Woodstone Creek Bourbon

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Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:05 pm

I had to go to Cincy to give a talk to the Anderson Township Historical Society yesterday and John Lipman was kind enough to put me up for the night. Of course John and I always enjoy an evening of discussing bourbon, rye and other American whiskeys, and he had the bottle of Woodstone Creek that he purchased for me. I have yet to open my bottle, but I did have a chance to taste his opened bottle. I will open my bottle and review it when Mark or Chris add it to the reviews section.

John is also friends with Don Outerson and he called this morning to see if we could come over and talk with, but unfortunately he was busy with an appointment to get his whiskey into the Ohio State system and we were not going to have time for a visit. I did get a chance to talk with Don on the telephone for about 20 minutes and we had a very Interesting conversation. I have heard John talk about Don for over a year and he had heard about from John, so we were not complete strangers. I found Don to be a very astute distiller with many interesting points in our conversation. I thought I would share some with you (with his permission) and see if you a gree with me in that he is a craft distiller that bears watching because he has some concepts that could change the industry.

The first point that I found very interesting was his belief that doing things the old fashioned way is key to making a new whiskey that will sell well. He believes that this first expression is good, but as he puts it "that is where I was five years ago and I think I am doing better now." He experimented for years with vodka before he was confident that he was ready to make bourbon. John told me a long time ago that he wanted to learn to use the still properly and it is quicker and cheaper to make the mistakes with vodka than with bourbon. I can't say that he is wrong with that philosophy. He uses only 2 row barley malt and no enzymes to aid conversions. He also said he used malted rye and malted wheat as well for aiding the conversion, but also because he believes that that malted rye probably does a better job of converting rye starches to sugars than depending upon the enzymes from barley to do this. I assume he felt the same way for wheat. This he feels, brings out different flavors from the grain that are not found in bourbons today.

He also discussed barrel proof. He has an old book, printed in France and I never asked exactly when, but I think during the 19th century, that tells the distiller at what proof to enter the spirit to bring out different flavors from the wood of the barrel. This alone has me wanting to visit with him in order to see the book and discussit with him. It is a concept that I had never thought about, but it makes a lot of sense. It may also explain the old Stitzel-Weller mystic - 107 barrel proof may be what brings out the flavors that make Van Winkle era wheated bourbon's so different even at young ages. I may have to start a thread on that subject later because I could spend all day theorizing about that subject.

We discussed his Redstone Creek and I will save my thoughts on the flavors I find in the product until I review the bottle. I will say that I like the product and find it very interesting and do not regret the money I spent on the bottle. Don Outterson takes a lot of pride in what he makes. He hopes to convince the beauracrats in Ohio to ease up on the laws and allow distillery tours and tastings in the future, but does face an uphill battle in the state that gave birth to the Temperance Union and the Anti-saloon League. Until then he hopes to struggle by and make good whiskey. I do think that he is a Master Distiller in the old sense of the term and his pride in what he does is not unjustified. He wants to make an old fashioned product that has grain flavor in the final product that will compliment the barrel flavors, not be overwhelmed by the barrel flavors.

In a final note, he was very complimentary to the discussion on this site even though he was saddened by what he feels is unfair treatment on another site. I promised him I would review his product here and give it a fair treastment and he is appreciative. I look forward to doing the review and and having members here comment and hopefully when they manage to get some of his bourbon, add reviews and constructive criticism when needed.
Mike Veach
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bunghole » Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:16 pm

That's more than just a little interesting post there Professor Veach! Am I reading you right, that Don Outerson is using a four grain mash in which all the small grains are malted? If so, that should prove to be quite a unique tasting bourbon. I look forward to your review.

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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:52 pm

I had a taste of this at the Party Source in Bellevue Kentucky. It was good but nowhere good enough to justify $88.00 per bottle. I could get four Weller Antiques for that money and have some change left over. Nuff said.
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:06 pm

Linn,
He is counting it as five grains since he is using yellow and white corn. Another thing he pointed out is that it is "barely legal" bourbon with only about 51% corn. Yes the other three grains are all malted. He uses no enzymes. He uses a 238 gallon pot still to double distill the whiskey. He has a low barrel proof. I think at one point he mentioned something about adding very little water to bottle since he was only going from 107 proof to 94 bottling proof. I don't know if 107 was entry proof or final proof. He also does not chill filter. The neck tag states this is from barrel number two and there were 23 cases. I assume this is 12 bottle cases. It is a craft distiller and I think it shows in the final product. He believes he has gotten better since he made this whiskey 5 years ago, so I am looking forward to trying his future releases as well as this one.

Joe,
I understand your point on price, but this is craft distilled whiskey so it is going to run at a higher price than mass produced bourbon. I think of it as the difference between purchasing a good microbrewed beer versus a Miller. It is going to cost more, but I find the taste interesting enough to pay the extra price. It is about the same in price as the new Four Roses Mariage and personally, I like this better. In either case, I will not be making them an everyday bourbon.
Mike Veach
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby gillmang » Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:02 pm

I've got a bottle right here and will offer some taste notes. Later, like Mike, I will put a further review in the review comments.

I should say first the information Mike has conveyed is very interesting. I am a strong believer in supporting ventures such as this one, and it is made easier by the quality of this Woodstone Creek bourbon.

Nose: The nose has elements of a younger but matured bourbon such as, say, Maker's Mark (corn, vanillin) but also has elements of a younger malt whisky (the perfumy fuselly notes). I attribute this in part to the relatively high quantity of malted barley in the mash but also the taste of that as aged in new charred wood. There is, in the nose, a passing resemblance between this bourbon and the Colorado Stranahan whisky which is all-malt I believe. Also there is a light charcoal-like scent, mild but it is there.

