You guys are all beginning to sound (read?) like you just got back from the 4-day American Distillers Conference I just attended.
Imagine an affair about the size of the Bourbon Festival, but where everyone is talking about stuff like this instead of, well, stuff that most folks on forums like Bourbon Enthusiast are more enthusiastic about. I'm not implying any sort of "put-down". After all I'm not a distiller; I'm a consumer and comparer of fine American spirits. But the experiences are different. I'd compare the KBF to attending a conference of NASCAR drivers, while the ADI would be more like a conference of NASCAR pit-crews.
I'm also getting a kick (whiskey-history-contrarian-that-I-proudly-am) out of reading words I've been saying for years coming from the keyboards of folks I've long respected and whose opinions are important building blocks for my own. I would like to think some of the K-wrap I've doled out over time, especially the differences in the way whiskey is made today from what had been the case earlier (and which one MIGHT write off as, "John's a bit more, shall we say, elderly, and all he means is that he thinks things were better in the good ol' days", but one would be wrong to do so) has had an influence. Certainly the ability to offer real-world comparisons to sometimes startled friends HAS to have been of help.
I'm toying with the idea of creating an American spirit of my own, a product with some similarities to what we've been describing, although the exact formula would not be quite the same. It would be made from multiple sourced spirits, selected for their quality and reliability, not necessarily for their economics. And not all of them would be whiskey, so the final product would have to be labeled "spirit". I have no problem with that. I don't want to distill it; that's really not my thing. I don't want to rectify it, either, although the idea of re-distilling at an extremely low proof in small copper pot stills might add an interesting dimension. This wouldn't really be like "re-distilling" anyway; I'm thinking more like vatting in a copper vessel, slowly raising the temperature all the way to 212°F, and simply capturing and condensing it all. Virtually everything would be brought over, probably even color. Remember, all the nasties would have already been separated out from the source spirits, so we're not dealing with anything other than possibly intensifying the desirable qualities they've picked up from the oak, and what the exposure to the copper still brings to the party. Since this is not “whiskey”, straight or otherwise, there is no requirement for an age statement, and the steps I’ve just described would not need to be applied to the entire product. It might be a processing step for one component, a step that is unique to this product and which would set it apart from a spirit merely “cooked up” by a blender.
The result would be VERY similar to how American rye or bourbon tasted when they made it like they did before the 1980s.
I already know that from the tests I've been inspired by y'all to try.
Oh, and it COULD retail at under $30 a bottle (okay, maybe $40 if I opt for $10-worth of fancy bottle and labeling)
Oh, and one more thing: The product could be shippable in less time than the pre-marketing campaign would take.
Okay, is that “far-out” enough for y’all?