What Defines What Barrel is Used?

What Defines What Barrel is Used?

What defines the type of barrel that whiskey is aged or finished in? Different styles of barrel aged liquors use different style oak casks. Sherry, for instance is aged in larger barrels called a sherry butt or sherry puncheon which can hold 132 gallons. Originally, scotch was aged in mostly sherry casks because sherry casks were readily available. The sherry industry shipped their product in barrels, not bottles, and the whisky industry made good use of those used oak barrels. In the 70’s sherry began being shipped in bottles, and scotch producers turned to used bourbon barrels from the U.S. This use of different barrels changed the flavor of scotch significantly and many producers turned to using the more expensive sherry butts as a finishing barrel to reclaim...

Irish Whiskey Boom!

Did you know that Irish whiskey is booming right now? Most Irish whiskey that is exported to America is Jameson’s Irish whiskey. About 60-70% of the Irish whiskey sales in the United States is Jameson’s followed very distantly by Bushmills. It is important to note that America is largely responsible for this renaissance in Irish whiskey production. Our market has always been closely tied to Irish whiskey’s successes and failures. Prohibition in the U.S. in the early 20th century hit Irish whiskey hard. In a country of roughly 3 million people, there were about 160 distilleries in Ireland producing about 400 brands of whiskey at the time. That’s about one distillery for every 19,000 people, which is not nearly enough people to sustain that much production. America...

Why Do Copper Pot Stills Look So Different?

Why do copper pot stills always look so different? Every still produces a different whiskey. Alembic stills (the ones that look like copper cauldrons with elephant trunks…) have been around since the Egyptians were using them to make perfume! The mixture of water and grain that has been fermented to create distiller’s beer is loaded into the base (cauldron) and heated to separate the alcohol from the solution through evaporation. It’s pretty simple, actually. The boiling point of alcohol is lower than water and the rest of the mixture so that will evaporate first. The mash (fermented grains) go in at about 8-10% alcohol and come out after the first run through the still at 25-30% alcohol. That 25-30% alcohol solution that comes out of the first run is...

What Is It About Distillers and Artists?

What is it about distillers and chefs and artists? Why can they be so difficult to work with? I read an article recently about Chip Tate (creator of Balcones) and his wild temper. It made me think about the frustration of artists in a business world. There are always stories in the restaurant industry about pots being thrown in the kitchen and hot tempers that rival the oven temperatures. We’ve all heard the stories of the directors in Hollywood that aggravate others working on the film. Artists can be difficult to deal with because they want it done their way. After all, it is their vision and they see it done in a specific way. The artist is happy to work alone and hone their craft. The fact is that art is often great because it is the vision of one person, and...

What is “Mountain Dew”?

What is “Mountain Dew”?

Did you know that “Mountain Dew” soda was invented by two brothers in Tennessee to be a chaser for whiskey? Here’s a great story for you.. http://vinepair.com/win…/mountain-dew-extreme-whiskey-mixer/