Whisky Advocate

Six year old whiskey in six month’s time?

July 30th, 2010

Tom Lix, an entrepreneur, says he found a way to do it, and he received a permit from the feds and got a grant from a local community college innovation fund to conduct his research. Here’s an excerpt from the article, which ran in a Cleveland, Ohio, publication:

Last month, Lix gained a federal permit to operate an experimental distilled spirits plant. And he has a sponsorship with the American Distilling Institute, a 1,200-member trade group for craft distillers.

Bill Owens, president of the institute, said he was impressed with a scientific paper Lix submitted to the group.

Owens directed Lix to a bourbon distillery in Kentucky that supplied Lix with a batch of “white dog.” That’s the highly potent spirit distillers age for years in charred oak barrels to make bourbon whiskey.

Lix started in his home, refining a process that uses heating, cooling and pressure to greatly reduce the maturing time for whiskey. Essentially, a six-year whiskey can age in six months, Lix claims.

Owens said Lix is placing charred wood in the spirits to impart the color and vanilla tastes that come from barrel storage.

Read the entire story here.

What do you think? Is he legitimate?

And do you think it’s good for the craft distilling movement, or will this kind of experimentation tarnish this young industry’s reputation?

56 Responses to “Six year old whiskey in six month’s time?”

  1. This is basically the same concept used in wineries that cater for the mass market. Instead of using expensive oak barrels they toss some wood chips and tannine powder into their stainless steel tanks. And it’s perfectly legal, at least in the US. Not in Europe, gladly.

    In this light, I see a real danger that this kind of sprit may be legal was well and my be sold as American Whiskey. Craft distillers will have to find a way to point out what makes the difference between them and those. And if they do it right, they may well have the chance to succeed, IMO

  2. Paul Lynch says:

    Hi John,

    Have to agree with Oliver in that craft distillers along with other distillers will have to figure out a way to let the consuming public understand differences in whiskey created in a traditional way vs something created based on new technologies and/or processes that shorten the traditional ways. I would be hard pressed to believe that a whiskey created in six or so months could actually equal that of a spirit aged over six years. What this new process omits is all of the other elements that affect a maturing whiskey. Things we take might take for granted like humidity and temperature and their fluctuation in a storage room over the course of time a whiskey is maturing can never be duplicated from one year to another, let along in a mere six months. This process it seems to me is really geared more for creating a standard and predictable whiskey batch to batch, bottle to bottle, year to year. I cannot see this process creating a whiskey that is meant to accompany life’s moments.

  3. Michael says:

    “Essentially, a six-year whiskey can age in six months, Lix claims.”

    That is not going to be a 6YO whiskey. If this trend of experiments continues, it will be wise to stock up on some good whisky distilled in 60s or 70s and “disconnect” from the market. I have already stopped checking photography related Web sites so my whisky interest may follow.

  4. Hell, wile your at it, fill the whole barrel with saw dust. a slurry of oak particles and whisky should give the maximum surface area to whisky ratio, and put it in a 200 degree room.

    since we have already entered the gates of hell, spin it around in a centrifuge and add liquid smoke… you should be able to make a 20 year old bottle in a week… ugh…

    I pray they make STRICT standards as to this stuffs label or aging as we know it would be a thing of the past…

  5. Rob K says:

    Is it good? You know, the goal is to create something that’s pleasant to drink. If this does that, I’m for it (though I’m entirely against tax dollars being used for it. Seriously, isn’t this the sort of thing the distillers could do on their own pretty cheaply?) I think that they should have to label it what it is, but it’s not like the whiskey making process is some holy thing handed down at Mt Sinai. If distillers could have done this 150 years ago, you bet they would have, and all the whiskey snobs would talk reverently about the Lix process and how it imparts that certain je ne sais quoi.

    If it works, it will help the craft distilleries.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      “… if they had done this 150 years ago…” then it would be whisky-tradition today.

      Or you could paraphrase:
      “To hell with whisky-tradition. It’s an arbitrary set of conventions. Keep the good leave the bad– End of story.”

