How would you like a glass of year-old bourbon? As in, the bourbon has been chemically aged for a scant year? And it’s supposed to be as good as premium, well-aged bourbon?
Cleveland Whiskey’s Tom Lix is promising just that: a glass of bourbon chemically aged in a week that tastes as good as top shelf bourbon.
Bourbon doesn’t actually have legal age requirement. This is surprising, given that they’re pretty strict with everything else: it needs at least 51% corn mash, must be aged in new, charred oak barrels, distilled to no more than 180 proof, and contain absolutely no additives. That said, most premium bourbon is aged. Maker’s Mark is aged between five and seven years, different varieties of Wild Turkey can be aged for six to twelve years, and Woodford Reserve ages for at least six.
Lix gets around the aging problem with pressure. He told Forbes that his bourbon ages normally for six months, then it gets poured into stainless steel tanks. The barrel gets chopped up and added, and the tank is sealed. Then the booze is agitated and goes through a whole series of pressure changes, forcing bourbon in and out of the pores of the wood.
So, does it taste any good? Cleveland Magazine says so, writing that the result is “very comparable to high end bourbon”, though it’ll sell considerably less.
Cleveland Whiskey is expanding, though not to Canada any time soon; so, it looks like a trip south of the border is in order.