Being a Newbie I have ?

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Being a Newbie I have ?

Unread postby jr1968 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:25 pm

What can be told by the color of Bourbon ?




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Re: Being a Newbie I have ?

Unread postby gillmang » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:57 pm

Chuck Cowdery, a well-known bourbon writer, has stated that generally speaking, the darker the color, the better the whiskey. I agree with his opinion. Darker tinting means the bourbon has taken more tannins and wood sugars from the barrel, therefore has rested longer in the barrel than a lighter-colored whiskey. As always, there are exceptions. A barrel placed high in the warehouse might due to more intense cycles of hot and cold take more extract in a given time than a barrel down below and might be unbalanced or less good in taste than the other. And there are just those imponderables, where for some other reason, a dark bourbon doesn't taste great but a lighter one will. It may depend too on different companies' practice since some will use more heavily charred barrels than others and so the colour might be affected in some way due to this that won't occur elsewhere or in the same way. But in general again, darker means older and therefore more of the "goodies" from the wood (another Chuck coinage) have entered the barrel and the more beneficial changes to the spirit have occurred through oxidation and other changes.

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Re: Being a Newbie I have ?

Unread postby jr1968 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:48 pm

Thank You Gary, a very well explained answer.

Here is why I asked. I got a 1.75 of Ezra Brooks BL. 90 PR. not too long ago and at first it tasted great but lately it is
really tasting skanky.

Friday went to the liquor store and they had a good deal on Jim Beam WL. so I got some because I like both white and black.
White is only 80 proof. but it is so much lighter.

That is why I asked about the color.


Thanks,
jr1968
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Re: Being a Newbie I have ?

Unread postby JPBoston » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:34 am

jr1968 wrote:Thank You Gary, a very well explained answer.

Here is why I asked. I got a 1.75 of Ezra Brooks BL. 90 PR. not too long ago and at first it tasted great but lately it is
really tasting skanky.

Friday went to the liquor store and they had a good deal on Jim Beam WL. so I got some because I like both white and black.
White is only 80 proof. but it is so much lighter.

That is why I asked about the color.


Thanks,
jr1968



In this case, it has to do with two main factors:

1. JBB is aged twice as long as JWW (which goes along with Gary's reply)

2. JBB is 86 proof vs 80 proof for JBW.... So the more watered-down, the lighter a Bourbon will be.
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Re: Being a Newbie I have ?

Unread postby gillmang » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:47 am

Thanks for mentioning proof, good point. My earlier comments were based on the assumption of comparing bourbons of the same proof. But indeed when you dilute a whiskey, the whiskey will be lighter than at higher proof. A good example is that I have read when Jack Daniels was reduced for U.S. (domestic) sale to 80 proof, some older whiskey was put in the batches to match the color to that of the displaced 86 proof JD.

Jim Beam white label is 4 years old, so being a relatively young bourbon, and 80 proof, its color will be on the lighter side. Age statements of course do not mean the whiskey in the bottle or some of it isn't older: sometimes it is, and in the past, when there was more aged whiskey in company inventories than today, it was more common to encounter this. But it is probably safe to assume that that Beam white is not much older than 4 years. The Ezra Brooks has no age statement I believe, so it would be four years at a minimum but may be older or have some older whiskey in it, plus the higher proof should make it darker somewhat anyway all things being equal.

It's also true though the characteristics of each warehouses or parts of one are different, usually, so you will get different colors probably in different locations of each one and in one as compared to another. Each barrel differs too to a degree in color...

It's interesting to compare colors of numerous standard bourbons, they vary slightly usually - or at least by my eye - from batch to batch although the differences may be very small. Some brands seem good at maintaining color, especially Beam.

So there are many variables but I still feel that all things being equal, with a darker whiskey you are getting usually an older one and so the taste is more intense. Of course, intensity will not matter, indeed it can be a detriment, if the flavor - the profile of the brand - doesn't appeal.

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