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  1. #331
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    That's interesting Squire - some of the marketing literature we see today coming out of various distilleries make it seem as if ex-bourbon casks are "traditional". Leave it to the scotch industry to make things clear as mud.

    Last edited by ChainWhip; 11-19-2013 at 11:03.
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  2. #332
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    My information comes from the mid 1980s which referred to Lagavulin being aged in "traditional refill casks" which I read as being sherry casks. Of course these barrels were refilled three or four times until they wore out so any sherry influence may have been barely noticeable.

    Donno know what they use now, ex Bourbon barrels make sense, but a limited edition finished in first fill Pedro Ximenex casks should have a definite Sherry note.
    Squire, I believe you are exactly right, they used to do refill sherry. I vaguely recall reading (in more than one place) that they are now using second-fill bourbon for the 16 and reserving sherry for finishes and special releases. I have yet to find an unimpeachable source to back up that claim, though.
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  3. #333
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Brisko View Post
    Squire, I believe you are exactly right, they used to do refill sherry. I vaguely recall reading (in more than one place) that they are now using second-fill bourbon for the 16 and reserving sherry for finishes and special releases. I have yet to find an unimpeachable source to back up that claim, though.
    And apparently, the bourbon casks they do use are cleaned, refilled with grain spirit, left for a couple years, and then dumped before receiving new make Lagavulin. They also use quite a few casks previously used to hold Lagavulin, maybe this is where a hint of sherry comes from.
    Last edited by LostBottle; 11-19-2013 at 11:03.

  4. #334
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by LostBottle View Post
    And apparently, the bourbon casks they do use are cleaned, refilled with grain spirit, left for a couple years, and then dumped before receiving new make Lagavulin.
    Wow. Never heard that before. Is this because a refill bourbon cask has too little influence but a first-fill has too much? That is really interesting ... I wonder where that dumped spirit ends up...
    Mark

  5. #335
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    If it were my guess, they are probably taking these steps to ensure a consistent profile while making production less reliant on their ability to source cooperage from any one source.
    Last edited by LostBottle; 11-19-2013 at 11:31.

  6. #336
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by sutton View Post
    Wow. Never heard that before. Is this because a refill bourbon cask has too little influence but a first-fill has too much? That is really interesting ... I wonder where that dumped spirit ends up...
    Any of Diageo's NAS blend.
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  7. #337
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Using grain whisky as the first fill serves two purposes, it provides a beefier base whisky for blends and softens the barrel influence on the subsequent malt fill(s).

    The story behind all this is rather prosaic. The vineyard workers union in Spain negotiated for and got the right to bottle Sherry in Country rather than export it in barrels which created more jobs for them. Also meant limited numbers of Sherry barrels being available for the malt distillers and making the available ones more expensive for subsequent use.

    Remember, the Scots started using Sherry and Port barrels in the first place because they were cheap and the native oak forests had been denuded by the 19th Century to make wooden sailing vessels for the British Navy. In more recent times when the supply of cheap Sherry barrels began drying up the Scots, being Scots, turned to the next best source which is Bourbon barrels and then adapted them to age malt whisky without it becoming too Bourbony.
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  8. #338
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Great bit of info, Squire. Thank you.

  9. #339
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by LostBottle View Post
    Great bit of info, Squire. Thank you.
    Yeah, good info. I recently heard that it took something like 54 acres of oak forest to build a single ship back in the day, though it was not clear what size of ship that built. At that rate though, I can see why the Scots had to go elsewhere for barrels.

  10. #340
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    Re: What Wee Dram Are You Enjoying Now - Fall 2013/Winter 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    My information comes from the mid 1980s which referred to Lagavulin being aged in "traditional refill casks" which I read as being sherry casks.
    That may have been the case in the 1980's. Now, the industry uses "traditional" to refer to ex-bourbon barrels and go out of their way to tell us when ex-sherry* casks are used.

    *in many cases the casks didn't even come from Spain. They spray the inside of spent (or new) casks to infuse them with sherry prior to filling with new-make or "finishing" of already matured whisky.
    "Old guys tend to say it like it is." squire

 

 

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