Quote Originally Posted by Flyfish View Post
Not sure if it is relevant to the intent of the question but no one has commented on the influence of the real estate; i.e., location, location, location. A barrel aged at the top of the rickhouse is going to be radically different from the barrel at the center of the ground floor, all other factors being equal. With single barrels, the labels sometimes tell you exactly where the bourbon rested and for how long. How much of the top shelf stuff comes from the top floor?
A couple rules of thumb on rick house location:
*The lower the humidity the more the proof will rise (alcohol evaporates at constant rate, water evaporates faster when dry).
*The more severe the temp fluctuation the more (and faster) barrel influence you will get. The higher you go, the more flux.

Based on those factors, I would want my younger bourbon from the higher floors, but my older bourbon from the lower. At a younger age, you would get more "barrel influence" faster at the higher floors. But an older bourbon might get thrown out of balance if it stays at higher floors longer.

The issue of oxidation is also important, but is (somewhat) distinct from barrel influence. The less booze in the barrel, the faster the oxidation. And obviously the longer it sits, the more oxidation. Oxidation at first opens up a whiskey and accents the characteristics of a bourbon (i.e. the spice, fruit, etc.), but too much oxidation and it becomes flat, muted and a bit metallic.