Know Your Whiskey: What’s In A Mash Bill? Every Distillers Secret Weapon
Welcome to another entry in the ‘Know Your Whiskey’ series here at Whiskey Raiders – a succession of posts aimed towards educating on the finer points of whiskey production and the whiskey industry.
Now, more than ever, distillers are seeking to differentiate themselves from competitors as the world of whiskey. As the industry finds itself quickly expanding, producers are making more and more concerted efforts to stand among the roar of competitors. One of the most intrinsic aspects of producing whiskey is your grain: bourbon must be 51% corn, and rye must be 51% rye. Beyond that, it’s up to the distiller to comprise the remaining 49% of the recipe with malted barley, wheat, corn, etc.
Often times, producers will stick to a select few mashbills. These are the DNA of a whiskey release. Some producers, like Maker’s Mark, only use a single mashbill. The Loretto, Kentucky distillery focuses on a wheated mashbill – this means that the secondary flavoring grain is mostly wheat. Bourbon fans also call these “wheaters” and you can find the term often attached to old legendary releases like Pappy and Van Winkle.
Others in the industry, like Bardstown Bourbon Company, are well versed in all sorts of mashbills. The goliath contract producer boasts a catalog of some 52 mashbills in their portfolio. Many producers leverage several mashbills, like Buffalo Trace, and their focus remains on select few mashbills. Popular whiskey blog, Bourbonr, has the perfect graphic defining key mashbills across the industry.
All in all, hundreds of factors go into the taste profile of a bottled whiskey product. This has been another installment of Know Your Whiskey here on Whiskey Raiders.
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