Hydrating American oak bourbon whiskey barrels
Why Do We Even Age Liquor In The First Place?
Often, the longer a spirit ages, the pricier and tastier it should be. While it's a bit more complicated than that, longer aging generally results in more complex flavors.
Many types of liquor are put into wooden barrels after they're made. As these fresh spirits sit inside those barrels, they go through changes in taste, smell, and even appearance.
The wood mellows out the alcohol's harshness and adds extra flavorings, depending on the kind of wood in the barrel. The wood also changes the liquor’s color as it ages.
Aging is also a legal mandate for many spirits. In the case of bourbon, it has to age for at least two years to be called "bourbon," according to the American Bourbon Association.
While the maturation of liquor often suggests it's top-notch, it's not always true that older means better. There’s actually a sweet spot when it comes to aging liquor.
If bourbon is aged beyond that sweet spot of 15 years, it can soak up too much wood flavor, making it overly woody and masking its unique character.