Two glasses of bourbon
Aging Bourbon For Too Long Has An Opposite Effect Than You’d Expect
Some of the priciest bourbons are decades old, but the professionals know it's not as simple as that. In fact, letting bourbon age for too long may actually harm its flavor.
Newly distilled whiskey, called "white dog," is refined through at least two years of aging in charred oak barrels. In time, it gets a smoky flavor, but there is a limit.
When bourbon ages for over 15 years, the wood influence can make it taste bitter, ashy, and sour. It can even dilute its unique flavor and erase its signature notes and finishes.
To prevent this, distillers maintain strict maturing programs where they sample each barrel twice a year. Once the bourbon has reached the perfect age, it's removed to halt aging.
When a barrel has aged just right, the bourbon within is siphoned out and transferred into stainless steel barrels. These barrels won’t interact with the bourbon.