Germany, 27/09/2017 - As of today, Whisky Vision TV is 'on air'. Everybody can now watch new make whisky maturing in the cask at Whisky.com/VisionTV. The new make from German St. Kilian Distillery was filled into the cask on 25 September 2017. The cask contains 225 litres (59.4 US gal) and was custom-made for Whisky.com from American white oak by the company Wilhelm Eder.
The idea of watching liquids via webcam was first realised in 1991 at the University of Cambridge. The fill level of the coffee machine was broadcast to the web from the Trojan Room of the computer lab. The camera wasn't switched off until 2001 and then auctioned off for GBP 3,500.
The whisky webcam at Whisky.com serves a similar purpose. It's supposed to monitor the maturation of whisky in an oak cask. For this purpose, the two ends of the cask were replaced with acrylic glass ends. You'll be able to see two things: On the one hand, the liquid level falls due to the breathing of the cask. Over the years, alcohol, water, and other volatile components evaporate from the cask through the pores of the oak wood, prompting the liquid level to fall. After 30 years, sometimes more than 50% of the content has evaporated. It's called the angels' share since the clouds above the distilleries are the angels' favourite dwelling places.
On the other hand, by entering the staves of the cask, the new make whisky absorbs flavour components from the thermally treated oak wood. Toasting and charring have produced a variety of flavour and colouring substances. The cellulose of the wood is broken down to sugar, which is then caramelised. But also the hard component of the wood, the lignin, is broken down by high temperatures, producing vanillin. Over the years, these substances are absorbed into the whisky, giving it its natural brown colour.
The cask is covered with black lightproof molleton cloth and is illuminated by a low-energy LED light with a colour temperature of 3,000K so the natural colouring process can be watched neutrally. On the other side, the HD webcam captures the image and broadcasts it on our website. A colour reference card is displayed so you can neutrally assess the degree of colouration. Furthermore, daily pictures are taken by a DSLR camera for archiving purposes.
To make this 'dry' process more interesting, samples are taken from the casks in regular intervals and then tasted live by Horst and Benedikt Luening. The videos are then published on the Vlog of Whisky.com and archived.