Some Information about the Use of Oak Barrels to Age Whiskey
Notably understood in the production of whiskey and its process showed the importance of the interaction of these important components such as the whiskey barrels made of oak and the whiskey itself. For your information, the new spirit of whiskey gains character and color from the oak wood, that the whiskey barrel is made of, of which the spirit is stored into, thus the quality of the whiskey barrels is carefully monitored. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine
There are some barrels that were used for spirits like oloroso for its maturation, fino or amontillado sherries, bourbon and oak.
In the maturation process of the spirit, there is a careful determination of the type of whiskey barrel by the master blender whose aim is to get the particular character and continuity of the whiskey.
It is interesting to note that only after a minimum of threes years of maturity that the new spirit of scotch whiskey is legally named. Note however that many scotch whiskey are made to mature for longer period of time, like five, fifteen, twenty and twenty five years and some even longer.
One factor that contributes to the smooth and golden character of a scotch whiskey is the cool environment and cool air of Scotland which lingers for a long time, entering into the porous oak material of the barrel and how it impacts the spirit content.
It is interesting to know that part of the whiskey in the cask would evaporate yearly and is described as being lost to the heavens, thereby the phrase "angel's share". Read more about Red Head Oak Barrels
Many are intrigued to know why oak wood is the preference of whiskey makers for the material of their whiskey barrels. The unique physical and chemical nature of oak, its physical strength brought about by its wide radial rays that give strength once formed into a cask, and its purity as a wood with the resin canals that allow strong flavors to reach a mature whiskey, are among the reasons why oak wood is a preference for whiskey barrels.
Furthermore, the transformation that is happening to the oak due to the season and heating treatments during the process of coopering that would result to a pleasant tasting oak lactones in the course of production of the spirit. More info
In using oak wood for whiskey barrels, it is claimed that three effects are impacted on the whiskey.
One effect in using oak wood for the whiskey barrels is that its additive effect where aroma and taste of the spirit is improved from the desirable elements present in the cask. Among these additives elements of woods are vanillin, oak lactone, toastiness, wood sugars and colors.
The second element of oak wood is that it acts as a medium that would remove elements that are not needed to make a new whiskey, such as sulphur compounds and immaturity.