View Full Version : About how long is a port, sherry, etc finished?
04-19-2011, 05:55 PM
I received a spirits aging barrel as present a while back. I tried some rum finished scotch a while back, and since I had a bunch of rum on hand, I decided I'd try to put a rum finish on a scotch myself. I already have some rum aging in the barrel. Since its a small volume barrel with a lot more surface area than that much rum/scotch would normally see, I'm planning on pulling the rum out in about a month, which would give the rum enough time to seep into the wood and add to the scotch finish. Then I want to put some scotch in, but I don't know how long to shoot for. Right now I'm thinking about starting with something fairly basic, but I've also considered using something a little more intense in flavor. So maybe a Macallan 12 to try to fully taste the rum finish, or maybe like a laphroaig to temper the rum finish with some smoke. What would you guys do? Any idea how long a port, sherry, or rum finish generally takes? I can taste the scotch to evaluate its progress, but since its low volume, each sample means less finished product and more air in the barrel.
Thanks for the advice guys!
04-20-2011, 02:50 PM
I know the big distillers finish for six months or longer, but that is in very large casks. With a smaller cask, it should only take a couple months probably.
I would Google this, as I remember hearing other people talking about this (maybe a blog I read?)
Sounds like a great hobby!
04-20-2011, 04:59 PM
I googled pretty good, but didn't find much info. I was thinking about one year would be safe, but 6 months sounds reasonable as well.
04-20-2011, 07:04 PM
Hmmm... I couldn't find it either. Well, you might check with the folks at whiskywhiskywhisky.com. I'm pretty sure I read about it there.
04-20-2011, 10:46 PM
I would think 60-90 days would probably be enough in a small cask. As for the whisky, how about an Ardbeg 10. The dry smoke flavor would benefit from some sweet Rum finish.
Send me a sample!
04-21-2011, 03:29 AM
The rum finished whiskies I have tasted were lacking in any "sweetness." I mostly just got spice. LOTS of spice!
04-21-2011, 05:42 PM
Yeah, I haven't noticed strong sweetness from a rum finish, but spice for sure. Thats why I'm thinking something lighter from speyside would be best. Balvenie or Macallan. However, I'm still something like the Ardbeg suggestion would work well too. I might just start with a speyside and maybe next time, throw some smoke in the mix.
04-22-2011, 10:42 AM
Just to stir this a little more, there's no legal requirement for a "finished" whisky to be in the casks more than 1 day and until there is a regulation that means we klnow how long the whisky's been "finished" for and until then I won't be buying any of them.
I know most of the major producers talk about how long they finish their malts for but this is talk there's nothing on the label and therefore hearsay, if they put the time on the label then that has to be proveable legally and we'd know for certain.
On the small cask, I'd start checking it after a couple of weeks as you'll be surprised how fast the infusion of rum will happen
Rather than Macallan 12 which is sherry cask matured, as the sherry has a dominating effect, I'd assume a longer finish would be necessary to see much of an effect - depending on the finishing barrel and that your barrel will be finished with rum (as opposed to tequila), I'd expect more synergy thus a longer finish time required. Thus, to see more of a rum impact earlier, I'd start with a base whisky that is lighter and having less barrel impact than something like sherry. Start with a first fill (ideally) bourbon cask matured whisky as the rum impact on the whisky should be more obvious than on a Macallan 12. If you're set on Macallan, I'd do the Macallan 10 fine oak. As this is somewhat of a heuristic experiment, you might save a little money and try this on something like Speyburn 10.
Since your cask size is going to require more than one bottle to fill, the great thing is you can draw off samples at different ages and keep them for comparing later. If you tasted and drew samples off at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 months, or something, you can see what impact the rum is having overtime and then determine where you like the impact best. Of course, if you love it a 12 months and hate it at 16, you may have the remainder of the cask filled with something you despise. That's the risk. But assuming you get to a point of having 3-4 different age-lengths of finish, when comparing all of them at once you have a nice start to an evening!
Interesting comment blenderm makes about no law requiring statement for how long the "finish" is. Essentially, any whisky that is aged in more than one cask is "finished." Balvenie double wood is an example most people have no problem with. But I see his point, and it's a good one.
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