Infinity Bottle: Creating Your Home Bourbon Blending

While I’m not a bourbon aficionado, I have been a fan of the spirits since I was in college. Typically with my friends, we would enjoy Saturday football games on TV, play cards along with a Jim Beam and ginger ale. A simpler time and less sophisticated taste, but one of my better memories.

The more recent popular interest in bourbon has added many new distilleries, but also provides the opportunity for me to explore a lot of labels that have been around for decades.

I keep a decent collection of about ten to fifteen different bourbons on hand. Plenty of options for mixing, on the rocks, or some just for sipping neat. One of the inspirations for collecting bourbons is my friend Ed and his 62 different brands. We just counted this on Thursday night. I don’t have a bar big enough to cover that kind of hobby, but it's good to have him as a friend in many ways. I not only get to admire his stocked shelves, but I also got to do some tasting of a wide range of distillers. It’s good to have friends.

Along with Ed’s collection, a few years ago, a trip to Louisville added to my bourbon background. Definitely worth the journey to explore the roots of the bourbon experience. The distillery tours are gaining a lot of attention and reservations are pretty much required anymore to get a tour or even a paid tasting. A designated driver is a must and helps make the experience that much easier to enjoy.

There is a lot to learn about the process of bourbon making. History has its own aura and you can see the passion for bourbon runs deep in the horse country of Kentucky. With stops at Makers Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Old Forester you could see they all have their own stories in creating their spirits.

While on one of the tours it was mentioned about making your own blended bourbon. I had heard of the idea once before at another tasting but dismissed it as something complicated and a process only for distillers. This intrigued me and I had to find out more. As it turns out, (with the concept of a distillery blending their own spirits), you can blend the bourbons you already carry at home. So instead of a vessel of one brand, you can mix your own favorites across several labels.

A simple decanter can be used to combine some of your favorite brands into a more personal blend. If you like Knob Creek, but find the proof kind of high, which I do, you can cut it with Basil Hayden. Two excellent bourbons brought together giving you a new taste.

I prefer the randomness and ease of simply taking the last few shots out of any bottle and adding them to the decanter. It is a real blend that always changes over time and I never seem to run out. The Infinity Bottle is easy to manage. I then use the blend for mixing, cocktails, on the rocks, and some just for sipping neat. It's like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get. When all else fails, Jim Beam and ginger ale are still a great go-to when I play cards.
 
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DaveKile
I'm shocked to see that so many anglers here on Paflyfish drink bourbon. I was visiting my son in Maryland yesterday and was able to load up on some of my winter provisions from a favorite MD liquor store. (Not gonna spot burn). Never had the Widow Jane, but hear it was good. Big fan of Basil Hayden I think because of the lower proof is easier to drink on the rocks for me. Basil Hayden Toast is the bomb if you can find it.


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salmo
I love the idea of blending your own whiskey. I’ll have to give it a try.

I’m mostly a single malt guy. Love the scotches that are port or sherry barrel aged. I always take a bottle on my overnight fishing trips. It’s a great way to relax after a long day and it is a great way to meet people and start a friendly conversation.
Also great for steadying your hands before tying size 22 flies.
 
Kyle
How many of us carry flasks with us fishing?

🖐️
gatorade in the summer, or coffee, chicken or beef broth in the winter. i save the booze for when i get home and sitting by the fire. but to each their own. enjoy what you like to do. cheers. (y)
 
F
I am the same way. I don't drink alcohol when I fish. Afterwards a couple go great around the fire at fish camp. Bourbon, Scotch or a favorite Cognac made in Normandy France from apples called Calvados.
 
Bamboozle
I am the same way. I don't drink alcohol when I fish. Afterwards a couple go great around the fire at fish camp. Bourbon, Scotch or a favorite Cognac made in Normandy France from apples called Calvados.
Not nitpicking, but the term "Cognac" refers to a variety of brandy, regulated by the French government and distilled from white wine from specific grapes from the Cognac region in France. It can only legally be called Cognac in France if it meets those first two requirements and a bunch of others.

The term "Calvados" refers to a specific brandy distilled only from cider, not the variety of apple used in that cider. The term is also is regulated by the French government and the brandy can only legally be called Calvados in France if it is made from specific apples & pears grown in the Normandy region. The cider used is always a blend of different apples with over 50 varieties and a small percentage of perry pears permitted.

So technically Calvados is an apple brandy and NOT Cognac and Cognac is NOT Calvados but it is a brandy.

Way back when I stated carrying a flask fishing, Cognac was all I toted so that's why I know these things. ;)

I like Calvados too but still prefer a VSOP or XO Cognac.
 
F
You are correct Bamboozle. I was just speaking in general terms. I like VSOP also
Your description is good.
 
C
I once watched a TV show on the History Channel about distilled spirits. It was very interesting. A bourbon is only a bourbon if it is distilled in Kentucky. Jack Daniels and George Dickel are distilled in Tennessee, which is why they are sour mash whiskeys and not bourbons.

Another thing that I learned from this show is that whiskeys only age in the oak barrels. That stops once they are bottled. Wine continues to age after bottling.

I am primarily a beer drinker, but I do drink bourbon and scotch. Sometimes on ice or just sipping it. If I drink gin or vodka, I only mix with tonic water.

I drove by the George Dickel distillery in Tennessee. It is in the middle on nowhere.
 
Bamboozle
I once watched a TV show on the History Channel about distilled spirits. It was very interesting. A bourbon is only a bourbon if it is distilled in Kentucky. Jack Daniels and George Dickel are distilled in Tennessee, which is why they are sour mash whiskeys and not bourbons.

