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Food - Drink
What 'Crow's Nest' Means When Shopping For Quality Bourbon
Storage matters when it comes to aging bourbon, and rackhouses, the warehouses that host whiskey barrels, age the spirit on different levels of elevation for varied air exposure. As consumers become more aware of this practice, terms have sprung up to refer to these levels of elevation, including the phrase "Crow's Nest."
In rackhouses, barrels on upper racks expand with heat and constrict during cooler months, while lower barrels undergo fewer temperature fluctuations, so they can be aged for longer. "Crow’s Nest" refers to the top levels of whiskey-storing warehouses, which some say create the best bourbon, even if they're not aged for the longest.
Since barrels placed in the Crow's Nest experience more extreme temperature fluctuations, their aging process produces the most complex, nuanced barrels of bourbon. Their placement "drive[s] the whiskey into the wood [...] so you get a much faster, more powerful maturation," says master whiskey distiller Conor O'Driscoll.