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Did You Know? US Whisky Does Not Have To Be Matured In Casks

by Oliver Klimek on August 25, 2012

Apart from getting drowned in free whisky and travelling from festival to festival, one of the lesser known pleasures of a whisky blogger who takes his thing seriously is diving into the legalese of whisky laws and regulations.

Sometimes a tiny little word or phrase manages to catch your attention only after the second or third time you read through those carefully worded masterpieces of whisky literature. In the US whisky regulations I recently stumbled upon the term oak container.

‘‘Whisky’’ is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored)

American whisky has to be aged in an oak container. Yes, you read right. No mention of casks or barrels, only the very generic word ‘container’. Of course casks are the logical containers for whisky and have proven to yield great results. But if your are feeling adventurous, you could also mature your whisky in a jug, jar, box or even in an old pirate chest, if you manage to seal it tightly.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

atanas August 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Hi Oliver,
Unless this is not the exact and full sentence – I understand it as: American whisky should have the attributed associated with with whisky that has been stored in oak containers.
That is even worse.

Reply

Michael Rozelle October 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Oliver,
What got my attention was the phrase “except that corn whisky need not be so stored”. I take that to mean pure corn whisky could be stored in a tin can or milk carton . . .

Reply

Oliver Klimek October 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm

It can be sold as whisky straight from the still.

Reply

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