Why is there a Tax Strip on my Whiskey Bottle?

Why is there a Tax Strip on my Whiskey Bottle?

What is a tax strip and why is it on the cap of my whiskey? Tax strips are the bit of paper that were affixed over the cap/cork to indicate that the tax had been paid and the bottle has not been tampered with. Red strips denote federal tax, blue strips are for export, and green strips denote bottled in bond. There is sometimes a state tax paper stamp on the shoulder of the bottle. State tax stamps changed every four years when new state treasurers were appointed. The use of tax strips over the cap began after the Bottled in Bond Act in 1897. It was a green decorative strip that showed the public that the whiskey within the bottle was 100 proof, bottled by one distiller in one distilling season and was at least 4 years old. (not to mention paid its taxes on its...

Barrel Sizes

Barrel Sizes

I thought I’d follow up yesterday’s post with a list of barrel sizes for reference. The English Tun (259 gallons) twice the size of a butt and 6 brewery barrels Gorda (185 gallons) Made from American oak (Quercus alba) Used for marrying whiskeys or vatting them together Madeira Drum (172 gallons) Made from very thick staves of European oak (Quercus robur). short and fat. Used in the madeira wine industry. Sometimes used for finishing whiskies. Port Pipe (172 gallons) Also made from thick staves of European oak (Quercus robur). This one is long and narrow. Used in port wine industry. Sometimes used to finish whisky Machine Puncheon (132 gallons) Made from American oak (Quercus alba). 1/3 of a tun. Short and fat. Used mostly in the rum industry. Sometimes used for...

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...