FYI, Bar Smarts, is a fantastic program that you can sign up on-line to learn about spirits. Here is the link: Bar Smarts The people who run this program are truly talented folks who have elevated the art of crafted cocktails and spirits industry as a whole. I admire Dr. David Wondrich, one of the mentors in this program, who has written books like, Imbibe and Punch. He travels all over the world to research original cocktail recipes. A few months ago, Dr. Wondrich found to what appeared to be the original recipe to the Singapore Sling. In addition, Dale Degroff, another spirit guru from the Bar Smarts program, is responsible for reviving cocktails, urging people to use fresh ingredients to hi-lite a spirit as opposed to masking it with crappy, artificial ingredients. I hope you take the time to explore this program or read Dr. Wondrich’s works!
*Information about characteristics on Oak for this page above is provided by BarSmarts.
When making bourbon, it must be aged in brand new oak. The used bourbon barrels are then purchased by other other distilleries (i.e. distilleries from Scotland, Tequila companies, etc).
For clarification, Johnnie Mundell, who is the Brand Ambassador for Bowmore and Wild Turkey, explained to Seven Grand Whisk(e)y Society members during the Glenrothes Tasting Event that European casks are much larger than American oak barrels. The branches from European trees are higher in elevation than American oak branches. Any part of the trunk that has branches attached cannot be used because the staves need to be made of solid wood. As a result, any part of the wood that starts below the branches and to the base (trunk) of the tree can be used to make staves. The value of an American cask is around $165, while European casks cost much more. Johnnie showed us two staves, an American stave and European stave. The American stave was about 4 feet long and the European stave was about 2.5 feet long.
Rules for Charring, this information was provided by Pedro Shanahan, the co-curator for Seven Grand. By the way, the staff from Seven Grand and Pedro are super amazing people; they make whisky fun and accessible for all of us. Rules for charring was discussed during the Angel’s Envy Event with Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson.