Kentucky Bourbon is America's only native spirit. Bourbon must be made in NEW white oak barrels. The many years spent aging in new barrels is why Kentucky Bourbon is the best whiskey in the world today. After the Bourbon is removed, the barrels are exported where they are REUSED to make Scotch, rum, and tequila. It is our pleasure to offer this valuable part of our Kentucky heritage to you.
|The Making Of A Barrel|
Our barrels are made from slow growth tight grain American white oak, hand crafted in Kentucky, USA
Oak barrels bring to mind images of tradition and quality. Made from American grown white oak and historically used for the storage and transportation of goods. Today barrels are made almost exclusively for the production of whiskey and fine wines. Barrels come in many sizes and qualities although the term barrel is conventionally used for a wooden container small enough to be moved. Kentucky Bourbon barrels are 53 gallons. The barrel is made up of staves shaped into a bulging cylinder, with hoops around it, a flat circular head at both ends, and at least one hole, generally on the belly, for a bung.
Staves: The trees selected for barrel staves must be straight and free of knots. Many of the chosen trees are more than 100 years old and cut during autumn or winter when the sap is low. They are seasoned by drying naturally in the open air from eighteen months to two years. The sun, wind, and rain will then help the wood mature. Staves are then trimmed into a double taper and set on their ends within an iron hoop where some cooperages may alternate narrow and wide staves around the hoop to build strength and structure. Next, a strong stave is chosen to be drilled for the bung hole. At this stage there are approximately 33 staves per barrel and looks like a skirt splayed out from the hoop at the top.
The Shaping of the Barrel:
Now a flame is shot into the barrels to char the wood.. To make the staves more flexible and to keep them from getting charred too quickly water is sprayed on the inside and outside. During this time the cooper will walk around the barrel knocking down temporary hoops to bend it into shape. Next the cooper wraps cables around the bottom of the barrel to cinch up the base and then places another temporary hoop to
bring the base together. The charred white oak is what gives the Kentucky Bourbon its amber color and adds to the wonderful aroma and taste.
The Head of the Barrel:
To make the head of the barrel, five or six head staves are fitted together with wooden dowels. The head is then cut to size and placed in a groove in the inside of the top and bottom of the barrel. A ball of dough (flour and water) can be
used as glue to set the head into the groove (called the croze).
After the heads of the barrels and the final metal hoops have been fitted, the barrel is sanded. Finally, the barrel is tested for leaks by putting water in it and pressurizing it with air. If there are any leaks, the stave may have to be replaced. Coopers will make sacrificial barrels at the beginning of the day, just in case parts of a new barrel need to be replaced. When the barrels pass final inspection they are shipped out to be filled with what will become a world famous Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.
As it was generations ago. Pride in quality handed down to us today. Our Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Barrels
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