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04 September 2006

Whence the Wood?

Sherrybutts_1_1 As far as I know the casks used by Sherry producers, to create Sherry; that are then later used in Scotch aging, are made from American oak.  However, there appears to be some talk from the Scotch producers that Sherry casks are made from Spanish oak.  This would be news to me.

Do any Spanish/Sherry-savvy folks know if there are indeed some Sherry producers who use casks made from Spanish oak?  Or have Scotch producers simply conflated "used Sherry cask from Spain" to "Spanish oak cask"?

Perhaps the blogosphere's Spanish wine expert might know...Ryan?

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Ryan Opaz

There is limited use of Porutugese and Spanish oak in the Iberian pennisula, but I wuoldn't say that these wineries are using it in any large quantity. Infact when I visit them older French and American barrels are what I find. In la Cigarrera the barrels need to be I believe 100 yrs old and American oak before they even use them. Makes for replacement of barrels a bit of a chore! So the answer is maybe some, but not very many, barrel production in Iberia is VERY limited.

Kevin Erskine

Hey Beau,
I just posted a response from The Macallan - the largest user of ex-sherry casks.

While this explains The Macallan use of casks constructed from Quercus Robur, it doesn't address other distillers assertions that Quercus Robur from Spain is used extensively.

Once Scotch Industry guy, who shall remain nameless called the purported use of Spanish Oak, marketing BS.

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