We work with the same local farms we’ve had relationships with for decades to select corn, malted barley, rye and wheat, which are then milled and combined according to our recipe, also known as a "mashbill". These ingredients eventually become the whiskey you know and enjoy.
The milled grains are cooked in small, 35 barrel batches with Kentucky limestone water, in a specified order and at exact temperatures, to create a sweet, porridge-like “mash”. A portion of the prior day's distillate is then added to both the mash cooker and the fermenter. This helps maintain continuity of flavor that’s unique to each of our whiskeys.
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Our proprietary yeast strain, a family recipe that’s been passed down for seven generations and used since our founding in 1935, is added to the cooked mash, where the sugars naturally convert into alcohol. Over several days, the fermenting mash bubbles violently, creating a thick liquid called, "Distiller's Beer."
In our 70-foot-tall column stills, the Distiller's Beer drips slowly down a series of perforated copper plates while steam blasts up from the bottom. The alcohol vapors rise to the tops, where they're captured and then condensed.
At 140 Proof the alcohol vapors rise up into the head of the still where they're drawn off into an arm and then to a coil. The coil is submerged in cool water, which liquefies the alcohol again. The result is the purified, raw whiskey, also known as "white dog" or "new make"
Next up is the waiting game. The whiskey is transferred to a barrel and sealed with a "bung." We source all of our barrels from family-owned cooperages we've worked with for generations. The newly filled barrels are then placed in open-rick warehouses to naturally age. It's during the aging process, when the barrels experience the hot summers and cold winters of Kentucky, that the whiskey acquires its distinctive color, aroma and taste, imparted by the charred oak barrel.
The barrels are aged anywhere from 4 to 23+ years in our Kentucky rickhouses and then expertly combined to create the signature taste profiles of each and every brand. Each batch is created under the attention of our Master Distillers, who ensure quality and consistency.