Aging of spirits in barrels is an integral step in their production. The regular producers use traditional shapes for this process such as 350L barrels for Cognac or 53 gallon barrels for Bourbon. Craft distilleries may find smaller barrels more suitable for maturation. Finally, barrel alternatives such as staves, chips, powders, and inserts are continuing to become integrated into the everyday practice of the spirits industry.
In this webinar presentation we measured the extraction rates and speeds of different wood compounds during aging in regular, small barrels and in contact with wood pieces. It was shown that furanic compounds extraction occurs in a much quicker way, while vanillin and whisky-lactone extractions takes longer amounts of time to reach equilibrium.
This information is of practical importance for cellar masters and technical staff, who wish to optimize the sensory properties of aged spirits and to use wood barrels and alternatives in rational way.