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Modern Distilling: Speed Up your Maturation Process with Revolutionary Techniques
Modern Distilling: Speed Up your Maturation Process with Revolutionary Techniques
Learning how to optimise how your whisky matures can save you time but there are whiskies that need much longer in the cask than others for prime flavour.

There are a few steps you can take that will speed up the maturation process and produce a delicious whisky.

This article will look at how we shorten the timeframe of the ageing process, why distillers might choose to do this, and what benefits or drawbacks it can bring.

How to speed up the maturation process of whisky

Whisky gets a lot of its flavour from the oak cask it matures in – around 60% of the total flavour by some estimates.

Stateside, a movement has been happening that has found it’s the light and oxygenated chemicals that contribute most to the cask’s condition and, therefore, the ageing process of whisky. 

The reactions that occur inside a cask during maturation are complex but can be mimicked at a faster pace if certain changes are made to the environment housing the whisky.

The innovative ideas of one Ohio distillery mean that with new storage, heat, lighting, and other conditions, they can mature their whisky in around six months which, they claim, results in a similar-tasting product.

What does their client base think? Well, the distillery continues to sweep up awards and sells its whisky enviably quickly. 

No matter how much you know about the industry, at Whisky Partners we provide the best advice and detailed information on the cask whisky you can invest in.

An English movement?

A band of English whisky distillers are also making strides in the industry. Perhaps these producers hold at least one advantage over their dominant Scottish counterparts: they don’t need to mature the whisky in a cask for at least three years.

There is a law stating Scotch whisky can only be called Scotch once it has matured for a minimum of three years in an oak cask in Scotland.

Of course, nobody’s required to mature whisky for three years either, it can still be a good quality product and put up for sale after maturing. We don’t want to jeopardise quality by rushing and a number of distillers believe we don’t have to, thanks to a remarkable new ageing technique. 

However, if a Scottish distillery wants to produce Scotch and, importantly, call it Scotch, they must wait for the three-year spell. The word ‘Scotch’ holds power in the whisky world, yet maybe this is an opportunity for distillers from elsewhere to advance their ageing techniques while Scotch distillers wait.

There are doubters of this form of spirit maturation who feel that the traditional way is best.

The verdict

It might not be for everyone, but should we welcome introducing young faces with fresh ideas into the world of whisky? These innovators feel they could yet enhance what we know and love.

Then again, there are traditionalists who feel that tampering too much with a proven process will lead to bad output and distrust among distillers.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, there’s no doubt that with the research and technology we have available today, advances could continue to be made to further shorten whisky distillation.

Interested to know more about what makes good whisky and the future of the industry? Get in touch with Whisky Partners today to start your cask investment journey.

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