Corn Whiskey

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Unread postby Brewer » Fri May 06, 2005 5:28 pm

So John, what are your impressions of the Isaiah Morgan Rye?
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Unread postby Strayed » Sat May 07, 2005 12:37 am

I didn't dislike it at all. Remember, unlike many (most?) bourbon enthusiasts, I really enjoy whiskey the way it comes from the still. Up until now that's meant either corn or "Not-Very-Old Potrero" rye. Full proof is fun for the novelty of it, but for regular drinking I prefer it cut down to around 100. The Isaiah Morgan would be better at 90 or 100 proof, but I thought it was pretty good; better than Potrero cut to 80 proof, and what else is there to compare?

Like I wrote to Bunghole, it reminds me of a rye version of Georgia Moon. I think anyone with even a small collection that they use to introduce friends to American whiskey should have a bottle of Isaiah Morgan and a bottle of Georgia Moon (Virginia Lightning is even better-tasting, if you can find it) to show the difference and to really taste the grain instead of the wood. I only wish one of the bourbon distilleries would market a 90-proof white dog.
Last edited by Strayed on Sun May 08, 2005 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby bunghole » Sat May 07, 2005 6:42 pm

I went ahead and picked up a bottle of J.W. Corn for myself while shopping for John & Linda. Ya'll might find this funny, but I have never purchased a legal bottle of corn whiskey. :wink:

There is no age statement on the bottle, but you can tell this stuff is young and aged in used bourbon barrels.

J.W. is a nice golden straw color. If I saw a glass of this sitting around I would immediately think sc**ch. Indeed it looks for all the world like a well aged 10 to 15 year single malt.

The nose is as instructive as it is revealing. There is of course the sweetness of the corn, but missing is the considerable sweetness of char that the new barrel contributes to bourbon. Also missing are the candy aromas as well as vanilla. What you do get is a healthly snoot full of tart malt. I was somewhat shocked by this, as it was another very sc**ch like component not unlike a highland malt.

The rye in the nose is in evidence by the wonderfully subtle bouquet of violets that floats just above the rim of my pure glass. There is also a very subtle spice component that I just couldn't put my finger on and sent me to visit Vickie's ample spice vault. The verdict? Dill Seed!

All-in-all a nicely complex nose that I just wasn't expecting at all - a very pleasent surprise.

The unexpected complexity of the nose raised my expectations of what I would find in the flavor. My first taste was a most amusing whiskey 'sweet-tart' with the sweet corn pudding flavor playing lead to the counterpoint
accents of the malt. If you were going to concoct a sweet'n'sour whiskey sauce this would be the whiskey to use.

The finish is also better than I had originally anticipated. I was thinking - hot; harsh, and rough. I couldn't have been more wrong. The corn sweetness fades quickly and malt serves to dry slowly. No new flavors arrive and there is some persistent alcohol burn of the 100 proof. What small amount of rye spiceyness there is in the finish is very low key and non-descript.

$10 and change per 750ml bottle in the high priced Old Dominion.

:arrow: ima :drunken:
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Unread postby gillmang » Sat May 07, 2005 8:04 pm

As it happens I just opened my Mellow Corn Bonded bought in Kentucky recently. The bouquet smells of hot cooking oil, hot Mazola. The taste is oily, rich, with full grain (corn, maybe some rye) showing through, the "vegetable roots" (expression courtesy C. Cowdery) that sometimes get obscured by the bourbon barrel elements. This Mellow Corn sounds quite different to Linn's bottle of corn whiskey. I wouldn't liken it to Scots whiskey, moonshine (someone slipped me a taste in Bardstown recently - it smelled of wildflowers) or anything else I have had. Assuming bourbon white dog tastes like Mellow Corn (or close) I guess the oils are altered in the long barrel aging of bourbon. I have read the oils are oxidised and changed into esters and other substances. I am not sure how to drink this corn. Someone told me in Bardstown to pour it into a glass filled to the brim with ice. I tried this and it is good, the chill cuts the oil effect and enhances the grainy taste.

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Unread postby bunghole » Sun May 08, 2005 12:43 pm

I suspect there is much snickering going on as folks read these two very different takes on commercially available corn whiskies.

To the best of my knowledge both J.W. Corn and Mellow Corn are both Heaven Hill's standard traditional rye bourbon recipe aged in used cooperage.

