Barrels for Laws Batch 21 of Four Grain Straight Bourbon
Batch 21 Four Grain Straight Bourbon
If you have ever looked at any label on a bottle of Laws Whiskey, you might have noticed that we always include a batch number on the front label. What exactly is a batch of whiskey you ask? We get this question and many others related to our batching process often and with Batch #21 of our Four Grain Straight Bourbon being created now, we thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of the steps that go into crafting this unique whiskey.
First thing’s first. We need to select the barrels we want to use for a particular batch of whiskey. And to select barrels, we need to taste what’s inside. Depending on the size of the batch, the process can start with as many as 70 barrels before settling on the final lucky ones.
James Kunz, Laws Whiskey House’s Barrel Manager, talks about the process below:
“When we are tasting barrels, we use a simple philosophy as we go from barrel to barrel,” said Kunz, “The barrels will tell us when they are ready. That means barrels are not selected solely on how long they have been aging…they need flavor and character. There is a specific flavor profile we look for in each of our expressions, and for the Four Grain Bourbon, we need to find the notes from each grain used in the mash bill (corn, wheat, malt and rye). This is a drawn-out process and will often take several days to identify the barrels to use in a batch.”
Again, the whiskey tells us when it’s ready, and for us, we start tasting barrels at about the three-year mark. Some need more time and will go back to the rack. Some are tasting extra special and are marked for potential single barrels or cask strength offerings in the future. Others are reserved for older batch releases like our Bonded 6 Year Bourbon or Rye. Each barrel’s progression and flavor profile is tracked and recorded for future reference when its harvest day arrives”.
After whittling down the pool of barrels into the final ~40 selected, Kunz will create a few test marriages from the chosen barrels for evaluation by the production team. Through several rounds of tasting, analyzing, and adjusting the flavor profile through barrel selection, a final marriage is created ensuring that the intended flavor profile was captured while embracing the unique characteristics of that specific batch. Once the sample batch is created, barrels are harvested one by one for proofing where water is slowly added to bring down the alcohol content to the desired proof (95 proof for our Batch Bourbon and Rye). This process can take several days to weeks as we strive to minimize the shock of adding water to the newly created batch of bourbon.
There is one more step we take to ensure we capture that signature Laws Whiskey flavor in each batch: We use a modified solera process by adding a bit of aged whiskey from our last batch. This process has been in place at Laws since the beginning and therefore ensures that elements from our first batch will be present in all of batches moving forward. In every sip, you’re getting a taste of Batch 1!
There is still plenty of work to do as every bottle of Laws Whiskey is still hand-filled, labeled, capped, and boxed. Our signature bottles have been used since day one and have become an instant classic in the whiskey community. Lastly, the batch number is handwritten on the front label as the final touch signifying the completion of the process.
Batch 21 of our Four Grain Straight Bourbon will be released at the end of August and we are just as proud of this batch as the 20 before. Batch 21 is a marriage of 37 barrels aged a minimum of three years. With tasting notes of aromas of apple and fresh hay flowing into