So today, after let the small barrel swell with hot water for the last 4 days, I finally could put the “white dog” whiskey in. Now for those unaware, “white dog” whiskey is a kind of unaged whiskey. Think of it as a raw whiskey, almost a moonshine kind of alcohol. The aging process in a barrel will infuse the various flavours that the barrel gives off. For example, one of my favourite whiskeys (really hard to get outside of Nova Scotia) is Glen Breton’s Ice Whiskey, which is aged in ice wine barrels.
Since my barrel is a simple small oak barrel and has limited flavours to what the oak offers, I decided to try a bit of an experiment. The water I used to swell the barrel (this has the effect of making the wood increase in size, ensuring no leaks or “bleed” or alcohol through the wood) was also mixed with raw agave. And as part of the aging process, I had to add additional water — which also had more agave in it. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the barrel in a couple of months.
Most larger barrel aging process (for the 53 gallon drums) takes months to years to age adequately. This smaller process will likely take 6-8 weeks and I’ll lose about 30% (or more!) of the raw whiskey to evaporation (aka “the Angel’s share”). Since we live in a very arid area, this will primarily be water which could mean a higher than normal alcohol content for the whiskey when all is said and done.
Either way, this will be an interesting exercise.