Taste: Full bodied, with a sweetish, mineral note. Very smooth mouth feel. Some of the barley notes emerge after a minute. Some mild char and wood flavors.

Aftertaste: Not strong, a tangy note on the palate (spritzy-like).

Other comments: This is a fine first effort but I think the bourbon would be even better with two-three years more aging. The reduction/modification of the perfumy notes and the increase in the caramelised wood flavors would make it that much better IMO.

An excellent artisan whiskey and I love it. It costs a lot, but Mike gave the reason why. For those who won't be able to get any, imagine a whiskey that is one part Maker's, one part Woodford, and one part Stranahan's Colorado whisky. That is what it tastes like to me.

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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:57 pm

Gary,
Interesting notes. I will look forward to comparing our in depth tasting reviews.

I do hope that there are many quality craft distillers that emerge in the next decade. Unfortunately, it does take years to get a product into the market and that product will have a hard time being profitable without a higher price. However, it will be worth it for consumers to pay the extra if it starts a trend for quality, hand crafted products. Like the beer industry and microbreweries, the distilling industry will then have to start paying attention to the craft distillers and produce some similar products. It happened in the beer industry and it should happen with distillers. The consumer then wins big time with better products available. Think of the casat wasteland of the American beer selection of the early 1970's and then think of the market today. Microbreweries have had a big impact in the selection available and people who prefer products that are different can purchase them. Yes the Miller Lites and Jim Beam Whites will still be out there for those who want them, but there is also a chance toi get a bourbon barrel stout or a Woodstone Creek type product as well.
Mike Veach
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:20 pm

bourbonv wrote:Gary,
Think of the casat wasteland of the American beer selection of the early 1970's and then think of the market today.

Ah yes, the wasteland, where one could drink real Rolling Rock, Ballentine IPA and yes, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Take me back to the wasteland any day.
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby gillmang » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:28 pm

Well, Joe, I am with you regarding Ballantine IPA and also say Prior Double Dark, Horlacher and Maximus Super (which I am sure you remember). But I will take a pass on PBR and Rolling Rock even though I have a certain nostalgia for them. In other words, Mike's comments are correct if we disregard the handful of pre-micro era America beers that had real quality.

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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:04 pm

Oviously Pennsylvania had better beer choices than Kentucky. We had a choice between Miller, Miller lite, Bud and Michelob by the end of the 70's. Microbreweries really improved our beer selection.
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby gillmang » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:23 am

Mike, there were exceptions even there. I should have mentioned Wiedeman's Royal Amber, from Newport, KY. Little Kings in Cinci always had a good reputation and Cream Ale is a type of indigenous beer style (to America). There were probably local porters and bocks of some interest, too, but clearly by the era you are referring to most of the characterful beers disappeared.

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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:32 am

Gary,
By the late seventies, those were gone from the Louisville market only to be replaced by products such as Old Milwaukie light and other "light" beers that were worse than drinking water.
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:36 pm

I had a telephone conversation with Don Otterson the other day and found out a few other things about his product. It seems that his product is a sweet mash. This makes sense because it is not likely he has backset to use in doing a sour mash since he distills on such a small scale. He also ferments a wort made from the grains so as to make clean up easier and he considers the fact that this is the way beer is made and whiskey is distilled beer after all. His barrel proof is 107 and it does not change much because of the warehouse conditions. He has a pretty constant temperature all year around in his warehouse.

His distilling practices are more in line with the Scottish practices than Kentucky's. It would seem that this would be the practical way to distill using the pot still. The final product is still a bourbon since there is no regulation stating it has to be made from a mash instead of a wort, as long as the grain requirements are met and the distillation ranges are kept. I wonder how many craft distillers will end up doing the same. The other alternative that seems to be what Taylor used at the OFC distillery in the 1870's, would be to seperate the solids from the beer after the fermentation, but before distillation. Don would also like to create a "Moving Warehouse" out of a flatboat and send barrels down to New Orleans just to see what it would do to the whiskey. I too would like to see just such experiment made for historical reasons. Take the barrels to New Orleans and then place them on a sailing ship to send them to New York or Boston. Pop the bung and see what comes out of the barrel after the trip.
Mike Veach
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bunghole » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:39 pm

Santa brought me a nice sample of Woodstone Creek. I'm kind of at a loss to adequately describe this young bourbon. I've never had anything in which all the small grains were malted. The nose is unique due to that factor. Sweet and nutty, and spicey too. You can really taste all that maltiness in the flavor, and just as with the nose the flavor is unique. The finish is pleasent enough of good duration and strikes me as more rye like than bourbon. I'd really need to live with this bourbon for awhile to go beyond just these few simple impressions. I will say that this bourbon is a bit too young and I think it would benefit greatly from two to four more years in the barrel.

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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:04 am

Linn,
I have heard several people describe it as "very Scotch-like without the peat". They are obviously picking up on all of the malted grains just like you are. I find it very interesting and like you I would like to taste a version that was 8 to 10 years old. A little more barrel flavor would be interesting with the strong grain flavors of this bourbon.
Mike Veach
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Re: Woodstone Creek Bourbon

Unread postby p_elliott » Sun May 17, 2009 3:26 am

This stuff has the ugliest label I have seen on a any liquor bottle to date. He really needs to have a some professional design a new label for him. This stuff could be liquid gold but with this label it's not going to sell. When you see the label flat on their web site it look hip and modern but on the bottle see our review area it looks like a cheap household cleaner.
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