Admiral wrote:Simply employing different maturing techniques, and then bottling the resulting whisk(e)y as a different bourbon with a different brand name does come across as being a little.....odd. (Particularly if you come from a scotch background).
Yes, that's a good way to put it Admiral!
What I've gotten from the discussion on this thread is that the microclimate of where the bourbon ages is a major (perhaps the
most important) variable in determining eventual flavour coming out of the casks. And this is of higher importance with Bourbons than with Malt whisky owing to the newer casks used. I think it was in Broom's Whisky Handbook that I read someone discussing that the malt from X distillery ages better in dunnage warehouses and that science had yet to come up with a reason why this is. Given that Bourbon casks are all new oak, it makes sense that microclimate would have more of an effect on bourbon than malt.
OK, so perhaps now I understand better why this process of making different brands from the same mashbill is accepted in the US. It seems to me after reflecting on this for a couple of days, that there are examples of this that work, and some that don't.
Apparently, Old Charter (Bufallo Trace) has the same mashbill as BT and Stagg, but tastes nothing like BT (never tried Stagg). I would have thought OC would have the same mashbill as Blanton's or ETL before reading this at straightbourbon.com. I find this impressive! Then you read accounts of Murray's Bible saying "see Heaven Hill's 6yr old" for other Heaven Hill bottlings.
I have a better grasp of the different variables that come with a different distilling tradition - thank you to all who responded! The question I am left pondering is "does this tradition [bottling whiskies with same mashbills under different labels] contribute in a positive way to the perception of the bourbon industry"? If it can be done right, then great (see Bufallo Trace Distillery). The problem for me is, how can I be sure "Double Barrelled Mountain Jack" isn't actually 4yr old Beam? If it tastes the same, and it is the same as 4yr Beam, what does this say about the industry, and it's relationship with it's consumers?
I like bourbon! I like it alot, and so I care about the legitimacy of how it comes across! It has a very unique taste unlike any other whisky IMHO, no additives (are you listening SMWA) and rules about how potent the white dog needs to be (hello Canadian Distillers). And the bottom line for me - it tastes great!!! And that's the bottom line isn't it? It's just that I really wish the bottlings were more...transparent.
To my credit, it was only after I tried multiple drams of all whisky traditions that I decided that I didn't much care for Canadian whisky. It wasn't until later that I found out that 1/11 of the "whisky" can be anything! Yes this is part of our tradition, but I think it subtracts from the legitimacy (rightly so) of what we make over here.
Someone in the beer industry once told me that most Molson products are vattings of their own brands. Molson Golden he said was 50% Canadian, and 50% Export. Now don't that take the shine off what comes in the bottles? Not very scientific but you get my point I think! And this is one reason - besides taste - that makes me think of major beer company products as being suspect.