Cask Finished Spirits Boost the Market
Beginning in the early 2000s, whisky producers began to explore different flavor profiles that would attract new customer segments. The plan worked, and a variety of new flavors caught the attention of old whisky drinkers and helped to recruit new drinkers to the community. Whisky lovers seemed to enjoy experiencing whiskies of different ages with additional flavor enhancements.
Cask finishing is simply adding a different cask to the maturation process that will add a new layer of flavor to the final product. Traditionally, whiskies are matured in used Bourbon casks, but finishing allows for the use of additional casks including toasted barrels and virgin oak. A Few distilleries have even started to play with more innovative casks, such as Burgundy red wine casks, Pedro Ximénez casks, and even Sauternes barrels, which add sweet elements to the whisky base.
Cask finishing is always evolving and now we are seeing used spirit casks applied for finishing as well. Currently in the market there are Rums finished in Cognac barrels, Tequilas finished in Rum barrels, Bourbons finished in Armagnac casks and Gins finished in Whisky casks. Some are even going so far as to employ used Whisky casks to finish Sake. Cask finishing seems to open a lot of doors for spirits lovers so, pay attention, you never know what you’ll taste next!