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Aging Wray & Nephew Overproof in Oak


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#1 Hassouni

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

Righto, so I think devotees of W&N would agree with me that an aged version would just be staggering - along the lines of a Smith & Cross or something but even more so.

How might something like this work for a trial run? http://tuthilltown.g...cktail-kit.html

#2 lesliec

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Looks like a pretty low-risk investment.

We found a small cask at a junk shop. From the amount of woodiness it's imparted to our aged Negroni experiments I strongly suspect it had never had anything in it before (I gave it a good dose or two of boiling water to hopefully annoy any bugs).

The cask is possibly aesthetically superior to the Tuthilltown bottle, but cost considerably more. Give it a try.

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#3 Hassouni

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

I can also buy a single wooden stave from a former Bourbon barrel for $45 - those things are pretty big, could probably do several bottles at once...

#4 Adam George

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:15 PM

I'm going to be buying a 3 Litre cask from a chap in Mexico on eBay. I think it's about $75. Not cheap, but it will look fun.

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#5 Hassouni

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:59 PM

3L is getting big, it'll take a while to recreate serious aging, methinks..

#6 mkayahara

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:14 AM

Rather than paying Tuthilltown for a piece of their wood, why not just use toasted oak chips as in winemaking? You don't need the fancy bottle, and I'm guessing it would work out cheaper, especially if you wanted to do more than 375ml of rum at some point.
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#7 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:09 AM

OK, so I'm revisiting this idea with oak chips. I realize there is no standard for rum aging, and my options are raw oak chips, charred oak chips, or chips from used bourbon barrels (which started as charred). I know WN currently uses Jack Daniel's barrels for Appleton Estate, and a few other rum producers use old bourbon barrels, while others use who knows what. 

 

Never having done something like this, what will the flavor differences be between raw oak, charred but unused oak, and old bourbon-soaked charred oak?



#8 Rafa

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:23 AM

First-filled charred oak will give you a lot of intense bourbon-y flavor: caramels from the charring, spices (cinnamon, etc), vanilins, wood flavor. Subsequent fills will be less intense. A lot of the effects of aging (especially 17 years' worth of aging) can't be accelerated or faked, so what you'll get is a woodier, hopefully more complex W&N with some of the characteristics that the 17 year Dagger probably had. It could still be good on its own terms; I know Hale Pele in Portland house ages WN in a small barrel. 

 

Someone with actual first hand cooper experience (my wood chipping doesn't count) could answer about the effects of wood with more detail and authority :) .


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#9 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:03 AM

Apart from Appleton, it'd be interesting to know which of the other mega-aged rums (ED12 or 15, Seale's 10, etc) use already-used bourbon casks.

 

Also, something I hadn't considered until just now - when rum, whisky, or whatever, is aged in a charred barrel, it is ONLY exposed to the charred side (duh!). But the used whisky barrel chips I've seen for sale have one charred side and one raw (if that's the right word) side, so using those wouldn't be quite the same as exposure to only the charred side of a barrel. 



#10 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:05 AM

A lot of the effects of aging (especially 17 years' worth of aging) can't be accelerated or faked

 

Like what? Angel's share loss and reduced strength, etc?



#11 bostonapothecary

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:02 PM

There are some pretty accessible research papers that cover the effect of wood on spirits.  I can dig some up if people are really interested.  Besides tannin and all that, one of the most significant aspects of aging that I'd say is taken for granted is pH and total acidity.  I think the big thing that defines sipping spirits that you can enjoy at room temp is their acidity.  Many whiskeys considered mature have a pH of 4 while things like gin that we don't sip, typically have a pH much closer to 7.

 

Don't forget my fake aging technique.  Dehydrate a few ounces of bourbon, then reconstitute it with wray and nephews to give you a good educated guess of what the true barrel aged version would be like when it sucks up all that non-volatile stuff.  The change in pH will eventually shift all sorts of strange equilibriums so it might even make sense to allow the W&N to sit around for a month or so.


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#12 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:35 PM

How does one dehydrate bourbon?



#13 bostonapothecary

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

How does one dehydrate bourbon?

 

I use my excalibur food dehydrator or you can use an oven on its lowest heat.  You just want to save the non-volatile fraction which is arguably the most significant product of barrel aging.  The non-volatile fraction is the perfect soup of acids and tannins that will lead to the change in equilibrium, deep end of chemistry, blah blah blah, that is a significant portion of the magic of aging. Granted there is a lot more to it, but dehydrating a masterfully barreled spirit is better than messing with wood chips and you can experiment two ounces at a time.


