Blended, not distilled,
by St. George Spirits
You may sometimes hear such spirits referred to as "found" whiskeys, as if some Kentucky distiller rounded a corner in an unused part of a rambling old rickhouse and ran smack dab into a forgotten lot of barrels just a'settin' there. It's a disingenuous term, "found" whiskey. NDP is clunky, but more accurate. The reason it is interesting from a consumer's point of view is that, in general, brands would rather not have buyers know that the distillery named on the bottle may not in fact exist. Whiskey writer Chuck Cowdery calls brands that go to great lengths to craft images of these fictional distilleries "Potemkin distilleries." It's a good term.
But how are consumers standing there in the liquor store to know which whiskeys are made by distillery on each label and which are not? In a blog post today, Cowdery proposes that genuine, actual, echt craft distillers develop common language that Potemkin distilleries cannot truthfully use...and then plaster it on everything. As an example, he cites copy from one of our favorite of America's newer distilleries, Balcones Distilling in Waco, Texas:
100% of Balcones whisky is mashed, fermented and distilled at our distillery. We never resell whisky from other distilleries or source aged whisky barrels for blending under the Balcones label. This is authentic craft whisky.Language like that would go a long way to letting drinkers who actually makes their spirits. Read the rest of Cowdery's three-point proposal here.
Goes well with:
- Here's Cowdery on why "Potemkin" is a fitting term for non-distiller producers who pretend to operate actual distilleries.
- As I mentioned, buying whiskey from actual distillers and reselling it is, in and of itself, an honorable practice. Some such bottles we like — with varying degrees of transparency among them — include Bulleit bourbon and rye, Whistlepig rye, and Breaking and Entering bourbon from St. George Spirits.