The wooden cask– the ideal transport and storage container
The development of wooden casks for storing wine and other fermented liquids goes back to Ancient Rome. Due to its hardness and structure, oak wood is excellently suited as a raw material for wooden casks intended to store alcohol. But why oak? Oak is deemed to be a “pure” wood, and it does not show resin canals, which would produce unwanted aromas. The oak wood, which has been dried for a long time, is virtually revived by the thermal treatment during the cask production thus making a crucial contribution to the maturation and the final colour of the distillate. The porosity of the wood causes a slight but steady oxygen exchange. This process has the disadvantage that an annual two per cent of the contents of a cask get lost due to evaporation (the “angel’s share”). So the different components conjoin, and the distillate “matures” and becomes more harmonious
The “toasting” of the casks does not only generate vanilla and oak wood aromas, but also aromas of coconut, (toasted) almond, clove, cinnamon, honey, coffee, caramel, smoke, chocolate, and tannin. Thus, the wooden cask is more than a mere storage container – it crucially contributes to the aroma of the final product! Of course, the origin of the oak wood also is of great importance. An oak cask consists of two heads and the staves, which are convexly bent to give it the typical bellied shape. The staves are held together by metal hoops.