Bite-sized learning on everything and anything relating to wood, casks and the maturation of spirits by Dr. Martin Purvis.
In times of shortage of barrels the focus can shift to the rejuvenation of older barrels to try and improve their quality.
During times of plenty and at low prices this doesn’t really make too much sense – if you can buy bourbon barrels at the price of moving barrels around Scotland and handling etc.
This process sees an older exhausted barrel have its ends removed – and then i subject to having its inner surface removed by various methods. Wire brush, planes, and various mechanical devices are all in use to remove the old exhausted char and upper toasted wood layer.
The effectiveness of this process is key to renewing the life of a spent barrel. It is important to get back to fresh wood which can then be heat treated again to invigorate the barrel. The pictures are ones I took in the Loch Lomond Distillery cooperage showing barrels being recharred for further use.
Capacity for this activity ebbs and flows based on demand from the industry but right now it is probably maxed out as distillers grapple with the supply chain challenges in the barrel market.
by Master of Wood and Barrel Expert Dr. Martin Purvis, at Smart Distillery Solutions, servicing clients such as Kelvin Cooperage.
Qualifications: BSc/PHD Geology, MSc Brew/Distilling, MBA Luxury Brand Marketing and Family Business
Background: Martin has worked for nearly 20 years across the spirit drinks industry in a variety of roles from Technical Support, Compliance, Food Safety, HMRC, Blending, Procurement of raw materials, Barrel Procurement, Maturation improvement, grain storage and merchanting, used and new barrel sales, customer relationship management, new business development.