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Lessons in Barrel Aging

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4 hours ago, bluestar said:

The UV treatment methods are currently patented.

I'm not sure what anyone would have patented other than a unique process in using UV.  Using UV and US on spirits have been around prior to 1962.  I would think you are able to try anything with either except the unique process that has been patented if you could find it out.

http://hilgardia.ucanr.edu/fileaccess.cfm?article=152560&p=AXWYZG

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On 8/9/2018 at 7:52 PM, Thatch said:

I'm not sure what anyone would have patented other than a unique process in using UV.  Using UV and US on spirits have been around prior to 1962.  I would think you are able to try anything with either except the unique process that has been patented if you could find it out.

http://hilgardia.ucanr.edu/fileaccess.cfm?article=152560&p=AXWYZG

You are correct that a patent that just says exposed to UV light, does not or could not exist. Most patents are for specific implementations, whether method or formula or device patents. There are a couple out there from current producers, to allow them to license their specific technology to others. That is an old, but nice reference, you cite, that does show how long people have been looking at "acceleration" methods, including ultraviolet and ultrasound. The ultrasound stuff, unfortunately, often doesn't distinguish between extraction effects and enhancement of chemical reactions associated with aging.

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Angel's Envy is not bourbon or rye, lookup the COLA.  You will need formula approval and realize you are not bourbon or rye.

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21 hours ago, jeffw said:

Angel's Envy is not bourbon or rye, lookup the COLA.  You will need formula approval and realize you are not bourbon or rye.

This is correct. It is unclear if the requirement is because it is finished in a second barrel, or that it is because it is finished specifically in port barrels, and they call this out, thus suggesting a flavor profile from the port, and that drives the category and need for a formula. You would have to check some of the "double barrel" COLAs to see if it is solely the use of any second barrel.

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The rules for bourbon and for other American type whiskeys are not the same, even though they are of the same class and type.  This is the result of a policy developed over time.  Before TTB issued the ruling on general use formulas, you could not find any mention of the issues, at least as far as I know, in any higher level documents, i.e., documents in which TTB expresses an official position on a matter in a binding way.  You could find it, without explanation, in the Beverage Alcohol Manual, but as much as people view that as a biblical source for label information, it does not have the authority of regulation or ruling.   

Clearly, placing a whiskey,  into a used port barrel adds something, color or flavor, to the whiskey.  If not, why else go to the trouble, unless, of course, one is searching for a nitch in which to market.  At any rate, TTB is willing to accept an argument that finishing malt whiskey, or rye, in used sherry, etc barrels is consistent with established trade usage  and so does not change the class and type under the provisions of 5.23.  However, it holds bourbon to a different standard. 

Bourbon is the sacrosanct American type whiskey; it is  the distinctive product of the United States.  So for reasons which are lost to history - they were never the subject of rulemaking that I know of -  TTB appears to limit what TTB will allow before treatment of bourbon transforms it to a specialty which is marketed with a fanciful name and truthful and adequate statement of composition.    As I said, I can't explain how TTB makes those connections, but it does.  I think it is an evolved position. 

Notwithstanding that, creative people devise ways of splitting the statement of composition into phrases that appear on separate lines on the label and TTB approves the labels, creating the impression that the product is a bourbon, when the label is approved as a specialty.

That said, here is the official position as stated in the general formula ruling, beginning with the explanation and ending with the ruling (See - https://ttb.gov/rulings/2016-3.pdf)

  • Furthermore, Chapter 7 of the Distilled Spirits Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) (TTB P 5110.7 (04/2007)) provides that bourbon whisky may not contain any amount of added coloring, flavoring or blending materials. This reflects the determination by our predecessor agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), that added coloring, flavoring, or blending materials are not customarily employed in the production of bourbon whisky in accordance with established trade usage.
  • Held further, no coloring, flavoring, or blending materials may be used in the production of spirits designated as “bourbon whisky” in accordance with § 5.22(b)(1)(i) or “straight” whisky in accordance with § 5.22(b)(1)(iii).

