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Bourbon Boiler
08-13-2011, 18:12
I know we've had several mentions of aging at home in a few threads, but I couldn't find anything active where people were regularly posting projects and results. A few threads where there was some discussion are here

http://straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12790

and here

http://straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16208&highlight=aging


I thought I'd make a thread where everyone could post their aging experiments, be they bourbon, other whiskey, rum, wine, beer, or anything else.

Bourbon Boiler
08-13-2011, 19:38
OK, now that the storm warnings are gone I'll start.

I put a 51/49 Corn/Wheat in a medium char 1L barrel 24 days ago. I cut it from its distilled proof of 120 to 113.1 to make sure I filled the barrel. I retained a sample of the white dog cut to the same proof. The white dog tasted like I remember unaged corn whiskey tasting, although maybe not as "sharp".

It has been aging in my kitchen, where there has been little temperature or humidity change. (My wife likes the smell, so it gets to stay in the kitchen for now.) I drained a few ounces today for sampling, and retained a few small bottles for the sake of doing a vertical tasting later.

The sample today was very dark, as dark as just about any bourbon I've ever seen. I have no way to measure the proof, but I doubt it has changed much since barreling. It was very drinkable, as it was sweet and smooth. However, there was little complexity to it and it seemed to have a very thin mouthfeel. It tasted like an excellent mixer, but not something I'd really enjoy having a few glasses of.

I would estimate that there are about 600-650 mL remaining, which are still in the barrel. I plan on sampling again in 2 weeks, and bottling when either the taste is something I don't want to change, or when there are about 375 mL left in the barrel. I will retain samples with each tasting.

Parkersback
08-13-2011, 20:26
Do you have air conditioning?

Bourbon Boiler
08-14-2011, 12:42
^ Yes, on most of the last three weeks. I'd be surprised if the temperature of the room was ever outside the 65-80 range.

ethangsmith
08-14-2011, 15:04
I just bought 3 750ML bottles of the Trybox "rye" and I am planning to put it into a 2L barrel this fall and put it in my detached garage. The garage has no heat nor air conditioning and the temperature varies pretty widely in it. I expect to come up with some tasty rye within a few weeks of starting the project. Once it begins, I will begin posting results on here or on my blog.

Bourbon Boiler
08-14-2011, 19:38
What is the proof of your rye? I'm putting some 95/5 rye/corn into oak in the next week, and I'm leaning toward keeping it in a climate controlled environment to limit evaporation.

ethangsmith
08-15-2011, 04:24
120 proof. I've heard when the proof is too low it won't age right.

sailor22
08-15-2011, 08:11
120 proof. I've heard when the proof is too low it won't age right.

Where did you hear that? What proof is too low?

I suspect that proof will have an effect on how it ages with lower proof pulling different flavors out of the wood (water v alcohol working on the wood) than higher proof. Not sure how that squares with right or wrong.
That assumption is based on some comments made by Jim Rutledge at 4R and by the differences between dusties and current juice.
Didn't the juice in the dusties go into the barrel at lower proof and come out tasting good for the most part.
Rutledge said that the accountants wanted them to use higher barrel entry proof so they could maximize profit on dumping. Turned out that higher proof barrels required between two and three extra years to mature, which more than negated any profit upside. He wouldn't be drawn out on questions about quality.

Wouldn't ambient temperature and humidity have a greater effect on home aged barrels that entry proof?

At any rate, that would be a good experiment - put the same juice into identical barrels at different proofs and see how different the end result was. How fast or slowly the changed. If you wanted to carry it a step further put the same juice in two more barrels and try one in hotter, wetter location and one in cool and dry and see how they differ.

ethangsmith
08-15-2011, 15:36
I think it was on bourbondork, but I can't remember. For some reason I've always thought that lower proof whiskey doesn't work well in the small barrels.

Bourbon Boiler
08-15-2011, 16:18
At any rate, that would be a good experiment - put the same juice into identical barrels at different proofs and see how different the end result was. How fast or slowly the changed.

Was barreling proof a variable in the Single Oak project?

sailor22
08-16-2011, 12:51
Found this piece on barrel entry proof and it seems to back up the 120 proof idea. OTOH it says more sugars at lower proof and that sounds like it could be a good thing.

