Posted: Aug 17, 2020
If you’re getting into whiskey, you’ve probably noticed several distillers trumpeting a “secondary maturation” of their liquid in casks that previously held sherry, port, rum or any number of other wines or spirits. But you may not know how that additional aging is reflected where it counts — in your glass.
Sure, you could drink your way through a range of port-finished bourbons and sherry-cask matured Scotches to get some answers — that’s always fun! — but it helps to have a general idea of what happens to your favorite spirit when it’s taken out of its element and influenced by the ghost of a different tipple. The results can be startling, so we asked several leading whiskey professionals about what different wine (or spirit) finishes ultimately bring to your drink.
By Kirk Miller
Note: There are a lot of variables here. Type of whiskey. Type of wood. How long the spirit was originally aged. How long it underwent a secondary maturation. The specifics of that new element (ruby or tawny port, Oloroso or PX sherry, etc.). Even when the additional process took place.
But if you learn some maturation basics, it could help expand your palate, and your whisk(e)y collection. “Generally, aging in certain barrels will provide a taste profile that you’ll probably enjoy in other whiskies,” says Kyle Henderson, the production manager for Angel’s Envy, a bourbon that’s known for maturing its spirits a second time in a variety of casks (one of the brand’s taglines is literally “It isn’t perfect until it’s finished.”).
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