Whisky Magazine Issue 119
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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...