From Cask to Bottle with Colin Hampden-White: Maturation | INSEEC Wine & Spirit Institute


Scotland – its winding hills and kept a
tradition going from generation to generation: The art
and the science of whisky making. In the last episode, we followed the distillation process which transforms a wash – which is fermented liquid coming from a washback into a clear alcohol liquid This is ‘From Cask to Bottle’ Episode 6 Hi, I’m Colin Hamden-White and in this episode we’re going to follow the maturation process. However, there is still something missing: That iconic honey colored whisky
appearance. This is added during the maturation stage where we encounter a familiar site: casks. The transparent liquid is loaded into locally produced casks where it will stay to mature for at least three years and one day before being bottled for consumption. [George Grant/Glenfarclas Distillery]: We don’t use any barrel. We use casks. A barrel to us is a size and shape So a barrel to ours is a 180 liters, a
hogshead is 250 liters and a sherry butt is 500 liters. Surrounding me here we have sherry hogsheads and further down the line you do have
some sherry butts as well and all our casks that we are using for Glenfarclas are sherry casks that have come from Spain People say that yes you can have bottle aging but how can you confirm the safety
checklist? You can’t. Unless you have a bottle that’s been put into stainless steel or put into other vessel, that you can actually check it against – you can’t compare whisky today verses whisky that was made fifty or sixty years ago because whisky that was made fifty or sixty years ago was different barley, different yeast it was different water and even if it was made at the same distillery there’s so many different things that have changed [Colin Hampden-White] Some of the highest quality whiskys will be matured in these casks for anywhere between 12 and 25
years and sometimes even longer. [George Grant/Glenfarclas Distillery]: Optimum age? Everybody’s different. When I first started drinking whisky I loved whisky at 21 years old My daily dram now would be a
15-year-old whisky, but then I also enjoy drinking whisky that’s 40 or 50 or 60 years old. you know the great thing about whisky is
you can enjoy a dram at anytime of day am in the evening. Even in the early morning you can enjoy a nice fresh fruity whisky Whiskey can be drunk anytime at any age. [Colin Hamden-White] Whilst the whisky is being matured for these long long years a certain amount of the alcohol is lost This is lost to evaporation and is
called the Angel’s share [George Grant/Glenfarclas]: Well we try to shoot as many of the angels as possible so we don’t lose as much as most. We lose roughly 2 percent a year. The government let’s lose two percent a year Thankfully we are situated at Glenfarclas we are about 250 meters above sea level and we don’t lose quite as much as 2 percent. But in the casks themselves, sometimes you lose volume sometimes you lose alcohol strength. But at Glenfarclas we have a nice happy medium which means you can age whiskey 40–50-60 years plus [Colin Hampden-White] Of course, this is the final stage in which the whisky will take on the quality of its surroundings – the charred oak casks that mature the whisky are critical to adding the colour and flavour to the Scotch. At the end of the day all the measuring instruments available can’t replace the acumen of a seasoned professional taster and whisky maker. In the next episode, we’ll look at how whisky tastes and discover how these different flavours are created by the distillation
process at the distillery and also the
maturation process in the casks. Follow us on From Cask to Bottle as we discover the secrets of whisky making. [INSEEC London]

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