Bottle of whisky and old wooden cask at the background.
How Does Aging Bourbon In Tequila Or Cognac Barrels Affect The Taste Of It?
Companies like the World Whiskey Society forgo traditional charred barrels and instead produce experimental bourbons that have been aged in both tequila barrels and cognac barrels.
Master Blender Alex Kogan told Tasting Table, "By using different finishing barrels, we can compare or contrast with the base spirit, [... adding] roundness and depth."
Aging bourbon in tequila barrels also greatly changes the smell. These spirits will hit you with a citrusy agave smell, creating an unusual sensory experience.
Kogan stated of the practice, "It's all about experimentation, time, and taste. Tequila barrels lend citrus and peppery notes, so we used a bourbon with similar characteristics."
The style is still in an experimental stage, a "mixing of old-world techniques with modern ingenuity," says Kogan. Each batch can come out differently depending on what is changed.
Bourbon aged too long in a cognac barrel might lose some of its intrinsic character, but if it isn't aged long enough, it won't take on any of the cognac flavors.
Since the bourbon takes on characteristics of the barrel that it's aged in, it’s great for cocktails. For example, bourbon from a cognac barrel makes for a great riff on a Sidecar.