Whisky maturation in Scotland
Once the distillation has been carried out, the oak casks are filled and placed in the cellar.
Behind heavy doors, the whisky matures very slowly in order to become thoroughly Scottish.
To achieve a successful maturation process, the moisture level and room temperature are closely monitored.
For at least three years, the calm of the cellar is only disturbed by the passing of the seasons. Autumn, winter, spring, summer to reach perfection. The keyword is balance inside the cellar.
The Scottish environment is however able to express itself to the full. The oak barrels have a certain porosity. They allow the “angels’ share” to evaporate, a natural phenomenon which is essential in order to reach maturity.
This capacity to let the air seep into it allows Scotch whisky to be immersed in Scotland. This is also why whiskies matured by the sea have a naturally salty taste.
Throughout the maturation process, the whisky produces some beautiful golden colours. Inside the cellar, in each and every oak cask, dozens of very subtle aromas are developed.
The barrel, a concentration of aromas for whisky
To be considered as Scotch, whisky must be matured in oak barrels. This stage is a decisive factor.
Through contact with the wood, the freshly distilled nectar is transformed into whisky. The spirit acquires its golden colour and develops its aromas.
In Scotland, most barrels are reused casks. Many come from America, where its wood has already created the flavours of Bourbon.
Scotch whisky keeps many a memory from this previous occupant. The white oak with traces of bourbon produces subtle aromas of vanilla, ginger or caramel.
Old casks from Porto, barrels used for sherry or French wine, as well as barrels from all over the world bring their own touch to Scotch whisky.
To drink an authentic Scotch whisky, Scotch-lovers must then wait several years.
Scotland works hard, in the silence of its cellars, to produce a whisky which will bear the hallmarks of its identity.
Whisky and the angels’ share
Wind-swept heather, granite rocks which come up to surface : one can easily imagine kindly spirits inhabiting the Scottish lands. Amongst these gothic landscapes, the spirits undergo a subtle yet very real alchemy.
Listen carefully: in the Scottish cellars, there are angels. People say that they take their share. This poetic expression, “the angels’ share”, is used to describe a natural evaporation phenomenon.
This takes place throughout the entire maturation period. 1 to 2% of whisky escapes from the oak casks every year, it has been estimated.
Thanks to this small amount given back to nature, whisky acquires the roundness that we know.
The evaporation of whisky is strongly influenced by the moisture levels present in the cellars. A perfect balance between humidity and dryness is needed, so that the Scotch whisky can be slowly matured.
Scotch whisky is born as time goes by.