Casks

  • marksealey
    Topic creator
    Member marksealey
    Joined: 12.01.2015Posts: 12Ratings: 0

    Single malt lover all my adult life; new to learning and reading about it more systematically…

    Not an ethical or even (bio)chemical question.

    I have read that 60-70% of the (end) flavor of single malts come from the casks… ex bourbon or ex sherry.

    I believe I also have a (basic/lay) understanding of the many other variables that go to make up a single malt. But how can it be that what seem like processes which I would have considered central/essential to the character of a distillery are all rendered less significant (that is, account for only 30-40% of the whisky's flavour) by such an apparently external factor as cask origin?

    -- Mark
  • horst_s Administrator horst_s Joined: 01.07.2014Posts: 345Ratings: 704
    Options

    Bringing this knowledge to the connoisseurs is one of my important daily tasks. It is quite difficult to tell people, that a particular distillery has better casks than others. It is easier to tell them, that one has the higher or more sophisticated pot stills.

    Some say, that the casks makes 60 to 70% of the taste. Others talk about 50%. If you have a high output of a distillery and use your casks three times or even more for over 30 years, than the influence of the cask may reduce to 30% or even less during the last filling. Therefore some distilleries colour their whiskies regularly to hide the small cask influence they have.

    For me a good whisky has 50%+ of cask influence.

    Kind regards, Horst Luening, Master Taster, Whisky.com
  • marksealey
    Topic creator
    Member marksealey
    Joined: 12.01.2015Posts: 12Ratings: 0
    Options

    Thanks, Horst. That all makes perfect sense.

    I suppose my puzzlement lies in the fact that we typically associate (let's say only) 50% of the character of a single malt with its distillery site.

    (Those who don't know about the role of the (wood in the) cask may easily think almost all the scotch's character comes from the site and equipment in the distillery.)

    Since cask wood is so important (even though it may decline - as you point out - from 70, 60, 50% to as little as 40% over lifetimes), couldn't an argument be made that - since the character of the finished drink varies as much as it does with the wood - the same wood could be taken to multiple distilleries and negate their (the distilleries') character in favour of elevating the particularities of the moving wood?

    Isn't this at least a paradox?

    -- Mark
Sign In or Register to comment.