This is a short summary of one of my first home barrel experiments. It is sort of a dual experiment into the changes oak imparts on spirit as well as a take on the infinity bottle. I started with a fresh blend of available whiskey from my shelf in my 3L barrel. This photo does a better job of giving you an idea of what I included for “The Infinity Blend” (TIB)
The barreled blend (BB) is slightly darker with more copper than TIB
The TIB has a lightly sweet butterscotch/corn nose with some spearmint at the end. The alcohol is present and quite noticeable but not overpowering. The BB in comparison hits you right off the bat with maple syrup and oaked butterscotch. The alcohol is now blended more into the sweetness and some of the spearmint just peaks out at the end.
The TIB arrives with a light buttered corn & spearmint. It is a light arrival, close to watered down and development shows some dried herbs to balance the mild sweetness. It just lingers this way for a bit until it dries out and finishes clean. On the other hand, the BB arrives with much more depth and complexity but initially restrained until the sweet vanillas take over along with some mint added to the herbs. The sweetness is a stronger presence in the development this time and the vanilla fades rapidly leaving you with some grasses, melon and a gentle, very clean finish. It has a little more body that the FB01 but also hints at being a touch light in the ABV.
Water & 10 Minutes:
Brings out a little more body to the TIB and a touch of licorice. The BB is not changed much and perhaps seems a little more restrained now. The TIB arrives with a little more sweetness, a touch of sour in that buttered corn. It develops at a more measured pace and some licorice which the nose hinted at appears halfway through and stays through the end. Not huge, but there. The BB has a little more herbal spices and some gentian root bitters on arrival now but still filled with sweetness. The sweet sugar slowly take over the development with some tannic spearmint and it all gradually fades to a clean finish.
Wow – first I am surprised my initial blend all melded together so well. I don’t know how to quite describe it but the aged varnishes by the BDL really helped this blend out making it taste older or a little more complex than it really is. Although in bottle newly opened it can be a little much these old bottles seem to really improve with air and in the blend it mingles in quite nicely. What the aging in oak seems to add is definitely sugars and sweetness but also it somehow uses these sugars and tannins to help meld and evolve them just a touch. Mostly I am happy I can decant this barrel into bottles and actually drink it and not drain it!