Review #55: /u/zSolaris’ Barrel Aged Infinity Bottle
ABV: Who knows?
Age: Aged between 0-15 days
Price: Let’s not talk about this…
No, you aren’t reading that wrong. This is a review of my infinity bottle that I have aged in a small, 1L oak barrel.
For those who are not familiar with what an infinity (or solera) bottle is, it’s a bottle where you blend the last drops of your bottles together. The idea is that as you add things/drink things to it, the flavor changes each time. In my case, I’ve been building this bottle up for about two years and got to around 1L of it before starting this experiment.
Now is this really scotch? I’m fairly certain that I only put scotches into this bottle—which would meet the definition of a blended scotch whisky—but since I did not take particularly good notes, there is a chance there are a few non-scotch whiskies in here (in particular, I can’t remember if I put any Nikka Coffey Malt or Kavalan Original into this or not). I do know that I did not put any bourbon/American whiskies in here.
So what makes up what went into the barrel? Again, I didn’t take the greatest of notes but I’ve listed what I think I put in it below. I didn’t measure anything out but usually I would pour in the last “finger” or so of a bottle into my infinity bottle.
- Glenmorangie 10 – This was the base of the bottle, I think I put in around 200 mL of this in when I first started
- Macallan Gold
- Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year
- Macallan Double Cask 12 Year
- Kirkland 27 Year Blended Scotch
- Kirkland 18 Year Speyside
- Kirkland 20 Year Speyside
- Oban The Distiller’s Edition (2017)
- Oban 14 Year
- Oban Little Bay
- Glendronach 12 Year
- Great King St by Compass Box – Artist’s Blend
- Clynelish 14 Year
- Glenfarclas 10 Year
- Glenfarclas 12 Year
- Aberlour 12 Year Non Chill-Filtered
- Aberlour 12 Year Double Cask Matured
- Aberlour A’bundh (Batch 56, I believe)
- Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year
- Bunnahabhain 12 Year
- Dalwhinnie 15 Year – There should also be around 200 mL of this in since I used it to top off my “1L” barrel (which was closer to 1.25L in capacity).
For the aging process, I started off with an 1L charred oak barrel I got from Amazon for $45. After I let it seal up with water, I filled it up with sherry and let it set for about 3 weeks (with some routine top offs for sherry loss). Once the sherry had set in, I poured it out and put in the contents of my infinity bottle. As I noted, the “1L” barrel was actually a little bit bigger so I did end up topping it off with some Dalwhinnie 15.
Why sherry? Well, I really wanted to see if I could make my own miniature sherry bomb. Many of the whiskies that make up this blend have already been aged or finished in sherry casks so I wanted to really accentuate that flavor.
After reading some suggestions from other users that have done some home cask aging and online, it seemed like 1-2 weeks was the optimal time for a barrel this size. I kept a 30mL sample of the original blend and poured out additional samples on the 9th, 11th, and 13th day of aging and bottled the entire thing after 15 days. All of the samples were tasted together afterwards.
Color: Range of Colors. I was really surprised how fast this blend went from it’s original 0.3, Pale Gold to the lovely 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry. Because of the lighting, it might be a little hard to see but by day 9, it was that lovely sherry color. Day 15 is actually slightly darker than Day 9 at 1.3, Russet/Muscat
- Original: A bit of honey but a lot of that unpleasant rubbing alcohol smell.
- Day 9: Sherry and lots of it! There are some oranges in here as well. This would have been the nose I was after.
- Day 11: A little less sherry, a little bit of the rubbing alcohol coming back, some citrus peel.
- Day 13: Really prickly, even less sherry and a little more rubbing alcohol. No citrus.
- Final (Day 15): Same amount of sherry as the 11 year old with some of the citrus peel back as well.
- Original: Honey and vanilla. It’s incredibly hot but otherwise easy to drink. Incredibly boring.
- Day 9: Mouthfeel has thinned out a bit, there’s a lot of creamy sherry goodness along with some honey and vanilla.
- Day 11: Mouthfeel has thickened a lot, there’s a syrup-y sherry flavor (almost as if you aged maple syrup in sherry casks?), along with some honey, extremely wet oak, some raw nuts. It feels like there should be more depth of flavor here but there isn’t.
- Day 13: Mouthfeel is thin again, it’s incredibly hot, and there is no flavor. I might as well be drinking cheap vodka. Utter waste.
- Final (Day 15): Mouthfeel somewhere between Day 9 and Day 11. Sherry pops up again but not quite as nice as Day 9. Vanilla, honey, a hint of raisins, and some raw nuts accompany it.
- Original: Vanishes in a second but a bit of spice lingers.
- Day 9: Still pretty short, there’s a tad bit of sawdust mixed with some orange peels.
- Day 11: Vanishes, nothing in it.
- Day 13: Vanishes, nothing in it.
- Final (Day 15): Vanishes, nothing in it.
Conclusion: So this was a fun experiment. It was interesting to see how much can change in a day or two. I will note that the barrel was sitting under one of our under-cabinet lights in the kitchen. The first 9 days of this aging, we were away on vacation so the light was off. Afterwards, this barrel would have been sitting directly under the light getting a bit of heat from it—perhaps that explains why Day 13 came out so different? I am a bit sad that I didn’t taste this on Day 9 when I pulled the sample, I really should have stopped then as I had achieved (or at least gotten close to) the flavor palate that I was looking for. Would I do this again? I currently have some soju aging in in this barrel now, maybe I’ll try something else after that.
- Original: 67
- Day 9: 74
- Day 11: 70
- Day 13: 59
- Day 15: 72
Scotch whisky review #55, Blended Scotch whisky review #5, Whisky Network Review #73
- 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
- 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
- 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection.
- 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
- 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
- 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
- 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
- Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.