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Penelope Architect Build 9 Bourbon

    Penelope Architect Build 9 Bourbon

    • 104pf


      Penelope Bourbon was created in 2018 by lifelong friends Mike Paladini and Danny Polise. The name is a nod to Mike’s daughter Penelope. The bourbon is a blend of wheat and rye heavy bourbon mashbills, which are aged 4-5 years before being blended. 


      Instead of a barrel finish, Architect uses French Oak finishing staves.  “So what?  Maker’s Mark does too,” you might say.  But Penelope takes it one step further and has teamed up with the French company Tonnellerie Radoux to use science as a means to improve the bourbon.  Together with researchers of INRA and CEMAGREF, the company developed a technology called Oakscan which instantly scans and measures the polyphenols content in the wood.  Why does that matter?  Because as liquid matures while being in contact with oak, producers don’t have many tools outside of their tongues and noses to detect how much tannins have been absorbed.  Too little and the liquid will taste young and raw.  Too much and the liquid will be harsh and bitter.


      Oakscan works by having each piece of trimmed oak pass in front of a light ray (near infra-red) which analyzes the tannin content of each stave. It sends back an index which helps set a classification for the selection. A barcode is then printed on each stave together with a letter which corresponds to its classification of tannin content.  Knowing this information allows Danny and his team to introduce only what is needed to fully round out the bourbon blend into something fuller, more mature and more balanced.  It’s a concept that could see wider use among bourbon brands in the coming years.  This is because bourbon distilleries are one of the largest consumers of new oak barrels in the world.


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