Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Colour

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Colour

Postby Simplicio » Sun Mar 12, 2006 4:47 pm

It is frequently stated that whisky aged soley in ex-bouborn casks will be very pale compared with sherry aged whisky (example, Ardbeg 10 compared with Macallan 12, neither of which contain any added colour as far as I know).

But why is this? Is it because of the higher alcohol content of the bourbon, which would take more colour out from the barrel? And does this not affect other characteristics that the bourbon or sherry takes from the wood, so that in fact it makes age designations somewhat meaningless, i.e. would N years in a bourbon cask not equal M years in a (first-fill) sherry, N not equal to M?
Simplicio
New member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:53 am
Location: Zhong Guo

Postby Jan » Sun Mar 12, 2006 4:57 pm

I think that an important part, would be that bourbon barrels are made from american white oak, while sherry barrels are made from european oak.

The different sorts would colour the whisky differently: american oak = golden hues / european oak = amber hues. And so the sherry matured whiskies will naturally end up darker.

But I think you are right about firstfill sherry barrels affecting the whisky much more quickly than firstfill bourbon barrels.

Hmm... seems to recall reading something about this somewhere recently. Will see if I kan find it and post a link.

Cheers
Jan
Jan
Gold Member
 
Posts: 965
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:15 pm
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Postby Jan » Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:08 pm

Actually it turned out to be in WM issue 53 :D The article on p. 58 No spain - no gain explains about sherry barrels and sherry maturation.

You can see the start of the article here: http://www.whiskymag.com/magazine/issue ... grain.html

Unfortunately this is only a snippet - the interesting parts are not included :?

Cheers
Jan
Jan
Gold Member
 
Posts: 965
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:15 pm
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Re: Colour

Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:28 pm

Simplicio wrote:It is frequently stated that whisky aged soley in ex-bouborn casks will be very pale compared with sherry aged whisky (example, Ardbeg 10 compared with Macallan 12, neither of which contain any added colour as far as I know).

While I'm certainly no expert it should be added that the pale colour of the Ardbeg Ten is a result of second-fill bourbon casks. The whisky in the post-Glenmorangie era (Very Young and future Ten) is in first-fill bourbon and will be much darker. A first fill cask will release more colour than a second or third-fill cask but I think the colour added from the cask can be different from cask to cask and vary quite much.

Christian
Mr Fjeld
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4249
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:08 pm

Re: Colour

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:34 pm

Call Me stupid (hey stupid ! ) but could the sherry that's been in the european oak not have something to do with the colour ? Basically whatevers been in it previously gives the whisky it's colour .
In my experience with sherried casked whiskies as you go from 1st fill to 3rd fill the whisky goes from Mohogany/ Amber (1st fill) to gold for 3rd fill.
Unless of course it's a Fino sherry cask then the colours golden . Mind you an oloroso cask can make a whisky seem also black !
if i remember rightly most of the colour from a sherry cask is taken within the first 6 months , whereas bourbon casks take a long time to leave their colour . With Ardbeg the colours go from straw for the AVY to a bright gold for the older ones ( Provenance and LOTI ) .
Slainté
Gordon
User avatar
Spirit of Islay
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2537
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Usually somewhere with Whisky......

Postby The Fachan » Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:35 pm

There is also the density of the wood with American oak being much harder than european oak. This means that american wood will not absorbas much much liquid in to the wood before filling with whisky. If you see a stave from European oak sherry can soak almost half way through the stave, meaning there will be a great deal of sherry coming out of the wood to colour and flavour the new spirit.
A more recent phenomenen(spelling...oops) is american oak being used for sherry maturation in Jerez.

Ian
The Fachan
Silver Member
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Colour

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:10 am

Spirit of Islay wrote:Mind you an oloroso cask can make a whisky seem also black !


Perhaps this explains the second-fill Bruichladdichs I've seen that were very dark indeed.
Deactivated Member
 

Re: Colour

Postby Frodo » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:20 am

Simplicio wrote:It is frequently stated that whisky aged soley in ex-bouborn casks will be very pale compared with sherry aged whisky (example, Ardbeg 10 compared with Macallan 12, neither of which contain any added colour as far as I know).


I think Macallan has colouring added.
Frodo
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2472
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:22 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Re: Colour

Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:25 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:
Spirit of Islay wrote:Mind you an oloroso cask can make a whisky seem also black !


Perhaps this explains the second-fill Bruichladdichs I've seen that were very dark indeed.

My Chieftain's Dalmore 10yo Cask Strength is from secondfill oloroso casks according to Ian McCloud. It's the pales whisky I have - with a green tint.

