Everything You Need to Know About Aging Spirits
If your favorite spirit is whisky, it’s likely that you’ve already been looking at whisky barrels for sale to decorate with or to age your own spirits in. But have you ever wondered why spirits are aged in small oak barrels and other vessels? Or what types of spirits need to be aged? We have the answers you’re looking for.
What’s the Point of Aging Spirits?
One of the most important reasons to age spirits is to enhance their flavor. Aging whisky in wood barrels, oak in particular, gives the spirit a very particular flavor profile. Considering that almost 33% of people aged 18-29 stated that they drank whisky in the last three months, it’s no secret that properly aged whisky is highly sought after. The aging process allows specific chemical reactions to occur within the spirit. Think of the aging process like steeping your tea — the flavor won’t be fully developed and your drinking experience won’t be as good if you don’t let it steep (age) long enough.
What Types of Spirits Are Aged?
While spirits like whisky, bourbon, and scotch are traditionally aged, other spirits are not. Vodka and gin, for example, are typically not aged at all once their distilling process is complete. The truth is that not all spirits will actually benefit from aging for two key reasons:
- What the base spirit is composed of
- How the spirit is distilled
These two factors are important in determining whether a spirit needs to be aged. The distilling process, in particular, is a good indicator of whether or not someone will need to look for whisky barrels for sale. Any spirits that are distilled using the pot distilling method are typically better candidates for aging.
Does Storage Matter to the Aging Process?
The short answer is yes. The vessel in which a spirit is aged matters because it will have an impact on the flavor. Whisky, for instance, is typically aged inside of wooden barrels. The wood and how it’s treated before the spirit is poured inside will have a direct impact on how the flavor develops. The temperature at which a spirit is aged also has an impact on how it develops. Spirits aged in colder climates typically need to be aged for a longer time than spirits in warmer climates. This is why spirits like tequila are aged for much less time than Irish whiskey.
Whether you’re looking for whisky barrels for sale to age your own spirits or not, learning about the aging process can help you gain a better appreciation for the spirits you drink.