How interesting can a Bourbon barrel get?
April 25, 2016
So, given how important they are we thought we would shine the spotlight on our friend, The Bourbon Barrel and share a few facts about it.
– Nearly all Bourbon is aged in new American Oak barrels
– Typically the trees grow for 70 to 90 years old before they are felled
– The wood used for barrel production is exclusively from the tree trunk and you will typically get 2 to 3 barrels from one trunk
– the trunk is cut into sections, then quartered and then the staves are created
– the staves are left to season for 6 to 12 months before they are ready for barrel production
– it takes a cooper about 4 minutes to ‘raise’ a barrel by hand using approximately 32 staves
– an empty barrel weighs @45kg when empty. Our advice is never arm-wrestle a cooper!
– once the body of the barrel is constructed it is then charred using a naked flame. Whiskey Thief is charred to #4 level which is about the heaviest char level in the industry.
– the charring process caramelizes the sugars inherent in the oak and makes the barrel water-tight (or should it be Bourbon-tight) and once the barrel heads are fitted they are ready to be delivered to the distillery.