ZAPPER’S FLAVOUR ESSENCE RECIPE: Continuing the Bookers Bourbon Taste Tradition

spirit essences, spirit essence, home distilling, liqueur essences, liquid smoke, oak chips

Experience-based Flavour Method By Home Distillers Club member “Zapper”

ONE OF the ongoing challenges home distillersface — whether traditional craftsmen or Neutral spirit and essence flavours experts — is to replicate a particular commercial brand taste.

In this case, Facebook Group Home DIstillers Club member “Zapper” has been experimenting to replicate the taste of the now discontinued Bookers Bourbon.


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Zapper has developed a multi-stepped method to achieve his goal.

He first starts  off with 70% ABV clean rectified spirit.

“The reason we start with 70%ABV is to mimic the character of Bookers Bourbon,” says Zapper

At this percentage of alcohol the neutral spirit will need to be put through a water-soaked activated charcoal filter about 6 times to clean it.

spirit essences, spirit essence, home distilling, liqueur essences, liquid smoke, oak chipsAfter filtering I put the spirit in a 5 ltr glass jug on 10 grams of new toasted French oak, (about half the recommended amount) and 30 grams of previously used wood for 10 days, giving it a shake from time to time helps release the flavour of the wood,” Zapper says.

“Reusing the old used wood from previous batches doesn’t add to the flavour but helps sucks the remaining nasty fusel oils out of the spirit.

“After the wooding the spirit for 10 days at room temp you will notice a distinct colour and flavour change at this point he transfers the wood and spirit in to Pepsi bottles and freezes it for a further 10 days.”

Zapper says freezing the spirit at this stage closes up the wood releasing the sweeter flavours and thawing, opens up the wood pores removing more of the nasties from the spirit.

“At this stage I strain the spirit through a paper coffee filter to remove any of the solids.

Note: ”Wooding and freezing the spirit is basically a quick way of aging, this give that nice clean flavour of a commercial product.”

Getting the wood flavour balance right.

Because of the spirit being wooded for 20 days it can leave a very dry woody twang, and may need diluting to taste with a little clean unwooded spirit.

Zapper has found that at this stage, “mixing a little wooded spirit with your favourite mixer and swishing it around your mouth is your best test method.

(If the spirit leaves a dry woody flavour on the back sides of your tongue you will need to add more clean unwooded spirit)…..

Now comes the Global Flavors

Zapper adds a three parts Keith Emms Global Flavors Kentucky Bourbon and one part Global Flavors Jack Bourbon at a ratio of 25ml to 1.5 litres of wooded spirit. He then allows a good 2 to 3 weeks for the flavour to mature.

“The finished result is a spirit with a similar flavour character of Bookers Bourbon, and after filtering, flavouring and bottling ends up around the 63% – 65%

Zapper says end result is a far cleaner and mellower bourbon than anything you will ever buy in a bottle shop, “Enjoy!”

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