As I taste more Bourbons and other spirits, and I read of others' tasting notes and all the flavors that are attributed to mixtures of grain, water, yeast, and oak, I wonder: why not other types of wood?
Imagine all the flavors that might be imparted to a spirit stored in a barrel with multiple staves of apple, cherry, pear, pecan, etc... The different expressions could be mind (and taste) boggling.
In searching the Forum, I found this from Gillman:
"This question was addressed in one of the earliest American distilling texts, by Samuel M'Harry in about 1809. Basically, other forms of oak are too porous and might allow off-flavors or acidity to enter the spirit. White oak has the right hardness and durability but still permits interchange of air between the spirit and outside atmosphere. As I recall (I will try to find the book in my library), M'Harry advised red oak as next best to white, but his clear preference is for American white oak."
So all these woods might not be suitable, but some would (pun intended).
Please keep your pants on before responding with the legal definition of Bourbon - I realize that Bourbon can only be stored in new, charred, white oak.