Friday, June 29, 2018

Why Distilleries Are Using Reggae to Musically Mature Their Spirits

     Distilleries in the US are using reggae, hip-hop and blues to soothe their spirits and enhance the natural barrel-ageing process to create “musically matured” whiskies, Bourbons and rums.  Different musical genres are believed to influence the maturation process differently, creating varying degrees of interaction between the liquid and wood. Credit: Dark Island.    Among the distilleries to have taken up the practice is Copper Kings in Louisville, Kentucky, which produces American craft brandy. It plays music through a set of subwoofers into its barrel room, which the team believes alters the evolution of a spirits in barrel
     While it might seem fanciful, the science behind it does hold some weight, and it makes sense that increased vibrations within a barrel could alter the ageing process.  Explaining the concept of “sonic ageing”, the team states: “We have five major sub-woofers in our basement maturation cellar. The principle of Sonic Aging (maturation) is not vibration but pulsation. We pulse (a bass note in particular) music through the cellar.

     “The alcohol molecule being less dense than a water molecule starts to move away from the pulse and collide with other alcohol molecules inside the barrels which eventually collide with the barrel wall, they slide up the wall, which starts to create a ‘distillate wave’ inside the barrel resulting in increased frequency of contact over time between the distillate with the barrel walls and in our opinion enhances maturation. And at the very least, happy brandy makes for happy drinking.”

      Similarly, Dark Island in New York also musically mature their spirits, believing that the vibrations encourage greater interaction between the liquid and the barrel.  Explaining their reasoning, the team points toward the whiskies and rums of the 1700s, which it says historians agree to be among the best ever produced.  The common factor it says was that such expressions were transported by wagon train or in the hull of a ship over a period of three to five months, with the liquid constantly moving throughout that time.

     Some years ago in Miami, I visited the Miami Club Distillery, they were placing their rum in large
stainless steel vats with pieces of American oak with slits cut all the way around and playing reggae music loudly outside of the vats causing the sound waves to move the rum through the wooden slats.

     “Consumers found that these transported spirits had much more depth of flavor and smoothness compared to the products that were statically aged,” states Dark Island. “With this knowledge, we set forth to develop a technology to move our spirits.”