Jump to content
Chefjohn

Solera Bottle Strategy Question

Recommended Posts

Chefjohn

I’ve been reading quite a bit about starting a Solera bottle and the concept intrigues me. I have a question or two about starting one. Those of you who have started one is there a  strategy to what you add to such as similar mash bills or proofs? Are you looking for a particular flavor profile? What would be a good start, process, and goal?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smokinjoe

I’ll just say here now, that if anyone lays out a detailed plan and strategy for this, they are FOS...  :D

 

  • I like it 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JCwhammie

2 years ago I tried pouring an ounce each of about 16 or so bottles. This included 4R PS, RR SiB, and other comparably priced bourbons. It was not as good as the individual bourbons I put. I wont do it again.

I have had much better luck vatting 2 or 3 different products that have the same mashbill. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marekv8

I've kept a Solera bottle for the past 10 years or so-- with no rhyme or reason as to the components. It's a blend of all matter of matured spirits (SMSW, Blended Scotch, American Single Malt, Bourbon, Rye, Cognac) and frankly it's terrible. Last week I brought it home for my wife to use in doctoring her egg nog. All is good.

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chefjohn

Thanks for the input guys. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
El Vino

I’ve kept a solera bottle going for years.  In respect of Joe’s observation:  I keep it simple.  If I like it, I add an ounce.  I don’t add malts.  It’s a four grain and I love it.  YMMV.

  • I like it 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Richnimrod
4 hours ago, El Vino said:

I’ve kept a solera bottle going for years.  In respect of Joe’s observation:  I keep it simple.  If I like it, I add an ounce.  I don’t add malts.  It’s a four grain and I love it.  YMMV.

This process mirrors mine, El Vino.   

I have never put in anything "lousy", or even moderately less than decent Bourbon (mine is all Bourbon; both rye mashbills and wheated ones), and while I wouldn't say it has always been a stellar pour, it has always been a decent enough one to enjoy neat.    ...And, in some moments in time, it has been a very damned fine pour.  I'm careful not to put too much of any one Bourbon into it at a time, and not let the proof get too high or too low.    Other than those couple 'rules', I pretty much 'play it by ear'.    At the moment it's what I'd call a better than average Bourbon, very complex, though a bit 'muddled', and I'd say worth every penny I charge for pours (always free!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BottledInBond

Mine has always been both bourbon and rye. No real “rules” beyond that besides that I only put whiskey I like into it. I have really enjoyed mine most of the time. 
 

One fun exercise is to pour a guest a blind SBS of a solera and then some other regular whiskey. See how they like it when they don’t know what it is. People always think it’s really interesting after the reveal. 
 

If it’s fun and interesting to you, try it out. Your only risk is you don’t love what the blend evolves too, but at that point if you don’t want to just dump it you can probably still use it in cocktails just fine.

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vosgar

Since I'm sure I'll never be able to create anything better than what the master distillers have, I've never had the urge to do this. 

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paddy

A 'good' solera bottle should be like the girlfriend that doesn't get to meet your mother. 

 

You can do things with her you won't/don't ever want to do with......................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EarthQuake

I've started a new one recently, American style whiskey (there is a bit of 13 year Canadian WP rye), and at least 10 years old. Currently 10-25 years old with average age about 14. I've put in 1oz from about 20 or so different bottles so far. I may drop the age requirement down to 9 years as it's a little too tannic at the moment (and then I could add a bit from a few Four Roses picks I have).

 

I tend to keep styles separated, or well, I don't mix Scotch, Irish and Japanese whiskies with American style. A bit of peated Scotch can really overwhelm a blend. But I find Bourbon, Rye, and misc American whiskies (for instance I added a bit of 13 year old Light Whiskey) tend to play well together.

 

I also try to keep it to things I really like. I've found that if I try to hide a bit of something that has some off flavors (for instance, anything from Dickel) it can stand out more than I would expect.

 

Sometimes I do more esoteric blends. I've got a Four Roses bottle that currently has 8 of the 10 recipes (missing both Os). I add a bit with each new pick I open. It's quite good.

