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A virgin cask will impart a large amount of color in a short time. I have seen many dark-colored "craft" whiskeys that are less than a year old (admittedly, small barrels play a part also). Beyond that initial rush of color, though, a cask will steadily contribute color to a whiskey throughout its maturation. That, of course, assumes that the cask still has some color to give throughout the entire maturation period, and this, in turn, depends on the number of previous fills (and the vagueries of an individual cask).
Well ... there are two colors coming from the casks. First the color from the liquid, which rested in the cask before. In the case of Sherry it depends on its type (oxidized PX will be darker than non oxidized Fino). The second color comes from the caramelized wood sugar. And caramel is quite brown. This will give color to the whisky over decades. In the beginning a lot more than in the end.
If you look carefully at uncolored whiskies from Hogsheads (refill, rebuilt casks) then you can still see the residual color in the casks left over from the first maturation.
how different is this caramelised wood sugar vs the caramel colouring that is being added for coloration, chemically speaking?
Thanks for your replies.
@horst_show different is this caramelised wood sugar vs the caramel colouring that is being added for coloration, chemically speaking?
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