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Issue 124 - Maturation marvels

Whisky Magazine Issue 124
December 2014


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Maturation marvels

The spirit of wood and the beauty of diversity

iscovery of the maturation process unravelled on the world after a sailor (allegedly) unloaded and tasted a barrel transporting spirit from one port to another. This is the cradle of birth for whisky. A simple concept revolving around the understanding that time in wood enhances and creates flavour in most spirits. In turn, this allowed us to understand how barrels of different size, shape, wood or origin affected the whisky and created different results.

This fascinating process was studied and experimented with over time and availability offering us a wide array of different finishes: bourbon, sherry, port, Mizunara, rum, French oak and the list goes on. Those affect the final product, for better or for worse. If done right, playing with these unique flavours in cocktails reveals the delicacy and intricacy of the maturation process.

The cocktails detailed show the intricate delicacy and potential for variety in cask maturation.

Distilleries have used sherry for years. It imparts nuts, dry fruits and deep tones of chocolate depending on the cask. Auchentoshan Three Wood, triple distilled and aged ten years in bourbon barrels then finished in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso barrels for a year. This marriage of sherry finishing and whisky is a beauty to play with. Adding Dolin white vermouth to support its herbal delicacy, a touch of sweet coffee liqueur revealing the nutty green dessert hazelnut tones and a few drops of Bokers bitters to round the sweet tones of the Pedro Ximene...

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