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Whiskies with bourbon notes

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Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Whisky » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:23 pm

I'm generally not a fan of lighter whiskies, however, on Burn's Night I tried a Macallan Fine Oak and found the, albeit quite slight, bourbon notes married up well, giving a depth of flavour I've never experienced from the standard, sherry matured malt.
Which other scotch whiskies would you recommend with bourbon flavours in them?
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby The Third Dram » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:58 pm

A cask-strength Arran matured in ex-Bourbon wood (these are usually limited editions)

A Balvenie Single Barrel 15YO issue (from a Bourbon barrel)

A 'regular' edition of Glenmorangie (either the discontinued 10YO or the newer 'Original')

If in any doubt, let me just say that the Balvenie would be my pick of the three.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby ResIpsa539 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:46 pm

This may be an obvious choice, but the Balvenie 17 New Wood (or New Oak).
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Megawatt » Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:49 pm

My opinion is that an ex-bourbon barrel does little to infuse bourbon flavour into a whisky. After all, bourbon can only be matured in new, charred American oak, whick accounts for a large part of its flavour. Therefore, it would follow that a Scotch matured in new oak should pick up bourbon-like characteristics.

Glenfiddich Solera Reserve is an example of this, as is The Glendronach Original. I find those more reminiscent of bourbon than any others I've tried.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Reggaeblues » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:23 pm

Glen Moray sent me a sample of a CS whisky matured in a 1st fill bourbon cask, 60.1%, which I am rebadging with their blessing as "The Jim clark Malt" in honour of my schoolboy racing driver hero.

I have to disagree with you Mega! It was the first thing that struck me about the whisky - the bourbonny presence in the wonderful aroma, and the arrival on the palate. I'd say this barrel had a huge influence on the whisky, every bit as much , say, as an ex-sherry barrel would, or one containing peated malt...

Perhaps slightly less in-yer-face as sherry or peat, but still pronounced effect on the character of the whisky. Maybe because of the strength, this also has notes of lemon, licorice...and one taster found rum on the finish. But the initial hit has that evocative character of bourbon.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Ganga » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:43 pm

Megawatt wrote:My opinion is that an ex-bourbon barrel does little to infuse bourbon flavour into a whisky. After all, bourbon can only be matured in new, charred American oak, whick accounts for a large part of its flavour. Therefore, it would follow that a Scotch matured in new oak should pick up bourbon-like characteristics.


Let me expand upon this thought. It would pick up the same characterists as bourbon would from new oak. Vanillas for example. However, one must remember that the grain that is used for the distillate is different and these grains do provide a different flavor profile. I've had a few bourbons that you could taste the corn influence as well as slight rye flavors.

If you want bourbon notes to stand out in your malt, get one that was fully matured in ex-bourbon casks.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Megawatt » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:57 pm

My opinion is based on comparing a fully ex-bourbon matured malt such as The Balvenie Single Barrel with one partially matured in new oak, such as The Glendronach Original. I could see, though, how a first-fill bourbon cask would impart more flavour than a refill cask.

I think it also stands to reason that oak from fortified wine such as sherry or port will have a far greater influence than oak from a distilled spirit such as bourbon or cognac, because the wine would have a far higher percentage of flavouring agents than the spirit. I'm no expert, so I can only base this on the Scotches that I've tried.

Anyway my point is that I don't notice corn or rye whiskey flavour when I drink Scotch, but new oak does seem to impart the rich smoky wood flavours you get in a bourbon.

Another one which should have some good bourbon notes is The Balvenie Signature 12. Anyone tried this one yet?
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby kyorke1 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:11 pm

Oddly, I recently tasted the 18yo Auchentoshan and found that to be quite bourbony, though I don't think it has been finished in ex bourbon casks. This was just after eyeing up the 16 yo, which is, so I'm not sure whether this altered my palate's expectation. Anyone else tried the 18yo?
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby kyorke1 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:11 pm

Oddly, I recently tasted the 18yo Auchentoshan and found that to be quite bourbony, though I don't think it has been finished in ex bourbon casks. This was just after eyeing up the 16 yo, which is, so I'm not sure whether this altered my palate's expectation. Anyone else tried the 18yo?
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Megawatt » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:13 pm

kyorke1 wrote:Oddly, I recently tasted the 18yo Auchentoshan and found that to be quite bourbony, though I don't think it has been finished in ex bourbon casks. This was just after eyeing up the 16 yo, which is, so I'm not sure whether this altered my palate's expectation. Anyone else tried the 18yo?