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#14 Kerry Beal

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:16 PM

Some would argue flavoured more than aged (which is I guess true) - but my experiments into 'Nuclear' aging techniques have been fun.

 

I set up up 150 cc of Wray and Nephew over proof into 3 bottles each with 15 grams of Jack Daniels chips, 1/3 vanilla bean and 1 gram of nutmeg.  

 

The first got 3 cycles of heating to about 60º C in the microwave, followed by sealing with with the mason jar lid while hot to draw a bit of a vacuum.  

 

The second was put in the ultrasonic cleaner (still in the jar) at 40 Hz in a water bath and the temperature set to 50º C for about 25 minutes - 3 cycles.

 

The third was put in the chamber vac - brought to a 'cold boil' then turned off - drew a vacuum.  Of course it boiled over two out of the three times!

 

Results - the microwave provided the nicest oak/vanilla flavours with the least burn.  The ultrasonic also has good oak and vanilla flavour but more burn - wonder what would happen if I'd removed the lid while processing.  The chamber vac - least flavour, but minimal burn.  

 

I suspect repeated vacuum treatments might do more - it was certainly the clearest of the 3.

 

IMG_0857.jpg

 

 


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#15 Capn Jimbo

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 10:02 AM

Some brief notes:

 

1.  Don't expect to get an aged rum from any of these techniques.   Do expect to get some color, and LOTs of wood - real wood - effects.

 

2.  The notion of  toasting is to create flavor, ie carmelization.   The notion of charring is filtration which will NOT occur when using chips (unless a barrel is used).    Charcoal requires the notion of breathing and micro-barrels, micro-time will not accomplish this.

 

3.  The idea that "dehydrated/reconstituted bourbon" plus W&N to simulate an aged W&N?    No way.   This will only simulate - yup - "dehydrated/reconstituted bourbon" plus W&N, lol.     Want to know what aged W&N would taste like?   Try Appleton's.   Seriously.   

 

4.  Forcing out extractives using vacumn or temp treatments may gain some easy color, but in NO way will mimic or predict the effects of actual aging.   

 

Since W&N and Appleton are the same entity, save yourself the trouble and taste an Appleton V/X for starters.   It'll be closer than any of these will ever be.



#16 Hassouni

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 10:22 AM

Cap'n, I disagree. While I love Appleton 12, to my palate, the Appleton branded rums have nowhere near the level of funk and hogo and pot stilled estery awesomeness that I find in WN OP. My purely speculative theory is that a different blend, or stills, are used for the Appleton Estate rums, or perhaps less dunder is added to the mash (is it called a mash in rum making?)


Edited by Hassouni, 26 April 2014 - 10:23 AM.

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#17 Capn Jimbo

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 10:59 AM

Cap'n, I disagree. While I love Appleton 12, to my palate, the Appleton branded rums have nowhere near the level of funk and hogo and pot stilled estery awesomeness that I find in WN OP. My purely speculative theory is that a different blend, or stills, are used for the Appleton Estate rums, or perhaps less dunder is added to the mash (is it called a mash in rum making?)

 

Quick answer:  no. 

 

 

Two points:

 

1.   Again, my primary point was that Appleton - the V/X for example - would be a lot closer to the truth than the reconstituted bourbon, or vacumn induced notions.   That's a given.

 

2.   The effects of aging cannot be underestimated.   If you don't believe me - and you should, lol - try Dave Broom, who found the following tones:

 

W&N:  banana, grass, nuts and sweetness

V/X:  banana, grassy, and a touch of pecan

 

Naturally he found more complexity and other flavors (eg balanced oak) in the V/X, yes increased complexity due solely to age (not your speculations).   Keep in mind too that W&N is an overproof, as reflected in your experience of it.   Dilute it to around 40% and you'll have a very different experience.  The similarity of W&N to the slowly developing aged line of Appleton White - V/X - and Extra rums is remarkable.  

 

Let me quote Broom:

 

"Today these pot-stilled rums (Appleton) are only among the many styles and ages that Joy Spence crafts into the Wray and Nephew range".   

 

Feel free to disagree and in the spirit of this once British colony:  keep calm and carry on...


Edited by Capn Jimbo, 26 April 2014 - 11:02 AM.


