By law, bourbon must be aged in a new charred oak barrel—but there are variables and considerations that affect the final flavor outcome. These are the mechanics of barrel-aging: how it works, why it matters, and what terms like “angels’ share,” “toast,” and “char” mean.
Whether you’re making an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or another cocktail, which whiskey you choose will have a major impact on the outcome.
You can learn a lot about a whisky before ever tasting it just by examining its label. Here’s what to look for.