Every corn whiskey I've ever tried has been very thin, and not oily in the least. Thicker than white dog, but far less viscous than any bourbon. I have tasted Mellow Corn many moons ago, but never bought a bottle or sat down with it to do a serious tasting. Gary's comment of "hot Mazola oil" rings false to my recollection. Gary, did you actually heat up a pan of Mazola oil and do an 'A-B' comparison??? I did and found nothing close to it in my bottle of J.W. Corn. The good thing is that I'm going to deep fry some corn dogs!

:snorting: :snorting: :snorting:

:arrow: ima :sunny:
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Unread postby gillmang » Sun May 08, 2005 12:52 pm

This is just my impression. Everyone reports taste differently, of course. However for what it is worth Jim Murray has noted similar things (the oiliness) in some corn whiskeys. Maybe the two HH products are quite different in taste too, I don't know. When I go to an agricultural fair and buy a corn dog the odor off the fryer is what that Mellow Corn reminded me of, that's all I can say..

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Unread postby bunghole » Sun May 08, 2005 2:19 pm

gillmang wrote:This is just my impression. Everyone reports taste differently, of course. However for what it is worth Jim Murray has noted similar things (the oiliness) in some corn whiskeys. Maybe the two HH products are quite different in taste too, I don't know. When I go to an agricultural fair and buy a corn dog the odor off the fryer is what that Mellow Corn reminded me of, that's all I can say..

Gary


Well Gary that's not worth the cyber-space it's not printed on! I used to think highly of Jim Murray at first, but have come to the conclusion the he is no more than a medicore writer of fiction.

If you had any conviction in your conclusions than you wouldn't need to make such false appeals to authority.

It appears to me that you have looked up what 'the writers' have had to say before you sampled, and based your so called tasting on their 'findings'.

If that is true then that is as poor as a man can get. Only you know for certain. "To thine own self be true" - Willie S.

When I do a tasting and write it up I don't give a rip who has said what about it before. I don't look it up before hand and damn sure don't bother afterward.

PANTS AWAY!

:arrow: ima bunghole - the honest taster :king:
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Unread postby Strayed » Sun May 08, 2005 5:54 pm

J.W. Corn and Mellow Corn are both made by Heaven Hill, as is the completely unaged Georgia Moon. Mellow Corn was once a Medley product (which it still says on the label) and although I'm not sure who made J.W. Corn, I'd be willing to guess it was acquired along with the J.W. Dant label. Georgia Moon was made by the Johnson Distillery in Albany, GA before HH bought it. We have an example of that, and it's quite different from the current version, although to anyone who's actually tasted them, both are obviously corn whiskey and not bourbon white dog.

Mellow Corn and J.W. Corn are different from one another, too. As Linn pointed out in his excellent review, I find that the year or so that J.W. Corn is aged leaves it with a crisper flavor overall. And I can taste what Linn refers to as a scotch-like subflavor. I think that comes from the use of barley malt in the mash without rye to offset the malt flavor. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that an even higher percentage of malt needs to be used for making corn whiskey than for bourbon. Another possiblility is that it's corn malt, but I've heard that corn is very difficult to malt, so I doubt that HH would be doing that if barley malt works just as well.

The corn sweetness in J.W. Corn isn't as pronounced as it is in the unaged Georgia Moon. It's also not as pronounced as in the two-year old bonded Mellow Corn, nor is it as oily. Linn, you should know that if Heaven Hill produces two brands of aged corn whiskey, they're not going to taste alike, any more than Rittenhouse and Pikesville ryes do. Gary is quite right in describing a "corn oil" subflavor in Mellow Corn. That flavor isn't there in J.W. Corn, nor in Platt Valley (another aged corn whiskey), but it certainly is in Mellow Corn and it's one reason why that's about my least-favorite of several corn whiskeys. I love your writing and imagery, but ya oughtn't to be refuting another enthusiast's description of a product that you've never tried, just because Jim Murray described it and you've become disillusioned with Jim Murray (by the way, have you ever met Jim Murray?) :wink:
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Unread postby bunghole » Sun May 08, 2005 6:29 pm

No John, I've never met Jim Murray, but have heard he is quite a nice fellow. That doesn't change my thoughts on his writing.

I do seriously doubt that Heaven Hill is doing anything different as far as their Beam formula whiskey goes. Unless Parker or Craig Beam are willing to post that Georgia Moon; Mellow Corn, & J.W. Corn are all from different recipes and are different from the standard Heaven Hill formula I'll just stand my ground if you don't mind.

