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Issue 150 - Showing your age

Whisky Magazine Issue 150
April 2018


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Showing your age

The Bramble team show how marrying and ageing can be used to produce superior cocktails

Most readers of this magazine will undoubtedly possess a decent understanding of why whisk(e)y distillers mature their spirit in oak casks and how this necessary step imparts a great deal of the flavour and maturity that defines the brown spirit category.

Many will also be familiar with the concept of marrying, whereby whisky producers may choose to allow liquid from different casks to integrate for a period of time (usually while resting in an inert vat) as part of the blending process before bottling. Why bother marrying at all? The industry view is that by allowing the liquid from different casks in a recipe to integrate, the resultant product will be more balanced, rounded and consistent.

This is because the differing ABVs and flavour characteristics of each caskís spirit are able to achieve an equilibrium across the entire batch, which will often be mixed or ërousedí to further promote integration. Whatís perhaps not so well known, however, is that these same techniques ó ageing and marrying ó can be utilised to great effect in the creation of cocktails.

Bramble Bar in Edinburgh were early adopters of cask maturation of cocktails, a technique once utilised during the ëGolden Ageí of bartending that is now being rediscovered. The barís first experiments with wood ageing led to a partnership with Glenmorangieís Dr Bill Lumsden, who produced four different casks for them to experiment with. The hypothesis was that different woods and toasting levels would...

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