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Exactly what we needed - or now completely gone haywire?

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Exactly what we needed - or now completely gone haywire?

Postby kallaskander » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:51 pm

Hi there,

the topic is serious, it is not a joke. But do we need that?

http://whisky-pages.com/notes/whisky-of-the-month.shtml

http://www.squarebarrelwhisky.com/

The idea is not new, Seagram experimented with square barrels and now the Glaser virus has infected this up to now fringe whisky subject.

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Postby les taylor » Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:53 pm

If it was April the 1st you could understand it. Its completely nuts. Someone will come up plastic casks with thin staves lining the insides to give flavour and cut down on wood demand next. Not everything is an improvement is it.
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Postby rthomson » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:54 pm

Several wineries have been experimenting with square barrels over the past couple of years. The purported reason is that more barrels can be stored in a smaller space. However, it does lead to some obvious questions that are of particular importance to whisky as it sits in the oak for far longer periods: What is the ratio difference of whisky to wood contact between the two shapes? And, similarly, what is the ratio difference of whisky to air contact as evaporation continues over the years? Are the differences significant?

The first two questions should be fairly straightforward but I'm fighting a miserable cold right now and can't get my mind to work them out. The third question might not be so easy as whisky could be bottled sooner/later depending on the differences.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:09 pm

I tasted this at Whisky Live and in fairness, it was not at all bad.
Whether a square barrel actually adds anything to the flavour is probably pretty subjective.
As a product, though, it is no better or worse than the concept behind any other finish.
If it attracts new drinkers to whisky - even if only initially due to the novelty factor - so much the better.
At least it tastes as whisky should.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:09 pm

I don't think the ratios are that important, as they vary with different-sized casks, anyway. But square barrels stored tightly together will mean less air around the casks, and that could be a significant factor in maturation.

Besides, it's a lot harder to roll them in and out of the warehouse.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:44 pm

The founders of Square Barrel Whisky Ltd have been involved in the bottling of specialist and premium malt whisky for many years and have decided to share this passion with others.

By creating the 360° Club we are in the position to offer carefully selected single cask malts to our connoisseur members.


Talk about a square peg and a round hole....
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Postby vitara7 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:44 pm

the effect of the wood on the whisky in a square barel is going to be greater than that of a round one, think back to the days at school, ( a long long time ago for many of us) anyways, if you use the old formula Area = pie x Rsquared, youll need more wood for the same internal surface area, more wood meaning more interaction
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:40 pm

Square barrels? Isn't that a box?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:22 pm

Good point--in fact, one full side will be dry, which would likely more than offset the purported advantage in surface area. I'd do the math, but I don't feel like it.
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Postby Di Blasi » Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:39 am

And their motto and advertising campaign will probably end up being, "It's hip to be square!"
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:25 am

vitara7 wrote:...pie x Rsquared...


Pie are round, cornbread Rsquared!
Seriously, do they rotate the barrels -- as in, let the whisky contact all four sides during aging?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:57 am

As previously noted, such a barrel has six sides. Also as previously noted, they don't roll too well.... I suppose if you posit two of the sides as 'ends' and declare them irrelevant, you can stand the barrel on end to get contact with the four 'sides'. There are reasons you don't stand a normal barrel on end, but they don't seem relevant with these.

I believe a four-dimensional barrel would increase wood contact even more. The cooperages should get to work on that. Or is that what Glaser did?
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Re: Exactly what we needed - or now completely gone haywire?

Postby Lawrence » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:34 am

kallaskander wrote:
The idea is not new, Seagram experimented with square barrels and now the Glaser virus has infected this up to now fringe whisky subject.



What exactly does this reference mean????????
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:30 am

I spoke to these people at Whisky Live in Glasgow. The current bottling hasn't been anywhere near a square barrel - it is just a normal IB bottling. They were trying to get a square barrel made (the one they had on the stand was a dummy) but they keep leaking.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:08 am

I've done a few calculations, and (discounting the coefficient of dynamic friction and rounding plank's constant down to 6.5 x 10^-31) the whisky matured in a square cask should be slightly sweeter and smoother than a whisky matured elsewhere. Under STP, of course.

The only problem will be fitting this whisky into roundy bottles.
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:13 am

Hi there,

Seagram http://www.city.waterloo.on.ca/seagramc ... uknow.html

The Glaser virus means that it was not enough to use a square barrel but it had to be different kinds of staves as well. Mentioned are sherry and bourbon barrel staves that make the square barrels.

"We've found a cooper who can make the barrels for us, and he uses staves from all sorts of casks. He mixes ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry wood in the one cask, and there are lots of unanswered questions about how this affects maturation. At the moment it's still very experimental."

Seems they just did not dare to come out with the long awaited herring finish so they took to another crazy idea.

They got a sense of humour as well: The art of making Square Barrels was thought to have died many decades ago, however the art of making great Scotch remains, and here-in is a masterpiece. Fortunately, there are artisans that secretly carry on the tradition of the Square Barrel. We know the secret, it's a Revolution.

Square barrels to me are on the fringe of the subject of whisky. All that jazz just screams marketing. The usefulness of the concept of square barrels is non-existent the postulated effects on the maturing whisky are questionable and that the spirit should have more contact with the wood would only be true if it were whisky spheres ond not square barrels. The invention of square barrels (semantically a nonsense term) was for reasons of storage not maturation.

MARKETING

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Postby Aidan » Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:36 am

If they wanted to increase the contact area, the could decrease the diameter of the barrels and make them much longer. Wooden pipettes 20 ft high... Or you could drink new make spirit through a wooden straw.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:33 pm

Nick Brown wrote:I spoke to these people at Whisky Live in Glasgow. The current bottling hasn't been anywhere near a square barrel - it is just a normal IB bottling. They were trying to get a square barrel made (the one they had on the stand was a dummy) but they keep leaking.


Yes...there's a reason everyone uses round ones.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:02 pm

Aidan wrote:I've done a few calculations, and (discounting the coefficient of dynamic friction and rounding plank's constant down to 6.5 x 10^-31) the whisky matured in a square cask should be slightly sweeter and smoother than a whisky matured elsewhere. Under STP, of course.

The only problem will be fitting this whisky into roundy bottles.



And you can only drink it with a good square meal ....
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