Check, for example, the difference in the TTB approvals for Angels Envy products.  You can find them on line in the public COLA database.

I think these hair splitting machinations  have sometimes eluded the specialists in the past.  I think they are now aware of these provisions.   But given the ratio of COLA's to specialists, I'm confident some will still slip through.  And I doubt that one consumer in a 1000 gives a damn about that issue.  

 

 

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On 8/15/2018 at 12:14 AM, dhdunbar said:

The rules for bourbon and for other American type whiskeys are not the same, even though they are of the same class and type.  This is the result of a policy developed over time.  Before TTB issued the ruling on general use formulas, you could not find any mention of the issues, at least as far as I know, in any higher level documents, i.e., documents in which TTB expresses an official position on a matter in a binding way.  You could find it, without explanation, in the Beverage Alcohol Manual, but as much as people view that as a biblical source for label information, it does not have the authority of regulation or ruling.   

Clearly, placing a whiskey,  into a used port barrel adds something, color or flavor, to the whiskey.  If not, why else go to the trouble, unless, of course, one is searching for a nitch in which to market.  At any rate, TTB is willing to accept an argument that finishing malt whiskey, or rye, in used sherry, etc barrels is consistent with established trade usage  and so does not change the class and type under the provisions of 5.23.  However, it holds bourbon to a different standard. 

Bourbon is the sacrosanct American type whiskey; it is  the distinctive product of the United States.  So for reasons which are lost to history - they were never the subject of rulemaking that I know of -  TTB appears to limit what TTB will allow before treatment of bourbon transforms it to a specialty which is marketed with a fanciful name and truthful and adequate statement of composition.    As I said, I can't explain how TTB makes those connections, but it does.  I think it is an evolved position. 

Notwithstanding that, creative people devise ways of splitting the statement of composition into phrases that appear on separate lines on the label and TTB approves the labels, creating the impression that the product is a bourbon, when the label is approved as a specialty.

That said, here is the official position as stated in the general formula ruling, beginning with the explanation and ending with the ruling (See - https://ttb.gov/rulings/2016-3.pdf)

  • Furthermore, Chapter 7 of the Distilled Spirits Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) (TTB P 5110.7 (04/2007)) provides that bourbon whisky may not contain any amount of added coloring, flavoring or blending materials. This reflects the determination by our predecessor agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), that added coloring, flavoring, or blending materials are not customarily employed in the production of bourbon whisky in accordance with established trade usage.
  • Held further, no coloring, flavoring, or blending materials may be used in the production of spirits designated as “bourbon whisky” in accordance with § 5.22(b)(1)(i) or “straight” whisky in accordance with § 5.22(b)(1)(iii).

Check, for example, the difference in the TTB approvals for Angels Envy products.  You can find them on line in the public COLA database.

I think these hair splitting machinations  have sometimes eluded the specialists in the past.  I think they are now aware of these provisions.   But given the ratio of COLA's to specialists, I'm confident some will still slip through.  And I doubt that one consumer in a 1000 gives a damn about that issue.  

 

 

 

So how does this fit into that logic?

https://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2018/07/heaven-hill-uses-orange-curacao-barrels-to-finish-bourbon/

Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in orange curaçao barrels. 

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Using the public registry, you can see it is not (in the eyes of the TTB) a straight bourbon whiskey, but indeed a whiskey specialty as described above. It also required a formula. See the links attached 

Parkers: https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicDisplaySearchBasic&ttbid=18159001000469

Angels Envy: https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicDisplaySearchBasic&ttbid=13093001000246

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The TTB COLA's on line system is not user friendly, but  Tom Lenerz nailed it.

TTB classifies the product as CT 641, "Whisky Specialty."  TTB assigns the code; the applicant does not.  Here is the report from the database:

image.thumb.png.71db6f2340af4620a1b670513ff6bd6b.png

 

and here is a copy of the label as submitted:

image.png.fd342d74b7f1912e99633046c851e4d3.png

I mentioned creative.  I'll go with the brand name Parkers Heritage Collection, but then TTB , presumably searching the label for anything it can use,  assigns "Barrel Finished" as the fanciful name.  And the required truthful and accurate statement of composition (5.35), must be what is left, "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Orange Curacao Barrels."  TTB allows the statement of composition to be broken, so that it gives the appearance that the spirit is bourbon, which TTB , by its own rules, insists it is not. 