      Thing is, whisky-tradition is good not just because it pleases us, but also because it confronts us. Whisky as a phenomenon confronts many drinkers as much or more than it pleases them. What the majority of potential whisky consumers and business investors want out of whisky is a an easy to produce, highly approachable drink, with a very compelling pedigree.

      All of us here on this blog though– We know that inefficiencies in the production process of whisky and the (potentially) unapprochable aspects of it as a drink is fundamental to the continuing existence of good whisky.

      • bgulien says:

        That comment can be ranked as the beginning of 101 whisk[e]y philosophy. ;-)

      • Michael says:

        Very well put. I believe that what you said it at the core of whisky challenge many are pursuing. One has to practice and learn anything worth pursuing. It is not about being fast, easy and pleasing.

  6. Patrrick B. says:

    in any case, it is a good publicity for his new company to attract attention and hopefully money.
    I would be interested in reading the famous scientific article mentioned and to give a taste at the end product.
    Based on the description, I have the impression that the maturation is indeed only a partial accelerated maturation, where the wood extracts are forced into the spirit. However, I suppose that all the beneficial effects due to air-spirit exchange are simply not there.

    In any case, I am glad to see that this cannot happen with Scotch whisky.

    And at the end, would the process be more economical than the current method?

    Let’s wait and see

  7. Brendan says:

    John,

    The article makes no mention of a federal grant.
    He received a permit from the feds and got a grant from a local community college innovation fund.

  8. I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind. Ultimately the palate will determine what people will buy and not buy. Call it tricks or innovation or something in the middle, the craft spirits movement is interesting because people are trying new things — some will work and some won’t, but for those who are interested in whiskey, they are worth checking out.

    Thanks John.

    Matt Colglazier
    American Craft Spirits

  9. RPP says:

    I’m torn.

    If it someone could eventually create a repeatable whiskey with a complexity and taste profile on par with the 09 William Larue Weller or 08 George T Stagg at an every day price and availability how could I not be happy!?

    At the same time, I have to admit that part of the allure of these remarkable bourbons is their exclusivity and the care with which they are crafted and chosen.

    I can say with certainty however that if it can’t trick my palate it won’t matter how quickly or cheaply they are able to make it.

  10. Mike says:

    It’s a sign-o-the-times. No one wants to wait, even for whisk(e)y. Colonel Sanders patented speedy-chicken, now we will be able to have “Kentucky-fried” whiskey. Cripes. None for me, thanks.

  11. Jason Pyle says:

    John, Matt, and others: Look, I want options. I also want to see this artisan whiskey movement flourish, but it’s not beer. It takes time. A recent American Whiskey maker bought by a big UK-based conglomerate is indication that there is some quality out there, but there is a LONG way to go. And that is a big time one-off deal. Most of the stuff is really just poor quality in my opinion.

    Innovation is a great thing and I love that these artists are bucking the conventional and giving it a go. To Matt’s point, at least we get to see some new stuff out there and see how it goes. But I think a full on recalibration is in order for all of us if this stuff is going to take off. We’re soon to be awash in 6 month old flat ass whiskey and white dog out our ears. You can’t compare a 6 month old whiskey to a 6-8 year old in MOST cases and come out impressed with the young buck. We almost have to recategorize these as “young whiskeys”.

    Let me also say that I think we need to encourage these distillers to get out there and source some good stock and finish it. Wood is king in my opinion. There’s only so many variables and wood is a big one. Look at Makers 46. I wanted to hate it. Those slats attached to a plastic rod and drilled into a tapped barrel looks like something 3 drunks in a garage decided to put together. But damn if it didn’t give a flaccid whiskey a backbone, some structure, and high notes. I’d prefer to see as many artisan distillers doing innovation with the wood and taking consistent product and giving it a spin. That may just be me.

    Call me “cautiously optimistic” on this stuff. However I would almost bet the farm this 6 month old whiskey doesn’t taste close to 6 years.

  12. Steffen Bräuner says:

    Well the big worry is that when anyone can craft something “nearly” as good for a lot less costs the quality products is going to suffer.

    We’ve seen that happen to almost anything possible to buy

    The world is full of supermarkets filled with mass-produced products, and good quality products is sometimes hard to find

    Well – end of the day there’s only to customers to blame – what is selling is what is getting produced

    One good example is the quality of meat. The quality of the local butchers farm grown meat, often organic, is far better, tastier and more expensive that the mass produced cheaper stuff that’s available at supermarkets here. I suspect you got similar examples in the US

    Another example is the quality of beer. A few years ago all that was available here was crap mass produced standard international lagers from a very few, very big breweries. In the end it started a microbrewery revolution which infused the market with a lot of better quality brews

    As the production of good quality whisky takes years, it will not be possible to turn around the market once its ruined as easy

    Luckily whisky is allready a luxury item and the costumers are in general quite picky about what they drink, so hopefully there will be plenty of support for the good stuff

    Macdeffe

    • bgulien says:

      I agree with you, Macdeffe,
      I am not worried about the experiment. There is always someone, somewhere working on the next innovation.
      Remember the experiment of cling filming a cask to prevent loss of whisky (angels share). Never heard if it again.
      I think, if this works, it destined for the low end of the market, just as the cheap vodka they churning out by the ton.

  13. Alex says:

    To me, this appears another step on a slippery slope in the potential degradation of standards and product if not carefully examined and regulated. Starts with small things: cling wrapping casks, then tankering one region’s production to another for maturation and so on. A process to speed up maturation, if proven, will appeal to mass producers and ultimately will find its way into the mainstream. Let’s hope that craft producers continue to adhere to strict standards and evolve their guidelines to meet wth new technology and innovation to ensure the best products possible.

  14. The Bitter Fig says:

    Well, first and foremost, the most important thing will be clarity and information. The more we can tell from looking at a bottle, reading distiller-provided information on the internet, etc, the better. I think we can all agree that we don’t want anyone doing some of this stuff and not telling us.

    I’m mixed. Part of me says that I’m all in favor of innovation of process, at least as far as testing goes. With finished product, it’ll depend on the quality of the results. High ages are nice selling points on a bottle, but don’t correlate exactly with quality. Where I’m really annoyed by “purists” is when a lot of boring, semi-traditional innovation is often squashed by industry interests. Look at Compass Box Spice Tree (an extra toasted stave in the barrel, which is basically as traditionally-made as adding woodchips, etc can get), or the Bruichladdich Celtic Crossing series (vattings of scotch single malt and whiskys from around the world to celebrate the spread of the knowledge of scottish-style distilation). I haven’t tried either, and while the ideas are neat, both got hammered ASAP by industry associations. I guess the associations have to worry about the slippery slope, but there is some level of definitely legit experimentation and innovation that can be done and should be supported, at least until you taste it.

    However, the slippery slope here is pretty scary. The big worry is not that the cheapest products can be made more cheaply, or that smaller distillers can make decent stuff more quickly, but that it creeps up and becomes general industry practice. I don’t want to drink chill-filtered sawdust slurry, and I bet most people don’t either. However, while consumers decide what to buy, distillers decide what to distill – and have far more power in the matter than they claim to. As much as industry (any industry, really) representatives say “well, this is just what the consumer wants,” anyone not wedded to ideology will plainly see that that it’s mainly an excuse for doing what they wanted to do anyhow.

    Now, there are already ways of… hrm. “speeding the maturation process” isn’t the right term for it… “speeding the infusion of wood-based flavorings into whisky while maintaining the principle that you aren’t adding ‘external’ flavorings.” Anyhow, there are already ways to get this done somewhat faster. Using small casks and using less spent-wood when refill casks are used already work will speed “maturation,” and no one complains because while chemically they might not be different from wood chips, they are traditionally handled and also expensive, requiring more wood for the same volume of spirit. Likewise, climate plays a big part in “wood infusion” (i still think maturation isn’t quite the right word), where you keep hearing that something like Amrut just doesn’t age well, and that it should be bottled fairly young, just because the process goes pretty fast, and is still high-quality stuff. Again, geographically-based differences in “maturation” are fully accepted as simply a factor in the region’s whisky production. Heck, I heard once about someone who put normal whisky barrels in a large semi-truck type container, just put them inside in the hot sun and closed the door. Wood flavor got baked into the whisky pretty quick.

