Posts Tagged barrel

Jim Beam to Give Us The “Devil’s Cut”

Beam's new innovative bourbon product, Devil's Cut

Jim Beam is set to deliver a new product called Devil’s Cut in May, 2011. ‘Devil’s Cut’ is Beam’s trademarked term for whiskey that is still “trapped within the wood” after dumping. In other words, the dregs. We aren’t sure of the exact process Beam is using to retrieve the dregs from the wood, but it has been confirmed by Fred Noe that it some form of barrel sweating. Beam officially said this about its process: “Through a unique, proprietary process, we extract this formerly lost liquid from deep inside the barrel wood and put it back into our special Bourbon. The resulting liquid is deep in color, aroma and character with robust notes of wood and vanilla.”

There is no age statement on the bottle, but Fred Noe confirmed that the base is 6 year old Jim Beam, but the flavor is supposedly very different. We have heard it tastes like Beam, but has more oak and a longer finish. Noe says, “pulling more [bourbon] out of the wood is the key to this product”. It will come in at 90 proof and the retail price will be about $24 for a 750/ml bottle. We are glad to see the innovation and looking forward to something new. Let us know what you think about it if you have been fortunate enough to get a taste.

See more about Devil’s Cut on Chuck Cowdery’s Blog.

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Woodford Reserve Releases Limited Edition Maple Wood Finished Bourbon

November 1, 2010, Louisville, Ky. – Woodford Reserve announces the latest extension of its acclaimed Master’s Collection which will be released on November 1. Called ‘Maple Wood Finish,’ it is the fifth in the series of limited edition bottlings and continues Woodford Reserve’s tradition of crafting rare whiskeys that extend the category in bold new directions.

This whiskey is one of the most unique Master’s Collection’s to date as it is the industry’s first bourbon to be finish aged in barrels made from sugar maple wood. Barrels play a key role in producing bourbon, with approximately 70 percent of the spirit’s flavor and aroma and all of its color provided by the barrel. Woodford Reserve’s new offering features bourbon finish-aged in uniquely crafted barrels made of maple wood, something never before done in the industry.

“Sugar maple trees have a complex natural chemistry, rich in calcium, potassium and other minerals, but they are best known for their flavorful sap which contains as much as 3% sugar,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “Though it was thought that whiskey barrels could not be crafted from sugar maple wood, our Brown-Forman Cooperage has done just that. Of all the distillers in our industry, we are the only bourbon company that crafts its own barrels, giving us unique knowledge and control of the process. The Master’s Collection Maple Wood Finish uniquely finish-ages Woodford Reserve in a toasted, not charred, maple wood barrel, resulting in a whiskey enhanced with hints of maple, honey and cinnamon.”

Ever year, one of the five sources of flavor is changed for the Master’s Collection expressions. These five sources – grain, water, fermentation, distillation, and wood-aging – are unique to bourbon whiskey, and altering just one of them creates a totally new flavor profile.

“Bourbon must be matured in new, charred oak barrels, and in our quest to fully understand the contribution oak wood makes to bourbon, we have studied other Kentucky hardwoods as well,” said Wayne Rose, brand director for Woodford Reserve. “This has led to some exciting discoveries and innovative barrel finish concepts. One of these – Maple Wood Finish – is a first for the spirits industry and has resulted in an amazing, elegant whiskey.”

Maple Wood Finish is the fifth in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection series following the Four Grain, Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, Sweet Mash and Seasoned Oak offerings. Released periodically at the master distiller’s discretion, the Master’s Collection whiskeys are extremely limited in quantity and bottled only once, in a proprietary package inspired by the copper pot stills of The Woodford Reserve Distillery.

The inspiration for the Master’s Collection is rooted in the rich history and tradition of what is today known as The Woodford Reserve Distillery. In the mid-1800s distillery owner Oscar Pepper and Master Distiller James Crow studied and recommended use of key processes like sour mashing and charred barrel maturation at the historic Woodford County distillery. These practices are still maintained in the bourbon industry, and today the distillery receives more than 100,000 visitors annually and is the only one in America to use bourbon triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills.”

Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish will be sold in 45 U.S. markets, and a limited quantity will be available in Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Each bottle is individually hand-numbered and presented at 94.4 proof. Available in major metro markets, only 1,676 cases are available with a suggested retail price of $89.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish

Color:            Golden brown.

Aroma:         Rich and sweet with hints of brown sugar glazed baked apricots, milk chocolate and fresh toasted oak.

Taste:            Warm with cinnamon spice, faint hints of maple syrup, berry fruit and a touch of nuttiness.

Finish:          Crisp with delicate maple syrup notes lingering on with a touch of warm fruit.

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Maker’s Mark Introduces First New Bourbon in 52 Years

Loretto, KY (June 30, 2010) – Maker’s Mark is once again bringing innovation to the Bourbon industry with today’s release of the company’s first ever new Bourbon, Maker’s 46. In celebration, Maker’s Mark President Bill Samuels, Jr., continuing in the tradition his father began, hand-dipped and sealed ceremonial bottles of Maker’s 46 Bourbon in the brand’s iconic red wax with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at the historic Maker’s Mark Distillery.

