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My Whisky Barrel Experiment

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My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby JJR24 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:18 am

So, I have embarked on my first home barrel-aging experiment. I am going to use this space to keep notes on the progress of my various fills and to seek the occasional advice as to what I should do with my new oak friend.

I utilized a heavy dose of peat in my first fill (with previously aged whisky). On my second fill, I am likely going to use unaged spirit - though I haven't decided between America or Scottish distillate. I am going to do weekly/monthly pulls from the barrel and track the progress here.

The recipe in my ~3L barrel is as follows:
1. 1.4 L McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt (42.5% - 3 y/o - September 2009)
2. 700 mL Ardbeg 10 (46% - L11)
3. 650 mL Ardbeg Corryvreckan (57.1% - L11)
4. 200 mL Highland Park 12 (43%)
5. ~200 mL Johnnie Walker Black (12 y/o - 40%)

The initial blend was as I wanted: peaty, slightly smokey, very little wood influence, and (thanks to the Corry) - it packed a very nice, but approachable, punch. I look forward to seeing how it progresses. (Also, please don't think me crazy for throwing so much good whisky into this experiment. I wanted to do it right.)

- JJR24

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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby AdamMY » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:27 am

Looking forward to more notes! :iwbrnt:
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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby Ganga » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:22 pm

Just remember that evaporation and aging in these small barrels is much faster than in a standard barrel. Don't be surprised if you are ready to pull the plug on your initial batch at 2 to 3 mos.
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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby JJR24 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:04 am

So, here is a quick post regarding my barrel.

Wow. This sucker worked FAST. Less than 4 weeks after filling, I have emptied my first blend/conditioning batch of whisky. Because this whisky was already aged between 3 and 10-12 years, I wasn't expecting to leave it in for more than a few months. However, the speed at which the wood completely dominated the whisky (McCarthy's and Ardbeg, mind you) astonished me. The smoke and peat now come a distant second to the many new flavors imparted by the char. As I wasn't expecting to empty so soon, I was caught off guard somewhat. Luckily, I already had lined up my next fill (3 L of Buffalo Trace White Dog - Mash #1). I filled the barrel with the same tonight, so now the true experiment begins.... (hopefully) peated bourbon whiskey.

I will make an in-depth post this weekend, when I have more time. Until then, here is a picture of the haul from the barrel. (Note, the extremely dark color and the fact that I lost around 700 mL to absorption into the wood...)
P1020488_small.jpg

And here are the new contents of the barrel....
P1020495_small.jpg
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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby Ganga » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:19 am

I believe it is more than adsorption. More wood contact = thirstier angels.
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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby Ganga » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:23 am

Ganga wrote:I believe it is more than adsorption. More wood contact = thirstier angels.


Not edit. :x Anyway, I wanted to mention the quarter casks and bloodtubs used in Scotland. These are larger than what you have but a lot smaller than the bourbon barrels and sherry butts. You end up with much greater surface area to volume ration in these smaller vessels therefore they age faster.
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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby JJR24 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:02 am

Ganga wrote:Anyway, I wanted to mention the quarter casks and bloodtubs used in Scotland. These are larger than what you have but a lot smaller than the bourbon barrels and sherry butts. You end up with much greater surface area to volume ration in these smaller vessels therefore they age faster.


Yes, I agree. I love what Laphroaig does with their Quarter Cask offerings. Probably my second favorite Laphroaig next to the 10 CS. Regarding my promised notes, I haven't had time to really sit down and write out my thoughts/review. Hopefully I will soon...
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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby Ganga » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:32 am

Have you rechecked?
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Re: My Whisky Barrel Experiment

Postby Ganga » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:25 pm

Any update on your experiment? Enquiring minds want to know....
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