This is aimed at Scotch maturation processes where they typically use used barrels and it doesn't mention anything about possible differences in new or young barrels.

http://www.whisky-news.com/En/reports/Entry_proof.html

Bourbon Boiler
08-16-2011, 16:20
Good read. Thanks for posting. Between taxes, barrel count, quality, evaporation, and aging required, this is a complex problem for our favorite distillers even if they have a desired bottle proof already in mind.

StraightNoChaser
08-18-2011, 20:49
Found this piece on barrel entry proof and it seems to back up the 120 proof idea. OTOH it says more sugars at lower proof and that sounds like it could be a good thing.

This is aimed at Scotch maturation processes where they typically use used barrels and it doesn't mention anything about possible differences in new or young barrels.

http://www.whisky-news.com/En/reports/Entry_proof.html

Well that was a fascinating read to say the least. Thanks for posting!

Bourbon Boiler
08-26-2011, 16:40
FWIW, I made an order to The Barrel Source a couple of weeks back. After getting no answer to a couple of web inquiries I called them today, and their phone had been disconnected. My credit card still shows this as "order pending", so the website is still functioning to take orders, but I don't think anyone works there anymore. Use caution, or order elsewhere.

ethangsmith
08-26-2011, 17:45
I'm REALLY glad you just posted this as I was about to place an order! I noticed the website has gone largely unmodified over the past few months.

Bourbon Boiler
08-26-2011, 17:53
I'm REALLY glad you just posted this as I was about to place an order! I noticed the website has gone largely unmodified over the past few months.

I'm glad I didn't give it an extra day then.

ethangsmith
08-26-2011, 18:58
Oh yes! I was going to place my order for some 2 Liter barrels, but after this, it's back to the drawing board. Any ideas of any other good small barrel makers? I have a few on my bookmark list on the computer, but now I'm a bit scared to buy from any of them until I hear some good reviews!

Bourbon Boiler
08-26-2011, 19:53
I placed an order with www.OakBarrelsLTD.com (http://www.oakbarrelsltd.com/) today and got a quick confirmation, but I don't have anything to review at this point. They are a little more expensive than The Barrel Source.

silverfish
08-26-2011, 21:14
I placed an order with www.OakBarrelsLTD.com (http://www.oakbarrelsltd.com/) today and got a quick confirmation, but I don't have anything to review at this point. They are a little more expensive than The Barrel Source.

I have ordered from OBLtd and my experience is that they are good sellers.
They offer a variety of barrel sizes and plenty of hoop options. My only
"gripe" is the little bung corks don't seem to last as long as I'd like but I
do have a stash of corks that fit the bill.

There is also a home barrel related thread from 2009 here (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12195).

timd
08-27-2011, 13:51
I use Oak Barrels LTD - very happy with them. Best of all the places I've bought - and they will get you charred barrels, not "toasted" - if you ask

Barrel source, from what I can tell, is out of business - no contact/no response from them in 6+ months... so doesn't matter if they are "cheaper" if they can't get you what you want!

sutton
08-27-2011, 18:40
My only "gripe" is the little bung corks don't seem to last as long as I'd like ...

These silicone bungs have worked well for me in wine barrels - I think they come in all sizes, fit very snug, and are virtually indestructable ...

http://morewinemaking.com/search?search=silicone+bung

Bourbon Boiler
08-31-2011, 20:02
I use Oak Barrels LTD - very happy with them. Best of all the places I've bought - and they will get you charred barrels, not "toasted" - if you ask

Barrel source, from what I can tell, is out of business - no contact/no response from them in 6+ months... so doesn't matter if they are "cheaper" if they can't get you what you want!

I asked for charred, but they said they didn't have it available at the moment in the 1L size. They were very friendly in presenting my options, but I was content with the toasted. Looking at them with a flashlight, I could see a little scale, but not to the degree I've seen in the past. I do think to some extend the line between charred and toasted is in the eye of the beholder. I think they could call this "lightly charred" and get away with it.

Bourbon Boiler
08-31-2011, 20:08
OK, now that the storm warnings are gone I'll start.

I put a 51/49 Corn/Wheat in a medium char 1L barrel 24 days ago. I cut it from its distilled proof of 120 to 113.1 to make sure I filled the barrel. I retained a sample of the white dog cut to the same proof. The white dog tasted like I remember unaged corn whiskey tasting, although maybe not as "sharp".

It has been aging in my kitchen, where there has been little temperature or humidity change. (My wife likes the smell, so it gets to stay in the kitchen for now.) I drained a few ounces today for sampling, and retained a few small bottles for the sake of doing a vertical tasting later.

The sample today was very dark, as dark as just about any bourbon I've ever seen. I have no way to measure the proof, but I doubt it has changed much since barreling. It was very drinkable, as it was sweet and smooth. However, there was little complexity to it and it seemed to have a very thin mouthfeel. It tasted like an excellent mixer, but not something I'd really enjoy having a few glasses of.

I would estimate that there are about 600-650 mL remaining, which are still in the barrel. I plan on sampling again in 2 weeks, and bottling when either the taste is something I don't want to change, or when there are about 375 mL left in the barrel. I will retain samples with each tasting.

I sampled this again today on day 43. It was slightly darker than my sample from a couple weeks back, and the nose is very similar. I didn't notice a whole lot of change in the initial taste as it still seemed very "thin" and young. However, there was a definite improvement in the finish. It was longer, and was starting to get some complexity. I would describe a slight citrus aftertaste to it that lasted several seconds.

It is strange, but while drinking it I would have described it as a below average pour, but the finish makes me think I had something really good and forgot about it. I'm also surprised it developed a good finish before it developed a good initial taste.

Bourbon Boiler
09-25-2011, 11:11
After almost two months, there is a definite trend of the "end" of the drinking experiencing maturing before the start. The finish is even better, and resembles something we'd pay good money for. The taste is improving, but still has a way to go. It isn't bad, but there's not a lot of complexity past a light citrus flavor with vanilla notes. The mouthfeel is improving, but still a bit on the thin side. The nose still resembles white dog more than a good finished product.

ethangsmith
09-27-2011, 15:49
Out of curiousity, what is the source of your white dog you're using for your aging experiments? I still haven't started mine. Too much going on in my personal life right now.

Bourbon Boiler
09-27-2011, 16:16
Out of curiousity, what is the source of your white dog you're using for your aging experiments? I still haven't started mine. Too much going on in my personal life right now.

This one is from the Grand Traverse Distillery. 51% corn, 49% wheat. I've also recently barreled some 95% rye, 5% corn from there. I also have BT white dog in barrel #3 and barrel #4 is a toasted barrel that has Laird's Applejack aging in about 1/3 cup of used barrel char from BT.

Barrel #1 is the only one I've been regularly sampling from.

Bourbon Boiler
10-06-2011, 17:37
After almost two months, there is a definite trend of the "end" of the drinking experiencing maturing before the start. The finish is even better, and resembles something we'd pay good money for. The taste is improving, but still has a way to go. It isn't bad, but there's not a lot of complexity past a light citrus flavor with vanilla notes. The mouthfeel is improving, but still a bit on the thin side. The nose still resembles white dog more than a good finished product.


Well, it might be overaged. It still has a good finish, but the initial taste just can't be described as anything but "bad". It isn't immature; I wished I'd have pulled it two weeks ago.

sailor22
10-07-2011, 06:15
Sorry to hear that. I was hoping you would get something nice.
If I am not mistaken the more you re-use the barrel the easier it is to anticipate that period when it changes from interesting to bad. Probably doesn't happen as fast either.
Probably a good idea to use very inexpensive juice for the first two or three fills with the expectation that you might lose it.

Bourbon Boiler
10-07-2011, 18:23
Sorry to hear that. I was hoping you would get something nice.
If I am not mistaken the more you re-use the barrel the easier it is to anticipate that period when it changes from interesting to bad. Probably doesn't happen as fast either.
Probably a good idea to use very inexpensive juice for the first two or three fills with the expectation that you might lose it.

I've got a few plans for the barrel, including a beer, some apple brandy, and more whiskey of course.

