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Whiskey Barrel Shortage

A surge in the demand for bourbon has led to a shortage in whiskey barrels. Exports of bourbon were in excess of 1 billion, that’s right with a “B” billion in 2014. Bourbon production has increased more than 50% from 2010 to 2013. In three years the craft-distilling companies have doubled to about 600 distillers.

The housing market crash of 2007 led to a number of lumber mills closing, they rebounded in 2014 but the supply of white oak has not caught up with the demand for barrel makers (Coopers). High timber prices, the lack of loggers have added to the problem. There is no quick fix for the bourbon industry’s supply problem. Since the bourbon has to be aged, the available supply is whatever was put in oak barrels 10 years ago when demand was lower. Distillers want to put more into barrels now but the barrels remain hard to get.

At a craft spirit conference where there was a presentation on staves(the wooden strips that make up the side of the barrels) and bungs(the plug for the bung hole) and the room was overflowing. Not for the lecture but the hopes of where to find barrels. The shortage is currently getting better and with the current tariffs could help close that gap.

Remembering Dave Pickerell

He was nicknamed the “Johnny Appleseed of whiskey” from all his consulting work, direction in experimentation not only in the industry but also in his own work.  He explored the concept of terroir in American whiskey and barrel finishing.  Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that can affect a crop’s traits.  Also creating the first solera-aged whiskey which is process of aging liquids by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over time.  He has literally been all over the US from his 14 stint at Maker’s Mark where he was the vice president of operations and master distiller to be called upon to start a little whiskey company called Whistle Pig.  In Ancram, New York directed operations and production plus master distiller of Hillrock Estate Distillery. 

Not to mention being one of the master distillers to re-create George Washington’s recently found recipe for rye whiskey.  Unfortunately Dave Pickerell passed last year on November 1st in San Francisco at 62 years young.  It all started when he graduated from the University of Louisville as as a chemical engineer then on to working for a firm building distilleries, then working at one and becoming a master distiller. 

His last major project was for a little know band called Metallica to produce their blended straight whiskey Blackened.  To set this one apart, not only did he let it age in brandy barrels but also use sound waves to agitate and anger the spirit harnessed in those barrels.  Each barrel was blasted with each members very own playlist giving each one it’s own signature. The best thing besides the label on the bottle is says “remastered by Dave Pickerell”.  He has done so much and taught so many that is indelible mark will be missed.

Metallica makes a Whiskey and it’s called… Blackened

Crank up the volume and bang your head. Metallica has made their own whiskey with the help of master distiller Dave Pickerll. What do you get when you pair an award winning band with a master distiller…. you get BLACKENED. For those of you who don’t know, Dave Pickerell is widely known for his tenure at Maker’s Mark and made a name for himself at Whistle Pig. So why whiskey you ask, well as they tell it in the beginning they had no money to drink anything other than whitle-label beer and vodka. It wasn’t until they moved to L.A. to make ….And Justice for All album and the Black album that they were more exposed to whiskey and Jack Daniel’s. Whiskey is something they graduated to.

FORGED BY SOUND

What this means is during finishing the barrels are sonically enhanced by playing music causing it move and interact with the wood. The movement of he whiskey and the amount of interaction depends on the song being played. The variation creates a slight nuance from one batch to the next. How does it taste? Lars says “the taste is light, it’s assertive, it feels modern. It’s I guess, warm. I like mine chilled with a big ice cube.” Dave says to his palate it’s a “rich, full bodied whiskey with notes of dried fruit because of the brandy finish.” Believe it or not there is actually 6 different playlists for 6 different slight variations.

081

Selected and arranged by:
JAMES HETFIELD
LARS ULRICH
KIRK HAMMETT
ROBERT TRUJILLO

  1. EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
  2. CYANIDE
  3. I DISAPPEAR
  4. FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
  5. SAD BUT TRUE
  6. ONE
  7. THE OUTLAW TORN
  8. BROKEN, BEAT & SCARRED
  9. THE CALL OF KTULU
  10. THE THING THAT SHOULD NOT BE
  11. DREAM NO MORE
  12. THE FRAYED ENDS OF SANITY
  13. FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE
  14. ORION
  15. DISPOSABLE HEROES

Game of Thrones Scotch

Fans of “Game of Thrones” may have to wait until sometime in 2019 to see the final season of the wildly popular HBO fantasy series. But, in the meantime, they can drown their sorrows on some scotch whiskies.

The limited edition lineup is inspired by the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, where the saga takes place, and the prominent families in the TV series.

Liquor giant Diageo has a special Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky called The White Walker by Johnnie Walker (out Monday, $36) and a collection of single malt scotches, coming in November.

The White Walker, a blend from two single malt scotches from Cardhu and Clynelish distilleries in northern Scotland, is meant to be served cold. When put in a freezer, the iconic 750-milliliter bottle’s white and blue thermochromic ink will glow, a nod to the phosphorescent radiance emitted by the eyes of the show’s villainous white walkers.Z

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