2022 marks 13 years since Cedar Ridge released its first bourbon whiskey to the world. In celebration, Cedar Ridge will be offering a limited release of its Bottled-In-Bond bourbon and rye whiskeys. But, before we release them, Head Distillery Murphy Quint answered a few questions about our Bottled-In-Bond releases.
What does Bottled-In-Bond Mean?
Passed in 1897, The Bottled in Bond Act was created to regulate the quality of whiskey, requiring it to be from one distillery, from one season, made by one distiller, and aged at a federally bonded warehouse for a minimum of 4 years at 100 proof. This is the fourth Bottled-In-Bond bourbon release to be offered by the distillery and the second Bottled-In-Bond Rye release.
What’s his favorite part about the process?
The selection process of our Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon is one of my favorite annual traditions. Each year, Jamie (our General Manager & Executive Vice President) and I taste through a ton of barrels and create our favorite blend together. It’s fun for him because he doesn’t normally get to do whiskey blending. And it’s fun for me because it’s something that we get to do together. When we were a much smaller company, stuff like this was a lot more common. But now that we’ve grown, the two of us don’t get the opportunity to work together as often. So it’s a fun activity that takes us back to a simpler time, and I really enjoy it.
How does he pick which barrels to include or discard?
Every whiskey blender has a different process. When I’m blending barrels, I focus on each barrel’s strengths and completely disregard their weaknesses. I’m not looking for well-rounded, balanced barrels. I’m looking for barrels that heavily lean in one direction. For example, if one barrel has a heavy caramel or butterscotch profile, I’m hoping those notes carry through into the final blend. Then I’ll look for a couple of barrels that have spicier notes or more floral notes and add those to the blend.
This accomplishes two things. First, it leads to a quality final blend, with plenty of depth and complexity. Second, it saves the well-rounded and balanced barrels for single-barrel picks.
What does it mean to you to celebrate the release of Cedar Ridge’s first bourbon?
It means a lot to me personally. When we released our first bourbon, it was a turning point for our business. Prior to that, we were literally a garage winery and distillery. But once we released our bourbon, we received a ton of support from Iowans in particular. Their support allowed us to continuously increase the amount of bourbon we were putting into barrels.
If you fast-forward to today, we’re filling 200 – 220 barrels each month and we’re constantly looking for ways to grow that number. Had we not got into the bourbon business, we might still be in that garage.