WHAT’S IN THE BOTTLE?
There are three ways to get bourbon for bottling:
Distill it yourself
Source it from a company that makes it for you
Buy existing stock from a third party.
Because blending is so core to our mission, we knew we needed product from a variety of stills, geographies, and mash bills.
So if the questions is, “Does Mashbuild, distill whiskey, source whiskey, or buy whiskey?” the answer is, “Yes. All three.”
The bourbons you find in a bottle of Mashbuild came from Kentucky, Indiana,Tennessee, and Colorado, we are spinning up additional distilling operations and partnerships in Illinois and Missouri, and we’re already looking at additional facilities in Nevada. The oldest stock aging in our warehouses was barrelled between 2000-2007 and includes product made by Four Roses and the old Seagrams distillery among others.
Why are we sharing our secrets? We have nothing to hide. It’s the blend that makes Mashbuild what it is, not the story of how each individual barrel was produced. And in a time when all brands are less and less forthright about what’s going into their bottles, we’re proud to tell you EXACTLY what you’ll find in ours.
WHAT IS SOLERA AGING?
Although the complexity and labor-instensivenes of the solera aging process has long frightened bourbon bottlers, soleras have been used for hundreds of years to age spirits like sherry and brandy.
A solera is a collection of barrels ordered by the age of the spirit inside from oldest to youngest. No barrels ever are emptied in a solera, when stock is removed from the oldest barrel, it is backfilled from the second oldest barrel, which will then be backfilled from the third oldest barrel and so forth. New stock is always added to the youngest barrel.
This system works in two ways: first, it allows spirits of different ages to mature together and younger stock takes on a lot of flavors from the older stock. Second, because the barrels are never completely emptied, nothing is ever truly lost and the average age of the solera is always increasing.
The solera is a living, breathing thing that is always evolving, and when you drink one of our numbered batches of Mashbuild, you’re tasting a moment in time that will be over once that batch is sold out of stores.
But what about consistency?
If we age our product in a solera — and it’s always evolving as it ages — how will we produce a consistent product?
Some bottles of Mashbuild WILL definitely be consistent from batch to batch, like our Wheated and Kona-finished.
Drinkers used to big brand bourbons are usually surprised to learn, however, that our numbered Mashbuild batches taken from the solera are inconsistent by design. Like a specific vintage of wine, a store-picked barrel selection of a popular whiskey brand, or a seasonal microbrew, these batches are MEANT to be extremely limited.
We hand-build each batch of Mashbuild specifically to highlight different aspects of the wide range of flavors that bourbon can produce and the amazing tastes that can only be found in our solera at the specific moment that we extract it.
If what you enjoy in your bourbon is being able to buy the same bottle over and over again and have the exact same experience, Mashbuild’s solera batches may not be for you. That’s OK, we want you to drink what you like. On the other hand, if you have an experimental palate, if you love the anticipation of opening a bottle and wondering excitedly what’s inside, if you like sharing new whiskey experiences with others or doing vertical tastings with your friends, Mashbuild may be exactly what you’re looking for.
TASTE BUDS DON’T LIE
Why is blending bourbon taboo? (And why don’t we care?)
In most of the world’s whiskey-loving nations (including Ireland, Scotland, and Japan), blending is considered high art on par with distilling. But not so in America.
Bourbon is more narrowly defined from a legal/regulatory standpoint than just about any other spirit in the world. Of course we take a lot of national pride in our favorite native spirit but the need for regulation also arose from a 19th century backlash against unethical producers. The bottled-in-bond act of 1897 helped turn bourbon into an “honest spirit” where American consumers could feel secure in their purchase and know that it was safe to drink.
“Purity” has been a central component to American whiskey culture ever since and blending has never been widely accepted (even though there’s nothing in the legal definition of bourbon that prevents it)
Unspoken rules exist to be challenged and taste buds don’t lie. If some bourbon purists want to look down their noses at us because we choose to do something the industry has not widely accepted, that’s OK. Even if they don’t buy our product in stores, they prefer us over their favorite traditional premium bourbons time and again in blind tastings.