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Welcome to Great Distillations.com - Presenting features & news originating from America's great Hearthland - focusing on a wide range of distilled spirits
So ...pour yourself a bit of the good stuff, get comfortable and browse around.

May  2004 Edition

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Whispering Jeff's News, Rumors and Gossip

A New Direction


By Jeff Platt

Several issues ago, Cream City Suds, a Midwestern beer newspaper since 1997,added Wine & Spirits to our mix. Our latest issues are now being delivered reflecting new names corresponding to our new direction: CREAM CITY SUDS+WINE & SPIRITS(Milwaukee & Wisconsin); WINDY CITY SUDS, WINE & SPIRITS (Chicagoland & Illinois) &SUDS, WINE & SPIRITS (Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio & Illinois).

We are proud media co-sponsors of the Third Annual WhiskyFest in Chicago. Stop by our booth and say Hi!

More With The Dalmore

Deerfield, Ill.- Jim Beam Brands Co. will launch an ad campaign in two executions -- one for consumer lifestyle magazines and one for the trade industry -- to support The Dalmore Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky and to showcase the product's award-winning attributes. Both executions, appearing in the first quarter, highlight The Dalmore as a superior tasting single malt Scotch whisky while challenging consumers to" Experience More." Appealing to upscale consumers, the consumer ad links the refined characteristics of The Dalmore to well-known literary passages. A climatic passage taken from Bernard Malamud's novel, The Natural, uses descriptive details to present the story of The Dalmore whisky's robust character in a very evocative way. As the ad claims, both Malamud's literary work and the rich flavor of The Dalmore are "things that make the world worth experiencing." "We are proud of the continued success of The Dalmore and want to educate consumers on the differentiating attributes of our product," said Tom Hernquist, senior vice-president of marketing at Jim Beam Brands Co.

"The Dalmore is a brand that deserves recognition and these ads describe The Dalmore experience in a creative, concise manner." When developing the campaign, North Castle Partners, an advertising agency based in Stamford, Conn., tried to focus on The Dalmore consumer rather than fall back on the overdone theme of "place of origin." "The Dalmore consumer is looking for richer, more interesting experiences in their lives," said Hernquist. "We found a way to connect the brand to their lives through stories they're familiar with and writers they respect." An accompanying trade ad will focus on the brand's awards and its critical acclaim by highlighting industry accolades and quotes from spirits experts. Building off the "Experience More" theme this campaign positions

The Dalmore as one of "Scotch whisky's best kept secrets." Highly acclaimed by critics and connoisseurs and recognized as one of the top 10 single malt scotches in the U.S., The Dalmore continues to receive rave reviews and accolades including four prized medals, one for each offering, at the 2001 International Wine and Spirits Competition. Jim Beam Brands Co. is an operating company of Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc., an international distilled spirits and fine wines company that manufactures and markets more than 80 brands in 160countries. Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. has leadership positions in bourbon, with Jim Beam® and Jim Beam ® Black, the number one selling bourbon worldwide; Knob Creek® bourbon and The Small Batch Bourbon Collection®; and cordials, with DeKuyper®, the number one cordial linein the United States. In addition to spirits, the Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. portfolio includes Geyser Peak® and Canyon Road®. A joint venture between Jim Beam Brands Co. and The Absolut SpiritsCompany, Incorporated, called Future Brands LLC, provides sales and distribution services in the United States for the company's spirits and wine brands. Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. is part of Fortune Brands,Inc. (NYSE:FO), the consumer products company. The Dalmoreâ Imported Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, 43%Alc./Vol. © 2003 Fielding & Jones, Ltd., Deerfield, IL. The Dalmore is registered trademark of Kyndal

Jack Daniel’s Hits The Road

By Dan Hanover for Event Marketer’s BUZZ

The Brown-Forman marketers who have long thought it a gosh-darn shame the majority of Americans aren't close enough to swing by and take a tour of its Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, TN, are finally doing something about it.

