Callington Mill Cooperage - Where “Oak Matters Most”

Article published at: Mar 4, 2024
Callington Mill Cooperage - Where “Oak Matters Most”
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We all know that single malt whisky is made from water, barley, yeast and then its matured in Oak - but oak doesn’t receive the acknowledgment it deserves in the whisky making process.

100% of the colour and up to 70-80% of the complex flavours comes from the Cask and from the previous wine or spirit that that Cask previously held.
Oak, predominately via the inside charring of the Cask, also filters & removes unpleasant and undesirable sulphur compounds during the maturation process.
But that’s not all - between 25% to 50% of the whisky is lost in evaporation during maturation - this is referred to as the “angel’s share.”
These combined “additive” & “subtractive” features of the maturation process dramatically influences the final character and composition of the whiskey.

That’s why we established our own Cooperage in 2016 - in order to have direct control over Callington Mill’s entire Oak regime.

We also have strategic alliances with Cooperages in Spain & Portugal; supplying premium American, European and French Oak Casks that previously held ex fortified wine - like Port from the Douro Valley wine region in Porto Portugal to Sherry from the renowned Sherry triangle region in Jerez de la Frontera Spain.

This ex fortified Oak regime is extremely costly - about 10 times more expensive than say ex bourbon casks. However, this Oak regime is the backbone of Callington Mill’s identity - providing character and flavour complexity that we are renowned for and endeavour to continuously evolve - a rich, tearing and viscous whisky - bursting with flavours of dark chocolate, raisins, figs, nuts, coffee, caramel, apricots and honey - ranging in colour from gold, amber to chestnut & deep mahogany.

A truely complex, elegant and full bodied whisky.

Why do we use 30 Litre casks?

Being a start up distillery & In order to have our whisky matured in 3-4 years; we adopted an initial maturation regime in 30 litre casks. The smaller cask allows for greater whisky to wood surface ratio & oak interaction - thereby accelerating the maturation process as compared with a much bigger cask. This however is a much more costly process again - about 13 times more costly per litre of whisky.

This cost is not sustainable in the long term - but we felt we needed to absorb this initial cost in order to have quality whisky available to market at an earlier time frame.

At Callington Mill we believe that in order to master the whisky making process - we need to Master the Oak process.

Therefore at Callington Mill we believe ‘Oak Matters Most.’