Springbank, 2 1/2 Times Distilled Whisky

We know American whiskey and scotch are usually distilled twice, and Irish whiskey is often distilled three times, but 2 1/2 times? Springbank whisky is distilled two and half times. The first distillation goes through normally to produce low wines. Then some of those low wines are distilled a second time, but there are no cuts taken, it is just raising that alcohol level and removing more congeners from the distillate. That second run of the low wines is called the feints. Those feints are then blended back in with the remainder of the original low wines. This is what the distillery considers 1 1/2 times distilled. That blend goes through a final spirit run, a hearts cut is taken, and the final distillate is used for barreling. Hence the 2 1/2 times. Springbank...

Bourbon County History

Did you know that Bourbon County was originally part of Virginia? Bourbon County may not be the namesake for our favorite American liquor… Kentucky was formed as a county of Virginia between 1776 and 1777 after the 13 colonies established their independence. It was first called Fincastle County, VA before the name was changed to Kentucky. In 1780, Kentucky County was divided into Fayette, Lincoln and Jefferson Counties. In 1786, Bourbon County was formed by the division of Fayette County. When Bourbon County was formed, there were only 7 counties within Kentucky. In 1789, Mason County’s formation cut Bourbon County almost in half. Then in 1792, when Kentucky became a state, it was divided again by Clark and Harrison Counties. The very large segment of...

Laird’s Apple Jack- America’s First Licensed Distillery

It’s autumn now and that makes me think of applejack… Laird’s applejack is not whiskey, but it was the first licensed distillery in the United States. I’m particularly proud of the beverage because I grew up in New Jersey and have been to the Inn where it was originally served many times. Laird’s Applejack was originally produced for sale at the Colt’s Neck Inn in central New Jersey. The Inn was built in 1717 by an ancestor of the Laird family, and the apple brandy they served to travelers there was reportedly very popular. The distillery at the Colt’s Neck site was built in 1780 and thrived until it burned down in 1849. The Inn was rebuilt on the same site, but the distillery was moved to Scobeyville, N.J. Laird’s survived Prohibition (they were granted a...

The Pope is In Philadelphia!

So the pope’s here in Philadelphia…does he drink whiskey? Apparently, there are no papal dietary restrictions. Seems the pope can drink and eat what he likes. Pope Benedict XVI was from Bavaria and he liked his beer. On his 88th birthday he chose to sit in the Vatican gardens with a pint. Pope Francis is from Argentina, and though he has been seen drinking mate tea in the streets with the people, is only known to indulge in the occasional glass of wine. He is a man of the people…perhaps just a bit of whiskey? When the Queen Elizabeth visited the Vatican in April of 2014, she gave Pope Francis a basket of goodies from her estate. One of the items in her gift basket was Balmoral Single Malt Scotch. Royal Lochnagar distillery (originally New Lochnagar),...

Mash Bills in America

Did you know that mash bills are really only used in American whiskey production? American distilleries refer to the proportions of grains used as their “mash bill”. There are quite a few distinct styles of traditional American Whiskeys. Pennsylvania style ryes traditionally carry over 80% rye in their mash bills. Traditional Maryland style ryes are closer to 60% rye, balancing the mash bill with corn and a small amount of malted barley. (George Washington’s original rye whiskey from Mt. Vernon was 60% rye, 35% corn and 5% malted barley.) Bourbon, called “America’a spirit”, is at least 51% corn and is flavored with either rye or wheat grains and a small amount of malted barley. Corn whiskey is at least 80% corn, usually more. These traditional mash bills grew...