The company has uncorked a national mobile program that takes a miniature version of the distillery tour to events across the U.S. Targeted to loyal customers, occasional users, and consumers familiar with the product, the Jack Daniel's Experience features an 18-wheeler that opens up, unfolds, and forms a scaled-down version of the distillery tour. Guests stroll in and learn how to make J.D. amid artifacts from the Lynchburg tour. From the art of charcoal mellowing (and the science of making sugar maple charcoal) to the one-time use of aging barrels to the famous seven-step process and an explanation of sour mashing, consumers are getting a quick JD education.

Outside the rig, a 40-foot bar is set up, a tented area is formed, and music and lights set the mood. A mix of tunes, dancers, promotions, and activities add to the allure (people have stayed for hours). More than 800 people are coming through a day, staying inside the vehicle for an average of 15 minutes. Builder/executer: Spevco: Winston-Salem, NC. (From "Beer, Wine & Spirits" Newsletter)

The Angels Share


By Michel David Ratkowski

An old Polish proverb states that; If you chop your own firewood, it will warm you twice. While I havent chopped wood recently, I can see where that might be true. However there is a third way in which wood plays a role in providing mankind with warming comfort. Wooden barrels (primarily oak) have always played an essential part in the creation of fine wine, ale and whiskey.

The use of wooden barrels for storage dates back to ancient times. The existence of open wooden pails, utilizing the skill of a cooper(barrel dude), has been documented in Egypt as early as 2690 BC. Closed barrels were first developed during the Iron Age and soon became the standard container for holding wine, beer, olive oil, and water, etc. As commerce and the need for wider distribution of these products developed, shippers soon discovered that sealed wooden containers were vastly superior to the fragile clay vessels, which they replaced. The advantages of barrels were quite evident. They were strong being made of wood and fitted with hoops, which trussed the joints of the barrels staves into a double arch. The barrels were also mobile as they could be easily rolled from one place to another, a task thats bit more challenging to do with a square container.

However in todays technologically advanced world, the wooden barrels most important contribution to great wine, ale and whiskey is not in the storage or the transporting of them, but rather in the enhancement of them. To mankinds utter delight, it became exceedingly clear from early on, that these libations actually benefited from being kept in wood. These beverages become mellower, rounder, richer and more complex when stored for a prolonged period in wooden barrels. This is the raison d'être for its continued use today, when we have stainless steel and synthetic materials, which easily outweigh all the other advantages that wooden barrels once solely possessed.

Oak wood contains a large number of chemical compounds and almost every one of them can add a little something to the flavor profile and personality of wine, ale or spirit when kept in contact with it. The most recognizable of these are a wide range of vanilla, tea-like (tannins), caramelized sugars, toast, and tobacco flavors and complimenting aromas. Aging on wood also adds pigmented color elements and hydrolysable compounds, which contribute to mouth feel. Oak aging is an extremely complex subject involving a huge number of factors. Oak can impart varying degrees of flavor traits and qualities depending upon the barrel size and the way it was made. The type of oak used, sawn or hand-split, air-drying or kiln drying of the staves, and the use of boiling water, steam, natural gas, or wood fire to bend the staves. Skilled winemakers may use a combination of both new oak, for more intensity and old oak for elegance. Scotch whisky is aged in used sherry (sometimes in Port barrels) barrels. American Kentucky and Tennessee whiskeys owe their characteristic color and a great deal of their flavor to the use of heavily charred barrels. The charring creates a red layer of caramelized sugars between the charred and un-charred part of the barrel.

All barrels have one thing in common they are relatively porous. This plays a part in another aging factor, oxidation. This very gradual oxidation results in decreased astringency, increased color, stability and the formation of complex fragrances. As the wine, ale or whiskey ages, the barrels breathe. In the case of whiskey, somewhere between eight to ten percent of the alcohol volume will be lost to evaporation in the first year. Evaporation continues over subsequent years at a rate of four to five percent per barrel. A good whiskey is likely to lose approximately thirty percent of its original volume by the time it is ready for bottling.

The expression The Angels Share refers to the quantity of the whiskey or wine, which is lost to evaporation during the aging process. In grade school we were told that it was the angels job to look after all of us. In todays perilous world, that must be hauntingly demanding work, which would certainly merit a few perks.