Uh... O-KAY... As I appear to have previously posted in the wrong topic...
That's a cool book, Gary. I "wasted" much of my evening just glancing though it and I can tell I'm going to spend more time with it.
In fact, I spent so much time perusing it online that I forgot where I was in THIS forum and posted my reply to your other book recommendation. DUH!!!!
Oh, well, in THIS book, I especially enjoyed the comparisons of whiskies (at least as they were in the 1930s). One thing that popped out at me was Herstein's type classification which defines "bourbon" as "...composed of maize and either wheat or barley malt"
, while rye whiskey (the more predominant type then, and listed first) was "made from a mash composed of unmalted rye and either rye or barley malt"
. No mention of rye as an ingredient of bourbon at all.
In another topic, I've mentioned the intricacies of the bourbon column still. Herstein goes into exquisite detail in his description, which well illustrate what I meant. In fact, his diagrams clearly (if that's really the correct word for them) show the complexity involved. Reminds me of the valves on a baritone saxophone! Ah yes, Bird Thou Never Wert!
Another very important area for discussion that surfaces (and is well-explored) in this book is the eternal quest for a suitable method of accelerating the very expensive aging process. This is, of course, of prime interest to startup distillers, and Herstein seems to spend much more time addressing the various approaches than one might expect. Except that, at the time he published this book, that was a major issue in the post-Repeal brown spirits industry. Much history has been recounted concerning the Rosenstiels and Bronfmans and Porters and their huge liquor companies, with all those millions of barrels aging in warehouses, but another huge concern -- one which gets very little mention and even less praise -- is Continental Distilling of Philadelphia, the beverage alcohol division of Publiker. And in the 1930s, Continental was a force to be reckoned with -- primarily due to its chief chemist, a genius by the name of Dr. Carl Haner. Haner had formulated a process, so Continental asserted to its potential stockholders, by which newly-distilled whiskey could be matured in very little time, with the resulting spirit indetectable from whiskeys aged for years in oak barrels. Whether Dr. Haner's method was successful is open to discussion; I've never had a chance to sample any of the products to which it may have been applied. I do know that Continental produced some very excellent whiskey, but those I'm familiar with appear to have been aged conventionally in warehouses at Kinsey/Linfield. Perhaps we can get Dave Ziegler to add some of his knowledge here. The important point, however, is that "accelerated aging" was a VERY big deal in the industry at that time. In the end, the straight whiskey folks won out, but that may not really have been "in the end". It will be interesting to see what ideas the new "fine whiskey-makers" might explore. By the way, are you going to attend the ADI conference in May? Love to see you.