    I guess I can’t really be outraged by the idea of folks trying different things, even if I don’t particularly want to drink them. However, I can hope for clear and informative labeling and information.

  15. dg blackburn says:

    This is not a new idea for distillers and producers, certianly everyone would like to make whisky and then sell it next week. Remember you can not cheat mother nature, and how do you rid this so called whiskey of the new white dog taste.

  16. Jon W says:

    I don’t really have an issue with this, as long as they don’t try to be deceptive in the marketing. Is this fundamentally different than quarter-casking? I haven’t heard too many negative comments about the Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

    • Michael says:

      Laphroaig QC, as you know, is partially matured in smaller casks. It is just different “finish” (second maturation) . There is nothing that would define the size of the cask, whisky matures. Cask management is quite a bit different from “a process that uses heating, cooling and pressure to greatly reduce the maturing time for whiskey”.
      Laphroaig QC is still a NAS whisky though ;-)

      • Jon W says:

        I’m not sure I can agree with you here. Each is a different approach to the same ultimate goal: faster maturation. Different means to the same end. I don’t really care about regulations (if that’s what you were inferring by “There is nothing that would define the size of the cask”). I do care that these “techniques” are properly disclosed and aren’t used to try to decieve consumers into thinking they’re buying something other than what they’re actually buying.

  17. sam k says:

    At the end of Prohibition, Publicker Distilling announced their claim to a process that would produce aged whiskey overnight, while others waited years. Where is that product today? Hmmm, nowhere it seems.

    I admire the micros, and their creativity and ingenuity, but there is no substitute for age in the whiskey business, and there never will be. Good luck with your options, but they are more limited than you realize.

  18. joe hyman says:

    hey john..
    I hope this guy didn’t steal my patent pending idea…
    i’ve been experimenting with something very similar…
    the sample I was passing around last year around whiskyfest time was a couple of months old, and the concensus among industry insiders was that it tasted 5-7 years old! I continue to tinker and perfect the process, hoping to shorten the timeframe further…
    I think the whole deal with experimental barrel finishes is to create new and more drinkable whiskies… with the prices of whisky going further and further out of sight, innovations that can lower costs is inevitable.

  19. Michael says:

    “Now a new generation of consumers faces a choice between drinks that come from nowhere, taste of nothing much, and have a logo for a name; and drinks that come from somewhere, have complex aromas and flavors. and may have a name that is hard to pronounce. Such drinks reflect their place of origin…They are good company, and they require something of the drinker in return: that he or she experiences the pleasure of learning to drink.”

    Who said that?

  20. Louis says:

    At least we will find out just how effective this process isor isn’t in only six months.

  21. mongo says:

    it’s not six months but don’t the amrut single malts mature super fast on account of warmer temperatures in india? that’s a natural way of speeding up maturation time with higher temperatures. maybe these people need to just move to arizona.

    • bgulien says:

      Even Amrut, in those temperatures, takes a couple of years to mature.
      This guy promises a 6 month timeframe.
      Isn’t there a law, that states how long a whiskey should mature in American new oak barrels, like the 3 year rule in Scotland?
      If that’s the case, this guy cannot legally call his stuff whiskey.