Dramiel McHinson
10-08-2011, 07:17
I got very good results by cycling my whiskey. In the summer I placed the whiskey in a cabinet in the garage for two weeks and then a refrigerator for two weeks. Temperatures averaged in the 90's with humidity between 75% and 90%. The refridgerator was set on low humidity and 38%. during the winter I cycled the whiskey between the garage and a closet in the house. The garage temp got as low as 28 degrees with humidity below 40%. The house averaged 76 degrees with humidity around 45%. I did this for about 18 months. I started at close to 120 proof based on math calculations because i don't have anything to measure the specific gravity of the whiskey. This worked very well for me. The final product was a sweet whiskey with heavy vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, smoke oak and a buzz.

I did notice that very early on I had a full dark whiskey color but the taste was also thin and a bit of a sharp bite. I would haveoured it out except I was determined to stick it out and as a result it turned out great for me.

For evaporation, the only way to stop it is to use glass jugs with the wood placed in the jar with the whiskey. You can make your own charred oak inserts or buy them. It works great and you keep all the juice.

Another technique is to extra mature whiskey in a wood solution of your own make. Start with a handle of bottom shelf juice and jug it with some wood of your choice. After a period of time it will extract more flavor and when your happy, filter and drink.

Finally, this is like using gas to run a generator. You're converting something that may not be cost efficient. That can be discouraging especially if it doesn't turn out well. It get past that by concentrating on getting the taste I want and that takes time, attention to detail, and lots of resources.

I await tasting notes with nervous anticipation,

Dan

Bourbon Boiler
10-08-2011, 17:10
Finally, this is like using gas to run a generator. You're converting something that may not be cost efficient. That can be discouraging especially if it doesn't turn out well. It get past that by concentrating on getting the taste I want and that takes time, attention to detail, and lots of resources.

Dan

This is exactly right, and anyone trying to do this to save time or money is destined to fail. I'm doing it as a hobby, and to try to learn why I like certain brands more than others.

keith18
10-28-2011, 08:06
I just started aging my own stuff. With all the white dogs out there right now, it has been a lot of fun mixing up new recipes. I'm still several weeks from pulling it out of the barrel, but was wondering for people with experience: Is there any need to filter the stuff when I pull it out? If so, what's the best way to do it?

sailor22
10-28-2011, 10:56
Not necessary but if you want to use a conical paper coffee filter (unbleached) it will remove anyting you can see and won't affect the taste.

keith18
10-28-2011, 11:24
Not necessary but if you want to use a conical paper coffee filter (unbleached) it will remove anyting you can see and won't affect the taste.

Many thanks for the advice.

Bourbon Boiler
10-28-2011, 19:27
Same here. I put a coffee filter in a kitchen funnel and poured into a bottle.

Bourbon Boiler
11-02-2011, 19:55
Well, it might be overaged. It still has a good finish, but the initial taste just can't be described as anything but "bad". It isn't immature; I wished I'd have pulled it two weeks ago.

Now I'm confused. It improved since the last tasting, but there's still something funny about the intitial flavor, but it quickly fades. The mouthfeel is starting to thicken, and the finish is getting long. It was worse a month ago than it was either 6 weeks or 6 days ago. I retained a sample from last month to re-try, and it was as bad as I remembered.

ethangsmith
11-09-2011, 16:18
Ok, just got 2 small barrels for my birthday to FINALLY start my project. The one barrel seemed instantly tight and ready for whiskey. The other barrel is leaking pretty badly. They say it may take hours or days to swell shut, but this one seems to be drooling pretty heavily from multiple places. I'm thinking about getting some of that wax paste they sell to seal the leaks. Would that work?

Bourbon Boiler
11-09-2011, 19:24
Give it 2-3 days before you try anything like that. I have four aging right now, 1 was instantly ready, 2 took about 3-4 hours, and one took about 36 hours. I had no problems with any of them after they cured.

ethangsmith
11-10-2011, 04:31
Ok, I'll keep a watch on it. I bought some wax last night and did wax the edges of the barrel a little bit. You could literally pour water in it and watch is dribble out the back of the barrel. I at least got that to slow down with the wax. We'll see what happens. The spigot also is leaking at the valve on this barrel as well so I bought corks that I'll use if the spigot doesn't stop leaking.

silverfish
11-10-2011, 07:53
The other barrel is leaking pretty badly. They say it may take hours or days to swell shut, but this one seems to be drooling pretty heavily from multiple places.

