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HEADS & TAILS: “SMOKE AND BARRELS” EDITION

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WHY SMOKE THE COCKTAIL WHEN YOU CAN SMOKE THE BARREL?

BOURBON & BANTER'S VIEW >> You may not know that many distillers come to Independent Stave with their whiskey wishes—often before making a drop of liquor—to craft their desired end flavors by starting with the barrel and working backward. Just more proof of how influential barrels are on whiskies.

That’s part of the logic being applied to Independent Stave Co.’s new line of Smoked Barrels.

According to a news release, the world’s largest cooperage saw the increased popularity for spirits with “smokey” character and decided to develop a barrel offering smoke characteristics not achievable using traditional toasting or charring methods. ISC’s proprietary “cold smoking” barrel technology ensures flame, heat and smoking material never contact the barrel.

The new line includes Maple, Apple, Hickory and Peat options. Two peat smoked barrels will be offered: Sweet Peat and Traditional Peat.

Customers will also be able to provide their own smoking material given that it fits the company's specifications.

“We often get requests from customers asking us to construct barrels made from their locally sourced wood. Often that we can’t meet these requests due to our manufacturing standards and physiology of the wood in question,” said Andrew Wiehebrink, Independent Stave Company director of spirit research and innovation. “Now, with our smoking process utilizing wood chips and other organic material, we can give our customers an avenue to integrate local materials into their products.”

Curious about this process? Click here to read more.

DIAGEO TO SPEND $192 MILLION BUILDING CARBON-NEUTRAL CROWN ROYAL DISTILLERY

Diageo announced plans to build a $192 million carbon-neutral distillery for Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. According to a news release, the distillery and warehouses will occupy 400 acres in Ontario’s St. Clair Township (one of North America’s most notorious booze-shipping ports during Prohibition). The distillery will have an annual output capacity of 10.5 million proof gallons.

Diageo constructed and opened a carbon-neutral distillery for its Bulleit Whiskey brand in Lebanon, Ky., in 2021. Check out this video to get a glimpse of it.

“A low-carbon world is essential for a sustainable future, so I am thrilled to announce our first carbon neutral distillery in Canada as we continue to build momentum in our journey to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,” said Perry Jones, president, North America Supply for Diageo. “We celebrate such a significant milestone for our Crown Royal brand, our North American operations and global footprint.”

BOURBON & BANTER'S VIEW >> Good on Diageo to build these environmentally beneficial distilleries. Whiskey making is energy intense, and every step taken toward reducing energy consumption makes for a healthier planet. We’re all for it.

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SOME NOTABLE MARCH WHISKEY RELEASES

Michter’s US*1 Barrel Strength Rye: A popular product that’s always released in limited supply, bottles of this single-barrel whiskey will average 111.6 proof, according to a news release. SRP for this is $100, but good luck finding one at that price, if at all.

Stranahan’s Diamond Peak Single Malt Bushmills Irish Cask Finish: Stranahan’s rolls out another entry into the American Single Malt category: Diamond Peak. According to a news release, this year’s bottling of its all malted barley whiskey was aged in American oak barrels for two to seven years before being transferred to Bushmills Irish single malt whiskey casks for up to four additional years. Bottled at 90 proof (45% ABV) Diamond Peak’s SRP is $79.99.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Coomes is editor of BourbonBanter.com. A Louisville restaurant industry veteran turned award-winning food writer, he has edited and written for dozens of national trade and consumer publications including Pizza Today, Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living over his 31-year journalism career. As a spirits writer, Steve's work can be found in Bourbon Plus, Bourbon Review, Bourbon & Banter, WhiskeyWash.com and other publications. In 2014, he authored the book, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and has authored other titles as a private ghostwriter.
Read Steve's full profile.

About the Author

Steve Coomes

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Steve Coomes is editor of BourbonBanter.com. A Louisville restaurant industry veteran turned award-winning food writer, he has edited and written for dozens of national trade and consumer publications including Pizza Today, Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living over his 31-year journalism career. As a spirits writer, Steve's work can be found in Bourbon Plus, Bourbon Review, Bourbon & Banter, WhiskeyWash.com and other publications. In 2014, he authored the book, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and has authored other titles as a private ghostwriter. Read Steve's full profile.