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This unusual bourbon is finished in rosé wine casks

This unusual whiskey from Penelope Bourbon is finished in rosé wine casks

Penelope Bourbon

One of the key steps in creating any kind of whiskey is the aging process, where a freshly distilled spirit is put into wooden casks or barrels and left there to age for a period of years — up to 30 years or more in the case of some high-end whiskeys. As the spirit spends time pressed up next to the wood, it absorbs some of the flavors, which mellows out its taste and adds notes like vanilla and oak. The process also turns the spirit from clear to brown, giving a richness in color, too.

Traditionally, you’ll find many whiskeys aged in oak barrels. These can have previously held a different drink, so, for example, you might get a whiskey aged in a barrel that previously held sherry, or rum, or port. The wood will have picked up flavors from the spirit that it previously held, so some of these notes will be transferred to the whiskey as well. One very popular combination is using bourbon casks to age scotch whisky, adding sweet and fruity notes.

As for bourbon itself, that is traditionally aged in new oak casks, meaning ones that have never held a spirit before. In fact, it’s a legal requirement in the U.S. for bourbons to be aged in new oak. However, there is some leeway for using pre-used casks in the production of bourbon thanks to the finishing process. This involves a final step after aging, where the bourbon is placed into a cask for several months to pick up a final round of flavors.

That’s what is being done with an unusual new bourbon from Penelope Bourbon. The brand is debuting its Penelope Rosé Cask Finish (Batch 8), available now. It is aged in Grenache rosé wine casks from the Southern Rhône region of France to add those fruity, strawberry and cream notes that you know from rosé.

“Finishing our signature Four Grain bourbon in hand-selected rosé casks from Southern France creates a distinctive flavor alliance,” said Daniel Polise, founder and master blender of Penelope Bourbon. “I think consumers will appreciate the elegant and memorable look and taste of Rosé Cask Finish.”

Georgina Torbet
Georgina Torbet is a cocktail enthusiast based in Berlin, with an ever-growing gin collection and a love for trying out new…
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