149 – The Art and Gamble of Bourbon Blending with Ed Bley of Old Baldy

Picking a single barrel out of a line up seems relatively simple when compared to blending tens or hundreds of barrels together to hit a specific bourbon taste profile. Where does that process begin? Do you start with a few and keep taste testing? Is it a math formula of X spicy barrels to Y sweet barrels? This episode features Ed Bley, blender behind the underground phenomenon known as Old Baldy. We ask Ed what it’s like to go from picking single barrels to learning how to blend multiple barrels to hit a distinct flavor spot. It’s an art form that Ed describes as trying to perfect the “witch’s hat”.

Show Notes:

  • Were you trying to make something truly unique?
  • How did you get access to the warehouse to start creating your own private label?
  • Do most blenders have a lot of this down to a science where they know what warehouses are going to yield a specific flavor profile?
  • Did you at one point think, well we may have just thrown away a bunch of barrels while waiting for it to marry in a tank?
  • Were you experimenting with finished whiskies at home to perfect this?
  • Was there a teacher that go you to this point?
  • Are people mad because they don’t have access?
  • What’s your advice to people on how they can experiment at home?
  • What are the elements of the bourbon flavor wheel are you looking for?
  • Do you think people get turned off from grain flavors?
  • What problems do you run into when you scale from a few barrels to barrels in the teens or small 20s?
  • Do you think people are a little crazy that they are paying hundreds of dollars for your blend?
  • What’s your plan for the next one?
  • Is the best way to learn to do this is to learn how to break down single barrels?
  • Do you think you are helping revive blended straight whiskey?
  • Hear all of Ed’s Podcast’s at https://bourbonpursuit.com/?s=bley


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