I (Dave) recently viewed a dvd given to me by my dad, who belongs to the MM Ambassadors. In the presentation, a couple of things caught my interest:
1) MM claims to have stringent rules about their cooperage, specifically:
-the wood must season at least 9 months to reduce tannins and break down lignins (sp?) for increased vanilla flavoring;
-MM barrels have fewer staves than the average barrel.
2) After three years, upon approval by a tasting panel, barrels are rotated for further aging in a cooler area.
My question is whether these practices are unique to MM (as is implied in the video), or if other distillers essentially do the same thing. I know that rotation used to be more common, although I have no idea who still does it and how much. I had never heard the statements about cooperage selection before.