What I did with a "leaker' was to put it into a bucket of water
so it could swell "outside in" as well. Sounds like yours is a bit
worse than mine was but maybe it'll work for you...

ethangsmith
11-10-2011, 16:03
After letting it sit another day, it was still seeping, but my wax sealing seemed to really help. I found a good majority of the leakage was coming from the little wooden spigot they supply with the barrel. I removed that and pounded a cork in and it at least holds water for a while now. Another day or 2 and it should be good to go. I can't wait to pour my Heaven Hill Trybox Rye into them!

ethangsmith
11-11-2011, 19:40
Came home this evening to find that the barrel had finally tightened up and was nice and dry on the outside. The wax and removal of the spigots was apparently the proper corrective action. After removal of the water, I filled both barrels with Heaven Hill Trybox Rye. I'll be taking samples every few days/weeks to see how things are progressing. I figure with being such small barrels, I should have a nice rye within a few months. After filling the barrels, I congratulated myself with some Russell's Reserve Rye and Bourbon.

Bourbon Boiler
11-11-2011, 19:49
Came home this evening to find that the barrel had finally tightened up and was nice and dry on the outside. The wax and removal of the spigots was apparently the proper corrective action. After removal of the water, I filled both barrels with Heaven Hill Trybox Rye. I'll be taking samples every few days/weeks to see how things are progressing. I figure with being such small barrels, I should have a nice rye within a few months. After filling the barrels, I congratulated myself with some Russell's Reserve Rye and Bourbon.

Good Luck! Did you pour it in at bottle proof or did you cut it any?

ethangsmith
11-11-2011, 19:55
I poured it straight in from the bottles. Our public water here is terrible and I'm sure would permanently alter the taste if mixed directly with the whiskey. Hopefully this project doesn't bomb since the Trybox cost me a few coins. But, I wanted to see what I could do starting with something that was completely unaged. That way I can track and learn how taste changes over the days and weeks. Once the Trybox comes out, I think Old Heaven Hill BIB will go in.

Bourbon Boiler
11-11-2011, 21:10
I poured it straight in from the bottles. Our public water here is terrible and I'm sure would permanently alter the taste if mixed directly with the whiskey. Hopefully this project doesn't bomb since the Trybox cost me a few coins. But, I wanted to see what I could do starting with something that was completely unaged. That way I can track and learn how taste changes over the days and weeks. Once the Trybox comes out, I think Old Heaven Hill BIB will go in.

Good bet. I cut mine to about 115, but my reasoning was only to fill the barrel since I had 750 mL of White Dog and a 1L barrel. I used distilled H2O from the grocery.

ethangsmith
11-20-2011, 07:43
Been aging for a little over a week and all is well. No leaks. When should I withdraw my first samples? I'm thinking at the 3 week point?

Bourbon Boiler
11-20-2011, 11:30
I retained a small samples at roughly 2, 4, 8, and 10 weeks just to do a vertical later. 3 is a good starting point.

jrobidoux
11-22-2011, 14:55
Possibly a Noob question, but is the aging of something other that "white mash" not generally practiced? Like, if I pick up some Cabin Still and age it for a few weeks in a 2L barrel, is it worth the effort? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

ethangsmith
11-22-2011, 16:22
Nope. Nothing wrong with that. Give it a shot. The lower proof whiskies will age differently than higher proof ones, but it's not in a bad way. The Cabin Still could certainly benefit from a little more aging too. My liter cost me a whoppin' $9.00 but is pretty young tasting.

Oh, and welcome to Straightbourbon! This is truly the best place for whiskey information anywhere!

Bourbon Boiler
11-22-2011, 20:29
Possibly a Noob question, but is the aging of something other that "white mash" not generally practiced? Like, if I pick up some Cabin Still and age it for a few weeks in a 2L barrel, is it worth the effort? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

To take your question literally, aging anything, even white whiskeys, isn't "generally practiced". It's really an experiment to see what you can control, and perhaps to learn things you like. The journey is worth a lot more than the destination.

sailor22
11-23-2011, 07:44
As far as commercial offerings -- Makers 46, and Prichard's Double Barrel both qualify as re-aged. Possibly Crown Black also. Anything finished in sherry, port or cognac barrels could also be called re-aged. Cask 16, Parkers Heritage current release, Henderson's new juice ... etc.

timd
11-30-2011, 17:39
The journey is worth a lot more than the destination.