#18 Hassouni

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 11:20 AM

So is Appleton White nothing but diluted WN OP? I have not tried the former. (And the only Appleton I've had in my collection is the 12, I've tried the V/X at a bar once or twice, but not under careful scrutiny)



#19 Capn Jimbo

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 12:18 PM

So is Appleton White nothing but diluted WN OP?

 

Only Joy Spence knows.    What we know is that the lines are related in terms of general profile, methods, and materials which is answer enough to your wondering what an aged W&N might taste like.   Spence gets a lot of credit as master blender (which would apply more to the aged rums).    


Edited by Capn Jimbo, 26 April 2014 - 12:20 PM.


#20 Hassouni

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 12:49 PM

OK, another question. Does long oak aging remove the hogo and funk for which WNOP is known for? I did a 2:1 rum:water dilution of the Whites, and then a sampling of Appleton 12, and I understand that a lot of the flavors in the 12 are from the oak, but there seems to be a distinct LACK of the defining flavor of the overproof - a fruity, molasses, even vegetal intensity, even when diluted. I taste it in extremely reduced form on the finish of the 12, but it whacks me in the face of even the diluted overproof. Could that just be a result of 12 tropical years in a barrel?


Edited by Hassouni, 26 April 2014 - 12:52 PM.


#21 Jason Perlow

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 01:10 PM

Righto, so I think devotees of W&N would agree with me that an aged version would just be staggering - along the lines of a Smith & Cross or something but even more so.

How might something like this work for a trial run? http://tuthilltown.g...cktail-kit.html

 

Why not just buy a bottle of Appleton Extra or 21? Same company.


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#22 Hassouni

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 02:14 PM

Why not just buy a bottle of Appleton Extra or 21? Same company.

 

I always have a bottle of the Extra on hand, and the 21 is too damn expensive. The post immediately before yours basically describes my issue - I'm wondering if, and hoping that, "cask conditioning" the overproof will keep the same in-your-face profile, independent of proof, of the white spirit, or if that's something that wood filters out.



#23 Kerry Beal

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 02:23 PM

To me it's all about playing with things to see what happens.  Doesn't have to work every time - sometimes the point is the journey rather than the destination!


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#24 Capn Jimbo

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 10:24 AM

Hass, I know this has been discussed to death over at The Rum Project (one of my very favorite sites, lol) - but once again.   There are three co-existing, general classes of what real time in wood accomplishes:

 

1.   additive:   the wood gives up certain components, eg vanillan or carmelized components from the toasting or charring, to the spirit.

 

2.  subtractive:   the wood removes certain components of the spirit.   This is facilitated by the charcoal layer as the spirit slowly passes through both into and out of the wood.

 

3.  Interactive:   any of the above components of either the spirit or wood may interact with other components, forming yet other new components, which themselves interact with others, ad infinitum.    To a much larger degree than the first two process categories, the interactive processes are chemical reactions that have little relationship to wood area, and can only occur over time.     Some of the earlier reactions form precursors which - over time - interact repeatedly to produce ever more complex compounds.

 

The number of variables is further confounded by different species of wood, differing preparation, different coopering techniques, grains, number of previous uses, prior contents, etc.    New wood or first fill can be dangerous as too much exposure can ruin the product.    Soon, the rum needs to be transferred to less active, older barrels to be able to be aged for very long periods (think of a 15 or 20 year old rum).    Reactions continue but at a more diminished, more subtle pace.     

 

Bottom line:  what aging can achieve is dramatic.    Honestly, if you told me that the same distillate used for the OP was used to create a significant blend element of the Appleton's, I'd believe it.    The entire line is clearly related, dunder based (real dunder, not the misinterpretations above), and pot-stilled;  they all share key profile aromas and tastes, but obviously differ in age, compexity and sophistication.   The Extra is fine; the 21 is designed for provide a handy exchange for large amounts of cash.

 

If I were you I'd quit the fruitless search for the answer you want,  either buy a micro-barrel or acceptable pieces of a used bourbon barrel, and try your hand at aging in a closed stainless container.   Oak chips can also work in a jug of W&N at about $25.      Go forth, taste it daily and give up when you've had enough fun.    Less chit chat, more chip chap....



#25 Capn Jimbo

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 11:44 AM

Last call for (aged) alcohol!

