We get asked a lot about "what makes our whiskey special'. The answer is simple to us but hard for the big guys to understand... its as simple as economics. How many short-cuts are we willing to take to turn a profit?
The big distillers know where I am going with this. Some know they get greedy with their cuts, they have to, they have massive amounts of overhead to cover, investors and shareholders to answer to, etc. They have to keep and use every drop of their distillate from Heads, to Hearts, to Tails. They know that the more discerning they are with those cuts, the finer the Hearts will be. They just cant get themselves to do it because that isn't profitable. I recently took a class at Moonshine University in Louisville, KY. I wanted to see what the Kentucky Method was all about. its a simple ratio... the first 10% of the run is what they collect as Heads, then they collect the next 80% as Hearts, and then the last 10% as Tails. The heads and tails get re-used as Feints and can be added back to a subsequent mash to increase the yield. there is nothing wrong with this. However, their initial collection of "Hearts" (which has a lot of Heads and Tails in it) tends to have a mean burn, goes down like a hairball, and tends to leave you waking up the next morning with a very nasty hangover (and probably some stories to tell.)
Our "not so secret", secret is that our Hearts are truly just that; A much finer cut. As close to 33 1/3 percent of the run as we can get, is collected as Hearts. The rest is treated as Heads and Tails. These are subsequently used for higher proof alcohols, disinfectant for multiple purposes, cleansers and solvents, etc. For our Bourbon and Whiskeys, however, our secret is simple. The purest of the Heart of the run.. 33-1/3%!
This is obviously not our only secret. We have some proprietary methods that set our 100% Grain-to-Glass Ultra-High Premium Texas Spirits "heads and tails' above the rest (please excuse the pun). We use only the finest Texas-grown grains in our Whiskeys, and Texas Wines for our Brandies. Even the flavors used for our cordials are mixed right here in Texas. Our Master Distillers work diligently to produce the finest spirits found south of the Red River. We never stop and say "This one is good enough".. It's only "good enough" when it is perfect.