Dan Call wrote:I'm starting this thread in order to generate discussion on taste comparisons between commercially available stuff and our stuff we make at home,
Dan Call wrote:I tried Myer's Dark Rum. It's supposed to be 100% Jamaican pot-stilled rum, and aged in white oak barrels, it's a dark run. Apparently it's "blended" in a series of mixtures in which some of the blend comes from casks that have aged for over 40 years.......not sure I buy that one.
Well....the oakiness/smokiness on the Myer's Dark definitely slaps you in the face, much like a highly aged Bourbon, like more than 10 years. The distinctive part is how clearly the alchohol taste comes out, unlike the grain smoothness of bourbons, the aged rum still just clearly says...."Hey...here's the pure alchohol part." The in-between is interesting though, kind've leathery, thick, smoky, chocolately, somewhat complex. It's got to be the cask characteristics overshadowing the distillate characteristics because the buttery thing expected in rum is mostly subdued. But I must say that the fuzzy whang of fusels is not nearl as strong. Maybe this stuff really IS pot stilled. I'd like to find some rum that is 100% pot stilled and see what that tasted like.
Dan Call wrote:Okay guys...it's quite obvious that we can whip the pants off of a commercial distillery with what we make at home....that's not even an issue.
muckanic wrote:Dan Call wrote:Okay guys...it's quite obvious that we can whip the pants off of a commercial distillery with what we make at home....that's not even an issue.
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think that's a bit of an inflated claim. Largely because most amateurs do not have the capacity to get into serious barrel aging. Look at how the pricing on the commercial stuff works. If you want that smooth-as-silk-I-can't-believe-I'm drinking-spirits sensation, then it takes 10 years in a barrel and costs at least double what an everyday drop costs. It doesn't seem like there are any shortcuts. I guess I'm mainly referring to Scotch/Irish here, with say Bushmills as an example of something pretty good (although a lot of Irish is arguably a bit light and one-dimensional). I haven't drunk so much aged rum or bourbon, partly because of availability and partly because I tend to mix it with sweet muck anyway. For some reason, I don't have too much interest in brandy.
Maybe a more reasonable claim is that craft amateurs can produce a drop that shows more potential than many commercial examples, in much the same way that big red wines can be evaluated young by predicting how they are likely to turn out, and ignoring selected aspects of harshness. In the majority of cases, however, I would say that most amateur spirits do not ever reach their full potential. This is not to say that they are poorly made, just drunk young. Taking a cue from the wine scene, it could in fact be an argument for not making these spirits too aggressive in the first place.
Now, it seems to be commonly observed around here that the volume producers don't or won't perform cuts properly, and that consequently their product is more headache-inducing than one's own. I get the impression this accusation is mainly levelled at the bourbon guys (?) although I have personally encountered more of this sort of incompetence in the grappa and schnapps area. It is also interesting that wherever you go in the home-produced alcohol forums (including beer and wine), the craft enthusiasts all tend to claim that their own product doesn't give them headaches. Methinks there could be a bit of wish-fulfillment going on here. I'm quite comfortable claiming that my various brews are vastly more interesting than the bland, mass-market stuff, but it would be stretching it to claim that these brews immunise me to the effects of alcohol consumption! And, like I said, we possibly should have the humility to admit that both the wine and spirit producers have generally better aging facilities at their disposal.
How do you duplicate that barrel complexity? Well....you need a 5-10 story rack house with metal sides painted black full of whiskey barrels up on a hill in central kentucky, that's the only way. Anything else is "targeted approximation.'
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