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Unaged Whiskey - Corn or Rye (Longish)


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Unaged Whiskey - Corn or Rye (Longish)

StriperGuy | | Apr 12, 2006 01:43 PM

So I have been thinking about this for a while.

I really enjoy clear, unaged Agricole Rum. It has an essential grassy, sugar cane taste that I love. They make it in the French west indies, and also make something similar in Brazil.

Rum agricole is fermented sugar cane juice that has been distilled, and perhaps diluted a bit with water. It was never crytalline sugar, or molasses. So you really get the pure essense of the cane. It is delicious with a bit of ice, and perhaps a squeeze of lime (Ti Punch for the initiated).

Back in the day, Corn whiskey and Rye were much the same.

No barrel aging was involved.

Barrel aging in charred oak barrels is what gives most whiskey and some rums their color, and much of their flavor. So really, when you drink bourbon, scotch, rum, certainly cognac, you are not tasting the booze, you are tasting the barrel. This is why scotch companies fuss so much about sherry barrels, port barrels, bourbon barrels, etc.

Grappa (which I also love) is another exception, essentially straight from the still, so you actually taste the flavor of the raw materials (and all of these unaged liquors do have something raw about them)...

Back in the day, whiskey was something farmers made from their grain to add value, and make it easier to transport. They didn't have time or the desire to put it in a barrel and leave it for a year or two or ten. This would kill the real flavor of the spirit (nee the spirit of the spirit).

To quote the website linked to below: "FOR SOME PEOPLE, fine whiskey is Kentucky Bourbon. Once upon a time it was Pennsylvania or Maryland Rye. Of course, what they mean by "fine whiskey" is barrel-aged bourbon or rye which has acquired the caramel and vanilla flavors that result from years of storage in never-used-before, charred oak barrels. Whiskey without those flavors is sometimes characterized as raw, crude, and evil-tasting; a product suitable only for unsophisticated tastes, or perhaps as a novelty.

Now, to some of us who enjoy fresh-made whiskey, that characterization seems a little bit like suggesting that fresh peaches lack the delicate balance and flavor nuances of the more sophisticated canned peaches."

So bottom line, I really want to try unaged corn or rye whiskey. I have been trying to find unaged corn whiskey for a long time. After some googling, I came up with the two distilleries that make pure (not adulterated with sugar in the mash) unaged corn and rye whiskey. Unfortunately, neither is sold in, or can ship to Massachusetts.

Old Potrero apparently used to make and distribute an unaged rye, but not any more.

Has anyone tried any of these old fashioned moon-shiney libations? Or better still, any idea how I can get ahold of some?