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Why The American Oak Tree Is Superb For Aging Bourbon
After distillation, bourbon to-be is poured into new charred oak barrels and aged. While the barrels can be made from any type, the standard choice is American white oak.
This is mainly because American white oak trees are more abundant in the bourbon-making regions of America and have been used to make barrels for a long time.
Beyond tradition, American oak's dense cell structure prevents moisture leakage, promoting a gentler, more controlled bourbon-wood interaction.
Additionally, oak wood contains structures called tyloses, which prevent it from rotting due to prolonged contact with the wet bourbon and ensure that the spirit matures safely.
Of course, there are also flavors that the oak naturally imparts to the bourbon, including naturally emerging finishing notes of caramel, vanilla, and coconut.