How the makers of Jameson and Redbreast keep whiskey-ruining sulfur out of their barrels.
Answering a lingering question about the type of oak barrels used in Jerez for sherry exported to Scotland to age scotch whisky.
In a post for PopularScience.com I wrote about a technology being employed to toast wine and now whiskey barrels with infrared light.
I wrote a story for Popular Science on the science of barrel aging. The story was inspired by a trip to The Glenlivet where I tasted a 50-year-old whisky without any smoky qualities - but 50 years ago this and most whisky would have been at least lightly peated. So I went into the article specifically looking for what happens with the smoke, but ended up writing about wood interactions as well. To do the story, I read several wood science articles sent to me by Diageo whisky ambassador/smart-guy Ewan Morgan, spoke with Dr Bill Lumsden from Glenmorangie, interviewed Bryan...
We drank tannins out of a puddle at this tiny barrel-maker's property in Armagnac.
Lou Bustamante reports on a seminar on wood and barrels from this year's Tales of the Cocktail convention.
Today Beefeater annouced the launch of Burrough's Reserve, a gin aged in Lillet barrels. It comes as part of a larger trend of reversing the traditional aging times of spirits and cocktails. White whiskies have been a huge trend for several years, mostly led by the craft distilling movement. The small batch distillers couldn't afford to wait for their whiskies to fully mature before selling them, so they all started selling young, barely, or not-at-all-aged spirit. The trend became so big that the major brands couldn't ignore it. Even Jack Daniels and Jim Beam released young/unaged whiskies at the end...
The Brown-Forman Cooperage is located in Louisville, Kentucky. There they make the barrels for Jack Daniels and their other brands. Below are some pictures from my visit. You can read about what I saw in my story for CLASS Magazine here. Below are a couple of videos. The first is the machine that puts hoops around barrels. The second video is of the charring process of the barrels. Fire!