      • joe hyman says:

        those rules only apply to scotch and bourbon… anything aged for any(!) amount of time in a barrel, can be called whisky in the USA… i think the charbet people have a spirit they call whisky that spent less than a day in the barrel…

  22. joe hyman says:

    i forgot to mention that there are chemists at the u of arkansas that are trying to decipher the ‘flavor molecules’ in whisk(e)y… does anyone think that when that stuff is figured out, ‘designer whiskies’ won’t be on the horizon?
    i can imagine a time where u have a machine filled with pure alcohol and thousands of ‘flavor molecules’ and all u do is punch in the profile u like and out pops the exact dram… u could even have a datbase of flavor profiles (a whisky ipod??? lol) and conjure up great whiskies of the past… black bowmore #1, sure…longrow ’74, sure… talisker ’75 (25yr #1)… u won’t have to transport the actual whiskies anymore, just download the flavor profile program and off u go…

    • Michael says:

      I think that if/when this becomes a reality, the prices of authentic, old whisky will go even higher (fewer smaller distilleries would survive). One can easily copy the works of art these days but prices of originals are going up, not down. It is just a matter of what one is interested in.
      “Life is too short for superficial things”

      • joe hyman says:

        if all u want, is to put ur whisky on ashelf and admire it from afar, go with G-d… but the point of it is to sample and enjoy, who cares if it is 6 months, 6 years, or 60 years? one of the best bottles i ever had was a blackadder longrow, 1992, bottled in 1998 at just under 6 years… i’ve also had some absolutely awful 40 year olds… so if it tastes good, drink it (and don’t worry about the age). in the UK, they’re a lot less concerned about age, just vintage. they laugh at us in the US with our preconceived notions about age and quality.
        my own home distillations with accelerated aging taste every bit as aged as decades old whiskies. if u start with a quality spirit and use quality wood, who cares? why not take a black marker to the age statement and enjoy…

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Joe, currently the terms “whisky” and “whisky flavored” mean completely different things. Would you like to see this distinction, and the various circumstances it reflects, collapsed?

  23. Andreas says:

    Let him do that if he want`s to. But it won`t be a 6 yo if it`s only 6 month in casks. He will make a good 6 month old whisky. But 6 yo it will only be, when it was 6 years in a cask. I hope so….

  24. butephoto says:

    Yes, but does it taste any good?

  25. Wes Henderson says:

    I am amazed at how much press this “process” has been getting. These accelerated maturation processes have been conducted for years. At Brown Forman, my father Lincoln (along with the rest of R&D), worked on these things 30+ years ago.

    At the end of the day, these processes are not useful for much more than an ENHANCEMENT of customary seasonal maturation. To this end, there can be dramatic results. I don’t believe, however, that they will ever take place of historic production methods, nor should they.

    • joe hyman says:

      hey wes,
      i find that very interesting since your father tried my whisky sample at whiskyfest last year and asked me to buzz him when the patent goes thru… again, if u start with quality spirit, why can’t a process that mimics the traditional aging method, do the same thing… ultimately, it’s wood flavored spirit in some manner or form. as such, if the flavor extraction can be done, who cares? as long long as i have a quality drink in my glass, i myself really don’t care… remember, the whole ‘wood aging’ thing was a happy coincidence: they used to flavor spirit with herbs and such to make it palatable. after using wood barrels just for transport, it was discovered that wood enhancec spirit. now we have all kinds of rules and regulations about the ‘traditional ways’… the swa wants to do away with anything other than bourbon barrels and sherry barrels since those are the traditional woods… well, the bourbon barrels have been used primarily since the end of prohibition, and long ago, they used whatever hardwood was available, being the frugal scots that they were… so what is all this ‘tradition’ crap?

      • Wes Henderson says:

        Joe—

        I spent the last 2 hours composing a well-articulated response to your note, but it was deleted by accident.

        In a nutshell…here is what I said:

        1) Scientific: I am not a scientist or Master Distiller, but my gut tells me it is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate all of the nuances of traditional maturation in a laboratory. At Louisville Distilling, we will use enhanced maturation as a compliment to traditional aging, and only portions of our inventory will be subject to this enhancement. This is not rocket science, but there are are limits to enhancement, and the optimums have been discovered thru research that is AT LEAST 30 years old. I would not confuse Lincoln’s graciousness at Whiskeyfest with an endorsement of full-scale artificial maturation.

