Angels to lose their American share

I was fascinated that there is an American startup called Bespoken Spirits that aims to “to precisely tailor spirits for aroma, color, and taste in just days.

This relies on analysing the oak flavours required to flavour the spirit and thus compress the normal ageing process – and hence also the angels’ share – from years to days.

I wonder if this will be part of the US trade agreement, which has been ‘imminent’ for a year or two now?

Scotch Whisky has a requirement to be aged for a minimum of three years anyway – so the Scottish angels will still be getting their share. Unless that is, that US trade agreement forces a change… Interestingly American oak, which naturally enough Bourbon uses, is a quicker growing oak than its European cousin and has a broader more open grain and a brasher flavour. European oak is slower growing and with much tighter grain and tends to impart a much more subtle flavour.

Scotch whisky also has a more or less invariable preference for second hand casks – classically sherry casks which are mostly made from American oak but the flavours have been ‘subdued’ by being used to age sherry for a few years. This process is usually also considered to provide an additional dimension to the flavour of the whisky. When this is combined with being matured on a damp offshore island, which when compared to ageing, landlocked on a warm continent, is of itself going to slow everything down this means it would, I suspect, be a lot more difficult for Bespoken Spirits to analyse….

Unsurprisingly, the Scotch whisky association were rather dismissive of the whole idea.

It is always possible, mind you, that current Brexit negotiator and former Chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association, David Frost, might shortly be assimilating other ideas.