SPVAQ42021 - 36

" We look to the whiskey to tell
us what type of barrel to finish
our whiskey in, " says McCall.
" Our bourbon is extremely
complex, containing over 200
flavor attributes. We use these
flavor attributes as a road map
for finishing. We look for barrels
that have flavors in common
with the flavors in our whiskies.
For example, we have finished
Woodford Reserve Bourbon
in Cognac barrels, we call out
'cognac' as a flavor attribute in our
bourbon. We never want to add or
cover up any of the flavors of our
existing whiskey. "
Virginia Distillery in Nelson
County has worked with wine
casks, too, notably two recent
expressions in its Courage &
Conviction series.
" If the distillate is intended to
become a more robust expression,
then a dark and fruit-forward
fortified red wine finish might be
the perfect match, " says Amanda
Beckwith, lead blender and
education manager at Virginia
Distillery Company. " There's a
reason port, sherry and madeira
cask finishing is popular: when
done right, the results can be
exquisite. If a lighter, nuanced
whisky is the goal, a blender
might consider balancing out the
esters from fermentation and the
character of the grain itself by
aging the whisky in a lighter style
wine cask. "
McCall touts the qualities of
chardonnay barrels.
" The chardonnay barrels we
finished our Woodford Bourbon in
have flavor attributes in common
with bourbon such as peach,
nectarine, vanilla, cinnamon
and pear, " she says. " By finishing
our bourbon in the chardonnay
barrels, we highlight these flavor
attributes. "
The Honeymoon
Finishing time for these products
varies, depending upon factors such
as the starting spirit and wine, the
barrels, the climate and the desired
results.
" [Wine] barrels are toasted, not
charred [as for bourbon aging],
so once the whiskey gets in there,
that's the highest solvent that's
been in them so far, so there's not
much charcoal to filter through, "
explains Vaughan. " It's really going
into that oak quicker and pulling
out more tannins and lignins more
quickly. Our first batch [aged for]
around four months, because it
just went really fast ... It's almost a
whole new spirit week by week. "
For its Courage & Conviction
Cuvée Cask whiskey, Virginia
Distillery shaves, re-toasts, and
re-chars the barrels for " the perfect
balance of flavor extraction, "
explains Beckwith. " By shaving the
barrel staves, we refresh the wood,
preparing it for a slow and gentle
toast and delicate low char that
will bring out the desirable wood
sugars. "
Many finished bourbons
undergo a short secondary aging
time. Thomas S. Moore Kentucky
Straight Bourbon Whiskeys, on the
VIRGINIA DISTILLERY COMPANY | TOM DALY
Chief Experience
Officer Maggie
Moore and CEO
Gareth Moore
exchange cheers
near the spirit safe
at Virginia
Distillery Co.
36 SPIRITED VIRGINIA

SPVAQ42021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SPVAQ42021

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