Happy New Year!
Young Nose Johnson here from The Scotchy Bourbon Boys, and we have a new series of blogs coming in 2021. Since Tiny, and I have start this bustling group over a year ago my wife Mrs. Young Nose still finds no excitement about Scotch, Bourbon, or any other type of whiskey. She doesn’t drink whiskey but from time to time during out tastings I would have her smell them to experience at least one aspect of this delicious liquid. But every time she ends up saying, “They smell the same”, or “ I don’t smell anything”, or my personal favorite, “This Stinks!”, so the two of us decided to try an experiment. We want to really see if she can come up with some different aromas among different whiskies. For this experiment we are going to compare four different bourbons.
Mrs. Young Nose will be sniffing four very distinct bourbons with different mash bills, different proofs, and from what I can tell very distinct aromas when it comes to the smell. For this experiment we are comparing aromas only so no tastes have been made that might affect the results of the nosing. All four samples were poured into clean and dry Glencairn glasses to get the best concentration of aromas to the top of the glass. During the experiment we did two nosings, first we smelled each Bourbon neat, then after writing down the results added in two drops of water to test if there were any differences. The four bourbons used in this experiment are, Cavehill from the Rabbit Hole distillery, Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Knob Creek 9 Year, and Makers Mark.
First up we have the Cavehill Bourbon from Rabbit Hole distillery. This bourbon is 95 proof with a mash bill of 70% Corn, 10% Malted Wheat, 10% Malted Barley, and 10% Honey Malted Barley. With this bourbon Mrs. Young Nose got the smell of green apples and caramel. After adding in the two drops of water the smell was the same, still green apples and caramel. Second is the Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, this bourbon is at 90 proof and is said to have a blended mash bill. (See https://www.bourbonbanter.com for the detailed mash bill) Smelling this bourbon neat Mrs. Young Nose detected vanilla and iced tea. When we added in the two drops of water she noticed that the vanilla dropped out but the iced tea carried on.
The third bourbon on the list is the Knob Creek 9 Year 100 proof. I must say that this particular bottle was near empty when I pulled it off the shelf and I feel that the whiskey to air ratio on this may have affected the results on this, but the neat nosing of this bourbon Mrs. Young Nose detected Sharpie Markers! As a side note, to those reading this who know me knows that I enjoy Ardbeg Scotch which is a heavily peated whisky and can be described as sharpie markers on its nose but I swear there was no Ardbeg in the glass before this experiment! When I smelled the glass I myself noticed a very high amount of ethanol, so I could see her point with her result. Adding in the water didn’t help much but Mrs. Young nose added to the results that “At this point my nose now hurts but I will stay strong for Science!” The last Bourbon on the flight is the classic Makers Mark. At 90 proof with a mash bill of 70% Corn, 16% Red Winter Wheat, and 14% Malted Barley made the end to this experiment much more pleasurable to Mrs. Young Nose. On the neat smell she detected honey and vanilla. After adding the two drops of water the vanilla aroma was replaced by sweet tea but the honey remained.
This experiment was rather fun, and the results were quite surprising, based off the data collected Mrs. Young Nose now can no longer claim that Bourbon all smells the same. Score one for Mr. Young Nose! So the next time someone tells you all bourbon smells the same instead of becoming irate or getting all technical with flavor profiles or busting out your vast amounts of knowledge of the distilling process, just grab three or four different bourbons and have them start sniffing. Let them decided for themselves if they can tell the difference. If they can, great a new friendship may have been born, if not, then you know who isn’t getting the invite to the next whiskey tasting!
The Scotchy Bourbon Boys bids you farewell until next time! Where bourbon brings together good friends for great fellowship!