As mentioned in the Bartender Journey Podcast #28 Vince is aging some Bourbon in a small wooden barrel. It's been in the barrel for 13 days now, and its time for a taste! Well...it tastes awesome!
This was the process:
I bought some Hudson Corn Whiskey while on a tour of Tuthilltown Distillery, along with a 1 liter oak barrel, which had been charred inside.
I filled the barrel and let it age for just 13 days. Because its such a small barrel, it picks up the flavor and color from the barrel very quickly.
It does need a little more time in the barrel -- so far it has a light amber color, but not the deep rich color you expect from a bourbon. I'm sure the taste will continue to improve as well.
Whiskey, as all distilled spirits, comes off the still as a clear liquid. The color comes from the barrel, (at least thats the case with GOOD spirits - lesser products sometimes use artificial means to color the liquid).
The Corn Whiskey, otherwise known as Moonshine, is UN-aged whiskey. That is, whiskey bottled without ever being placed in wooden barrels. So, by taking this Corn Whiskey and aging it in the little oak barrel, it becomes Bourbon.
There are quite a few requirements for a whiskey to be legally classified as Bourbon. I don't pretend to be an expert on this, but you can read about it here. When I first started educating myself on this subject, the rule I found most interesting is that Bourbon must be aged in NEW white oak barrels. In other words, the barrels can only be used ONCE in the bourbon making process.
One big misconception about Bourbon is that it has to be produced it Tennessee. That is definitely not true, as Hudson Whiskey (produced in the Hudson Valley of New York), has proven.
As my little barrel of Bourbon ages, I will post further