In the United States a blended whiskey can be as much as 80 percent grain neutral spirit (GNS) -- i.e., vodka.
Only in America is a product that is 4/5 vodka considered whiskey. It's not quite water into wine, yet it is magical. (Before anyone blames Obama, the rules have been this way for 101 years.)
To make matters worse, the official type "blended whiskey" applies to mixtures of whiskeys of different types too. So all-whiskey blends and whiskey-spirit blends are both considered blended whiskey under the Treasury Department's rules.
In some cases the rules allow a product to use the class designation -- "whiskey" in this case -- without a type designation. Right now that's not permitted for any blended whiskey. We believe it should be for all blends that contain only whiskey. If everything in the blend is whiskey, no GNS, it could just be labeled "whiskey" and wouldn't have to be labeled "blended whiskey."
The full, modest proposal is in the current issue of The Bourbon Country Reader, Volume 13, Number 1.
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