Three Chord Bourbon Blending Seminar With The Bourbon Women

The Bourbon Women Association has done an amazing job with the pivot to virtual events.

Three Chord Bourbon was founded by Grammy-Award winning musician Neil Giraldo in his belief that music and spirits had a lot in common. He met Ari Sussman, who he quickly discovered had a similar philosophy of blending whiskey as Giraldo had in blending music.

The Bourbon Women were recently invited to participate in a virtual blending seminar with the Three Chord team.

“People should be involved in the creative process,” says Sussman. “It’s important to be able to involve consumers in the blending of the perfect bourbon.”

We started with four samples, which we tasted through and discussed the proofs, ages, and blends. The first whiskey had 1.5 year old Kentucky bourbon, 5-6 year old Indiana bourbon, and 5-6 year old Tennessee whiskey. This blend is the backbone of many of Three Chord’s blends. It has caramel, apple, corn, and butteriness on the nose and sweet cherries, caramel, and hot cinnamon on the palate.

The sample from the heavy toast, char level one barrel came out at 115 proof and was nutty with notes of candy on the nose and heavy, oily spice on the palate with no burn. The third sample was from a barrel with both American and French Oak staves, and it had a nose of buttery chardonnay and dried orange and a palate of buttery spice and dark cherries. The fourth was aged in a former honey barrel from a lavender farm in Michigan and it was extremely interesting. The nose was of hot buttered yeast rolls and the palate was mildly honey sweet with cinnamon, clove, and orange blossom.

After trying the four samples we began creating and trying blends. We started off doing all the same blends as sort of a guided blending tasting. In Sussman’s words, it’s science and we are keeping a constant and changing a variable.

We blended, talked science, and tasted our works of art. Throughout the evening Giraldo told us stories about his musical philosophies and how they carried over to his whiskey philosophies, including an anecdote of doing things no one had ever done before with off-tempo kick drums when he was producing “Love is a Battlefield” because he wanted to push the envelope.

We had a great session learning about blends and then participants began blending their own. Sussman even recommended making your own blends at home and giving them as gifts for the holidays. It was an empowering experience for many of the women who had not had a chance to experience a blending seminar before.

Giraldo and Sussman will be doing a blending seminar at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival this year, too.

Find upcoming Bourbon Women events here.

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

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