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On the Rocks – Whisky Afterlife – Anand Chintamani

Life after whisky! I bet a lot of you reading this must be thinking I’m drunk coz’ I have the words jumbled up, but wait and read on!

This is about my favorite topic within Whisky, the Barrel! The barrel as you know is a little laboratory because hundreds of small chemical experiments are happening in there thus making our whisky what it is!

So what happens to the barrel after its used? I know most of you here know that Bourbon barrels head across the Atlantic to help mature Scotch, but what else? What’s the after life of a barrel?

A fresh set of barrels from Jack Daniel’s, just arrived at Amrut Distilleries in Bangalore

Surprisingly, scotch isn’t the only thing we consume fondly that finds its character via whisky barrels! Really! You’ll be surprised! A lot of beer is finished in whisky barrels! Yes! Ask the guys at Brooklyn Breweries the next time when you’re in the Big Apple! Vinegar too, some of which we find at upmarket stores in your city look out for the label Sherry Vinegar! Maple syrup, apple cider and a lot of wines go to the Whisky Barrel finishing school’ to polish their ends’ if I may say as do specialized table salts, soya sauce or soy’ and spices.

Barrels as I said earlier are truly laboratories and the aged wood, with millions of little pores or holes lets the air in through the rafters, oxidizing and cross pollinating the ingredients inside to turn them mature and a little woody!

And that’s not the end of the list , look keenly when the missus is at the grocers and you’ll find a lot more of the stuff on the shelves, coming off a whisky barrel!

ATabascond just before we go, just to let you know, Tabasco Sauce from Avery Island is finished in bourbon barrels! But beware, the next time you run out of your favorite tipple, don’t try sip a few drops of the sauce straight up! Nah, that will be lock stock and definitely 1 smoking barrel!


 Anand Chintamani