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Clarksville’s “Perfect Climate” for Aging Whiskey

September 29, 2015

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Whiskey is made all around the world, but like most everything, certain places simply do it better than others. The correlation between Tennessee and world famous whiskey is more than just name recognition. The science behind what makes great whiskey involves many variables, but there’s one key factor that sets our region apart from anywhere else in the world; the climate.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ALL 4 SEASONS

Clear spirits such as Vodka can be made absolutely anywhere, but whiskey and bourbon on the other hand are a little more particular about where they “grow up.” The barrel warehouses that scatter Tennessee and Kentucky’s landscape are not climate controlled … at all.  In fact, keeping barrels in a climate controlled environment would be detrimental to the aging process. Whiskey needs to interact with the barrel throughout the extremely wide variations in temperature that we experience here in Tennessee. During the Summer months, the pores of the wooden barrels expand and open up allowing the whiskey to soak into the wood. The opposite happens during the Winter when cold temperatures set in. These cold temperatures cause the barrels to contract and push the whiskey that’s been interacting with the wood all summer back out.

YEARS MEAN MORE THAN JUST TIME

A year’s worth of aging in Tennessee and Kentucky are worth much more than a year of aging anywhere else. A year of aging in our region equates to a full and evenly paced aging cycle. Simply put, the more cycles a barrel goes through, the better the product. Barrels of whiskey that grow up in colder climates take much longer to mature, because the time they spend in warm weather is disproportionate compared to the cold. On the other hand, barrels that grow up in strictly hot climates can grow up a little too fast. They can become “oaked” very quickly, but they often lack the required time element to smooth out the young spirit.

THE FUTURE OF OUR WHISKEY

Our initial whiskey release, White Hat Whiskey, is a two year “Straight Whiskey” product that will only be available in the distillery gift shop. Our Premium Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon are both 4 years from release. Sound like a long time? We thought so too … then we looked back on the last 4 years of our life. Time flies!