HOW THE BARREL AFFECTS WHISKEY. Not surprisingly, some of the effect of a barrel on the whiskey inside it occurs because the alcohol gradually dissolves some elements in the wood. However, heat and cold also increase the effect of the barrel on the whiskey. Curtis says: “During the summer, heat increases pressure inside a barrel, and some liquor pushes itself through the char in the barrel’s wooden pores, enabling the carbon to filter out impurities”. The opposite happens in the winter. The same effect happens with the heat of the day and the coolness of the night. It is thought that aging for a year in warm Kentucky is the equivalent of three or four years of aging in cool Scotland. Curtis describes some of the experimenting that distillers are doing to determine the effects of different woods—testing “growth rings per inch, soil quality, and whether the oak grew on a north-or south-facing hillside.” Some think that wood from the top half of a tree has a different effect than wood from the bottom half of a tree.

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  1. My mother and grandmother used to make homemade moscatel wine.
    One year they got barrels that had been used to make whiskey.
    It was a strong batch of wine, let me tell you. My father said,
    “This is dynamite. I can’t drink a whole glass of this.”
    The ladies loved it.

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