Successful distillation of whiskey in the laboratory

Experts find a way to distill the wine in a short time instead of having to age for many years in traditional oak barrels.

Picture 1 of Successful distillation of whiskey in the laboratory
A sample of Bespoken Spirits whiskey in the process of removing certain chemical compounds at a laboratory in California on December 7.

In a small laboratory in Silicon Valley, California, the specialists of Bespoken Spirits are producing whiskey. However, in the room there were no oak barrels stacked from floor to ceiling, not even nearly wooden furniture. Instead, they use syringes, cups and lab jars to find more sustainable ways to distill whiskey.

Whiskey is usually aged in oak casks for 5 years, some even 30 years or more. However, Bespoken Spirits uses new technology to extract key elements of oak casks that enhance aromas, colors and flavors in a short time.

The wine is kept in metal barrels for about 3-5 days. New technology accelerates oxidation, thus changing the flavor of whiskey with just a little finger-sized piece of oak. Specifically, experts char oak wood in the laboratory and then cut it into small pieces that are only about 1/25,000 of the size of traditional barrels. According to materials scientist Martin Janousek, co-founder of Bespoken Spirits, this helps them reduce wood use by up to 97%.

By decommissioning oak casks, Bespoken Spirits is able to avoid tree felling, while reducing the cost of cask storage for many years. "Consumers today tend to care about factors like climate change," Stu Aaron, co-founder of Bespoken Spirits, told Reuters on December 9.

Due to the short aging time, the wine does not lose its liquid through evaporation, which reduces water use by about 20%, according to Aaron. In addition, new technology allows professionals to customize different flavors for whiskey.