In the early 1970s, there was a movement to make “light” whiskey. The creation of “light beer” had caused a huge growth in the American beer industry and the distilling industry hoped that it would do the same for whiskey. Brown-Forman thought to take it one step further – since vodka was growing in sales and was clear, Brown-Forman would make a light whiskey that was clear, like vodka. Thus, Frost 8/80 was born.
Frost 8/80 was created by taking some 8 year old Bourbon, made in Pennsylvania, and filtering it until all of the color was removed from the whiskey, and bottling it at 80 proof. They hoped that this whiskey would then be used in the same cocktails as vodka. The problem is that vodka, by definition, is a clear, odorless and tasteless spirit. Frost 8/80 was clear, but it had odor and taste and that taste was not that good for vodka cocktails.
Needless to say, the brand was a failure. Brown-Forman quickly bought back the unsold stocks of Frost 8/80 and destroyed them. The brand was quickly forgotten by consumers, but at Brown-Forman, there is a bit of sour grapes whenever the brand is mentioned today. There are occasional bottles found in the secondary market, but it is only purchased for its curiosity value, not because it is a whiskey anyone wants to drink.
Frost 8/80 Dry White Whisky
Age: 8 Years Old
Nose: Sawdust. They have filtered all of the aroma out of the whiskey except the wood and that smells of sawdust.
Taste: Once again, they have filtered out the flavors except for the wood – dry sawdust and a hint of sweet vanilla. No spice or fruits or caramel left in the whiskey. A dried cranberry actually removes what little flavor there is in the whiskey except that hint of oak wood. Tasted with a pecan and there actually emerges a hint of caramel and sweet oak wood, but it is short lived.
Finish: Dry oak sawdust, thankfully a short finish. The cranberry shortens the finish even more with only a hint of oak in the finish. The pecan makes the finish a little sweeter with sweet oak instead of dry sawdust.
There is not a cigar I would recommend with this whisky unless it was something cheap like a Dutch Masters or a Backwoods Smoke. Maybe something flavored would work well with this whisky.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller