Cask Strength Era

Our lives in Manhattan are beginning to saturate as our existence slowly becomes exclusively alcohol oriented.  I hope that doesn’t scare any of the readers of this blog as I know there are some parents and other onlookers who may be concerned with the state of our kidneys and soundness of our could be intoxicated decisions, but fear not responsible readers!  Shannon and I have actually found that while working within the ethanol industry and being as busy as we are we seem to drink more frequently, but substantially less.  Being exhausted by constant work, school, adventure… etc, we seem to find ourselves indulging in a single beer or two a night, or simply a glass of wine or two… occasionally 8.  Amazingly the imbibing that we take part in is more than likely either education or extremely limited.  With my job at the distillery and Shannon’s job at Death & Co, not too mention my dad’s home brewery, Dan’s wine lust, and much much more, I have decided to declare this era of the blog The wandering Willey: Cask Strength Edition.

Cask strength (also known as barrel proof) is a term used in whisky-making to describe the strength of whisky in the cask during maturation. This strong whisky is not the whisky that is usually bottled, as at cask strength the whisky isn’t as drinkable. Most bottled whisky is normally diluted with spring water to bring its strength (ABV) down to a level that makes it more palatable, usually about 40% ABV. This dilution is said to bring out the various flavours of the whisky; this is why distillers may dilute different whiskies to different concentrations.  – Wikipedia

While that is not far from the truth, it is a little skewed, because cask strength whiskey is very much drinkable, and in most cases quite enjoyable.  Like a cask strength whiskey this blog will be the undiluted straight from the barrel account of our (Shan and I) journey through this very cult-ish, history soaked, and mostly inebriated industry.  Ultimately I would love to look back on this from the vantage point of  the deck at my brewery/distillery sipping on a great beer with friends and reminiscing about where it all began.  Until than feel free to laugh, maybe cry a little, at the foibles and follies we will encounter and hopefully overcome.

This week coming up marks a big step for me in creating a liquor for retail.  After ordering in some peated malted barley from the UK alongside a 50 lb bag of rye, I am going to sit down with Colin at the distillery and craft up a recipe for either a single malt or attempt to create a rye/malt blend.  I have visions of creating a spicy rye whiskey that carried a little heat to it, but would be rounded and balanced by cutting in a small percentage of smoky and peaty barley.  Now since I have put the cart before the horse let me say that I have no idea how to accomplish this as of yet.  I simply have the grains.  So this will be the first test of if I can translate what I want to happen into reality.  Worst/best part: waiting 8-9 months to find out the results.

Cheers, readers as we kick off a new era for us here in New York.



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