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  1. #1
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    How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    I don't know if this deserves a new thread. If it doesn't, mods please move this or delete this thread

    After reading some of the recent postings regarding certain individuals not liking a certain older bourbons and some others mentioning their sweet spots were the younger stuff or middle aged stuff. I have been thinking about how I would myself characterize wood influence relative to age of said bourbon and how it translates to my enjoyment of said bourbon (or any whisk(e)y for that matter).

    I personally would characterize the younger stuff to have a more piney, sharp, a little more bitter note that builds up over volume of consumption. The older stuff I find more notes of mustiness, earthiness, rounder, richer, and sweetness from the wood.

    Anyway, thought I would ask how you guys find it since it's on my mind. I'm of course not trying to get into a thread of comparing one being better than the other because everyones' tastes and preferences are different. I just would like to hear it described. I'm here to learn

    Thanks,

    edit: One additional thought. I have found myself gravitating to bourbons (or other drinks in general) that are a bit more wood influenced with a bit of age. I can't figure out why other than guessing that it could be from my wine drinking experiences getting more of an acquired taste and enjoyment from that aspect.
    Last edited by hn4bourbon; 09-18-2013 at 13:15.
    - H

  2. #2
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    YMMV depending on the bourbon. Warehouse location, mashbill, etc... will have an impact. However, from my experience:

    0 - 4 years: slightly sweet, hot, medicinal, very present grain character

    5 - 7 years: very sweet, less hot, fruitiness, much more rounded grain character

    8 - 10 years: the sweetest, the smoothest, creaminess, less of a grain character

    11 - 15 years: very sweet, more barrel tannin, earthy and bitter, even less of a grain character

    16+: slightly sweet, most tannin, richly bitter, very woody, virtually no grain character

    Maybe someone can correct me if I am off base here.

  3. #3
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    Quote Originally Posted by zillah View Post
    YMMV depending on the bourbon. Warehouse location, mashbill, etc... will have an impact. However, from my experience:

    0 - 4 years: slightly sweet, hot, medicinal, very present grain character

    5 - 7 years: very sweet, less hot, fruitiness, much more rounded grain character

    8 - 10 years: the sweetest, the smoothest, creaminess, less of a grain character

    11 - 15 years: very sweet, more barrel tannin, earthy and bitter, even less of a grain character

    16+: slightly sweet, most tannin, richly bitter, very woody, virtually no grain character

    Maybe someone can correct me if I am off base here.
    I think Z has a very good scale here. The specifics will change based on many factors, but if you are just looking at barrel influence (my preferred term over "aging"), I think this is right on. It clearly illustrates how some flavors diminish over time while others are added, and how the different flavor influence peaks at different times.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  4. #4
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    Quote Originally Posted by kickert View Post
    I think Z has a very good scale here. The specifics will change based on many factors, but if you are just looking at barrel influence (my preferred term over "aging"), I think this is right on. It clearly illustrates how some flavors diminish over time while others are added, and how the different flavor influence peaks at different times.
    Re-reading your post and Z's post really does highlight some very helpful information! Thanks guys!
    - H

  5. #5
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    Quote Originally Posted by hn4bourbon View Post
    I don't know if this deserves a new thread. If it doesn't, mods please move this or delete this thread

    After reading some of the recent postings regarding certain individuals not liking a certain older bourbons and some others mentioning their sweet spots were the younger stuff or middle aged stuff. I have been thinking about how I would myself characterize wood influence relative to age of said bourbon and how it translates to my enjoyment of said bourbon (or any whisk(e)y for that matter).

    I personally would characterize the younger stuff to have a more piney, sharp, a little more bitter note that builds up over volume of consumption. The older stuff I find more notes of mustiness, earthiness, rounder, richer, and sweetness from the wood.

    Anyway, thought I would ask how you guys find it since it's on my mind. I'm of course not trying to get into a thread of comparing one being better than the other because everyones' tastes and preferences are different. I just would like to hear it described. I'm here to learn

    Thanks,

    i cant figure out who youre talking about....



    i might describe, say, the HH BIBs i like as piney or bitter, at times. I dont necessarily think it is a negative, though I did early in my bourbon experimenting.

    musty/earthy is something i believe, and may well be wrong, comes from the distilling and/or storage of the barrels.

    i think the rich and sweet tastes seem to come on after 6-9 years. i love the warm, thick, cinnamony, spicy goodness of my KC120.

    but, what the hell do i know?

  6. #6
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    Quote Originally Posted by 393foureyedfox View Post
    i cant figure out who youre talking about....



    i might describe, say, the HH BIBs i like as piney or bitter, at times. I dont necessarily think it is a negative, though I did early in my bourbon experimenting.

    musty/earthy is something i believe, and may well be wrong, comes from the distilling and/or storage of the barrels.

    i think the rich and sweet tastes seem to come on after 6-9 years. i love the warm, thick, cinnamony, spicy goodness of my KC120.

    but, what the hell do i know?
    You're definitely one of the recent posters that got me thinking about this. There are others' posts as well that I have read that contribute to what's on my mind
    - H

  7. #7

    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    On some older bourbons (such as a recent Willett 21 year I had ) I get a distinct pickle juice flavor. Not sure if this is from being over oaked or not?

  8. #8
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    In addition to the spice/vanilla/caramel/toast notes the barrel will add to the flavor over time, a barrel will also micro-oxygenate the contents. So even a neutral barrel will change the contents over time - so you are getting barrel notes but also chemical changes as a result of this oxygenation and time. A pickle juice note can occur in some wines aged in American Oak, so it doesn't surprise me that it can also be found in a whiskey aged the same way.
    Mark

  9. #9
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    pickle juice?!

    never picked up on that in anything yet....

  10. #10
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    Re: How would you characterize wood influence in aging?

    Quote Originally Posted by 393foureyedfox View Post
    pickle juice?!

    never picked up on that in anything yet....
    Another recommendation: get some LDI rye. Willett for high proof; Bulleit or Dickel are other options. Spicy pickle juice.
    Jim

 

 

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