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“Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

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“Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby ipso » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:21 pm

I have two questions in regards to what I believe is a recent trend (starting about 10 years ago - so not that recent) of wood finished scotch editions. I’ve tried the following examples:

- Lagavulin Distiller's Edition 1991 (bottled 2007). My first experience of this style, and a great one it was. I’ve had the Oban DE as well, and am looking at a bottle of Lagavulin DE 2012 here on my shelf, and also
- Glenmorangie's Quinta Ruban

I really like them. I'm guilty of how much I like them. It feels like cheating – like a strawberry margarita – like sugar and cream with your coffee/tea… I don’t care.


Q1.) What is the best term to isolate this type of scotch? For example, doing a Google-Bing on “X”?

Glenmorangie uses the text, “Extra Matured, or ‘Finished’, in Ruby Port Casks” (kind of unwieldy)

Diageo uses, the “Distiller’s Edition”, and also on the bottle “Double Matured” (but DE is open-ended, so can mean anything historic, right?, perhaps too synonymous with “Special Edition”. I like “Double Matured”, but that brings about the point that perhaps Quinta Ruban or other similar style scotches are not, technically, but designed that way to begin with. I’m looking for a term that is all inclusive of the overall scotch style.)

“Wood-finished” (yeah, but all whisky is wood finished so that doesn’t ..cut it.)

“Wood Finish Edition” (getting warmer)

“Grape Barrel Finished (GBF)” (That seems to me spot-on, but sounds stupid.)

There’s got to be articles out there on this “fad”, on this “recent trend” – even the dreaded Top-10 type listings (which I love – again, I’m a cheat.) I just don’t know what to look for.


Q2.) I’m interested in who started this recent wave, the history of it – literally a matrix by year showing who followed who. Sounds like a GREAT article for someone knowledgeable in the subject. (Or is it already out there somewhere?)

And Jim McEwan has his dirty filthy hands around my neck. Did he start it with the PCx series, prompting Diageo to react? That’s my completely idiotic working theory. I love Port Charlotte like … a new car. (I figure that’s about what I’ll have spent when it’s all said and done.) I’ve been sucker to every one of the PC5-8 editions, and would try the 9 and 10 too if I could find them. I’ve also got on my shelf the PC 10yo and Bruichladdich Rocks – which although is the market entry Bruichladdich I think it benefits from this “Grape Barrel Finish” style term I’m looking for, as do all the Port Charlottes. I’ve also got a bottle of the Bruichladdich Black Art 03.1, which is my high-water mark for this style (and for price.) As you can see, I’m stuck in a rut. What’s the story with all the others that I’m missing?

It’s another dimension of scotch – kind of like how “Islay” represents a unique dimension of scotch.

OK – one more

Q3.) What are the explicit laws controlling this style? What are the boundaries? Maybe it's all laid out for me in some marketing rule book.

(Maybe you need a scotch after reading all this. Sorry. Much appreciated.)
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:26 am

ipso wrote:Q1.) What is the best term to isolate this type of scotch?

Q2.) I’m interested in who started this recent wave, the history of it – literally a matrix by year showing who followed who.

Q3.) What are the explicit laws controlling this style? What are the boundaries?


1. There is no single "best term", unfortunately.
2. I could be wrong, but I believe Glenmorangie pioneered the wood-finishing concept (at least on a sizeable scale) when it first introduced its 18-year old expression. This particular whisky came about when the distillery 'discovered' some old casks that had been warehoused. Upon tasting the contents, it was deemed that the aged distillates, though of excellent quality, still exhibited certain signs of 'tiredness'. The decision was then taken to 'revitalize' the whiskies by re-racking them into first-fill ex-Sherry casks for a short sojourn before bottling and marketing. Beyond this occurrence, the overall industry picture becomes rather more complicated and 'cloudy'.
3. None. Cask-finished whiskies may spend as little as a few months in specialty oak during the finishing process or as long as many years (such as was the case with the 1992 release of 16-year old Bowmore finished in Bordeaux casks).
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby ipso » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:51 am

Thank you for the reply. I wonder how strict this all is. I know bourbon casks are taken apart into staves when shipped. I imagine “creative” secondary casks – maybe even dumping wood chips into the kegs themselves (a common practice in oaking beer.)
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby Ganga » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:56 am

This is not a new phenomenon. I've been drinking single malts since 1994 and Glenmorangie had their finished whiskies available then. Diageo had their DE's available somewhere around then too...earliest vintage I recall was the 1979 Lagavulin.

Finished is probably your most consistent term but as TDD indicated the use is not consistent.
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:14 am

ipso wrote:I know bourbon casks are taken apart into staves when shipped.

