Artisan Spirit: Winter 2021

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KNOWN: W H AT I W I S H I ’ D LET ME TELL YOU

SCIENCE AND OF E R U T A N V O L AT I L E G N I G A L E R R A B THE

K A . V I E RT H A L E R WRITTEN BY MAR

e I pulled a remember the first tim sample. , No. 3 char It was from a 30-gallon rel coopered in American white oak bar

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Minnesota. my first-ever In the barrel, one of new make was batches of bourbon h-wheat distillaresting. It was a hig ievably floral tion that was so unbel ted pre-barrel, and sweet that, when tas with the possiyour mind would dance , and patience bilities of what time, oak would do to it. my absolute So, you can imagine later when I horror a few months ng, drew some knocked out the bu with the thief, of that golden nectar and it was horpoured it into a glass… icate distillate rific. That beautiful del this overly age had somehow becom . gressively tannic THING se, especialsen any ke It didn’t ma nth before, the ly because just a mo t original distha barrel had embraced exactly what we tillate and was doing had anticipated. the distillate I was aghast. Had d there been Ha somehow gone bad? that I hadn’t something in the barrel Had the wood noticed before filling it? had something somehow warped, or that it had abcome close to the barrel k? sorbed some horrific fun

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As the horror began to set in, we had to wonder — did we just waste countless gallons of spirits on faulty barrels? What, exactly, had hap-

pened? It required a quick call to some of my mentors. The answer, it turns out, was that what was happening was what exactly ed pos sup s wa e Th . pen to hap ng. spirit was agi It was aging in efluctuation. And som ation, the spirtimes during that fluctu e solution was it becomes garbage. Th try it again. simple — wait a bit and bunged the reSo, we nervously ut our standard barrels and went abo nths later, that production. A few mo k in full force beautiful spirit was bac ind it. beh with the biting tannins at I wish I’d So, let me tell you wh ng. known about barrel agi

WHY DO W E IT S? BA RR EL AG E SP IR Because it tastes good. cool. Let’s You wanted more. Okay, get nerdy. ectively does Aging spirits in oak eff : It works as a three different things as a coloring flavoring agent, it works filtration agent. agent, and it works as a per. Typically, Let’s dig a little dee barrels. And spirits are aged in oak

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