        2) Market acceptance: Will not be accepted by aficionados, as their choices for premium spirits are rooted in the tradition of the spirit, and not just taste profiles. Could be palatable to lower price point consumers, but this price point will put the spirit in the crosshairs of the BIGS ($17-23 price point), and the price of the technology will not allow competition at this price point.

        3) Patentability: Out of the five requirements for a patent, what is being proposed, as I undertand it, fails in at least four. If it does make it past the patent attorneys in DC, there will be no less than a small army of lawyers from the BIGS filing briefs in opposition to the application.

        My original respose was much more detailed, and I really didn’t want to get drawn into this debate, as my previous post was not much more than a passing reaction. Furthermore, this post is not intended to be a personal affront to anyone, and it is merely my OPINION.

        At the end of the day, I am thrilled with innovation, applaud the innovators, and look forward to the results.

  26. Joshua says:

    Well, I have some samples from Whisky Farm who works this process. I hope to try them tonight… A 7 month old & an 11 month old. We’ll see what they taste like…

  27. JayS says:

    Seems to me it may just be another way to mature whisky. It will probably have its own characteristics and will not replicate those of other methods, locations, etc. A decent whisky at a decent price could go far to satisfy a lot of folks. Could even be an introductory whisky that leads consumers to the “real” thing. I see perhaps a lot of potential as a mechanism to be used in producing quality blends at a low price point. More than that, though, perhaps it could be used as a process for *any* distiller to experiment quickly on various recipes and maturations, getting an idea of the results they may see 3, 5, 10, 20 years down the road if they then invest in the long term barrel maturation.

    It’s one thing to infuse spirit with some sense of wood aging, I think it’s quite another to replicate the unique environments that make each whisky distinct. Maybe I’m wrong but I doubt I’ll be running to replace my Ardbeg 10 any time soon.

  28. Neil Fusillo says:

    I like the idea, personally. It’s well past time we started gaining a true understanding of HOW a whisky gains the things it gains over time, and how to control that. I’m all for experimentation in pure science. Will it replace fine, aged whisky? Heavens no. They’ll come out with labelling laws that dictate what you can call which and when. But it COULD create good whisky all the same, and I see nothing wrong with that at all.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      “Experimentation” is the name of the game, Neil, but should “pure science” be the emblem of experimentation?
      Wanting to do whisky better is admirable, but when pure science is applied to improving the creative process of a preexisting art form the results are almost always questionable. Mainly, science gears things more effectively towards the quick buck– Whisky production becomes more efficient, and the whisky is more consistently and fully adapted to the expectations of the majority of consumers. Too bad that the people who lose-out are the ones whose expectations diverge from the majority– amongst them, whisky afficianados like us.

      • Neil Fusillo says:

        Red, while I agree that losing the tradition and art of whisky is a VERY bad thing, one must recall that, whisky itself was a scientific discovery. Someone discovered that taking their recently fermented stuff and distilling it like an alchemist produced a stronger alcohol and a different flavour. Over the years, in their archaic way, people worked out ways to perfect this process.

        But once the product became lucrative monetarily, their interest in advancing the process stopped. People started using the same techniques to produce whisky as they’d used before because it worked and they were more interested in selling their product than investing in the research needed to POSSIBLY advance the basic science of the affair.

        I am 100% in support of someone who wants to advance the science of whisky instead of just wanting to craft product that will make him some immediate cash. If the end result comes out good, then what harm is done? It’s a bit like saying no one should use digital cameras because it caters to the lower common denominator and people should instead stick with smelly, caustic darkroom chemicals and antiquated, reciprocity-laden film technology.

        Advances — even advances in the arts — aren’t always bad just because they’re advances. And efficiency isn’t always a negative thing.

        • Michael says:

          Whisky making art aside, efficiency is never a good thing because it creates commonality of a “product”. Art and efficiency are almost exclusive.
          As far as photography is concerned, digital does cater to a lower common denominator. To take a good picture in the time of film (and especially LF cameras), required knowledge, experience and commitment (also financial). An artist can still do the great work using digital means but most of the time, digital cameras will be used to upload another banal snapshot to Facebook.

