Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Magic Aging Stick?


     Time and Oak is a Portland-based start up with a fanciful idea. Their one and only product is a stick.  Not just any stick but a laser-etched hunk of charred wood with maximal surface area that, when added to any whiskey, is supposed to enhance its flavor.   More specifically, it's designed to filter out hangover-causing methoxy-phenyl-oxime and acetaldehyde while making the whiskey age years in mere hours. In Time and Oak's own words, these little gadgets will "give you top shelf taste in 24 hours." They're called Whiskey Elements, and you can find them on Kickstarter.
 
Miami Club Rod
     This is a noble idea that I have seen in action at the Miami Club Distillery in Miami.   There they put the unaged rum into stainless steel vats and laid oak sticks that had been cut partial through to maximize the surface area and bombarded the vat with loud music to keep the rum moving around in the vat. 
 
Barrel Juice with Cubes
     I've got an interesting Bottle of Rum that I have created myself that produces a "palatable" 151 proof rum through the exposure of the rum to cubes of old rum barrels that have been soaked until they are saturated in a mixture of Rhine Wine and agave nectar.   There is a noticeable smoothing of the rum from what it is when it is poured from the bottle, but to call it a "fine aged rum" would be quite a stretch of the imagination. 
 
     The biggest problem that I see with this magic stick is not so much in the concept, but in the fact that there is so little alcohol present in an 80 proof (40%) for the oak to have any real effect.  Rum and most other spirits are aged at 130 to 160 proof and cut back to the desired 80 proof at the bottling plant.  The results that I get with my "Barrel Juice" I feel is mostly because there is a high percentage of alcohol in the mix.   I would be interested in experimenting with this "Magic Stick" in higher percentage spirits to see how much time that it takes to get any significant change in the finished product. I feel that there is not anything better than time spent in a barrel to truly finish a fine spirit.  ;o)