Maturing Scotch whisky is retained in oak casks – periodically dubbed barrels,hogsheads or butts.

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Casks are sourced greatly from the US and Spain, wbelow they have actually previously been offered to age whiscrucial and sherry. While Scotch whisky rules enable repetitive usage of casks for maturation, the law for bourbon is such that they can just usage the cask once. This commonly ensures a good onward supplyof casks for the Scotch whiskies trade.Securing a supply of them is component of the distillers’ obstacle, and also getting long usage out of them is essential as well.

Most casks come in various sizes from about 200 to 650 litres.200 litres (barrel) and 250 (hogshead) are the a lot of common sizes.A hogshead is basically a barrel made from the staves of a bourbon cask with new oak ends. A butt is the typical dimension cask provided for maturing sherry. As the interactivity between lumber and spirit is integral to the maturation process, smaller casks tend to mature Scotch whisky quicker. By contrast, large casks such as butts, puncheons or port pipes generally need a longer maturation procedure, frequently of 15-20 years or even more.

The kinds of casks many generally offered for maturing Scotch whisky are as follows:

Barrel (approx. 190-200 litres | ~120-140 LPA):Also known as the ASB (Amerihave the right to conventional barrel), or bourbon barrel, because of its duty as the primary size of cask offered in the Amerihave the right to bourbon whisvital industry. Barrels used for maturing bourbon are forced by American legislation to be made from Amerihave the right to white oak which has been burnt before usage. As these casks cannot be re-provided to make bourbon, they often endure a second life maturing Scotchwhiskies.

Hogshead (approx. 225-250 litres | ~142-175 LPA): After barrels, hogsheads are the second-many widespread type of cask provided in maturing Scotch whiskies. Hogsheads are generally additionally made from American white oak, and indeed are regularly constructed from staves initially taken from bourbon barrels. However, the bigger size of hogsheads provides them much better suited for a slightly longer duration of maturation. Hogsheads offered to mature Scotch whisky might previously have organized other beverages and spirits, through sherry hogsheads the a lot of prevalent of these.

Butt (approx. 475-500 litres | ~302-350 LPA): Butts are the many commonly supplied type of cask in the sherry sector, and for this reason, apart from those having actually previously hosted bourbon, the kind of cask the majority of commonly utilised for maturing Scotch whiskies. They are traditionally made from Spanish oak, although a far-reaching amount of butts are additionally made from American white oak.


Other casks of note:

Quarter cask (approx. 45-50 litres | ~29-35 LPA): A quarter cask is a quarter of the dimension of the ASB, yet via the same dimensions. As quarter casks have a considerably greater ratio of wood-to-liquid than most traditional casks, they tend to acceleprice the maturation process. However before, this strategy of maturation can have mixed outcomes, and also quarter casks are therefore the majority of reliable through more robust spirits, or when used to ‘finish’ a whiskies.

Barrique (approx. 250-300 litres | ~159-210 LPA): A barrique is a slightly bigger hogshead via the lengthy form of a butt, which is prevalent throughout the wine sector (and, through slightly smaller sized dimensions, in Cognac too). Barriques are normally built from French oak, although some may additionally be made from Amerihave the right to white oak. Although barriques were historically unwidespread in the maturation of Scotch whisky, current years have seen a raising amount of single malts and also blends exploring with these casks.

Puncheon (approx. 450-500 litres| ~286-350 LPA): After butts, puncheons are the second-the majority of prevalent form of casks provided to mature sherry. Dumpier than a butt, these are mostly made via Spanish oak staves. Machine puncheons are made from American white oak and primarily used in the rum industry. While machine puncheons are still seldom used for maturing Scotch, they have become even more widespread in current years.

Port pipe (approx. 550-650 litres | ~350-455 LPA): Port pipes are the sector standard cask for maturing port wine. Port pipes are long and equivalent in proportion to sherry butts, although their width is cshed to an ASB. Port pipes are mainly only used to ‘finish’ Scotch whiskies for a last few years.

Madeira drum (approx. 600-650 litres | ~381-455 LPA): Like sherry butts and also port pipes, Madeira drums are the industry conventional for maturing Madeira wine. However before, Madeira drums are substantially squatter than these countercomponents, and also are built from thick French oak staves. Madeira drums are relatively unprevalent for maturing Scotch whiskies and are mainly offered to ‘finish’ aged stocks.

Casks deserve to be described as ‘firstfill’ or "refill". An Amerideserve to whiskeycask or barrel that is being offered to mature Scotch for the first time is described as "initially fill". It becomes a ‘refill’ cask as soon as supplied for a second or subsequent time.‘Firstfill’ casks are even more energetic in the maturation procedure of Scotch, imparting more powerful flavours to the whisky from the oak and also the previous contents of the barrel. ‘Refill’ barrels, by comparison, are commonly much less energetic in maturing Scotch, enabling the heart to overcome the maturation procedure. The value of the casks within thematuration process deserve to be checked out in the prices for empty whiskies barrels.

It is the job of an excellent cooper to maintain the casks well to extfinish their valuable life and also value, and to encertain they continue to mature the whisky to the ideal top quality standards.

The casks are stacked either 3 high in standard ‘dunnage’ warehomes or more frequently currently in modern-day palletised warehouses. The vital is to permit several cool, damp, Scottish air to circulate.

All casks are porous, permitting the soul to evapoprice which is important for maturation. A little variety of casks may leak, and lose more whiskies than they should in the first year.In contemporary waredwellings leaky casks are normally left wright here they are, because relocating them about to type out a leaky one expenses practically as much as a cask of recently made spirit is worth, and also risks damaging others in the process.

Losses from evaporation and also leakage amount to roughly 2% per year, via an additional 3% lost on filling as soul is soaked up by the lumber. This is well-known as ‘in-drink’.

Good casks, well cared for, can last for as much as 50 years or longer.

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Whiskies barrel capacities

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