Christian
Mr Fjeld
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4249
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:08 pm

Postby The Fachan » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:36 am

It might be worth considering that a dumping for these standard OB malts can often be several hundred barrels or more.
Bear in mind it doesn't tale a lot of first fill sherry to affect the colour of batch also.

Ian
The Fachan
Silver Member
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Colour

Postby Simplicio » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:28 am

Frodo wrote:
Simplicio wrote:It is frequently stated that whisky aged soley in ex-bouborn casks will be very pale compared with sherry aged whisky (example, Ardbeg 10 compared with Macallan 12, neither of which contain any added colour as far as I know).


I think Macallan has colouring added.


On Macallan's website, it is stated that the sherry oak series does not have added colour "unlike lesser malts" (their words!).
Simplicio
New member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:53 am
Location: Zhong Guo

Postby Frodo » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:47 am

Thanks! My mistake (prejudice showing).
Frodo
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2472
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:22 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Postby kallaskander » Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:33 pm

Hi there,

if Macallan compares their cask strength bottlings of the 10 year old for duty free to the standard OBs of 10 and 12 years, there might not be artificial colouring in the latter two. But if you compare the colours of both kind of Macallans among themselves one could rise the question which of the three are higher and which other two are lesser Macallans.
The argument that there are not enough sherry casks to reach the "Macallan colour" in the standard bottlings would not satisfy me as there is Macallan colour in the 10 year cs for duty free. That a malt that has positioned itself as the Rolls Royce of the single malts and has claimed that Macallan is matured in sherry casks exclusively (a white lie as the fine oak range proves) and which gets lighter and lighter in colour in the last years has some explaining to do IMO. I hold them in high regard at Macallan for not using caramel nevertheless. But derating other malts for the use of caramel is snobbish and sounds overweening. Even though I would like to see this colouring becoming a thing of the past. But Macallan meassured by the things they told us over the last years does sit in a glass house after changing their policies so radical and should not throw stones. Neither the first nor the last. If you destroy the reputation you yourself have built up over the years one should not try to hang on to the rests of it by derating others for their faults.
Then, I´m not the biggest Macallan fan.

Greetings
kallaskander
kallaskander
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:47 pm
Location: Heddesheim, Germany

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:02 pm

I'm not the biggest Macallan fan, either, kk, but I think you're being a little unfair. First of all, of course the cask strength is darker--it's undiluted; and anyway, there will always be variation in color, quite a lot in the case of sherry-casked whiskies. For all we know, dark color is one of the criteria Mac uses for selecting casks for the cs.

Second, Macallan always claimed that all of the malt in their bottlings was exclusively sherry-aged, and since the release of the FO series, they no longer claim that, obviously. It's very obvious that there has always been Macallan whisky aged in bourbon casks, which for many years was destined exclusively for the blender.

Macallan has always (at least in my memory) hyped itself as the "Rolls Royce" of malts. I have no problem with that; all distilleries hype themselves as the very best. The remarkable thing to me is the large number of consumers who swallowed that hype whole--not to suggest that their opinion was invalid in any way--and the ferocity of the backlash when they felt disillusioned and even betrayed. CV the Amazing Revilo. Macallan is a distillery which is, in most respects, just like any other, but with certain peculiar problems (just like any other). If one believes their malt is not what it used to be, well, that's how the cookie crumbles. They are not the only ones.
Deactivated Member
 

Re: Colour

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:38 pm

Spirit of Islay wrote:Call Me stupid (hey stupid ! ) but could the sherry that's been in the european oak not have something to do with the colour ? Basically whatevers been in it previously gives the whisky it's colour .....



Hi Stupid :wink: just joking... I have to agree with SOI here. It is the logical answer. I have many bourbon bottling which are very pale compared to the sherried bottlings that I have. When new oak barrels are used for bourbon they are charred and this charring is done to different degrees depending on what the distillery wants. Therefore you find bourbon is much darker in general to our bourbon fill whiskey. Why is this you may ask? When an Irish Distillery get their bourbon barrels they give them a good clean and scrape out therefore getting rid of any charring if left at all. And therefore nothing to majorly influence the colouring except the actual wood.

However the sherry being a rich dark more viscous drink it will have seeped into the wood. The barrel is then only washed out but not scraped and therefore gives whiskey a darker charachter as well as a great taste 8) .
User avatar
irishwhiskeychaser
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3644
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:27 pm
Location: Galway, Ireland

Postby Simplicio » Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:58 am

I had asked this question because it seemed to me that bourbon, being quite dark, even darker than sherry at times, would also lend its colour to the whisky. I suppose for the reasons outlined here, there is simply less of it left in the cask.

I am continually surprised by the amount of knowledge and the exposure to the scotch industry of the people on this forum!
Simplicio
New member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:53 am
Location: Zhong Guo

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder