Are they Rectified, or are they not!-August 21, 2013 OBS meeting
In August we examined 5 Whiskey's that are generally considered rectified. Rectified means that the brand in question does not actually distill their bourbon or rye, they purchase the whiskey from a large distillery and then bottle it under their brand.
The original line-up included Michters Sour mash Whiskey, Michters Single barrel Straight Rye, Jeffersons Reserve and Jeffersons 10 year old Rye. Thanks to the generous donation by Duke Brubaker, we also added Willets Pot still bourbon to the tasting.
Each of these brands has exciting things coming in the future. Willets (KBD) has long been a recitifier offering many quality bourbons such as Willets, Pure Kentucky, Noahs Mill, Rowans Creek, Vintage collection (17, 21 and 23 year old). They recently opened a new distillery (Willets Distillery) in Bardstown and have begun production of their own whiskey. We will have to wait a few years but it will be very exciting to see the results as compared to the bourbons currently under their portfolio.
Jeffersons has been "blending" different aged bourbons (which they purchased from an unknown distillery) for years. Their "reserve" is a mingling of bourbons up to 15 years old. Their Rye is a 10 year old spirit which comes from the Alberta distillery (Canadian Rye). This is the same distillery which WhistlePig comes from. Jefferson's has also offered Stitzel-Weller bourbons in the past (17 and 18 year old Presidential) and experimental bourbons such as "Ocean"
Michters has some very unique mashbills. Their Sour Mash whiskey does not meet the criteria of a bourbon (it has less than 51% corn) or a rye (it has less than 51% rye). What Michters has done is "leased" time and space in a large distillery. On specific days they are allowed to produce their own whiskeys using their grain, mashbills and yeast strain. The future appears very exciting as they prepare to open a distillery in Louisville to expand production.
Overall, these bourbons (and ryes) represented a sector of the business which has become more popular as the demand for bourbon has increased dramatically. Where these companies stand out is in the quality and age they offer their bourbons at. The future looks promising for each of these companies and we wish them the best!