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e g a r e

RE F F A O RT A THE

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LER KEE ET S A L C CHO IS POIN Y NI O B Ç N N RA TTE WRI OS BY F T PHO

’ll never forget my first visit ten years ago to Tonnellerie Allary

located in the region of Cognac, France. I breathed the aromas of French Oak Barrels being toasted over small stations of fire fueled by the same oak as used to make the barrels. This smoke fills the cooperage. The skilled coopers shape staves, assemble the oak perfectly under metal hoops, bend with a combination of fire, steam, hammers, conditioned strength and harness the elements that elevate the oak, water and fire. Just like great wine and spirits are made from the highest quality ingredients, barrels are made from exceptional trees and some even up to 360 years old. This doesn’t happen by accident. You have to manage the process. There are many forests in France used to produce oak for barrel making. Each regional forest will produce trees of different characteristics. There are two types of oak species in France used for barrel

The tightness of the grain varies from forest to forest and

making:

from species to species, imparting different flavors in the aging

Chene Sessile — This oak will release less tannin in the wine

process. Tighter grain usually has more value and a higher sales

or spirit but will impart stronger aromatic components.

Chene Pedoncule

price. The management of the forest is called Futaie (this means

— This oak variety will release more

grove) and began in 1835 to ensure a steady supply of oak

tannin into the wine but the aromatic compounds will be less

for the French Navy. It is a clean renewal process. Seedlings

pronounced.

grow from acorns, produce trees, trees are harvested after they

28 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Summer 2014  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Summer 2014  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

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