          • Neil Fusillo says:

            Heh. You think it took skill and creativity to buy a $10 disposable camera and take your film to a flunky at the drug store to have it developed?

            It’s not the medium that makes the difference. It’s the artist. If an artist can create with more efficiency, he’s no less an artist.

          • Michael says:

            There were no disposable film cameras in 60s and even early 70s. I still believe that it required more commitment to take a picture in ancient, film days than currently. Yes, the medium is secondary but efficiency inevitably lowers the standards. I hope that there will be more Kilchomans in this research driven times. By the way, I was through my early education and work very much a scientific/engineering type but age (the same for whisky) made me more refined ;-)

          • mongo says:

            hmmm there are such creatures as digital artists you know, and they’ve been around for a long time. andy warhol would have been very surprised to hear that quick reproducibility was antithetical to art.

        • Red_Arremer says:

          I like Bruichladdich and all their crazy bottlings, and I like Bernheim and things like that. But I’m not crazy about Roseisle or 6 month whisky or stuff like that. Is there any substantive difference between what the one sentence above indicates and what the other does? You get my drift.

          Entirely aside from that, is there any compelling way to make sense of the phrase “advances in the arts”?

  29. Rick Duff says:

    “a process that uses heating, cooling and pressure to greatly reduce the maturing time for whiskey.”
    Now.. some American distilleries already do the heating and cooling.
    The pressure is a brilliant idea. It will aid in sucking the liquid into and out of the wood.. thus speeding up maturation. Really a similar principle to pressure cookers. They can shorten cooking times, that’s for sure. It speeds up the natural pressure occurring in the atmosphere with barometric changes.
    I’m interested if this then affects angel share and loss/gain of alcohol. I suspect it maintains both.

    Hey.. if it’s produces great whisky and lowers the costs (and prices I pay).. I’m for it.
    I really don’t care if my whisky is 6 months, days, or decades old, as long as it tastes great and is affordable.

    • joe hyman says:

      exactamundo, ricardo!
      in my experimentation, there is no discernable evaporation of alcohol, nor loss of volume (‘angel’s share’)… there might be slight losses as whatever is absorbed by the wood chips remains in them. i suppose, the chips could be held in a differant tank until they give up their liquid gold.
      i just realized, if the big guys have been experimenting on these things for decades, why are they bitchin’ about someone else’s success? i’m sure if there were some innovations 30-40 years ago, they would have lobbied the swa and touted their brilliance to their shareholders…
      my own fear is that the big guys will trash me and my patents, then swoop in and steal my ideas and suddenly claim them as their own, and then make $bazillions…

  30. Dougie Allan says:

    “If distillers could have done this 150 years ago, you bet they would have…” (Rob K, July 30).
    “…then it would be whisky-tradition today…” (Red_Arremer, July 31)

    It appears that they could but it never did make it into ‘accepted’ whisky tradition today. This from Barnard when he visited Yoker Distillery in 1885:

    “The No. 7 Warehouse is not devoted to storage purposes, although it is equally under the surveillance of the Excise. It is a smaller building than the others, and contains a Patent “Ageing Apparatus,” where new Whisky is subjected to an immense pressure of heat. This process is said to have the power of destroying the aldehyde or fieriness of new Whisky and converting it into a mature spirit of three to five years old. This patent is at present in its infancy, but arrangements are being made to work it in this Distillery on a larger scale.”

    I had recently queried this on my blog, http://whiskystory.blogspot.com/2010/08/glasgow-part-5-yoker-distillery.html after visiting Yoker but I couldn’t find any more information so had parked the topic for now, but seems relevant now given the timing of the topic on here. If anyone knows what happened to the patent or process at Yoker I would be interested to hear. Thanks.

    • Michael says:

      Very interesting. I wonder if those who are trying the “new” methods know this piece of whisky history.

  31. Leonard says:

    Anybody knows what governmental entity is meant by “Lix gained a federal permit to operate…”? Who issued such permit?

    Thanks!

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