A natural wood barrel can turn an ordinary homemade drink into an elite one, which will surprise you with its play of notes and rich taste. If you decide to buy a barrel as a gift, you must first take into account many nuances so that the owner can use the gift to its fullest extent.
The first is the material. The product will serve perfectly if it is made of oak, which is more than 70 years old. Younger wood is inferior in terms of performance – the barrel from it simply leaks. We recommend, finding a place that has Canadian oak barrels for sale. It will be the perfect combination of quality and price.
It is also important how the raw material was prepared. A good barrel is obtained from chipped wood, which has been properly dried and stayed in the open air for at least 3 years.
The volume depends on the barrel. If you need to choose an oak barrel for home use, we recommend choosing the ones from 10 liters – this is the optimal volume for the preparation and storage of a variety of products. Small barrels are good when you need to accelerate the process of aging wine or brandy. The longer the aging time, the larger the volume is. This is due to the unavoidable evaporation of moisture, as the wood “breathes”. On average, 1 liter of content evaporates in a year.
To make whiskey and cognac it is recommended to select a strong-fired barrel. When the oak is exposed to high temperatures, chemical processes are triggered, resulting in the formation of decomposition products that endow the drink with flavors of:
- Spicy, smoky notes;
- Ripe fruit;
- The maple smell.
Also, a strong firing of a barrel gives the drink a beautiful, rich color. Firing helps to make even not the most suitable wood suitable for aging alcohol, to make the drink “noble”, to reveal the full flavor and aroma.
There are three degrees of firing:
– A light degree of firing imparts a light same vanilla flavor, floral notes and the ripeness of late fruit are present. These barrels are excellent for aging white wines.
– Medium firing has more intense vanilla accents, coconut, notes of caramel and spice, almond nuts, and even reminds you of toasted bread crusts. With this kind of firing, we can safely age wines, brandies, and Calvados.
– Strong firing is the aroma of chocolate and smoke. Ideal for strong wines and bourbon, and then of course whiskey and apple distillate.
And finally, the faucet, hoops, and decorations. There’s a lot to say about what’s best, but you usually have to make do with what you have. Hoops are ideally made of the least corrosive materials – stainless or galvanized steel, brass. Untreated steel over time is not only not aesthetically pleasing, but also not safe.