...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Where's the whisky? And where are the rye barrels? Important questions.

It has recently come to my attention that I drink whisky. Like, ofttimes. On the reg. Et cetera. Since this blog went whisky — and especially since parenthood commenced — I have rarely gone more than two days without a pour. When healthy, I have not gone more than five days without a single drink since.......since.

As of today (Friday), it has been one week since I last consumed an alcoholic beverage. The reasons are threefold. Firstly, I had an awesome whiskey experience a week ago, something I intend to write about shortly, and the body needed a rest afterwards. Secondly, a giant turd of a winter dropped early this year, ushering compounding colds into my home. If I can't trust my nose, then I'm not wasting liver cells. Thirdly, I appreciated the challenge.

After a week away from the sauce have I become a new man, clear of mind, sharp of reflex, calm of temper? Not even remotely. But I did it. Hooray for me. Now I would appreciate a glass of whisky.

Luckily I had Wednesday's Ledaig review in the queue, so there was some sort of content here, because no drinking means no reviews. I mean, Randy Brandy could have posted a review but he's busy doing......doing......what does he actually do?

Speaking of mysteries, where are all the rye barrels? I mean all the rye barrels. Society will never hear the end of bourbon barrel this and bourbon barrel that. Bourbon barrel-aged wine, beer, tequila, rum, brandy, every whisky not made in America, hot sauce, feta cheese and husbands. But what has happened to all the former rye whiskey barrels?

I've seen a few microbreweries age ales in ex-rye barrels. Johnnie Walker did their short-lived rye barrel-finished blend. Glenmorangie did a thing. There's a quarter-cask rye barrel-finished Tamdhu floating around out there (thank you to Jordan for pointing that one out!). But where are the other 99% of rye barrels going?

Does anyone have a lead on this? Am I missing something? Also, for goodness' sake, why isn't rye barrel scotch a thing? It can be done.


  1. Good questions Michael!
    If I had any data, I'd give you. But I don't, so what you get instead is math:
    - Compared to bourbon, there's a lot less rye - probably 1:25 - 1:100?
    - The guys who make probably 90% of the rye on the market, MGPi, don't own any Scotch distilleries.
    - MGPi doesn't need to sell their rye barrels, since they have plenty of non-bourbon, non-rye whiskey to age in them.
    - All this will change once Diageo or Pernod or Suntory or Constellation buys them!
    Now, if we got some facts/data, wouldn't that be nice!

    1. Per one of my comments last night on the dreaded Social Media:
      "Looks like rye is now doing 1+ million cases annually, so that’s 60000-80000 emptied barrels if my maths be right. That’s teeny compared to bourbon but still I’m surprised there hasn’t been more rye barrel products, especially since its sales have jumped 10x in 10 years."

    2. Good point re: MGP, though perhaps that would be an additional revenue stream. I mean who doesn't want an MGP cask. I want an MGP cask! If rye is included that would be preferred. If there's no rye, that's okay. I need a place to sleep when I get myself in trouble.

  2. Don't rum and tequila makers age in ex-bourbon too? I'm probably wrong. I'm wrong about most things and why change now?

    1. Yep, that's buried in my word salad above. Everyone wants the sweet sweet bourbon cask action.

  3. The other alternative is that Scotland wasn’t all that bothered about segmenting these casks by previous contents: they came from America, therefore they all were treated as ex-Bourbon barrels. (Let’s not forget that ex-Jack Daniels casks are called ex-Bourbon.) If a few rye barrels were filled along with genuine ex-Bourbons, with a massive vat waiting to homogenise the mature contents it really isn’t worth the hassle of paying attention on cask delivery day, working out from the barrel stencils what mashbill a given distillery name equates to.
    Now that there might be some leverage in identifying a rye cask finish, however, they’re making a bigger deal of it.
    Just a hunch.