Oak Barrel - 1 Litre
These barrels are made of Brand-Spanking-New Fresh Kentucky Oak and have a medium toast level.
Please bear in mind when filling the barrel that fresh oak is incredibly powerful and absolutely packed full of flavour and aroma.
Given the fact that no other spirit has ever been stored in the barrel, the effect of the oak on the spirit you fill into it will be very forceful. If you’re after creating your own whisky from new-make spirit, or indeed transforming a vodka into something oak-rich and powerful, this is good news. If you’re after adding a subtle barrel-aged note to a light and delicate cocktail or gin, then it’s probably not a good thing – you’d be well advised to store some vodka or ‘something else’ in it for a couple of weeks first.
On receiving the cask the metal hoops may feel a tad loose, don’t worry – this is normal - they will tighten up as the wood expands after the cask is filled.
Height including stand - 175mm
Length - 140mm
Diameter – 120mm
Circumference - 377mm
Barrel review – First whisky fill
Bought as a birthday present for a whisky fan
On presenting this to a mate for his birthday he was absolutely bowled-over by it.
It was filled with water the very next day and is currently full of port, awaiting a fill of Glenglassaugh Peated Spirit.
Looks nice as a bit of decoration in his recently refurbed kitchen too.
12th November 2013
Just ordered this, can't wait to get it :D however it would be really cool if you could offer ones made of French oak too. Would be good to experiment with the different oaks too.
25th September 2013
over the moon !
Barrel review - Second whisky fill
I've used my barrel on two runs now using Georgia moonshine . I'm surprised how fast the maturation took , but I guess that's because of the ratio of wood on whiskey pro rata !. 1st batch has come out smooth and beautiful nice notes !..the 2nd I've infused with a bag of toddy spices, cinnamon,apple ,lemon etc for a month and now put it in the barrel and the result is next to heaven !... having great fun experimenting with batches of flavours - go raibh mile maith agat agus slainte beatha !
5th September 2013
I again only left the whisky in for 1 month because I felt it had improved sufficiently and I don’t want to leave each batch in any longer than necessary because it should mean I can get more/better batches out of the barrel also the longer you leave it the more you lose to the angel share. I tried to keep the ambient temperature down a bit more this time to see if I could reduce the loss of whisky to evaporation.
I keep the barrel in a cupboard in a spare room where the radiator is turned off but the window is south facing and does not have any curtains or anything so when the sun is out it warms up quite a bit. With the last batch the cupboard door was open most of the time but with this batch I kept the cupboard door shut all the time so the temperature was a bit cooler and more stable (I did however purposely leave the cupboard and room doors open a couple of times to get some temperature fluctuation to encourage forced maturation).
I have noticed the jug I used to measure the quantity of whisky is quite a bit out which means the angel share loss of the first batch was actually more like about 165ml which is about 8.1% (average temperature of 14.3°c).
With this second batch I put in 2050ml of Glen Moray Classic and the loss was about 145 ml which is about 7.1% (average temperature of 13.3°c). So interestingly 1°c colder average temperature equated to 1% less loss of whisky, not as much as I was hoping but at least its something.
The original Glen Moray Classic is quite similar to the original supermarket Speyside I used last time but they obviously have different characters the supermarket Speyside has a distinct leathery flavour while Glen Moray has a distinct pear drop flavour (a little too much so for my liking but it’s a good malt considering the price). Glen Moray Classic is very light in colour, sort of a white wine/pale straw and it has come out the barrel a lovely deep gold colour, not a massive difference but certainly noticeable. In terms of smell and flavour this one is an absolute cracker, I really liked the last batch with its rich oak and heavily sherried character but I suppose you could say it was a little bit unrefined. The barrel stamps its own identity on the whisky so my tasting notes for what flavours the barrel has added to this batch are pretty much the same as the last batch but the effect on the whisky is a bit less intense this time, both the oak and sherry have been toned down so the balance between the original whisky character, the oak, and sherry is much better. The pear drop flavour has now thankfully been pushed to the side, still there but more like assisting to the overall flavour rather than just dominating it. It is another outstanding improvement. It is very difficult to say which I prefer out of the 2 batches because I do like heavily sherried whiskies but if I was to say which I would choose to mass produce to sell I would definitely say this second batch because it is more refined and perhaps has a little more complexity because the sherry influence doesn't dominate it and it just comes across as a more professionally crafted whisky.