Maker’s 46 is a handcrafted, full-bodied Bourbon whisky that starts off as original Maker’s Mark. The transformation into Maker’s 46 begins when fully matured Maker’s Mark is emptied from the barrel so that 10 seared French oak staves can be affixed to the sides. Then, Maker’s Mark, which is made with red winter wheat for a smooth taste, is put back in the barrel and aged for several more months, allowing the natural caramel, vanilla and spice flavors released by the staves to enhance the end product.

“This new expression is a breakthrough in the contemporary craft of bourbon,” stated Mr. Samuels. “We have used innovative techniques never before employed by the Bourbon industry to create a full-bodied bourbon without any bitterness.”

The creation of Maker’s 46 was a collaborative effort between Bill Samuels, Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Kevin Smith, and Barrel Maker and

“Wood Chef” Brad Boswell of Independent Stave Company. Samuels and Smith started with a clear idea of how they wanted the new bourbon to taste – full-bodied without any bitterness – and turned to Boswell to help develop the recipe.  They knew this would be no easy task, if it could be done at all.

After much experimenting, Boswell decided to try a searing technique on French oak staves that had never been used before to make bourbon.  He delicately seared the staves just enough so that the caramel and vanilla flavors from it were released and only a small amount of tannin, which adds bitterness, came out of the wood. The name Maker’s 46 comes from the profile number Boswell assigned to this winning “wood recipe.”

Samuels notes, “Over the years whisky consumers’ palates have moved toward bigger and bolder flavors. So, I wanted to craft a contemporary interpretation of Maker’s Mark that matched with current tastes, but didn’t want to mess up what my father had created or disenfranchise any of our loyal fans.”

Kevin Smith adds, “Maker’s 46 is spicier and has a more intense aroma than Maker’s Mark. It has rich caramel and vanilla flavors, and even at 94 proof it’s soft enough to hold on the tongue. You can drink it on its own or mix it into a cocktail.”

Initial reactions from Bourbon experts to Maker’s 46 have been positive. Malt Advocate Publisher and Editor, John Hansell has noted in his review, “The French Oak staves in ‘46’ add firm, complex, dry spices (lead by warming cinnamon, followed by nutmeg and clove)…which dovetails well with Maker’s trademark layered sweetness.”

Additionally, Charles K. Cowdery, Editor-in-Chief of The Bourbon Country Reader – a publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey – says, “Compared to standard Maker’s, there is less citrus and more fudge. It is very, very good.” Jose Garces, Owner of Garces Restaurant Group and Food Network Iron Chef, has also reviewed the Bourbon and states, “… I really enjoy its fruit-forward notes with flavors of vanilla and caramel lingering from the aging process. The finish is extraordinarily smooth and the flavor pleasantly stayed on my palate.”

Only 25,000 cases of Maker’s 46 will be shipped by the distillery this year, making bottles of this first batch a rare commodity. The new Kentucky straight bourbon whisky will be sold in 750ml bottles and retail for approximately $10 more than Maker’s Mark (prices vary state to state).

For more information about Maker’s 46 and Maker’s Mark, go to www.makersmark.com (must be 21 years of age or older), or visit Maker’s Mark on Twitter and Facebook.

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Buffalo Trace Experiments with Double Barrels

Buffalo Trace Experimental CollectionFRANKLIN COUNTY, KY— It’s time for the next round! After more than twenty years of experimentation, Buffalo Trace Distillery is rolling out more of their sought after Experimental Collection. The release explores what effect “double barreling” has on bourbon whiskey. In these two experiments the bourbon was aged in new, charred oak barrels and then removed after several years, only to fill more new, charred oak barrels.  The full flavor from each of these new barrels was extracted by the whiskey, creating a very powerful result.

Here are some of this experiment’s details:

1. 1993 Double Barreled: These barrels were filled April 4, 1993 and bottled September 15, 2009. Buffalo Trace Rye Bourbon Mash Bill #2 was used and the product entered the barrel at 125 proof. The bourbon was removed from its original barrel and re-barreled December 12, 2001. At 16 years and five months of age the finished product has a deep, rich flavor that fully expresses the oak character. The re-barreling has taken it far beyond its 16 years. It has a very strong, powerful finish.

2. 1997 Double Barreled: These barrels were filled November 18, 1997 and bottled September 16, 2009. Buffalo Trace Rye Bourbon Mash Bill #2 was used and the product entered the barrel at 125 proof. The bourbon was removed from its original barrel and re-barreled December 12, 2001. At 11 years and ten months of age the finished product has a complex barrel flavor. It possesses a deep caramel color making it pleasing to the eye as well as the palette. It has a very robust start and finishes smooth.

“I really love the variety in these experimental releases,” commented Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “The end product is so different from one release to the next. I look forward to the new information we garner from each round.”

There are more than 1,500 experimental barrels of whiskey now aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace. Each of the barrels has unique characteristics making it different from all others. Some examples of these experiments include unique mash bills, types of wood and barrel toasts.  In order to further increase the scope, flexibility and range of the experimental program an entire micro distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks and a state of the art micro still has been constructed within the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

The Experimental Collection will be packaged in 375ml bottles. Each label will include all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskies will be released in late October of 2009 and retail for approximately $46.35 each. Each experiment is rare and very limited. For more information on the Experimental Collection or the other products of Buffalo Trace Distillery, please contact Kris Comstock at kcomstock@buffalotrace.com.

