Two Tonys Whiskey Batch 001

Seven months ago my son and I dumped two and a half bottles of George Dickel No. 1 Tennessee Whisky into a 2L charred oak barrel. We dubbed the experiment Two Tonys Distilling. You can read about the initial dump here.

Every month through the fall and winter we took samples from the barrel and recorded notes on the color and smell. As the winter months turned to spring, we moved the barrel from inside the house, where it had been stored, to our shed outside. This was about five weeks ago. The barrel remained fairly full up until that point except for the samples we kept for comparison.

Over the weekend I went into the shed to grab something and picked up the barrel to give it a shake to agitate the liquid. I was shocked by the amount of liquid, or lack thereof, in the barrel. I brought the barrel to the house and we poured some out, smelled it, and for the first time I tasted it. It smelled very good and tasted even better, a bit hot with a long lingering warmth.

Samples shown at 0, 2, 4 and 6 months
We dumped the contents of the barrel back into one of the original bottles. Including what remained of the samples we took, the final product wasn't enough to fill one bottle, meaning that about 60% was lost to evaporation, or what the industry refers to as the "angel's share." For me this was the most unexpected outcome. By most accounts whiskey evaporates at a rate of 2-5% per year in a standard 53 gallon barrel. I guess the angels really approved of Two Tonys Whiskey Batch 001.

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