Why MIKE! You dirty, rotten RECTIFIER, you!!
Okay, so rectification by any reasonable definition would require re-distilling your mixture, but the law (Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms industry circular Number: 73-12 Date: June 22, 1973) makes it clear that blends of existing aged straight whiskies are, indeed, rectified products. Here is the appropriate part of Section 3 of that document:
Sec. 3. CATEGORIES OF RECTIFIED WHISKY.
The revised Forms 2637 and 2733 will provide entries for reporting four categories of blended whiskies. These are named and explained in detail below.
.01 Blends of straight whisky four years old or older.
These are blends consisting solely of straight whiskies all of which are at least four years old, containing no neutral spirits. This also includes blends rectified but exempt from tax under 26 CFR 201.444. The corresponding F.A.A. Act standard is found at 27 CFR 5.22(b)(5)
So much for the foolishly and uninformed negative view that newbie bourbon enthusiasts have to endure when learning what's what from representatives of (or published apologizers for) the existing distilleries. Distilleries who enjoy pretending that they are not doing exactly the same thing, using barrels of whiskey that are all "their own", whether they distilled them or purchased them from other distillers. This is the way fine bourbon (and rye, and rum, and tequila, and so forth) has always been created and bottled for the end user (that's us, folks). The only difference being that SOME intelligent folks understand that the juice in a bottle of their favorite whiskey might not have all come from the same distiller. Van Winkle knows that. Kulsveen knows that. Certainly Seagrams' Bronfman, Schlenley's Rosenstiel, Johnnie Walker, Richard Paterson, and many, many others know that. Why Americans so want to believe that the guy who runs the still is somehow expert in selecting what aged barrels of whiskey will make the best final product is totally beyond me.
Yes, there are some. Elmer Lee comes to mind, but often he was choosing barrels of whiskey that Gary Gayheart actually distilled and barreled. Jim Rutledge, Booker Noe, Even Kulsveen, Jerry Dalton, Parker & Craig Beam, certainly Julian Van Winkle, all created (and continue to create) fabulous bourbon beverages by combining barrels of whiskey with very different characteristics in order to produce a variety of quite different but consistantly distinctive products. Most of that whiskey was actually distilled and originally barreled by others. It isn't the juice that goes into the barrel that counts (provided that it's made properly, of course) so much as which barrels of matured whiskey are chosen. The marketers like to lead us to believe it is the DISTILLER who makes that decision, and the distilleries comply by calling their public relations contact "master distiller", instead of using that term for the plant manager -- who is often the same person, but not always. But the REAL hat that the person who decides what whiskies will make up the stuff in that bottle they want $70.00 for is that of RECTIFIER.
And you, sir, fit the hat.
So do I.
So do lots of folks who didn't think they were even doing something they ought to talk about, but who have been mixing different whiskies for years.
Thank you for pushing this idea (I've seen your posts in several threads, and I know you're trying to get the newbies to accept the idea; most of us old farts probably won't, y'know, but that's all right.)
For those of us who have access to the Watercooler forum, this is exactly what we should be examining when we get together this summer. Let's everyone bring something we've put together as our own "really nifty pour". And for those who aren't quite as obsessed... uh, I mean interested... what a great idea Mike has brought up for a bourbon party. Why not invite several folks over, each with a bottle of her/his own favorite bourbon (or rye, or -- OMG! rum, or malt, or gin or something) and make up your own American spirit?