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Four Roses Has Launched Its Private Selection

FOURROSESBARRELLAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (October 12, 2009) – Four Roses has launched its Private Selection – acustomized barrel selection program offering spirits retailers the option of sampling a variety of recipes in choosing a one-of-a-kind single barrel bourbon to stock on their shelves or bar back.

Four Roses is the only bourbon distillery that combines five proprietary yeast strains with two separate mashbills to produce 10 distinct bourbon recipes, each with unique characteristics.  Currently, retailers may select from eight recipes, aged between eight and 10 years, as part of the Four Roses Private Selection program. Existing barrel inventories of two Four Roses recipes have not yet aged the program’s minimum of eight years.

With the range of recipes and ages available, spirits retailers have the opportunity to stock a bourbon that has never before been bottled for distribution in America.

Four Roses invites retailers interested in selecting their own barrel to visit the warehouses and bottling facilities in Cox’s Creek, Ky.  Hall of Fame Master Distiller Jim Rutledge often leads participants through a sampling process to help determine their preferred taste profile.

“It’s always fascinating to sample the different recipes with retailers, because a particular barrel that I may think is remarkable may not be someone else’s favorite,” Rutledge said.  “With bourbon, it’s all about personal preference, and with Four Roses’ 10 recipes, we are really able to offer an incredibly wide range of options.”

Once a retailer selects a barrel, Four Roses will bottle the bourbon at barrel strength – uncut and not chill filtered.  Restaurants, bars and spirits retailers may have their name and logo added to a customized bottle label.  Each barrel produces between 25 and 40 six-bottle cases.

Retailers in Kentucky, California, Tennessee, Illinois and New York have already participated in the Private Selection program.

For more information on Four Roses’ Private Selection Program, visit www.fourroses.us or call the distillery at (502) 839-3436.

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Brown-Forman Changes Name of Blue Grass Cooperage, Open for Tours

B-F Cooperage BarrelLouisville, KY, July, 7, 2009 – Brown-Forman announced today it is opening the Brown-Forman Cooperage to the public for tours for the first time in its history. The Cooperage will also be re-named from Blue Grass Cooperage to Brown-Forman Cooperage to honor the parent company which continues the rich tradition of crafting barrels to this day.

The Brown-Forman Cooperage is where barrels are hand-crafted for the aging of spirits such as Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, Canadian Mist, El Jimador and Herradura. Brown-Forman is the only spirits company in the world to make its own barrels, which are created from American white oak.

All Brown-Forman Cooperage tours must be setup in advance through Mint Julep Tours by calling (502) 583-1433 or visiting www.mintjuleptours.com. Also available through Mint Julep Tours is the “All Woodford, All Day Tour” which will include transportation to both the Brown-Forman Cooperage and Woodford Reserve Distillery, a tour guide host, admission to both venues and lunch.

With the opening of the Brown-Forman Cooperage for tours, the general public will have a chance to see the lumber yard, view the artful selection of staves and barrel assembly, charring and the finishing section. Visitors can also witness the historic art of barrel raising, powerful sounds and the smell of burning oak which are present every day at the Cooperage.

“The aromatic smells are the best part of the tour,” said Brown-Forman Master Distiller Chris Morris. “By toasting and charring these barrels, we activate natural flavors and aromas in the wood which give our spirits such distinct tastes.”

Brown-Forman founded the Cooperage in 1945, and while a great deal of technology has been added to enable the production of more than 1,500 barrels per day, a trip inside is a step back in time.

“We know oak barrels were introduced to the world by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago,” added Morris. “The Romans obviously didn’t have the technology we have available today, but we are still following the same processes they followed back then.”

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Buffalo Trace Set To Release Latest Experimental Collection

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection

Photo by Nash Werner

Buffalo Trace Distillery is set to release the latest installments in their Experimental Collection. These two new bourbons, Fine Grain Oak and Coarse Grain Oak, test the effect of different wood grains on aging. Specifically, do barrels made of fast growth oak trees have a different effect on flavor than slower growth trees with finer grain? The new Buffalo Trace experiments were left in the barrels for 14 years and 9 months. Suggested retail price is $46.35 each. Each experiment is rare and very limited. There will be 300 bottles (375 ml) of each experiment released.

1. FINE GRAIN OAK: The bourbon is rich and exceedingly sweet with an almost syrupy character. It also has a nice balance of flavors and complexity.

2. COARSE GRAIN OAK: This whiskey is dry with a balance of smokiness and wood with herbal qualities. The finish is quick and woody and it is slightly heavy with a powerful complexity.

“We continue to learn new and interesting information from these experiments. We never know how they are going to turn out,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “It’s also great to see the excitement that surrounds these releases. The customer feedback is great.”

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Chuck Cowdery has more details about the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection at his site. Thanks to BBQandbourbon.com for their coverage of this story.

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