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Friday, July 22 • 10:00am - 11:30am
The Life of One Barrel

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American Oak casks are the most used cask in maturation all over the world - Why? Barrels are crucial to spirit production when it involves maturation. It is extraordinary to think that one barrel can have influenced several vastly different spirits in its lifetime, and can also be in use for 50+ years. Barrels are usually discussed in plural form - and yet the journey of one single bourbon barrel is quite unique. Let’s follow the journey of an American Oak cask from its creation in Kentucky, the unique character that charring brings, and some of the laws that have shaped common practice. Meet Ger Buckley, the Master Cooper of Midleton Distillery, as he demonstrates the intricacies of hand making a timber container. A virgin cask at this point, we move on to the expertise of Don Livermore, Master Blender for Hiram Walker, as he discusses the scientific qualities maturation in virgin or refill casks bring. He is going to break down what is happening inside the cask and why a producer would choose to a cask at a certain point in its life. The symbiosis of barrel sharing based on geography, seasoning, and the wood constituents it gifts to the spirit inside is an ever changing dynamic relationship of wood and spirit. It would almost seems as though the cask would end its life there, but instead we follow it to Ireland where it will be used in Irish Whiskey production. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd fill use are employed at Midleton Distillery, and then we follow it to the next stop in the barrel journey: Rum. Alexandre Gabriel, President and Owner of Maison Ferrand will discuss the unique attributes continental and Caribbean aging has on rum production. Comparative brown spirits will be tasted to demonstrate the evolution of this cask’s life. At this point a barrel could be upwards of 15-20 years old, even older in many cases. Many of these casks are used until they fall to pieces, potentially having seen up to five spirits and a century of resting. Familiarizing oneself with the process one barrel can go through will bring deeper understanding to the importance of maturation. The journey is historical - a dialogue of *why* producers have chosen the barrels they have over the years, the laws that govern it, and spirit economies involved. This is a special perspective on the maturation process and how some spirits are unlikely connected.

avatar for Jessamine McLellan

Jessamine McLellan

National Brand Ambassador for Midleton Whiskeys, Pernod Ricard
With a passion for flavor and innovation, Jessamine currently serves as the National Brand Ambassador for the Powers & Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey portfolio at Pernod Ricard.  Her role as National Brand Ambassador is to educate and showcase this unique portfolio of Irish Whiskeys including Redbreast, the Spot Whiskeys, Powers, and Midleton throughout the US.  | | Jessamine’s nine-plus years of experience have taken her through some... Read More →

avatar for Ger Buckley

Ger Buckley

Master Cooper, Jameson
“It may be an inanimate object, yet it has a personality – you feel a bond with it – it’s a living, breathing organism.”  So says our Master Cooper Ger Buckley, a self confessed tool obsessive and a man whose knowledge of wood spans both his personal and professional lives. A true craftsman in the purist form of the word, Ger often describes himself as trapped in a history bubble. As a fifth-generation Midleton... Read More →
avatar for Ian Rum Ambassador Burrell

Ian Rum Ambassador Burrell

The Global Rum Ambassador, The Rum Experience Company
One of the most travelled figures within the drinks industry, Ian has redefined the perception of an international spirits ambassador. As the only global ambassador for the rum category, he has conducted masterclasses and seminars, sipped cocktails and judged competitions on no less than 7 continents around the world. He had even taken the time to break the Guinness World Record for the largest organised rum tasting & masterclass in 2014. His... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Don Livermore

Dr. Don Livermore

Master Blender, Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd
The Master Blender for one of North America's largest distilleries located in Windsor Ontario. Responsible for the following award winning whiskies: JP Wiser, Lot No 40, Pike Creek, Gooderham & Worts, and Hiram Walker. Don graduated from the University of Waterloo as a microbiologist and was hired by Hiram Walker to ensure the quality of the brewing side of the business. During his tenure at Hiram Walker he completed his Masters of Science... Read More →


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