Another thing that I learned from this show is that whiskeys only age in the oak barrels. That stops once they are bottled. Wine continues to age after bottling.

I am primarily a beer drinker, but I do drink bourbon and scotch. Sometimes on ice or just sipping it. If I drink gin or vodka, I only mix with tonic water.

I drove by the George Dickel distillery in Tennessee. It is in the middle on nowhere.
Actually, being distilled in Kentucky is NOT a requirement of a whiskey being called Bourbon. A whiskey labeled as Bourbon can be distilled anywhere in the USA and that has always been the rule.

Tennessee Whiskey on the other hand HAS to be distilled in Tennessee however it differs from Bourbon because all whiskey labeled as Tennessee Whiskey has undergone the Lincoln County process which is filtering the newly-make spirit through layers of charcoal before barreling.

That last step is the ONLY difference between the two.

I never visited Gorge Dickel however I've been to Jack Daniels in Lynchburg a few times. It is a fantastic tour EXCEPT Lynchburg, Tennessee is a dry town so you can't have a sip at the tour's conclusion or even buy a bottle.

They will however give you all the lemonade you want. :)
 
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djs12354
While I greatly enjoy reading the commentary by those with more sophisticated pallets than mine; I freely admit I am a "I like this, I don't like that" type of guy.
It is enjoyable to read why I may or may not like something I haven't tried yet.

Skoal!
 
JackM
This is the straight scoop:

In 1964, the U.S. Congress recognized bourbon whiskey as a “distinctive product of the United States” and outlined the rules of the spirit in Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Yes, there are rules to making bourbon, and there are similar rules to making scotch, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky, etc. So let’s take a look at what constitutes a bourbon, and how that differs from other whiskey categories.

1) Bourbon must be made in the United States.​

Contrary to popular belief, bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky, although 95% of it is. It can be made in any state in America, and at the moment, there are actually bourbons coming out of all 50 states.

2) Bourbon must be made using at least 51% corn.​

Most bourbons use corn, malted barley and either rye or wheat in their recipes, but no matter what grains they use, the mash bill must contain at least 51% corn.

Why? Well, because that’s what grows well in middle and southern America, and that’s where bourbon first got its start.

3) Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak containers (barrels).​

This is an important rule, because unlike other whiskeys (as we will discuss in a bit), the barrel or cask the bourbon is put into cannot be used.

4) Bourbon must not be distilled higher than 160 proof.​

When making bourbon, it’s important not to distill too high, because the flavors of the grains will be stripped out at higher proofs. Take vodka for example. It typically doesn’t matter what grains you make it from, because it gets distilled so high, all the flavor is boiled out anyway.

Anything above 160 proof usually removes most of the intricate flavors that make bourbon so unique.

5) Bourbon must not be put into a barrel higher than 125 proof.​

The barrel entry proof is important to distilling, and different brands use different numbers. The typical range of entry proof is anywhere between 110-125, so distillers must decide if they want to add more water at the beginning to proof down the distillate, or at the end after the bourbon has aged.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Some people believe lower entry proof results in a richer, more viscous bourbon. But many companies stay near 125 to be more cost-efficient and true to the brand’s history.

6) Bourbon must be bottled at 80 proof or higher.​

Like all whiskeys, bourbon must be at least 80 proof. If it’s below that, it falls into the liqueur category.

7) Bourbon must not contain any flavorings or colorings.​

This is fairly transparent but important. Nothing can be added to bourbon except for water once it comes out of the barrel. All the dark hues of amber you see comes 100% from the charred oak barrel.

Those are the seven main rules of bourbon. You’ll notice there isn’t any mention of aging. That’s because bourbon technically does not have to be aged by law, but it’s not going to be very tasty if you don’t let nature and time do their thing.

Another term you may have heard associated with bourbon and aging is Straight, and that just means it’s been aged for a minimum of two years. If it’s less than 4 years old, there must be an age statement on the label.
 
pcray1231
And my understanding is that Jack Daniels meets all of the above requirements. But they add the charcoal filter process to mellow it. They could call it bourbon if they wanted, but way back some marketing dude considered it "better than bourbon", and took exception to being required by law to call it bourbon. Went to court to make Tennessee whiskey a separate thing. Tennessee whiskey is a type of bourbon that adds a #8 to the above list. To this day, they could accurately call it Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey if they wanted to. But they choose not to in order to highlight that it's not just a bourbon made in Tennessee, but that Tennessee whiskey designates a specific process.

I read that. Of course, that could all be marketing fluff from JD. It kind of reeks of elitism. As if being a type of bourbon is an insult. This is Tennessee vs. Kentucky we're talking about here, lol. I never really dug into it that deeply.
 
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J
gatorade in the summer, or coffee, chicken or beef broth in the winter. i save the booze for when i get home and sitting by the fire. but to each their own. enjoy what you like to do. cheers. (y)
Nothing like a fire, a bourbon, and your dog sitting next to you.
 
Dubhlaine
woodford reserve double oaked is one my favorites. i like mine over a large clear ice cube(yes i make my own ice, lol) it looks much better then the white ice cubes you get from your freezer.
Nice, I made clear ice cubes a few years ago after getting served one once. Really like how it looks and more importantly does not melt as fast. I put a small cooler in the freezer, bottom was a solid clear block and just cut it up in large square cubes.
With all this talk I may have to get me a bottle of bourbon and try the ice once again.

Oíche mhaith
John
 
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