Improved Evan Williams

I recently tasted an interesting dram from Wyoming Whiskey called Outryder. It is a blend of two different mash bills. To quote their website:

The first mash bill contains 48% winter rye, 40% corn, and 12% malted barley and the second reflects a traditional bourbon mash bill of 68% corn, 20% winter rye, and 12% malted barley.

They do not specify the ratio of the two mash bills, but we can assume that the result is something like a high-rye bourbon, which is exactly how it tastes. However, it can't legally be called bourbon because, while the second mash bill is a bourbon, the first does not have more than 51% corn, and therefore is not. The TTB uses a boolean AND evaluation; bourbon + not bourbon = not bourbon.

My well bourbon is Evan Williams. It's cheap, and it's unobtrusive in a cocktail, but it's not all that great straight. Sometimes, I crave a bourbon nightcap, but I don't want to deplete something I payed actual money for. Recently I've taken to doctoring Evan Williams with a bit of Bulleit Rye. The Bulleit adds a little extra kick that's quite pleasant, but not too challenging for the end of the night. Let's do some math...

There are a few different reported mash bills for Evan Williams, but the most common one seems to be 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Bulleit is sourced from MGP, and is therefore 95% rye and 5% barley. Blending 1 oz of Evan Williams with 1/2 oz of Bulleit produces approximately 50% corn, 40.3% rye, and 9.6% barley, very high on the high-rye spectrum which exactly the kind of thing I like.

Laphroaig as Bitters

I personally think that Teacher's Highland Cream is on of the best values in blended scotch. Among other things, it's quite smokey for an inexpensive blend (I miss you, Ardmore.) If you want to take it to another level, try adding a few drops of Laphroaig 10. Glenmorangie and Laphroaig also pair very nicely.

One of My favorite cocktails is the Smoking Jacket.

  • 1 1/2 oz scotch
  • 3/4 oz cynar
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dr orange bitters

I use either my own vermouth or Punt e Mes, and homemade orange bitters. Rather than 1 1/2 oz of a single whisky, I like to use 1 oz of Teacher's and 1/2 oz of a peaty single malt. Back in the day I would use Ardmore Traditional Cask (did I mention that I miss Ardmore?) now I use Laphroaig 10.

This also touches on mixing single malt scotch into cocktails, a large and often contentious topic that I hope to tackle some time in the future.

Infinity Bottles

I first heard about infinity bottles through this article. It's a good one, you should read it. I won't provide a summary definition because that might encourage you not to read the article.

I have not started an infinity bottle of my own (although I toyed with a similar concept a while ago. I tend to hold onto the last ounce of a bottle in order to compare it to whatever I replace it with. Reserving a second portion of the end of a bottle feels like too big of a commitment. I could make my infinity bottle deposit when I first open a bottle but, especially with an expensive whisky, that feels like using up too much too soon. It's a weird mental block that I may have to just get over in the name of science.

That's all for now

Does anyone in my vast readership have any other anecdotes on home-blending whisky?

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