Even in the past Roman times, it’s a fact that oak barrels were used to transport whiskey. It’s also a fact that oak was used in the process of making whiskey. Also, it’s already been proven that using oak is something that’s certain to enhance the taste and texture of the whiskey. If you’re to make a comparison, oak is like food seasoning for whiskey. However, you should know that there are also rules when it comes to using oak for whiskey.
You might be wondering why it has to be oak. This is because certain types of wood, when made into barrels, tend to have high amounts of resin residue. Porous types of wood, like pine, are also considered to be a no-no. Since those attributes can lower the quality of whiskey, oak barrels are used to ensure that such a thing happens. Another thing that makes oak barrels ideal is the fact that the wood type itself can be bent easily without breaking. Placing whiskey in oak barrels also ensures that the whiskey gets certain aromatic qualities. If you’re wondering what kind of aroma the whiskey gets, that would be coconut, vanilla, or toast. With these aromas, the whiskey gains a creamy and sweet nuance. Adding to that, the tannin content of oak and some mild aroma from it tends to harmonize with the whiskey itself. Due to such reasons, more than ninety-nine percent of whiskey barrels are from the oak.
Using oak barrels also does not provide the air-tight environment condition for the whiskey in it. This leads to the whiskey receiving microscopic amounts of oxygen which eventually softens the whiskey. The flavor of the whiskey also becomes concentrated since the alcohol and water can evaporate through the oak barrel. This kind of maturation process is necessary for red whiskeys that were made from intense grapes such as Shiraz. Also, enhancing white whiskey flavor has proven to be more effective with the use of oak barrels.
Also, there are various reasons why vintners tend to use oak barrels for whiskey aging. For aging, it’s important to remember that the size of the barrel is an important factor. Small oak barrels are ideal if you want the whiskey to be able to extract the aromatic values from the oak. If you’re making whiskey barrels from oak, then you should know that the age of the wood is also an important factor. This is necessary if you don’t want the oak barrel to have too much influence in the whiskey’s aroma. Also, you should be aware that there are different types of oaks that can be used for whiskey barrels for different objectives. In any case, oak barrels have proven ideal when it comes to making the best whiskeys.