How to blend whiskey at home with help from Montana Whiskey Co.
Montana Whiskey Co. keeps three goals in mind when we work on our whiskey blends:
- We shoot for smooth drinking whiskeys with a clean finish
- We create unique flavor profiles.
- We keep the price affordable.
If you’re blending at home, you’re probably like us and after something tasty and unique. So here’s what you need to do.
First, established a simple goal.
Example: For our straight whiskey, we wanted a Canadian whisky start and clean single-malt whiskey finish. With that in mind, we started with a high-quality, barrel-aged wheat whiskey with a high malted-barley content as a base whiskey and to increase its depth of character, with an ever-increasing malted barley content, and voila, Montana Whiskey Co.’s straight whiskey was born. Getting this just right took a lot of work.
So, you’ll want to take a similar approach with your blending: pick a base whiskey and add a twist.
Next, see where things go.
Example: For our straight whiskey,
we started adding varying degrees of rye whiskey
we used our heavy-wheat blending stock and started adding increasing amounts of our spicey rye whiskey until we felt we’d hit the sweet spot between the unique flavor we were after and too much rye spice for this everyday, everybody’s spirit.
We use small containers to hold our different ratios of base whiskey to added whiskey. And it helps to have sealable lids, because …
Here’s a complication: marriage. It’s complicated! Whiskeys take their sweet time to mix. If you sample your new blend right away, you might find it sharp and unpleasant. We find we often have to give a new blend a day or two to truly be able to judge it.
And finally, keep track of your successes.
This is the fun part: figuring out which ratio you like the best. Grab some crackers to munch between tasting each of your samples and and go to work sampling your blends. If you find a winner, record the ratio.
Now, if your goals are more complex, keep going in this way, adding new flavor to your whiskey. Otherwise you’re done, and you can mix up a bigger batch to share with friends and show them your whiskey blending mastery!
For Montana Whiskey Co., it’s more complicated
We must carefully measure our whiskey so we can keep track of our mash bills. Bourbon, for example, must have at least 51% corn in its mash bill by law. Since we’re in the north, we prefer our straight bourbon whiskey to be a low-corn, drier bourbon that doesn’t taste so sweet. In our blending of this spirit, we lower the corn in the mash bill with corn-free blending stock, but not too far, of course. (It has to stay above 51% corn.)
We also need consistency from batch to batch. Every barrel ages differently, and we want our customers to trust that they can buy the same whiskey they’ve enjoyed in the past. If our blending stock changes, we must make adjustments. So, drinking whiskey is part of our job!