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

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Sherry, Ten Days Later

Remind me to buy a coffee filter. I have a metal one that I use for the copious amount of coffee that I drink, but I fear it's been infused over the ages with an unavoidable essence of coffee goodness which, while delicious in its own right, is likely to make it useless for the present project.

Why a coffee filter? Simple: there are bits in the sherry. It was the same for the water. It'll be the same for the whisky, I'm certain. These bits are wee pieces of wood from the cask itself. They'll be harmless, as they're quite small, but they're not something I'd choose to have in my whisky. Drinks, generally, should be chunk-free. I make the single exception for orange juice which is insipid without pulp; other beverages should not, generally, have much in the way of texture. Ergo, I need a coffee filter to get the bits out of the sherry or whisky when I pour it out for good.

Speaking of sherry, there have been changes. Not in the colour, which was the same as last time, but in the flavour most of all. I'm going to go out on a limb and hypothesize that since the sherry is already dark-ish, it's not going to be further bemurked by the cask. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm impatient. Likely both. Either way, here's a photo so you may judge for yourselves.

(click the photo to embiggen)

I've adequately described the nose and taste of the un-casked sherry elsewhere, so I'll not belabour it further. The nose of the casked sherry has continued its smoky evolution. The sledgehammer of char I described in the preceding post has been coated with velvet, however. It's no longer charcoal-ish. It's rather like smoked, cooked fruit. I bet if I threw cherries on a campfire, it would remind me of this.

Last time I said the taste was like a heavy layer of charcoal over a heavy layer of dried fruit and honey. That's changed for the better: the layers have begun to merge. The charcoal flavour, which was rather pronounced the last time, has turned to mere smokiness. I guess I'd describe the difference between this time and last as "less dusty." You know the smell of the shavings from a freshly sharpened pencil? That smell was present in the taste last week. I would guess it's the carbon in the graphite or the charred cask interior. I didn't think to use it last time because it made me think of charcoal instead. This time, I still sense charcoal, though greatly reduced and far less pencil-lead-ish.

Overall, the best phrase to describe the sherry after ten days (approximately 20 months in virtual mini-cask-world time) is "better integration." If I had money to spare and was the gambling type, I'd bet that that trend will have continued by the next time.

The next time will mark 15 days in the cask, and I may take it out and pour in the whisky at that time. Or I might leave it for another five days. We shall see. I want the integration of fruit, honey and charcoal to continue.

See you on Wednesday!

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