Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Casked Bourbon

Disclaimer: The opinions in my posts are my thoughts and not for everyone.  I can only identify what is right for me.  You may have very different thoughts.  I will enjoy reading replies of dissent or agreement.

In my post last week I gave reasons that I do not care for flavored bourbon.  This week’s post presents some of the same argument although to a lesser extent.  I will restate that I think bourbon should taste like bourbon.  One could build an argument that there is little difference in adding a flavor to bourbon by dumping liquid flavor to a stainless tank of bourbon and putting bourbon into barrels with liquid flavors of wine infused into the wood fibers.  What if someone stored liquid cinnamon flavor in an oak barrel for a year then emptied the barrel and put bourbon in it for a few weeks?  Would that be different that just adding cinnamon liquid flavor to the bourbon?
To my palate, bourbon that has been aged in barrels used for port, sherry, rum or anything else do not add anything to the flavor that I find especially appealing.  Adding flavors from these other spirits or wines does add a different dimension to flavors of bourbon drinkers should decide whether those added flavors contribute to their enjoyment of the spirit. 

To my taste, the red-headed bourbon aged in French oak is among the best of the double casked bourbons but I honestly prefer the excellent regular edition of the wonderful wheated bourbon, especially the cask strength.  I find the experiments being done by the distillery with a large grazing herbivorous land mammal on the label are the most interesting.  They are aging bourbon in white oak barrels from different places in the tree.  Since botanical chemicals are stored in the xylem tissue (wood) in different places, this research could give distillers and coopers some information on selecting the best barrels for aging bourbons of different mash bills.

When I have had some “double oaked” bourbons, I have liked them but found that the regular offering from the distiller was better.  One bourbon associated with a race in Louisville offers a very good double oaked bourbon.  However, their regular bourbon is pretty darn good.  The double oaked is different but not, to my taste, better.  The extra barrel aging seems to make the make the bourbon to “oaky smoky” for me.  To my logic, if you can make some of the best bourbon in the world by aging in one barrel then why mess with success?  Of course, the double barreled costs a little more.  I won’t pay more for a bourbon that I don’t like as well.

As stated earlier, these are my thoughts based on what I like in bourbon.  Readers of this post will have very different tastes.


  1. I agree with your opinion on the flavored bourbon topic. The cast strength / double oak / any other straight bourbon ( non flavor infused ) are great. I am really excited about these great bourbon company's expanding their products and trying new things for the consumer . Regardless the new products hitting the market , it's still from the great state of Kentucky ( 95% ), I like them all ! Some more than others , I will never pass up trying new products !

  2. Agree whiskies don't want "flavorings" though there are traditional barrel modifications (like charring) that work very well.