Need Advice On Ageing A Single Malt Whiskey In Own Barrel
Hi , I have had a 50l American oak barrel made by a local cooper , he has toasted the inside of it for me.
I want to now fill it with a single malt whiskey to let it age with me so that over next 40 years or so (god willing) I end up with something to enjoy and share with friends and family.
As you will se by my questions I am a novice and have various opinions as to what I should be doing.
I have been told I should fill the barrel with a sherry for some period of 3 months or so ,before filling it with whiskey?
I wonder what would be a good whiskey to fill it with.?
( would prefer to start with something that may be reasonable cost per litre ,with the hope it ages into something far more valuable ..thinking along the line of a Glenffidich 12 yo , as I see the 18 yr old , 50 yo are more expensive ,so I assume better.
Open to all opinions.
If so, buying 50 litres of a current single malt to fill the barrel and
aging it for 40 years may result in some minor disappointment.
Filling it with something that has a "reasonable cost per litre" would
probably not "ages [it] into something far more valuable". First off
you have to subtract the Angel's Share - the loss to evaporation
during aging (which can be anywhere from 2 - 10% depending on
various factors.) So at the end of your aging you're already at
less that 50 litres. Depending on now long you decide to (re)age it,
the remaining liquid could be significantly less that the initial 50 litres.
If, over the 40 years, you decide to subtract a bottle to sample
(say on the fill date anniversary) your loss might not seem so
noticeable and you would have the added benefit of comparing
the contents "through the years", even stopping the project if
you happen to hit upon an especially nice tasting year.
I have done home barrel projects with 2 litre barrels filled with
various White Dogs but nothing aged over 6 months. Larger
barrels are better over time but I don't know that I'd wanna
chance spending that much up front (unless money is no object
and you go into the project aware of the "risks") in hopes of a
sweeter barrel at the end of it all.
Thankyou, yes it is 50 litres.
That is great advice I had not considered loss to Angel's Share. I will look forward to trying it over the years and topping it up.
Whilst cost is a consideration if I can fill it for around $2000 ie up to $40 per litre.. I will take the risk.....ps once I decide on which single malt to use ... Any of my friends or family thinking of getting me a present will be told what I'm wanting.
Again your reply is much appreciated
I take it that it was made from new [unused] wood, if so then you'll be very dissappointed with the results even after 3 years. The whisky will have changed markedly from what you used picking up some of the [for scotch anyway] nastier flavours. That's the reason virtually no scotch whisky is aged in new casks. The time I asked about this the comment was that you had to fill it with new grain whisky every 6 to 12 months [for a 220L barrel] at least 3 times. The grain whisky then had to be filled into good barrels to finish their aging or it couldn't be used.
Far better filling it with sherry for some years to take away this initial flavour.
Hi, sorry I should have said the wood was from barrels used to age port. It has been toasted . I plan to fill barrel with water for a week , then fill with sherry for about 3 months, then add the selected whiskey . What do you think? Appreciate your comments. Thankyou Pauli
DO NOT FILL WITH WATER this will introduce water into the wood grain and your whisky will have an off taint. If you want to rinse the cask out then use some spirit or wine but never water. If the wood was used to age port then you may get a lovely pink to purple tinge in the whisky.
Cheers for that. Good tip. Any suggestion of a whiskey that may be good to start with?
Since you're planning on completing the aging process yourself there's no reason to spend money on already aged product and I'd be on the lookout for new whisky that hasn't been aged at all.
A good place to start looking would be to contact some of the distilleries themselves. I was at a few last month and they had brand new, un-aged product on hand that was the base liquid for what eventually turned into their much more expensive finished products.
Where do you live Pauli?
Or more appropriately, where do you intend to store your barrel?
Scotch whisky tastes the way it does because Scotland is a cold and damp country and storing filled whisky barrels in such condition is great for the whisky (but not so good for us Scotsmen who have permanently blue skin ! !)
Another Aussie, awesome. Welcome mate! Sounds like an interesting project.
I'd be cautious about keeping it for 40yrs though. Smaller barrels = more wood contact = faster "aging", and whilst 50L isn't small, it's smaller than the barrels most whiskies are aged in. Also, temperature has a lot to do with it. Not sure where in Australia you're from, but there aren't too many places here with Scottish-style weather. ;)
I think it's a great idea, but I'd hate to see you end up with an undrinkable oak monster by the end.
Let us know how you go!
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