Reader Vol. 8 No. 5

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Reader Vol. 8 No. 5

Unread postby cowdery » Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:03 pm

The new Reader will go into the mail this weekend. The principal story is about wheated bourbon, with a tasting of several current Bernheim wheaters compared to Maker's Mark and a known Stitzel-Weller wheater from my bunker, and I talk about what I think the Bernheim wheaters are lacking.

For those of you who don't get The Reader, I have a standing offer of a free issue if you will send me a stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope. You can get the address from my web site (or just go ahead and subscribe).
- Chuck Cowdery

Author of Bourbon, Straight
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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:05 am

For those of you who have not subscribed to the Reader, let me recommend that you do. This is an excellent newsletter that is completely independent of the distillers, so the opinions in the Reader are not tainted with marketing. This particular issue is very informative. There is one clarification I would like to make.

The Glenmore distillery in Ownesboro closed in the 1970's. When Glenmore was acquired by United Distillers they had the Yellowstone distillery in Shively and the Medley distillery in Owensboro. Yellowstone had been closed for several years and was in poor condition, making the Medley distillery the only working distillery of that time for Glenmore. It is the Medley distillery Chuck is refering to in the article.

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Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:20 am

Chuck,
Have you thought of a follow up article that deals with Van Winkle Stitzel-Weller versus the product made after the family sold the distillery? There is a change in the flavor profile of the bourbon, mostly taking place in the early 1980's.

I mention this because Julian is trying to get his family recipe made for his products at Buffalo Trace. It would be interesting to see what me can look forward to in the future.

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Unread postby cowdery » Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:31 pm

I certainly expect to write about the Buffalo Trace wheaters when they become available. As for trying to approximate the pre-1972 Stitzel whiskey, the recipe is only part of the issue. There are also some equipment differences. At SW, the entire still system was made of copper and was designed with essentially no rectifying plates. Instead the beer from the beer heater enters the still in a copper pipe that coils around inside the rectifying section of the still much like the coil in an old flake stand-type condensor. The beer exits the pipe directly on to the feed tray. Between the coil and the feed tray is a single disc and donut tray. The coil causes a fraction of the rising vapor to condense and drip onto the disc and donut tray. This limits the proof of the first distillation to no more than 120, which is what you want with a wheater. The still at Maker's is similar to SW in these respects. The stills at Bernheim and Buffalo Trace are not. They use more traditional rectifying plates in the top of their columns.

UD still owns SW and although there are some asbestos abatement problems that would have to be overcome before it could be reactivated, the possibility is there. I think that would be a wonderful thing.
- Chuck Cowdery

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