For the third batch I’m using supermarket own Islay so this one should be very interesting, I will likely leave it in 1 month again as I don’t want to give those angels any more than they’re already getting, the greedy b******s.
1st April 2013
The whisky has had 1 month in the barrel and having had a sample each week I’ve decided to get it bottled and drink the stuff.
I used three (70cl) bottles of supermarket own Speyside single malt, I used this because it’s the cheapest malt I can get hold of (which is important when you need over 2 litres of whisky to experiment with) but also because it’s a no-frills, simple, clear expression of a Speyside malt, it lacks the complexities and that special something you get from branded malts but that is why it is so appropriate for some tinkering.
First crucial question, how much did the angels help themselves to? I’ll save you all the details of the calculations taking into account samples taken and whatnot. Out of about 2040ml of whisky put in the barrel, the total amount of whisky that was lost was about 100ml which is about 5%.
So what’s it like? It was difficult to see any colour difference with the sherry because it was so dark in the first place, the whisky I used does have a good dash of E150 in it but you can see the barrel has made it a touch darker with a slightly more reddish colour.
I would say the time in the barrel has given the whisky strong vanilla, toffee, dark sugar, almonds, gentle spice and a really nice rich, fruit cake body (which is no doubt thanks to the sherry seasoning) and it’s all just really harmonious and frankly, bloody lovely, it is a phenomenal improvement. After getting to know the whisky out the barrel, the original seems so plain and it just doesn’t have as much depth and richness and isn’t anywhere near as enjoyable.
The 12 days sherry seasoning then was certainly enough to affect the whisky, it has really worked wonders, it has given the whisky exactly the same flavour profile that you’ll find in any good sherry cask/finished whisky. When I took a sample after a week in the barrel it had a really quite intense raw oak flavour and while it had its charm it was a bit rough and I was worried that it would just turn out to be a pure oak monster, but the following few weeks in the barrel seemed to mellow it out and it also seemed to settle down further once it had been bottled for a few hours as the oak seemed less dominant and the sherry influence seemed more obvious. On the whole I’m amazed with the results, it’s taken a decent but fairly boring malt and turned it into something far more exciting.
This has been so interesting, educational and fun and you end up with some genuinely superb, one of a kind whisky as well as a fantastic ornament.
For the next batch I’m using Glen Moray Classic (a similar Speyside to that which I used last time) and again I will leave it in for anything from 1 – 3 months (2 months preferably this time but I’ll have to see how it goes) so the next update will be around April/May/June ’13.
1st March 2013
Barrel review – Sherry seasoning complete
The sherry has had 12 days in the barrel so I’ve decided to get the whisky in now. Whether 12 days is enough time to influence the oak to then have a noticeable effect on the whisky I don’t know, we’ll have to see, but Oloroso Sherry will only keep for a few weeks once the bottle has been opened, so although I’m not really a big sherry drinker I don’t want to waste it and would like to drink it at its best. Plus I just can’t wait to get some whisky in there. Since my last post I bought a third bottle of sherry because that would completely fill the barrel. Anyway, how much sherry was lost? Well, I put in a total of 2.2 litres of sherry and the total amount it returned was 2.1 litres. So about 10cl (100ml) was lost to absorption, leaking and of course the angels probably took a snifter. So, the big question… has the 12 days in the barrel made a difference or improved the sherry? I had a very small amount of sherry left over that would not fit in the barrel so I familiarised myself with the original sherry first then immediately tried the sherry out of the barrel and the short amount of time in the barrel has certainly made a difference. The original is very fruity, quite sharp and a bit one dimensional. With the sherry from the barrel the sharpness has been toned down and there is a more nutty and coffee like flavour taking over with a touch of spiciness. It has a more subtle character yet has greater depth and complexity, it’s a far more interesting drink, and in my opinion it is a definite improvement. The original might be more appealing to a wider range of people because of its simplicity but I think most people who appreciate and are experienced with fine drinks would prefer my extra matured sherry as it’s a bit more challenging and there is a lot more going on. So the first signs of what this barrel can do are very encouraging. I’m planning on leaving the whisky in the barrel for anything from 1 to 3 months so my next update will be around March/April/May ’13.