Ex-bourbon casks are what distillers refer to when they say "traditional oak casks". Nobody finishes whisky in them. I just checked the Auchentoshan website and it says "matured in American bourbon oak for 18 years", so maybe your observation defeats my own argument :x :wink:
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby The Third Dram » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:49 pm

Ganga wrote:...It would pick up the same characterists as bourbon would from new oak. Vanillas for example. However, one must remember that the grain that is used for the distillate is different and these grains do provide a different flavor profile... If you want bourbon notes to stand out in your malt, get one that was fully matured in ex-bourbon casks.

This is also the way I see it.

Remember, toasting not only increases the superficial porosity of the staves, it also precipitates several key chemical changes in the nature of the charred surfaces. Lignin, an essential strengthening component of wood, yields two noteworthy methoxyphenols, guaiacol and syringel, when burned. Guaiacol is the component that possesses a distinctive vanilla-like taste. Furthermore, oak lactones, which occur in more concentrated form in North American white oak, offer up wood and coconut nuances. But these characteristics will be transfered to whatever spirit is matured in such a barrel.

However, when the original contents are emptied and another spirit introduced, as occurs when an ex-Bourbon barrel is filled with Scotch whisky, the Scotch whisky maturing in such a container will benefit from the type of oak as well as from the residual influence of the original contents. Subsequent refills will, of course, diminish the effects of both wood and prior liquids.

So perhaps we need to more clearly delineate between 'Bourbon characteristics' and 'American oak characteristics'.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Lucas » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:02 am

The Third Dram wrote:Lignin, an essential strengthening component of wood, yields two noteworthy methoxyphenols, guaiacol and syringel, when burned. Guaiacol is the component that possesses a distinctive vanilla-like taste. Furthermore, oak lactones, which occur in more concentrated form in North American white oak, offer up wood and coconut nuances. But these characteristics will be transfered to whatever spirit is matured in such a barrel.

(...)

So perhaps we need to more clearly delineate between 'Bourbon characteristics' and 'American oak characteristics'.


Yup, 100% correct. It's the charring and the Lignin that is responsible for most of the vanilla character. But well distilled new spirit already carries another important compound, vanillin, which is an aromatic aldehyde (dehydrogenated alcohol - in this case eugenol). Wood also carries vanillin and funnily enough European Red Oak contains more of it than American oak, but in this case it doesn't matter, vanillin is detectable even in extremely small quantities and the aroma doesn't get much stronger when you increase the volume of it.
Another compound that is important for bourbony-vanillish aroma is diacetyl (it's a ketone). But as far as I know, most of it is in whisky already after fermentation. Organic chemistry is fun:D

I think American oak does not give Scotch whisky bourbon characteristics:) The generalisation is just too broad.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby Whisky » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:53 am

I'm not keen on excessive woody, vanilla notes (in bourbon, whisky and wine alike).
I got maple syrup, molasses, buttered toast and burnt sugar notes (in the Macallan FO), which reminded me of a smoother bourbon like Maker's Mark. It just added an additional, warm layer of complexity and whatsmore it was well integrated.
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I'm a little sceptical of new wood bottlings, however, as I haven't liked others that I've tried.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby TroyM » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:35 am

I think the Astar has all the taste attributes of a high end bourbon. A real touch of apricot that is found in some older bourbons too.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby jmrl » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:55 pm

Try the Glenlivet Nadurra or Stranahans from Colarado. There was a couple of independently bottled Auchentoshans (from Cadenheads) which was wonderfully American oak/Bourbon influenced.
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Re: Whiskies with bourbon notes

Postby borgom » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:48 pm

Whisky wrote:I'm not keen on excessive woody, vanilla notes (in bourbon, whisky and wine alike).
I got maple syrup, molasses, buttered toast and burnt sugar notes (in the Macallan FO), which reminded me of a smoother bourbon like Maker's Mark.

Based on those sorts of flavours you might like to try Bunnahabhain 18.
Otherwise maybe a nice rum might be more your style?
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