No, I can't show you video proving they are all the same formula. It just makes sense to me. If you have further questions on the formula(s) involved - you know Parker Beam as well as (if not better) than I.

He won't tell, but he might like to play checkers!

(Parker's killer at checkers!)

King Me Mongo!

:arrow: ima :king:
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Unread postby gillmang » Sun May 08, 2005 7:08 pm

John, thanks for your comments, enlightening as always.

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Unread postby Strayed » Sun May 08, 2005 9:57 pm

bunghole wrote:No, I can't show you video proving they are all the same formula. It just makes sense to me.

It makes sense to me, too; we don't disagree with that. I just don't think the formula is the bourbon one; that's all. Neither is their single rye formula. Don't you remember that there are barrels stencilled "corn whiskey" in the warehouse the tour took us through?

The differences among the corn whiskey brands (and among the bourbon brands and rye brands) are the result of differences in aging. I don't even think they plan it out ahead of time; they just pick the combination of barrels that produces the profile they're going for at bottling time. But they are different profiles. And if you get a chance to try the Georgia Moon (and I guarantee you'll get a taste of both HH's and the original next time we get together) I'm sure you'll know in a moment that it's not a bourbon white dog.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon May 09, 2005 9:18 am

I would say that the corn whiskey is a different formula than the normal Heaven Hill bourbon. Since corn whiskey has to be at least 80% corn that would require a different formula unless Heaven Hill uses over 80% corn in their bourbon, which I don't think they do. As far as I have heard, only I W Harper and Old Charter under United Distiller's ownership used that much corn in their bourbon.

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Which is oilier?

Unread postby Stoopsie » Tue May 24, 2005 1:27 pm

Pondering an old topic, these acute (or trying to be cute) observations by the members of this forum about corn whiskey. Although it has been a long time since I had Mellow Corn Bottled in Bond, almost 10 years, I don’t remember any oiliness in the aroma or flavor. But again it has been almost 10 years and now; I am much keener on noticing these types of subtleties.

Do any bourbon white dogs have oiliness to them? I have only tasted a few and I can’t remember an oil factor to them. They tasted crisp and clean with a hint of cereal. But then again I have never tasted corn white dog. Or a white corn dog for that matter (that is my attempt at trying to be cute). :roll:

So I tried some J.W. Corn and I noticed no oiliness. Rereading some bourbon and rye tasting notes I noticed the mention of oiliness especially on products that have been in the wood for a longer time. Then this would make sense then, that I would not notice oiliness in J.W. Corn, since it might not been in wood for a long time. There is no age statement, so it is hard to tell. Also, it could have been aged in used barrels or even uncharred barrels.

So what makes Mellow Corn different? Well it is bonded for one. Are there different rules for bonding corn whiskey compared to bourbon? Could Mellow Corn have been in the barrel for an extended period of time since the demand for it is low? The newer bonded labels don’t have an age tag (thank you President Reagan) so we can’t tell how old it was when bottled. Being in the wood longer could result in an oilier whiskey.

Could J.W Corn be aged in used barrels and Mellow Corn aged in new uncharred barrels? This could also account for the differences in Oiliness.

Anyway, just some thoughts that runs through my tiny brain inside a pumpkin sized head.
Howie

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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:25 pm

I was talking with Julian and Preston Van Winkle today and asked them if they ever considered taking used barrels from Pappy 20yo and reusing them to make an aged corn whiskey. They seemed intrigued by the idea. Yes I know that the barrels would be part gimmick, but not completely. After all they did hold excellent bourbon in them to start with and some of that bourbon would flavor the corn whiskey. If they aged it for 10 or more years, it could be an interesting product and add life to the barrels. Any comments?

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Unread postby bunghole » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:38 pm

bourbonv wrote:I was talking with Julian and Preston Van Winkle today and asked them if they ever considered taking used barrels from Pappy 20yo and reusing them to make an aged corn whiskey. They seemed intrigued by the idea. Yes I know that the barrels would be part gimmick, but not completely. After all they did hold excellent bourbon in them to start with and some of that bourbon would flavor the corn whiskey. If they aged it for 10 or more years, it could be an interesting product and add life to the barrels. Any comments?

Mike Veach


I'd like a glass of that corn whiskey, Mike! With the right marketing it could become the best selling whisky in Scotland. :lol:

:arrow: ima :idea:
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