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

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Wee Cask

My new cask from the Whisky Works kit is many things. It's small, only 16cm long by 11.5cm wide (that's 6.25" by 4.5" for you imperialists out there). It's also fragrant, as I've discussed elsewhere. It is, I hope, mighty. Here are a couple of photos so you can get better acquainted:

(click the photos to embiggen)

What you can't see from the photos is the inside of the cask. It's presently filled with water, and even if it weren't, there's no good way to photograph through a 1cm hole. The interior is "toasted to a medium char" according to the producer. By peering in and shining a flashlight into the other hole, I assure you that just about the whole interior is black. I'm no expert on grades of charring, but there's a good amount of it in there. I'm curious to see what the water will look like when it comes out.

Other things of note:

The bung is rubber, silicone or some similar material under the wooden handle.

The spigot is mostly wood, but the bit that you turn to open it has a metal pipe with a hole drilled through it. Whatever is in the cask enters the drilled hole, then comes out the bottom of the pipe. I haven't a clue what kind of metal it is.

The spigot was attached just by pushing (and a bit of very gentle hammering which might not have been necessary), and there's no rubber or anything else sealing it, just wood that expands when it's wet.

You will notice several dark splotches in the first photo, around the edges of the lid where it connects with the staves. These weren't there when I bought it and are the result of the cask being filled with water. A bit oozed through before the wood could expand to seal itself. I imagine it's normal. I hope it's normal. :-)

Tomorrow, time permitting, I'll be emptying the cask of water and refilling it with sherry. Unfortunately, there seems to be a remarkable dearth of Oloroso sherry here in Ottawa, so I'll have to make do with an Amontillado it appears. I'll let you know.

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