Sunday, May 4, 2014

Your Scotch and its Sherry

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Maturation process in a Distillery

The best thing about Scotch Whiskeys is their maturation process in Sherry casks over the years that make them the best in the world. The Black Dog TGR undergoes a triple maturation process that brings its taste on par with some of the oldest Scotches.

Lets see today how a sherry cask makes all the difference in your Scotch. Whiskeys date back to the 15th century and it is believed to be originated in Scotland or Ireland. While they still try to arrive at the exact location and origin dates, let us understand more of the maturation process. By British law, any Whisky has to be matured for at least 3 years, if they want to qualify as one. Then let me tell you the difference between blended and single Malt. Most of the whiskeys that you buy over the counter are labeled "Blended", meaning a blend or put more precisely mixture of 2/3-grain whiskeys coupled with 1/3-malt whiskeys coming from different places. The larger audience and also a bit lighter on the purse combine these to form a drink that will be enjoyed.
Maturation inside a Cask

Whiskies are produced from barley, either grown locally or sourced from different places. They are then put in the Malting process for germination. Later, they are distilled to increase the ABV, which is the alcohol percentage of distilled beverage. This is measured by volume.

Maturation process in Sherry casks

I recently came across a fact; I bet you would've not known. Think for a while why Whiskeys are required to be matured in casks. Would they not mature if just left for some time after bottling? Think a bit more over it. Whiskeys’ maturing in casks was discovered just by accident. In the older times, casks were used only as a storage option before bottling. But some casks with the distilled liquid escaped the attention and left lying for a long period of time. So the taste and smell evolved and it was something similar to the Whiskeys we consume today. Thus, it became clear that Wood plays a major role in the maturation process of Whiskeys. Even the age of Oak wood plays an important role in the maturation of whiskeys. A 'virgin' of a fresh wood does not bring the same taste and smell as an old wood. Hence, the oak casks that were once used for maturation of other types of drinks, or wine are sourced and used in distilleries for Scotch maturation. The sizes of the casks are a factor too in Scotch maturation. A smaller cask will mean more liquid will be in contact with the wooden walls and aid the maturation. Hence, smaller casks mean faster maturation. Usually a cask is used for Scotch maturation is used 4-5 times before it is discarded as it no longer adds any value to the liquid.

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