Brown-Forman by Mash Bill

Mash Bill Breakdown of Brown-Forman

This is the fifth installment of mash bill breakdowns on Bourbonr and is slightly different than the others. In the past I’ve focused on each distillery. However, I’ve decided to include the entire Brown-Forman portfolio on this one since it makes it more interesting. You’ll notice I’ve included all american whiskey (sorry, Canadian Mist fans) produced by Brown-Forman. Yes, Old Forester and Jack Daniels are basically cousins.

Brown-Forman Mash Bills

About Brown-Forman:

Brown-Forman is a diversified producer of fine quality consumer products. It was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown in Louisville, KY, U.S. His original brand, Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, was America’s first bottled bourbon and remains one of Brown-Forman’s finest brands today. Geo. Garvin Brown IV, a descendant of the founder, is part of the 5th generation of Brown Family members engaged with the company and serves as the Presiding Chairman of the Board.

Brown-Forman employs 4,120 people worldwide with about 1,000 located in Louisville. Brown-Forman, one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies and among the top 10 largest global spirits companies, sells its brands in more than 135 countries and has offices in cities across the globe. In all, Brown-Forman has more than 25 brands in its portfolio of wines and spirits.

Points of Interest:

– Old Forester and Woodford Reserve are the same mash bill

– Woodford Reserve was initially (and a majority still) produced from honey-barrels of Old Forester bourbon. In 1993 Brown-Forman re-purchased the  Labrot & Graham Distillery and turned it in to the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Brown-Forman hasn’t publicly stated how much of Woodford Reserve is actually distilled at the distillery (they use pot stills at the Woodford Reserve Distillery) and how much is shipped in from the Brown-Forman Distillery to age at the Woodford County location.

– Brown-Forman contract distilled Rittenhouse Rye for Heaven Hill after their 1996 fire. Look for dusty bottles of Rittenhouse with DSP-KY-354. Brown-Forman also contracts for many other brands. If an NDP claims they can’t give their source BF is usually at the top of the list for sources.

– Is the new Woodford Rye re-bottled  Rittenhouse rye? Maybe. The timing makes sense because BF would have capacity to make their own rye after Rittenhouse switched back to Heaven Hill last year.

– Brown-Forman likes to experiment under their Woodford Reserve brand. A new Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select is released annually.

– Early Times is a typical bourbon mash bill but isn’t aged new casks so it’s classified as Kentucky whisky.

– Jack Daniel’s meets all the qualifications of bourbon.

Brown-Forman Mash Bill




    No, I just don’t see it stated anywhere in the above article. FYI – I’ve heard Wes Hendesron state the Angel’s Envy mashbill is also 72/18/10.

    Doesn’t the charcoal filtering disqualify JD from being a bourbon?

    Also, can you explain what you mean by “honey-barrels of Old Forester?” Is that basically the creme de la creme? What makes a bottle of Old Forester different them from WR?

    The charcoal process is conventional for Tennessee whiskies, but most Tenn.Whiskies would qualify for a “Bourbon” label under TTB rules. Bourbon must be made in the US, from a >=51% corn mash, not distilled above 160 proof, and must be aged in new charred oak barrels at <=125 proof for no specified tome (60 seconds is OK).

    Great article! According to a BF rep I met at a bourbon dinner a couple of months ago, the Woodford and OF mashbills are the same although he says they use different sources of corn for the two brands. He also claimed that all Woodford juice comes out of the potstills in Versailles instead of it being blended with OF juice out of Shively like it used to be done when the brand first started up – not sure I buy that one.

    Old Forester is made in Shively with a column still and aged in temperature-controlled rickhouses. Woodford Reserve is distilled in the pot stills in Woodford County and the products are not mixed. While they share the same mash bill, they taste different and are different because they are made differently. (I work at B-F)

    That is interesting you say this, because on Wikipedia (first paragraph) it clearly states that Woodford reserve is a blend of whisky from the BF pot stills & BF column stills from the two different distillery locations.

    I don’t know the answer to the question, but wikipedia should most definitely not be used as a credible and scientific source.

    Another fun read and good straight forward info. . . .BTW, is the mash bill for ‘fireball’. . .flavored water/garbage/garbage. . .???

    While charcoal filtering does impart a bit of a charcoal taste, it technically is not an additive. Jack Daniels meets the qualifications of a bourbon, but my understanding is that it chooses not to call itself a bourbon.

    Great article as per usual. Any idea what the JD Frank Sinatra edt is made up of. My sneaking suspicion is that it’s also very close to WR but positioned at a massive premium.

    Interesting. Thanks, Clay! Can’t say that I think a few extra grooves are worth the price tag but there are some die hard JD fans out there that I’m sure bought it

    It certainly makes for a distinct flavor profile. Wife and I did Old No. 7, Sinatra, and the single-barrel side by side; the Sinatra is sufficiently unique that you can differentiate it from the others. Great, but too pricey for everyday…

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