Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Larry Kass talks Bourbon

Larry Kass from Heavens Hill distillery (of Elijah Craig fame) discusses a critical loss that occurs during ageing. I have raised this in a recent article on this blog This is the other loss as yet not named. It is not the Angel's share. It is the loss of Alcohol By Volume (Proof). This loss occurs under the right conditions in warmer climates and consistently in colder countries like Scotland and Ireland. 

Larry Hass in Interview by Drink Spirits 22 January 2013
In the case of the American and South African whiskies, the proof loss occurs under fewer conditions.

The second important lesson that we learn from Larry, is that due to new oak casks used exclusively to age American whisky, they are rarely aged past 12 years. After 12 years the wood starts to over power the bourbon. So the next time you are asked why the rest of the world's whiskey industry generally use ex-bourbon casks and other previously used casks - you can add this to your list of reasons. If the barrel were not previously used we would not produce Scotch and Irish whiskies older than 12 years either. 

The final learning is understanding single barrel and small batch that are words often used by the famous bourbon houses.

Thanks to drinks spirits for this interview. Subscribe to Drinks Spirits Youtube channel here. The very next video on their Youtube channel is with the legendary incredible Master Distiller Mr Jimmy Russel who makes Wild Turkey. Jimmy describes the sudden increase in demand for Rye whiskey instigated by the mixologists. In the early days it was predominantly Jim Beam and Wild Turkey who made Rye whiskey. Now many suppliers have added Rye whiskies to their range.

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