Today’s story comes from the inimitable Mark Reynier of Bruichladdich. This is a response to purists who decry the use of wine casks for additional maturation.
There is a school of opinion that objects to the use of wine casks for
single malt whisky. This raises several controversial issues. True,
wine casks have indeed been exploited by some bottlers for outright
marketing reasons but I argue that this subject is a much more complex
one than just marketing.
Firstly I confess, guilty as charged, that at Bruichladdich we have
been using wine casks er…since 1881. Wine casks for whisky are not new
– sherry, after all, is a wine.
“I have noticed, in the forty-five years since I began to study whisky,
that the general style of most if not all kinds has changed…The older
whiskies were darker in colour, from being kept in golden Sherry or
Madeira casks, rather sweeter in taste, and rather heavier in texture;
the newer are lighter in both the first and the last aspect, and much
drier in taste.” This was the introduction of Bourbon casks (made from
Quercus Alba, or white oak) and was written in 1920.