Posted 24 January 2019
The interaction between spirit and cask is a complex system based on the extraction of molecules from the wood and their interaction with the distillate. Wood constituents migrate into the liquid, whilst other compounds both form and degrade over time. Levels of ethanol, wood lignins, volatile congeners, vanillins and oxygen to name but a few, all have their part to play in forming the final aroma and flavour profile of the resultant whisky. However, when you take all other things as being equal, the size of the cask and its relative surface area when compared to the distillate can also have a dramatic effect – the smaller the cask, the faster the exchange of compounds between spirit and wood.