A LOCKED ROOM—OR SEALED BARREL— MYSTERY. In this article in the Atlantic, Wayne Curtis writes about the possible importance of barrels to the quality of bourbon. He asked about a dozen people in the bourbon industry how much of the flavor of bourbon comes from the barrel. Most gave an estimate of 60% to 70%, with one estimate at 80%. He begins his article about the importance of barrels to the taste of bourbons by telling a story about the time in 2006 when a tornado struck the Buffalo Trace Distillery. The repairs took months, during which the barrels on the upper floors were exposed to rain and temperature changes. Surprisingly, when those barrels were opened five years later, the whiskey in those barrels tasted “REALLY good”.
How could whiskey which is locked up in a barrel be affected by the barrel or by outside influences such as wind and rain?