Did you know that the original recipe for Old Taylor called for an heirloom white corn, not yellow corn?
Generally bourbon made today uses feed corn in their recipes because it’s the least expensive and can be bought in large quantities. White corn, for distilling, has been described as having less taste than yellow corn, but that is debatable. When tests were done to discover the original composition of pre-Prohibition Old Taylor bourbon, they found that white corn was used. Distilling is an art as well as a science, and master distiller/chemical engineer, Marianne Barnes, will be working with these original recipes to create her whiskeys at her new home, the distillery once known as Old Taylor. She was the lead blender for the special release Old Forester Whiskey Row 1870 Original Batch when she still worked with Brown Forman. “I’m passionate about being open and honest about ingredients,” said Barnes in an interview.
In November, Woodford Reserve will be releasing its new Masters Collection bottling of 1838 Style White Corn. The Master’s Collection is a yearly release by WR described as having “a variety of grain recipes, fermentation styles and maturation processes to create a range of unique whiskeys.” Their newest offering will be bottled at 90.4 proof.
There are other heirloom corn styles being used in bourbon production, such as red corn (or bloody butcher) and blue corn. Blue corn has more starches than yellow corn which would convert to more sugar. Yellow feed corn has higher levels of protein which make for more oils. You can try Balcones Blue Corn Bourbon if you’re curious to see the differences…