Amen Bourbon Boiler - the experiments I've done have turned out from "ok" to "good" - but nothing I'd make a living with, for sure! I've aged/re-aged quite a few different things in my various 2L barrels (charred & toasted), and sometimes it's very pleasing, but in certain phases it's downright awful.

Lots of tinkering with time & temperature is required.

ethangsmith
12-02-2011, 17:21
Ok, it's been 3 weeks since I barreled the whiskey. I had my first taste tonight- and I'm a bit concerned. While the whiskey has assumed some color and is a light amber color, the yeasty nastiness has almost intensified. It's like moonshine on steroids now. It's really weird. The small amount of oak flavor has make it overly spicy and very fruity and bready. Not good at all. I'm hoping this is just the first steps to the aging process as the white dog flavors make me actually sick to my stomach. Ugh. I know I have a way to go yet, but I am a bit worried.

Ejmharris
12-02-2011, 18:41
Ok, it's been 3 weeks since I barreled the whiskey. I had my first taste tonight- and I'm a bit concerned. While the whiskey has assumed some color and is a light amber color, the yeasty nastiness has almost intensified. It's like moonshine on steroids now. It's really weird. The small amount of oak flavor has make it overly spicy and very fruity and bready. Not good at all. I'm hoping this is just the first steps to the aging process as the white dog flavors make me actually sick to my stomach. Ugh. I know I have a way to go yet, but I am a bit worried.

I had a similar issue with mine when starting to age. The early days were quite a disappointment to me. Stick with it. I aged a wasmunds rye and MBR black dog and both came out good. Not sure I would pay a premium for the stuff but it was fun and the process was better than the product. Both currently make a very nice Old Fashioned though. Even my wife who hates whiskey ( I know I can't believe I married into that) likes an old fashioned with both of them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ethangsmith
12-02-2011, 18:59
Will the nasty yeasty white dog flavor subside? I hope so! I plan on aging this stuff out for several months so hopefully in that period of time it will mellow out into a nice rye.

keith18
12-02-2011, 20:06
Will the nasty yeasty white dog flavor subside? I hope so! I plan on aging this stuff out for several months so hopefully in that period of time it will mellow out into a nice rye.

I've been aging my own too...I'm about a month in and I've had a similar experience. The stuff is nasty right now, almost worse than the white stuff. I'm going to leave it alone for a few more months before I take another sample. I am hoping it gets a lot better!

Ejmharris
12-02-2011, 20:11
Mine did mellow out quite a bit. Had it in a 2 liter barrel for about 4 months for the black dog bourbon. I kept it in the small storage garage during the summer (Cincinnati) and it was brutal hot this summer. Not sure where you are but the colder months may take longer to age to mellow it out a bit. I used a very small barrel so did not take as long. It could have used a month or two longer, but I was tired of the Angels taking their share and really wanted to just start drinking it. As far as the Angels share, I put in two 750's and a 375 in the barrel and only ended up with a 750 and about 5 inches in a 375 bottle. Lost over an entire 750 and most of the 375. Like I said it was hot has hades this summer stick with it. I didn't read some of the earlier posts, but what white dog did you use?


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ggilbertva
12-02-2011, 21:04
I did this a couple years back. First run used VOB BIB and turned out ok although it took on some wood influence as it was a new oak barrel and stayed for a long time. The second run I used EW BIB and aged it for about 7 weeks and the results were less pronounced but good nonetheless. See my blog post here (http://bourbondork.blogspot.com/2009/11/project-re-barrel-very-old-barton-bib.html).

theDon
12-02-2011, 21:57
A bit of advice, do not stray from bourbon when aging in your own barrel. I ran several 1.75s through a 2 liter barrel with excellent results and decided to "rest" some tequilla in the same barrel and every batch of bourbon I ran through the barrel there after had a tequilla essence.

I pulled the barrel apart, recharred, reassembled and still the same tequila finish. Waste of money and time but a good learning experience.

Bourbon Boiler
12-03-2011, 19:06
I served my 51/49 corn/wheat over the weekend to decent reviews. It coud have used some more time, but the edge was completely gone, and had an exagerated earthy tone to it. (Buffalo Trace x 3 in that regard.) Good experiment, and I still have two barrels aging.