This was once almost totally the case, with the American ex-Bourbon oak pieces being used to reconstruct 250 liter casks commonly referred to as Scottish hogsheads.

However, nowadays, it is far more common for the 180 to 200 liter American standard barrels to be shipped whole and utilized as such for Scotch whisky maturation.
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby ipso » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:51 pm

The correct accepted term would appear to be simply finished whisky (at the expense of those who did not use a secondary keg.)

My Book Report - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finishing_(whisky)

Please edit that wiki page to make needed corrections. I wanted to add the information below but don’t have the chops. Feel free. The big problem lies in addition and consistency across the entire Whisky domain throughout wikipedia, such as the addition of this style across the board. (Who is John Galt?)


-----tag additions
{{Unrepresentative}}
-----pages by nation, like the lower part of this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Lists
Scotland
Aberlour, Sherry Wood Finish, 15yo
Balvenie Doublewood, 12yo
Balvenie New Wood, 17yo
Cragganmore, Distiller’s Edition
Dalwhinnie, , Distiller’s Edition
Glenkinchie, , Distiller’s Edition
Glenlivet, The - French Oak Reserve, 15yo
Glenlivet, The - American Oak Finish, 15yo
Glenmorangie American Oak Finish, 15yo
Glenmorangie Burgundy Wood Finish, 12yo
Glenmorangie Madeira Wood Finish, 12yo
Glenmorangie Port Wood Finish, 12yo
Glenmorangie Sherry Wood Finish, 12yo
Glenmorangie, “Quinta Ruban”
Lagavulin, , Distiller’s Edition
Oban, , Distiller’s Edition
Port Charlotte, PC5 - sherry finish
Port Charlotte, PC6 - madeira finish
Talisker. , Distiller’s Edition

Canada
Crown Royal Maple Finish
-----references
Ref.
http://www.slashfood.com/2006/11/30/wood-finished-single-malt-scotch-is-a-new-trend/
http://www.whisky-pages.com/stories/diageo-editions-2006.htm
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/crown-royal-introduces-maple-finished-whisky-177883481.html
-----etc.
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby Ganga » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:26 pm

What do you do in the case of something that spends equal parts time in 2 casks? A number of years ago, there was a Springbank release that spent 8 years in bourbon and 8 years in rum casks. I'd suggest that this is double matured not finished.

On another note, Bruichladdich/Murray McDavid invented their own term...ACED (additional cask enhancement).
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby ipso » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:52 pm

What do you do in the case of something that spends equal parts time in 2 casks?

Drink it!

..So that you don’t have to update the wiki page to include such “historical” complexities : P

If I ever partake in a dram of ACEd whiskey, I promise to update the wiki page. Looks inviting!
http://www.weedram.co.uk/selectedproduct.php?theid=1073&whisky=royal-brackla-aced-clos-uroulat-casks&type=highlands

(The color reminds me of a classic “sonic blue” Fender Strat.
http://i.ebayimg.com/t/NEW-Fender-Custom-Deluxe-Stratocaster-Surf-Green-Maple-Neck-Strat-/00/s/ODUzWDEzNTA=/$(KGrHqQOKocE6vsDvpq+BOu)jn)Glw~~60_57.JPG)

The next marketing “thing”. Scotch - finished with various woods used to construct guitars!
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby opelfruit » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:15 pm

ipso wrote: .......I imagine “creative” secondary casks – maybe even dumping wood chips into the kegs themselves (a common practice in oaking beer.)



You can't, it's illegal.

Regulations are that the only thing allowed to be filled into a cask is spirit. No other aditives...so that means no wood.


Didn't The Compass Box try to do this with the Spice Tree? They got shouted at.
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby The Third Dram » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:47 pm

opelfruit wrote:Didn't The Compass Box try to do this with the Spice Tree?

They did (by inserting staves inside the barrels). In order to comply with regulations, they altered the 'double maturation' process by inserting new heads in the barrels (perfectly 'legal').
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Re: “Wood finished” vs. “Double Matured” vs. ???

Postby ipso » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:27 am

I assumed zero adhesive/sealants are used in barrel making, but a quick check shows bee’s wax is used on at least some US heads on the inside.
US Bourbon - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq1a6uWH21U

And apparently it’s OK to paint the outside of the heads, which effectively is a sealant.

Whisky-U 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTCV-5RVsIc
Whisky-U ..2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuUVcsCqb5U

(3 “mechanisms” – nice.)

I would have thought that long term storage technique (the art) would include rotating the barrels to utilize all of the internal wood – especially with significant losses over the decades (more dry wood inside) but a very quick check of pictures of filled keg storage always seems to show the writing on the head right-side-up – thus bung up. Maybe I’m wrong.
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