided to top it off by adding 6 oz.(177 ml) of EACH.  That was in late DEC 2018 or early JAN 2019.  It now tastes like it should.  Or, at least it did about 3 minutes ago when I went in the laundry room and tasted it.

A bourbon stash in the laundry room. This is next level.

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WhiskeyBlender
10 hours ago, flahute said:

A bourbon stash in the laundry room. This is next level.

Hey, don't knock it @flahute! I've got a case of barrel samples sitting in my laundry room. ?

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flahute
40 minutes ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

Hey, don't knock it @flahute! I've got a case of barrel samples sitting in my laundry room. ?

Oh I wasn’t knocking it! It was a post of reverence for the master!

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WhiskeyBlender
6 hours ago, flahute said:

Oh I wasn’t knocking it! It was a post of reverence for the master!

Oh, don't worry, I know that @flahute. I'm just engaging in some good-natured teasing! ?

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Bob_Loblaw
Posted (edited)

I’ve done a few blends, but usually drank them right away. Taking advantage of this info to mix up my own EC small batch

 

Been working my way through 6 store picks and 2 Barrel Proofs lately. All have been very good, but the Binny’s pick is the winner. 150ml of the other 5 and 150 ml of Batches A117 and B518 filled my newly emptied 1L Old Forester Signature bottle to the brim. Luckily it’s a screw top. I needed that extra space! Will tuck it in back and see what it turns into. Final proof 104.32. Ohh I think I’m calling this one EC Very Small Batch Gold in homage to Blanton’s. Gonna have a bunch of room on my shelf soon!

 

833ED8B6-EBC3-470B-A604-8F5DF5AB7E44.jpeg

Edited by Bob_Loblaw
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Richnimrod
10 hours ago, Bob_Loblaw said:

I’ve done a few blends, but usually drank them right away. Taking advantage of this info to mix up my own EC small batch

 

Been working my way through 6 store picks and 2 Barrel Proofs lately. All have been very good, but the Binny’s pick is the winner. 150ml of the other 5 and 150 ml of Batches A117 and B518 filled my newly emptied 1L Old Forester Signature bottle to the brim. Luckily it’s a screw top. I needed that extra space! Will tuck it in back and see what it turns into. Final proof 104.32. Ohh I think I’m calling this one EC Very Small Batch Gold in homage to Blanton’s. Gonna have a bunch of room on my shelf soon!

 

I expect it will indeed be a dram worth pouring and savoring, BL.   Let us know in a few weex how it came out, eh?

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