After getting settled into your whiskey routine thinking that your rocks, or neat, or whiskey stone habit is here to stay – surprise! We found a brand new to way to chill your whiskey with a combo of a little ice for mellowing and a little char for flavoring.
“Flavoring bottled whiskey?” You might ask, clutching your pearls. Yes – how do you think distilleries do it? In fact, the only “flavoring” legally allowed in certified American bourbon is charred oak. This especially makes sense to us here at WhiskeyMade, since every new batch of Kentucky distillery barrel heads smells like absolute heaven (that is, if heaven were set aflame and soaked in whiskey for 2+ years.)
What can charred oak do for whiskey?
If you were to buy moonshine and age it at home, you’d need oak to give it depth, and charred oak to give it a smokey richness. For brewers, adding charred oak chips or cubes to fermenting booze is so common that it comes in different colors from light to medium to dark. If it’s the thing that gives the whiskey its flavor – can you only imagine how good it is to add to your glass?
In terms of infusing flavors into the bourbon or whiskey you’re drinking, the flavor not only comes from the fire, but also from the wood – the burning process opens the wood up to expose all of those fabulous oakey flavors to the drink – first during the distilling process, and now in your glass.
So we’ve got smoke, oak, and…vanilla? Yep, the burning process causes chemical reactions within the wood that wake up the vanilla, caramel, and toffee flavors that make whiskey so damn good.
But – why mess with good whiskey?
You’re right, sometimes you don’t want to mess with perfection. But sometimes it’s fun to enhance and experiment. Maybe you’re working on a blend, like the one you made at your wedding in your blending barrel. Maybe you made yourself an infinity bottle, which we hear is the latest whiskey nerd obsession. In any case, of course you’re not going to put anything in your Pappy. But what about spicing up your daily sipper? Adding char and nuances from the barrels that made the whiskey is an exciting way to see what you can make your whiskey do in the glass.
Ok, so why charred oak stones?
The alternatives to charred oak stones would be traditional stones, ice, and drinking your whiskey neat. All of those have their pros and cons, but for us personally, the wood works much better. Ice melts a bit too quickly, stones don’t add any water at all (and rocks folks want at least a little water to mellow the whiskey), and drinking it neat is obviously, well, neat, if that’s your thing.
But charred oak stones:
- Are soft, so they won’t chip your glass
- Add subtle flavor hints and a nice smokey nose, but are not overpowering
- Are frozen with real ice inside, so allow a bit of water to mellow the glass over time
- Can be used at room temperature without the ice inside for those who want to try out the slight wood char, but don’t want the rocks
We’re super excited to hear what you think of these – we’ve tried them and think we might be onto something!