Monday, May 28, 2012

The USC Football Decanter Arrives........

Thanks to some great people in Hot Springs, AR, I now have a USC football decanter! So without further introductions and ramblings, here is a photo of the full set of "football on a tee" decanters released by Michter's:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

So what exactly is left of Michter's...........

Here's a short video shot entirely from the public road by me of the destruction that has come to Michter's.

As I mention in the video, this is just one more historic site in the Susquehanna Valley that we've now lost. This area is truly becoming the black hole of culture and history. Not only have we all but entirely erased our rich Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, now we're destroying the few remnants of the agricultural economy on which this whole area was built upon. As the influx of "outsiders" continues into this area, I have a fear that our heritage in this area will some day be completely erased. So I have at least set out to preserve one little sliver of it, and I hope that I can continue with my quest to save Eastern Pennsylvania's distilling history!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A failed experiment.......

Today was the day I decided to end a "failed" experiment. On November 11th, 2011, I filled small charred oak liter and 2 liter barrels with some Heaven Hill Trybox Rye. It was unaged, 125 proof right off the still in Kentucky. Here, about a week short of 6 months, I poured the barrels out to see what had happened to the whiskey aging inside. As you'll notice from the photo, the whiskey has certainly changed color! Note that it looks very similar to a whiskey that was aged for a decade or more. The flavor is another story. Even though it has picked up the color and tannin flavors of the oak, the hot, yeasty, bread-like notes of the unaged whiskey are all still present and powerful. The rye is unfortunately not pleasant at all to drink and will probably be mixed or used for cooking. A failed experiment to age my own whiskey. Or was it?

 Through this 6 month experiment, I have learned quite a few different things, all of which are invaluable to me as a whiskey connoisseur. It has reinforced the findings of Buffalo Trace distillery, Chuck Cowdery, and Jason Pyle that small barrels just don't age out whiskey correctly. There is no substitute for time and patient aging in a 53 gallon barrel. I handled this experiment like a micro-distiller would age their product and got pretty much the same result they do- An unbalanced whiskey that still carries all the unfavorable notes of an unaged product, but with a severe dose of oak tannins.

 Read more about Mr. Cowdery and Mr. Pyle's findings here:
 Sour Mash Manifesto Article
 Chuck Cowdery and Buffalo Trace

I have already started a new experiment though. Using the same 1 and 2 liter barrels, I am already aging some 80 proof Heaven Hill white label bourbon, which is 3 years old and $10 per liter here in PA. I want to see what effects the small barrels will have on an already aged product at a low proof- along with seeing how much of the rye flavor is transferred to the bourbon from the soaked wood of the insides of the barrels. This experiment should yield something drinkable- and hopefully really tasty too!