I’ve had a discussion with my wife and a few friends about the importance of maturation, how much it influences the final product. The way that the barrel imparts a significant character to the spirit, combined with the initial process of creating the spirit to deliver a finished product that we are so passionate about.
Now I’ve explained to the best of my knowledge about the way the wood reacts with the whisky over time, giving it that lovely gold colour and the flavours this develops. This was understood by all as we carried on with our discussion, then the wife asked me a simple question that I have no answer for.
She asked me if a whisky was stored somewhere else would it still be the same whisky,
It may sound obvious that it would but I’m not sure.
Would a barrel of Ardbeg filled in its normal way but stored in a different warehouse for 10 years than were it would normally be stored, by this I mean for instance a warehouse from the Buffalo Trace distillery. What impact would this have on the final product, would it be easily recognised as a Ardbeg 10, or would the different climate have a much bigger effect on the maturation.
I’ve no idea on what the answers for these questions are, I do know that I’ve got a tour of the Lakes distillery coming up in a couple of weeks with the distillery manager. I think this would be a perfect time to ask someone, within the industry if they have any ideas on how it would impact the whisky.
If anyone else has any ideas or answers I would love to hear from you, this has got me thinking about how you could experiment to find out and what the results would be.
I’m also wondering if by using a barrel filled by one distillery but matured at another would end up with some sort of hybrid whisky, that combined some aspects of both distilleries.
Maybe the possibilities are endless in creating new and exciting expressions for us to try, or maybe it would make no difference at all and just mean it spends a lot of time being shipped around. Who knows?