29th January 2013
@ Masters of Malt
Okay thanks for clearing that up.
29th January 2013
@ Barrel review - Initial fills
We are sorry if it appeared that we had removed your review, we do not censor people’s opinions but we do need to screen your reviews before we can post them. There was a short delay in some reviews being posted after the influx of everyone tasting their Christmas bottles and then coming back to write tasting notes and reviews for others to enjoy. You will see that we have now put your review up and are most grateful for you taking the time to comment on your purchase from us. – The Chaps from Master of Malt.
28th January 2013
Barrel review - Initial fills
Why has my review been removed?
20th January 2013
Barrel review - Initial fills
The first thing that hits you when you get these barrels is the wonderful sweet smell of the American white oak, they are beautifully made little barrels that are worth buying just as an ornament. One very useful bit of information to know is although these barrels are listed as having a 1 litre capacity, I was surprised to see that my barrel actually took 2.25 litres when I initially filled it with warm water (to allow the staves to swell to make it water tight). After 2 hours the leaking was quite minimal so when I emptied the water it returned 2.1 litres of water (that was slightly whisky coloured) with quite a few splinters and tiny bits of charred wood. The leaking wasn’t anything significant so I suspect the majority of 150ml was lost to it being absorbed into the oak. The smell of this water is quite off putting, it smelled like… well… damp, burnt wood. Before putting any whisky in I decided to put in two (75cl) bottles of Oloroso Sherry, I did this for two good reasons. 1) As stated above the first fill can be a bit too overpowering so using Sherry will not only take the edge off but also season the cask. 2) More liquid will be lost on the first fills due to it being absorbed into the oak so I’d rather sacrifice some cheap Sherry rather than whisky.
The Sherry has been in for 2 days so far (I’ll leave it in there for about 2 weeks until I replace it with whisky), I’ve had a couple of samples and I’m pleased to say it’s coming along nicely and it doesn’t have that nasty damp, burnt wood character that the water had. Instead of it being just a mountain of sweetness it is developing an interesting background to it, can’t say much more than that at the moment as I haven’t tried enough of it but so far, so good.
If I’m able to I will do an update when the seasoning stage is over.
19th January 2013
We have one of these filled with Glenglassaugh Peated Spirit at the moment. Only been going a week. After much research they say it should only take 3-8 weeks to age in such a small barrel, so we might pull a small dram for Christmas. We started it off by putting a bottle of JD in to give the barrel more of an authentic touch!
We have a bottle of Bruichladdich X4 waiting to go in next.
A lot of fun, and hopefully good results.
10th December 2012
Cask arrived this morning and was filled to check for leaks with warm water. All ok apart from a little seepage from the tap but the expansion of the warm water and a gentle tap seemed to stop this (just be careful not to push too hard or you'll crack the cask).
A couple of splinters fell out when drained an hour later but nothing excessive. Now filled with vodka as suggested in the blog to "settle it down" before I fill it with sherry/port then whisky.
Smells just like a dunage whisky warehouse - REALLY nice. Also holds approx 1.4L and not 1.0L (2 bottles of vodka used).
Possible improvements - tap could use some soft cork material round it just like the bung has (will keep an eye on seepage). Cask stand is a little squint and a little cheap looking.
Perhaps MasterOfMalt can look at selling empty bottles, label kits and spirit hydrometers in the future?
Overall, I'd recommend the cask to others who want to finish whisky.
Just hope I have the patience to wait for it to do its magic.