 

Quit fussing and buy a bag of Jack Daniel's wood chips sold for barbequing, or you can try places like Hillbilly Stills, who sells oak chips at varying stages of toasting:  light, medium, etc.    You're talking $5.   I'm done, you're it.   Try it, report it but fer gawd's sake enough chip chap...



#26 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 08:35 AM

I always have a bottle of the Extra on hand, and the 21 is too damn expensive. The post immediately before yours basically describes my issue - I'm wondering if, and hoping that, "cask conditioning" the overproof will keep the same in-your-face profile, independent of proof, of the white spirit, or if that's something that wood filters out.

 

So, I think Jimbo said it in much more words, but you cannot fake 7-10 years of aging. In any case the overproof is a very industrial spirit IMHO.


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#27 Kerry Beal

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:11 AM

You may not be able to fake 7-10 years of barrel aging - but you might still be able to produce something extremely palatable that retains the funk you want to retain.  Only one way to find out!

 

I think it's fair to say that my experiments above - while not producing Appleton 21 - still made a much smoother, oakier product than that with which I started.



#28 Hassouni

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:46 AM

You may not be able to fake 7-10 years of barrel aging - but you might still be able to produce something extremely palatable that retains the funk you want to retain.  Only one way to find out!

 

I think it's fair to say that my experiments above - while not producing Appleton 21 - still made a much smoother, oakier product than that with which I started.

 

That's good enough! I'll see what I can do



#29 Capn Jimbo

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 12:26 PM

So, I think Jimbo said it in much more words, but you cannot fake 7-10 years of aging. In any case the overproof is a very industrial spirit IMHO.

 

You're right insofar as faking "7-10 years".   At the same time W&N is not the least bit "industrial".    What is loosely called "industrial" rum is the typical output of those very large industial distilleries, where you'll find up to 5 huge, side-by-side column stills, often one feeding the next, with the result of capturing every bit of alcohol, produced close to 94%.   Very little flavor is left, and these industrial rums are then phonied up with all manner of unlabeled sugar, glycerol, flavorings and the like to be palatable.

 

In Jamaica it's quite the opposite.    The fermentation is dunder based and takes much longer, to develop the maximum number of esters possible.   You'd have to be nuts to go to all that trouble (creating a flavorful wash), only to strip out all those flavors by industrial processing.  They don't.   What they do is to use a combination of column and pot stills to retain a LOT of flavor.   The wash is distilled to significantly less alcohol, specifically to retain and maximize these flavors.    W&N is one of the world's great rums, and has earned multiple awards including a very hard to earn "5 stars" from Dave Broom.  who calls it "rounded, rich, and complex, with real substance, punchy but classy".  

 

In other words it is the exact opposite of the industrial swill that passes for rum.    Don't confuse this OP with industrial rum.   In truth, W&N is really quite low alcohol for an overproof.   Want a real industrial?  Try 151.


Edited by Capn Jimbo, 28 April 2014 - 12:29 PM.

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#30 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:18 PM

You're right insofar as faking "7-10 years".   At the same time W&N is not the least bit "industrial".    What is loosely called "industrial" rum is the typical output of those very large industial distilleries, where you'll find up to 5 huge, side-by-side column stills, often one feeding the next, with the result of capturing every bit of alcohol, produced close to 94%.   Very little flavor is left, and these industrial rums are then phonied up with all manner of unlabeled sugar, glycerol, flavorings and the like to be palatable.

 

 

Let me rephrase that. "Harsh and nasty." :) I just don't like the way it tastes. I'm not a big white rum fan, although I own several bottles of white agricole that I got as gifts from Ed Hamilton the last time I saw him in new york. I've made the occasional Ti Punch with them and have had many on St. Martin. :)

 

I've never been to Wray & Nephew's/Appleton's distilleries so I can't comment on their stills. Unfortunately that was something I missed out on during my last trip to Jamaica in 2001. Been a while.

 

I've been to the Bacardi distillery in Puerto Rico. You're definitely right this is rum production on a massive, industrial scale. For comparison I've also been to the Barrilito one, which is like comparing the earth to Jupiter in terms of production mass. That's a great rum.

 

I have a bottle of 151, and I use it specifically as an ignition source for Bananas Foster. :) 

 

BTW, I notice you live in Ft. Lauderdale. I live in Coral Springs. We should compare collections sometime.


Edited by Jason Perlow, 28 April 2014 - 01:22 PM.

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