The Power of Oak
by Craig Pakish
Most consumers of whiskey need simple choices and do not want distinctive or challenging flavors.
Let us prove this statement false. I challenge you, the new age whiskey consumer to think outside of the barrel and create flavors that satisfy your quest for flavor. Early on, when I started my distillery, I began to explore the complexity and power of oak to flavor my rye spirits.
Initially I purchased two gallon American White Oak (Quercus alba) barrels that had been heavily charred for my experiments. I was told that I could expect the flavor transfers to occur quickly due to the high surface to volume ratio of these barrels; that I could expect one year's worth of flavor transfer that occurs in a 59 gallon barrel, to occur in three months in these small barrels.