Toasting or Charring Barrels?
Toasted barrels are heated gently, resulting in a dark brown toast. This adds more vanilla flavour to the resting produce, as well as spicy accents. Because the wood hasn’t been burned, the sugars haven’t had time to caramelize, making the distilled beverage a bit sharper on the tongue. If one is looking to make a strong, spicy drink, then a toasted barrel is the way to go.
Charred barrels are burned to a crisp, the interiors are black resulting in a much darker colour for the final product. Because the wood sugars are caramelized when heavily burned, charred wood passes on sweeter flavours like honey and caramel. Barrel-aging in charred barrels results in a smoother, mellower flavour as the carbon in the ash acts as a filter for the harsher elements of the liquor.
The higher the char number, the higher level of flavour and the more colourful the end product will be. All the new American white oak barrels that we stock, are charred or toasted to customer specifications. Which method is better, comes down to personal preference.