Tinkering with the Formula: One scientist’s take on the effectiveness of rapid maturation techniques for brown spirits

Traditionally, brown spirits maturation takes place over many years, mainly in oak barrels or casks carefully nestled in large rickhouses, following the centuries-old formula: alcohol + oak + time = deliciousness. Within the past decade, though, an increasing number of craft distillers have started to look for alternate (read: faster) maturation processes. In doing so, they appear unaware that major bourbon and Scotch whisky producers have been experimenting with acceleration methods for more than 80 years but have declined to adopt rapid maturation for their own purposes. The simple reason may be that maturation is such a vast and...

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