Whisky Magazine Issue 119
This article is 20 months old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2015. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
The influence on aging of key warehousing conditions
Hear this, hear this. The latest chapter of Buffalo Trace distillery's now well documented search for the so-called ‘perfect Bourbon' began last November with the official opening of Warehouse X. Old news, I know, but only in so far as it happened - before Christmas. More interesting is the fact that Warehouse X aims to break the lock on a largely untested area of whiskey making: the influence on aging of key warehouse-specific conditions. Most interesting, however, is what it and Buffalo Trace's impossible quest tells us about what makes making something like whiskey so damn important. I hope I have your full attention.
To begin with the science, Warehouse X is a $1 million 30 X 60 ft concrete and brick building with a holding capacity of at most 150 barrels. It's divided into four independent chambers, a control barrel breezeway and a small outdoor rick. It will test four independent variables: natural light, humidity, airflow and temperature. Each variable will be tested consecutively, for a period of two years, across all four chambers. Thus, if testing, for example, the possible effects of humidity on aging, the specific humidity range is expected to range 20% either side of the control levels. A further 6 year experiment will follow up on promising results. Barrels are set for loading mid-April. The effects of natural light are to be tested first. Try saying Warehouse X fast, several times.
Compared with something like Buffalo Trace's dense and still ongoing Sin...