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Bolivar Petit Corona

All About Bourbon Whiskey

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Toby - Have you ever tried aged Weller?

I was at a friend's house a while back. He's a real connoisseur. We got to talking about spirits and I told him the story (mentioned above) about the attorney who wouldn't go to Cancun without his Weller.

My friend said that that was his favorite as well and asked if I'd like to try some. It was fabulous. My friend's Weller was 19-year aged, I believe. My friend also said that Weller wins most tastings.

Perhaps you should give it a try.

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The Weller 19 yr, Sazerac 18 yr and Eagle Rare 17 year are fantastic bourbons and can be had for around 40 bucks a bottle.

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If memory serves me correctly and I think it does(mucho gracias to Iron Chef)to be labeled a Bourbon, one must originate in the state of Kentucky as well as meet the aging and content requirements. Our illustrious Canadian friends have a (Bourbon?)that is marketed in their country by some company called Crown Royal but alas is not allowed across the border because, that's right, no Kentucky in Canada. To those that find some of the small batch Bourbons hot, indeed Booker at 127 proof, and my personal favorite, might be brought into more tolerant levels by cutting the proof. This also makes comparisons easier and may be done by adding one ice cube made from your favorite water, bottled or otherwise. Booker Noe is a national treasure.

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Bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S. The only requirements on boubon are:

1. 51% corn.

2. Made in USA (by international trademark agreement)

3. Comes off the still at no greater than 80% abv

4. Aged in new charred oak barrels (cannot be reused and do not have to be American Oak contrary to popular belief) for a minimum of two years. If it is less than four years old, the age must appear on the label.

Additionally, Crown Royal is in abundance at any liquor store you visit in the US. Crown Royal is not Bourbon, nor is it called bourbon, nor is it even made with the same ingredients as bourbon. It is blended whiskey.

Canadian whiskies are based on rye recipes, which was popular during Prohibition, but governmental regulations allow for the additon of any amount of "grain neutral spirits" as long as it is on the label and they also allow for the addition of up to 9% "natural flavorings." Two perfect examples of the above are McCormick whiskey which has 80% grain neutral spirits and 20% "straight whiskey" (a whiskey eau-de-vie, if you will LOL), and Black Velvet which contains distilled orange juice. Many, if not most or all, blended Canadian whiskies contain "natural flavorings" which can include wine, caramel and *shiver* distilled orange juice.

However, there are some fantastic 100% rye and pure grain Canadian whiskies that are very pleasant. Tangle Ridge, Forty Creek, Gooderham and Worts, Wiser, Pike Creek and Lot 40 are all examples of beautiful Canadian whiskies.

Hope this helps clear things up a bit. :biggrin:

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Small batch is another Bourbon misconception that Gary and Mardee Reagan clear up in thier book "The Bourbon Companion"

"This term has been the source of much confusion since most bourbon lovers believe that "small batch" denotes whiskey that has been distilled in small quantities. But that isn't true. In fact, small batch whiskies are the result of another side of the distiller's craft altogether. The term was introduced in the late 1980's by the Jim Beam Brands Company, and, according to them, the term applies to "rare and exceptional bourbons married from a cross-section of barrels in the rack house." "

This is simply a new term for the age old process used by every distiller to blend whiskies maturing at different rates, from the top of the warehouse (hotter) to the bottom of the warehouse (cooler),in order to acheive consistency.

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Bourbon may indeed be made anywhere but Kentucky represents 93% +/- of all the Bourbon made and is the only state that may have it's name in front of bourbon as it's point of origin.

Crown Royal does manufacture a bourbon for distribution that is not brought into The United States and of course is famous as the leading brand of Canadian Whisky.

:biggrin:

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Kentucky is NOT the only state that can have its name in front of bourbon for a point of orign and Canada does not manufacture a bourbon. They may make a CORN whiskey, but they cannot call anything bourbon. Bourbon is protected by international trademark law.

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Kentucky makes good Bourbon for the same reason that we raise good racehorses. The limestone bedrock that makes the grass so full of nutrients for the horses also makes iron-free spring water for distilling bourbon. The distiller's worst enemy is iron in the water. Of course it doesn't hurt that we also grow a shitload of corn. I have had more Bourbons than I can shake a stick at and have visited many of the distilleries. It is always interesting for me to see the types that people from the rest of the country enjoy.

For pure dollar value there is no better bourbon than Maker's Mark. It is delicious and outrageously inexpensive. The stuff is literally handmade down to the wax dipping which is done by seven little old ladies.

Woodford Reserve is nothing more than small batch Old Forester. The Labrot & Graham Distillery has yet to bottle any of the bourbon made and aged there. So in the interim all Woodford Reserve has bottled from the best barrels of Old Forester as selected by the distiller. The stuff made at Labrot & Graham is distilled in old fashioned pot-stills. It is going to be delicious, but may taste so different from the small batch Old Forester that has been bottled as Woodford Reserve for the last 6 years, that they may have to call it something else.

For boutique bourbons, the standouts are: Bookers (ideal for Old Fashioneds or other drinks where the bourbon is diluted due to its high alcohol content, also good after dinner in a snifter); Pappy Van Winkle (also best consumed neat in a snifter); Jefferson Reserve; Blanton's; Basil Hayden's (on the rocks due to low alcohol level); Bakers.

Some other nice bourbons are Knob Creek, Elijah Craig, Evan Williams Special Reserve, I.W. Harper, Buffalo Trace, and Jim Beam.

Bourbons that I don't particularly care for are Wild Turkey, Rebel Yell, Early Times.

Canadian and Tennessee Whiskeys are something but they ain't bourbons.

Best Bourbon drinks:

On the Rocks (Makers, Knob Creek, Blanton's, Woodford Reserve)

Manhattan (regular, dry, or preferably perfect)

Old Fashioned

Mint Julep (only around Derby)

Presbyterian

Lafayette (half really good bourbon and half grand marnier in a snifter warmed)

Best Bourbon Distillery tours: Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve

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Yeah I know, a very good friend of mine works at the distillery. Supposedly there is a waiting list for the first released bottles. She better come through for me.

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Of course it doesn't hurt that we also grow a shitload of corn. I have had more Bourbons than I can shake a stick at and have visited many of the distilleries.  It is always interesting for me to see the types that people from the rest of the country enjoy.

Ron - you are clearly a wise and knowledgeable bourbon thinker... perhaps one could even say that you are a "man of great bourbon brain."

I notice that you didn't mention two that I have heard of repeatedly - Jack Daniels and Weller.

What do you think of those?

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I notice that you didn't mention two that I have heard of repeatedly - Jack Daniels and Weller.

What do you think of those?

Weller is fine. I have nothing against it, and in the company of Texans I would expect to be served nothing else. I find it similar to Harper, which I like.

Jack Daniels on the other hand is the worst type of swill. The fact that it must be filtered through charcoal in order to become palatable speaks volumes about its lack of quality. Jack Daniels is a success because of the brilliant marketing of its parent company Brown Forman. It has become an American icon or symbol. I believe it is the number one selling whiskey in the world (it is not bourbon). Unfortunately, it sucks donkeys. Only thing worse is the canadian whiskey that is actually neutral grain spirits with caramel coloring. Ugh.

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I notice that you didn't mention two that I have heard of repeatedly - Jack Daniels and Weller.

What do you think of those?

Weller is fine. I have nothing against it, and in the company of Texans I would expect to be served nothing else.

Okay. I'll bite. Why?

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Actually, I do have to disagree with you on one miniscule point Ron. According to "The Bourbon Companion," "In practice, the two Tennessee whiskeys on the market today [George Dickel and Jack Daniels] could be called bourbon since all of the bottlings conform to the rules and regulations that govern bourbon."

It is Tennessee distillers that demand it be called "Tennessee whiskey" and not "Bourbon." Technically, they are bourbons. However, you are correct, Jack Daniels is terrible (and I am a TN boy) and only managed to score a whopping 76/100 in "The Bourbon Companion." George Dickel is far better and managed to squeeze out an 89/100.

As far as Weller goes on a price vs. value scale it is superior bourbon. It can be had for about 12-15 bucks per .750, which is half of what most similar quality bourbons cost. It does get old quick though. I have found that it becomes bland to my palate much quicker than some other inexpensive bourbons (like Eagle Rare, Elijah Craig, Rebel Yell and Old Charter 12 yr).

Weller has "A sweet honeyd nose with a nice balance of fruits and spices as the backdrop; the body is medium and the palate is buttery rich with notes of honey, berries, vanilla and a potpourri of spices that take a backseat; the finish is long and buttery. A great whiskey that's underappreciated in America. Sip it neat or on the rocks. 90 points"--Gary and Mardee Reagan.

Drink up.

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Just to add one more thing, Rebel yell is simply a rebottling of Weller 7 summers old that is lower proof and only available south of the Mason-Dixon line.

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Weller is fine. I have nothing against it, and in the company of Texans I would expect to be served nothing else.

Okay. I'll bite. Why?

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Just to add one more thing, Rebel yell is simply a rebottling of Weller 7 summers old that is lower proof and only available south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Mickey, that may just explain why I am not a big Rebel Yell fan. Weller, while good, is not a particular fave of mine, and a lesser version certainly is not going to inspire.

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while in london in july, i was invited over to my chum's flat for mint juleps, in honor of me, the southern belle. R. and i decided it should be a joint project. i had to produce mint syrup--he produced bourbon.

i found some fairly fresh mint at the safeway, cleaned it and tossed the bunch, stems and all, into a syrup made from 2c.s sugar and 2c.s water brought to the boil for 5 minutes. allowed the fresh mint to steep in the syrup over night. this was actually the only thing i cooked in my london kitchen all summer :raz:

the mint juleps were kinda nice, even moreso for being so anachronistic [really, R. and i shoulda been sitting on my porch down her in GA, waving at the neighbors as we ruthlessly tore them apart beneath our breath]. what i really regert is that we wer not able to drink them from "mint julep" cups. R. downloaded a photo from a website--funny straight-sided silver-plated tumblers, probably engraved with Daddy's initials. i really must have some, or I can never drink a mint julep again.

toby, my sister was at home one year at thanksgiving looking through my dad's likka cabinet for some bourbon. my dad told her he only had maker's mark. she said, OK, well, I'm just gonna have a bourbon and Coke....

:shock::shock::shock:

...famous last words!

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I am not sure, except that every Texan I know drinks it.  Maybe you could shed some light on that now that you are a Texan.

And I was hoping YOU could tell ME.

My grandmom always had Maker's Mark for sipping, and Jim Beam for cooking - in the sweet potatoes, in the bourbon corn soup, in the bourbon punch, on the peaches and ice cream, in the bourbon-pecan pie, in her favorite dessert, Bourbon Cup.

Although I had heard of Weller's, I wasn't really that familiar with it until I moved here and that big-time lawyer I mentioned above said he wasn't going to Cancun without it. Then my wealthy friend gave me a nice big brandy snifter of Weller 19, which is apparently better than the regular.

So, I was wondering just like you.... what's the deal???

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I put another vote in for you to try Blanton's. It's my current favorite for sipping neat, not too sweet and not too hot (I'm not fond of Booker's (too much ethanol to taste the flavors...better with a little water) or Wild Turkey Rare Breed (blech, too sugary)). I dabble with the Rip Van Winkles, and Old Granddad, but always come back to Blanton's.

I use Maker's for all those yummy bourbon mixed drinks. See below for my favorite cocktail site, use the virtual blender to find bourbon cocktails you may not have tried.

Cocktail archive from Hotwired

As for thanksgiving, it's lots o' bourbon for the pecan tart and brandy (RMS usually) for the pumpkin pie. I find fresh pumpkin too delicate for the amounts of bourbon I can't help but pour in, whereas brandy doesn't overpower the pumpkin.

regards,

trillium

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See below for my favorite cocktail site, use the virtual blender to find bourbon cocktails you may not have tried.

Cocktail archive from Hotwired

Also my favorite cocktail site. My copy of the book (out of print - grab a copy if you can find it) is full of postit notes on all the recipes I want to try.

My favorite food recipe using bourbon is "chocolate dipped bourbon prunes":

Soak prunes for several days in bourbon not quite to cover - stir occasionally.

Dump prunes and soaking liquid into non-stick saute pan along with sugar equal to about half the volume of bourbon.

Bring to a boil and light to burn of some of the alcohol.

Cook on medium-high heat stirring frequently until liquid is pretty much gone and prunes are candied.

Place individual prunes on foil sprayed with non-stick spray and let cool uncovered overnight.

Temper milk chocolate (milk balances the bourbon much better than dark) and dip prunes to cover half way.

I'm not allowed to show up on Thanksgiving without a plate of these things.

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My favorite food recipe using bourbon is "chocolate dipped bourbon prunes."

My favorite recipe that includes bourbon begins with "first, pour two ounces of bourbon into the cook."

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My favorite recipe that includes bourbon begins with "first, pour two ounces of bourbon into the cook."

... and light match. :wink:

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