Edited by EarthQuake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chefjohn
7 hours ago, EarthQuake said:

I've started a new one recently, American style whiskey (there is a bit of 13 year Canadian WP rye), and at least 10 years old. Currently 10-25 years old with average age about 14. I've put in 1oz from about 20 or so different bottles so far. I may drop the age requirement down to 9 years as it's a little too tannic at the moment (and then I could add a bit from a few Four Roses picks I have).

 

I tend to keep styles separated, or well, I don't mix Scotch, Irish and Japanese whiskies with American style. A bit of peated Scotch can really overwhelm a blend. But I find Bourbon, Rye, and misc American whiskies (for instance I added a bit of 13 year old Light Whiskey) tend to play well together.

 

I also try to keep it to things I really like. I've found that if I try to hide a bit of something that has some off flavors (for instance, anything from Dickel) it can stand out more than I would expect.

 

Sometimes I do more esoteric blends. I've got a Four Roses bottle that currently has 8 of the 10 recipes (missing both Os). I add a bit with each new pick I open. It's quite good.

Thank you. I do plan to only do American styles, at this time at least and currently all I have is bourbon. My “plan” is to include ones that I really like and enjoy on their own. I think it will be interesting to see how these marry. I figure worst case I can make one hell of a bbq sauce. 

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishnbowljoe

Many years ago we had a member here that poured the last dregs from his “empty”  bottles into his “Frankenstein” bottle. On a couple of occasions he brought his Frankenstein bottle to share at the Sampler or KBF. All I can say is that it was interesting. I believe Stu also did this, but called it his ”Dr. Funkensteen” bottle. Again, interesting to say the least.

 

Biba! Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Richnimrod
2 hours ago, fishnbowljoe said:

Many years ago we had a member here that poured the last dregs from his “empty”  bottles into his “Frankenstein” bottle. On a couple of occasions he brought his Frankenstein bottle to share at the Sampler or KBF. All I can say is that it was interesting. I believe Stu also did this, but called it his ”Dr. Funkensteen” bottle. Again, interesting to say the least.

 

Biba! Joe

...Or . . . Might it have been Franken-Shine?   I seem to recall Stu calling it thus.     ...Or maybe that was another of his "inventions"?    I do know the ones I was brave enough to try were... how shall I say it? ..."Unique"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vosgar
5 minutes ago, Richnimrod said:

...Or . . . Might it have been Franken-Shine?   I seem to recall Stu calling it thus.     ...Or maybe that was another of his "inventions"?    I do know the ones I was brave enough to try were... how shall I say it? ..."Unique"?

I believe you are correct with the Frankenshine. For the most part, "unique" is being rather kind but I seem to remember one year it was actually pretty decent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishnbowljoe
10 minutes ago, Richnimrod said:

...Or . . . Might it have been Franken-Shine?   I seem to recall Stu calling it thus.     ...Or maybe that was another of his "inventions"?    I do know the ones I was brave enough to try were... how shall I say it? ..."Unique"?

 

4 minutes ago, Vosgar said:

I believe you are correct with the Frankenshine. For the most part, "unique" is being rather kind but I seem to remember one year it was actually pretty decent

Y’all are probably right about Stu’s Frankenshine.
 

Dane was the other member. I believe he was before your guys time though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TwoFingers
On 12/1/2019 at 11:04 PM, Paddy said:

A 'good' solera bottle should be like the girlfriend that doesn't get to meet your mother. 

 

You can do things with her you won't/don't ever want to do with......................

Something makes me say that I want a pour from your bottle, but i'm thinking I might feel dirty afterwards.  :)

 

My bottle is pretty simple, bourbon or rye and only stuff I like.  Works for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chefjohn

So I have started my Solera bottle and would love your feedback. Currently it is comprised of:

1oz each Calumet Farms 12 year

Jeffersons Ocean Voyage 19

Rowans Creek

Henry McKenna 10 year BIB

Old Forester 1910

Makers Mark 101

 

 

Edited by Chefjohn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...