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The Charring of Sherry Casks

May 2016
The Charring of Sherry Casks

Interested in all things whiskey? Well let me share some of the secrets of the trade – the magic of maturation.

Last month, I took a trip out to Spain in order to source some sherry casks which will be used in some of our other whiskeys in the future. Firstly, our mighty Dubliner Irish Whiskey is bourbon cask aged, our barrels are sourced from Kentucky and were previously used for bourbon production. However, we are always experimenting with new casks and liquid and Sherry barrels from Jerez that can create some superb whiskey,

The charring of Sherry barrels means that they are exposed to flames – causing them to become lightly to medium ‘toasted’. The charring involves toasting the woods inside and that burning/toasting’s let the spirit (when it is poured into the casks) penetrate into the wood.

Charring gives many benefits to the cask. During maturation there are many different reactions that allow to transform the spirit you put in and bring out bursts of colour and sweetness as it turns the spirit into the whiskey. It also enhances the spirits components and gives the colour and flavour to the whiskey. To make our Irish whiskey we rarely use new wood – we use casks that has either bourbon or sherry in them for a number of years allowing the bourbon or sherry to penetrate into the wood through the toasted layer and once the flavours are absorbed we use for the first time for Irish whiskey....creating a more subtle taste without too much wood character.

Now on to the fun stuff and probably what you came here to see – the charring of the Sherry barrels!

Master Distiller
Darryl Mc Nally