At Annandale Distillery one of our routes to flavour diversity is through aging our spirit in different types of ex-bourbon barrels: ‘Fresh’ ex-bourbon barrels will have previously held bourbon, and nothing else, and are bursting with flavours that transfer readily into the spirit along with residual amounts of bourbon. ‘Refill’ ex-bourbon barrels will have held bourbon in the first place, followed by another whisky (usually Scotch Whisky). However, at Annandale we prefer to second-fill with an American whiskey called Early Times. This is because the oak character is much less dominant and allows the true character of our distillery to shine through.
Refill whisky casks, previously seasoned with Scotch whisky, offer subtlety in maturation. Their seasoned oak imparts a mellow influence, letting the spirit’s inherent character shine through. This process creates nuanced, delicate flavours in the final whisky.
The maturation time in refill whisky casks varies, but often extends beyond a decade due to several maturations being impressed into the oak. Extended aging allows the spirit to interact gently with the seasoned wood, resulting in a well-balanced, complex whisky with subtle, matured flavours.