The Process

Blending isn’t about just pouring everything into a tank and hoping for the best. It is a methodical process. Subtle nuances in every step can radically transform the flavor profiles of the whiskey. From the barrels you use to the time of the year you choose to distill, these factors can be a game-changer in the process. At Olde Raleigh Distillery, our heart and soul are in our process.
barrels of bourbon on a wall at zebulon bar

Inventory

To create the perfect blend, we rely on our variety of whiskey and bourbon barrels that are stored at Olde Raleigh Distillery. Our barrels are sourced from throughout the United States, each with unique facets and qualities. Our master blender works to understand each barrel inside and out. By taking careful notes on each barrel in our inventory, Brandon, our master blender, begins to develop an idea of which flavor profiles would pair nicely with one another. Our inventory contains different flavors, notes, and characteristics that help transform our whiskey blends.

When you sign up for a whiskey tour, you will learn about where our barrels are sourced, and what goes into blending the perfect bourbon. Book a tour below. 

Aging

Our process is still far from over. Aging is a crucial step in bringing out the flavors and notes in our blends. As part of this process, our master blender chars wood cut from a 130-year-old oak tree from Wake County and rests it with the barrels stored in our warehouse. Toasting and charring, along with many other variables, can strongly impact the whiskey’s flavor profile in the barrel. 

 

All our barrels are stored in an unconditioned space during the aging process. This allows the wood from the barrels to contract and expand depending on the temperature and season, each giving way to a new flavor profile. While the barrels in our inventory have already begun their aging process, they continue at Olde Raleigh Distillery. Over a period of time, the whiskey will soak in the flavor and color of the barrels. We like to have a variety of ages in stock to provide the perfect catalog of profiles for our master blender to concoct new and exciting flavors.

corn olde raleigh whiskey ingredient
old raleigh distillery stills in production room

Blending & Batching

Everything is done by hand here, including our blending. 

 

Some whiskies aging in our barrels have ideal flavor profiles that spark in the colder months versus the hotter months, so it takes our master blender and his expert palate to pull those flavors together. Identifying these trends and rolling them into our overall batching process is key to creating a successful blend. By keeping tasting notes on every barrel in our warehouse, our master blender is able to test multiple mixes by blending an ounce or two at a time until he lands on a winner. 

 

Blending is an ongoing process. Trying to own what the flavor profile is, is the challenge. Knowing how the flavors within the barrels are evolving is a very methodical process that takes patience, time, and attention to detail. Each batch takes 1-3 months to pull together, and that’s intentional. Once the barrels are dumped, we ensure each marries together with the ultimate flavor profile. We slowly lower the proof level from 118 to 93 by adding water. This process takes time but allows for consistent sampling and tasting of the blend to ensure those flavors are coming together. Once we’re at 93 proof, we’ll do a final filtration to get the last small particles and sediments out of the batch.

Judgement Day

After the long process of blending a new batch, it’s time for the customers to come sample and taste the new bourbon. Our master blender is an artist when it comes to creating damn good whiskey, but we always leave it up to the patrons to decide which batches they like. Olde Raleigh Distillery releases several batches a year, including some specialty blends. Explore the flavors and tasting notes of Our Bourbon.

north carolina bourbon bottle and glass
We believe in the creative freedom that a small batch allows. We believe in the art and craft that is whiskey. Become a member of the Olde Raleigh Whiskey Society and you can experience this process with the Master Blender himself.