I've got no argument with that because the consumer is fully informed about the nature of the product in the bottle.  If verdicts were mine, I'd say the label is fine.  As it is, it is an inventive way around an arbitrary rule that bourbon can't be finished in the same way as rye.  It is a way of having your cake and eating it too.  That is how it fits.

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1 hour ago, Tom Lenerz said:

Using the public registry, you can see it is not (in the eyes of the TTB) a straight bourbon whiskey, but indeed a whiskey specialty as described above. It also required a formula. See the links attached 

Parkers: https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicDisplaySearchBasic&ttbid=18159001000469

Angels Envy: https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicDisplaySearchBasic&ttbid=13093001000246

What other class/types are missing from the chapter 4 table? “Whiskey Specialty” is no where to be seen?

 

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Did I mention I don't deal in either COLA or formula submissions?  There are reasons for that.  Label questions are complicated.  Since  it appears to the internal controls to ensure  that all employees act consistently, the employees sometimes (often/usually) bring their own rules to the game.

When people start applying personal interpretations,  things are not only complicated, they are complex. You can reason through complicated, but things that are complex are unpredictable.  

That said - here is a basic rule - don't worry about things like whiskey specialties not being included in some list that lacks the authority of regulation.  I repeat, don't worry about that, unless, of course, you must.  Let me explain how I reach that conclusion:

TTB classifies as TTB will.  I lump that into the category of things that "are because TTB says they are" and dismiss the idea of arguing unless necessary..  

The numbering system is an unnecessary hodgepodge.  So too all those BAM tables.  (Yea, a pun does lurk in the homonym suggested).

The basic rule YOU follow is  you must designate the class and type on the label (5.32). 

The rules for class and type statements are in 5.35.  It provides that if a product does not comport to a standard of identity (5.22), then it is a specialty item and must be  labeled as required by 5.35. 

Applying the rule, what TTB deems a "whisky specialty" is not, in TTB's opinion, a whiskey and does not comport to other standards in 5.22. 

Now, 5.22 includes a number of class and  type standards for products that can include bourbon, or straight bourbon.  These include bourbon (5.22(b)(1); a couple of blend variants (5.22(b)(4) and 5.22(b)(5)i)); bourbon liqueurs (5.22(h)(2)); and flavored bourbon (5.22(i)).  Add to that the specialties (5.35), which may in some cases be designated in accordance with trade and consumer understanding, and it is a daunting  potpourri. 

I'm not sure how many TTB specialists understand how to split those hairs.  And if they can't, how can you or I.  But split them, they do, into all those number categories and lists like you find in the BAM and which you may, for most purposes, ignore.  Okay, you may need them to determine whether you need a pre-COLA evaluation, but other than that, let TTB deal with it.

So, that is how I arrive at the conclusion that is usually best to let TTB sort it out and accept what they say.  If what they say somehow takes an iron pipe to the knees of your plans,  you can argue with them,.  However, given a label approval, in hand,  like the one for Parkers discussed above, do you really care how TTB categorizes it as long as they approve it?  What difference does it make if they enter 641, 732, or the square root of the average distance to the moon.The only practical difference, it seems, is how you report it on the back of the processing report, which is info TTB collects solely for the purpose of publishing the statistical reports that congress requires.

What can be interesting is disagreement between the label people and the formula people.  With that I return to, "Did I mention that I don't submit formula or COLA applications? And yes, I know you must.  But the best I can do is advise you how to try to maintain sanity while doing that.  

 

 

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15 hours ago, Julius said:

What other class/types are missing from the chapter 4 table? “Whiskey Specialty” is no where to be seen?

 

It falls under the catch-all DSS. 

DSS.png

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