the whisky lounge - a journal tracking a whisky maturation project involving a newly-acquired oak cask and a significant amount of patience

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Heavenly Combination of Whisky and Geekdom

This is entirely Jim's fault.

Don't get me wrong - Jim's a good guy and all, but if he hadn't told me about a newly-available kit to mature your own whisky, I'd not have gone out and bought one, nor told all my friends, nor started a blog.

The aforementioned kit is a new product called Whisky Works. It's made by Premium Bottlers and contains a small oak barrel complete with bung, spigot and stand, and a bottle of pale whisky. At your friendly neighbourhood LCBO it runs for $90. The point of it all is for you to pour the whisky into the cask and let it do its thing for a couple of months. Afterwards, due to the significantly higher surface-area to volume ratio, the whisky has had the equivalent of several years of oaking. I read in an article (I believe it was in the Globe and Mail) that it's ten years' worth of ageing in two months, which works out to five years per month if my math is right.

Well, I have the kit now, and have just begun to cure the cask with water. The oak absorbs some of the water, expanding in the process and thereby sealing the cask from any leakage at the seams between the staves or ends. After the water, the real fun begins.

I've decided to go wild and crazy and condition the barrel with sherry after I pour the water out. I'll explain why in a subsequent post. In the meantime, I want to explain why I started this blog.

Rather than just stuff the cask in my closet and tell all my friends about it when it was all over, I thought it might be more rewarding to keep track of the progress of the whisky as it matures. I'll be using this blog to do just that. I will take a few photos of the components of the kit in the better light of the morning to let you see everything. I will reserve a small amount of the whisky so that each week I can tap the cask, pour out a dram and compare the maturing spirit to its original condition. I'll do side-by-side photos each week so you can see what I'm talking about.

In any case, as the cask contains merely water at this point and it's getting late in the evening, I'll call it a day. The next few posts will be just first impressions and the like, followed by talk about the sherry I choose and how it fares in the cask. That'll take up about 2-3 weeks, then the whisky bottle will be opened, and the experiment will begin in earnest.

I'll open up the comments as well, so if you have any suggestions - particularly about sherry-conditioning the cask as I know essentially nothing about sherry - please pipe up.

Talk soon,

Ian

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