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Whiskey Aging Sticks: What Are They? (2024 Updated)

Whiskey Aging Sticks

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Lydia Martin

For serious whiskey fans, you probably heard of or used whiskey aging sticks.

But for beginners, you might be confused about what this is. 

If you are curious and want to know more about these aging sticks, keep scrolling as we detail what it’s for, how to use them, and what to expect with whiskey aging sticks. 

What Are Whiskey Aging Sticks?

Man Holding Whiskey Stick

Following the Bourbon Boom, there was a wide range of products created for home aging.

Also, the term “whiskey stick” refers to the colored alcohol that gives the vial a contrast. 

A whiskey stick is a type of glass vial that has alcohol in it to prevent it from freezing or condensation. 

Many of these were made from oak sticks with various textured surfaces, and some were made from miniature barrels.

How To Use Whiskey Aging Sticks 

Man Holding Mason Jar and Aging Sticks

1. Drop A Stick In The Whiskey 

In your whiskey, drop the stick to let it soak in the alcohol for a period of time. 

2. Decide How Long You Want It Soaked

Determine how long you want the aging stick to be soaked in the alcohol. All you need to do is wait for the time being until the whiskey is ready. 

3. Occasionally Taste The Whiskey

This step is crucial. We suggest tasting the whiskey once every 12 hours or your preferred time frame) to monitor its flavor, depending on how long you want to age the whiskey. 

4. Remove The Stick & Drink It

After the time set for the spirit to age using the stick, and you have already achieved your desired flavor or taste, you can remove the stick. 

After removing the stick, it’s now ready for drinking. You can enjoy it just like how you did with your whiskeys. 

What Do Whiskey Sticks Do? 

Basically, whiskey sticks can enhance the flavor of the spirit in the shortest time, about 24 to 72 hours (as claimed by manufacturers). 

It helps deepen the flavors of whiskeys, adding more notes and character.

It can help improve flavors, but not in a way that can improve “not-so-good-whiskeys.”  

Do They Actually Work?

Pouring Whiskey on a Glass

Yes, whiskey sticks work. But as we’ve said earlier, it ONLY helps– but you can’t rely on it to make the whiskey “better.” It still depends on the brand and type of your whiskey.

But, it works well in imparting some new flavors. 

Let us tell you about our experience in using whiskey sticks for your reference: 

One of the blends we tried went well but did not meet our expectations. 

We used a large portion of American whiskey and blended it with some MGP 95% Rye in an attempt to make it more flavorful. We wanted to add some balance by using cherry wood. 

Though it worked well and brought about some desired results, it’s not enough to impress us or consider whiskey aging sticks “as truly helpful.” 

“It is true the whisky improves with age. The Older I get, the more I like it.”

— Robert Black, British Author 

The final result was not like adding fruit syrup, but it had a subtle effect on the flavor. The main reason was that the added texture made it more creamy. 

We had initially made a stick aging blend that was very thin, but it thickened after being exposed to more liquids. 

But overall, this was a modest improvement and quite good, but we still prefer the natural way to age whiskey. 

Can You Reuse Whiskey Sticks?

Measuring Whiskey Stick

Yes, you can reuse whiskey sticks. However, the longer time you use the sticks, the low impact its effect on the spirit.

In short, the rate of its effectiveness decreases over time. 

We suggest using it up to three times maximum to maximize its effectiveness. But it still depends on your style and preference for aging and tasting whiskey.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are levels called whiskey sticks?

The levels are called whiskey sticks, as the vial in the “level” contains alcohol to prevent freezing and avoid condensation. 

What wood is used for aging whiskey? 

The wood used for aging whiskey is oak. Most spirits are aged in oak barrels. 

Can you age whiskey in any wood stick?

Yes, you can age whiskey in any wood stick, but only if you’re doing it at home.

Distilleries can’t rely on using wood chips or staves in aging their spirits, as it can significantly impact the quality of the whiskey. 

How do you use whiskey aging sticks?

To use whiskey aging sticks, immerse the sticks in a bottle of whiskey. The porous wood interacts with the spirit, infusing it with flavors reminiscent of longer aging periods. Allow the sticks to remain in the bottle for a period determined by personal taste preferences, periodically sampling to achieve the desired level of wood influence on the whiskey.

What do whiskey sticks do?

Whiskey aging sticks, often made from oak or other wood varieties, contribute to the aging process by introducing flavors and characteristics similar to those derived from barrel aging. When immersed in whiskey, the wood interacts with the spirit, imparting nuances of vanilla, caramel, and other wood-associated notes.

This process enhances the overall flavor profile, giving the whiskey a more mature and complex taste.

How does whiskey aging work?

Whiskey aging involves the interaction between the spirit and the wooden barrels in which it is stored. The porous wood allows the whiskey to absorb compounds such as lignins, tannins, and vanillin from the wood.

This extraction of flavors, along with the influence of environmental factors like temperature changes, contributes to the development of the spirit’s color, aroma, and taste. As whiskey ages, it mellows, becomes smoother, and gains complexity, with longer aging periods generally associated with more refined and sophisticated flavors.

Is whiskey really aged for 12 years?

The age statement on a whiskey label, such as “12 years,” refers to the youngest whiskey in the bottle. If a bottle bears a 12-year age statement, it means that the youngest whiskey in the blend has been aged for at least 12 years.

Some bottles may contain older whiskies as well. Age statements provide consumers with insights into the maturity and potential flavor characteristics of the whiskey.

However, not all whiskies carry age statements, and the absence of one does not necessarily indicate lower quality, as factors like barrel size, climate, and distillation process also influence the final product.

Do aging sticks work?

Aging sticks can influence the flavor profile of whiskey by mimicking the aging process that occurs in traditional wooden barrels.

The porous wood of the aging sticks interacts with the spirit, imparting subtle notes of vanilla, caramel, and other compounds associated with longer maturation, providing a way to enhance the taste of whiskey in a shorter timeframe.

How long should I age my whiskey?

The duration for aging whiskey, whether using traditional barrels or aging sticks, depends on personal preference.

Unlike traditional barrel aging that spans several years, aging sticks offer a quicker method. Experimentation is key – start with a shorter duration and gradually increase it until achieving the desired flavor.

Regular sampling during the aging process allows for adjustments to match individual taste preferences.

What are whiskey sticks made of?

Whiskey aging sticks are typically made from wood, with oak being a common choice. Oak is favored for its porous nature, allowing the wood to interact with the whiskey, imparting flavors and aromas.

Some aging sticks may be crafted from specific types of oak, such as American white oak, to emulate the characteristics of traditional whiskey barrels.

The choice of wood and its preparation significantly influences the final flavor profile of the aged whiskey.

Why does whiskey make you feel better?

The sensation of feeling better after consuming whiskey is subjective and can be attributed to various factors. Moderate alcohol consumption may lead to the release of endorphins, creating a sense of relaxation and pleasure.

Additionally, the complex flavors and aromas in whiskey, combined with the warming sensation as it is consumed, can contribute to a pleasurable sensory experience.

However, it’s crucial to emphasize responsible drinking and be mindful of individual tolerance levels to ensure a positive and safe experience with whiskey consumption.

Why do people prefer whiskey?

People prefer whiskey for a variety of reasons, including its rich and complex flavor profile, the craftsmanship involved in its production, and the diverse range of styles available.

Whiskey offers a sensory experience with nuances of caramel, vanilla, and spice, and its cultural significance, historical roots, and the ritualistic nature of enjoying a glass contribute to its popularity among enthusiasts.

What are the benefits of applying whiskey on face?

Applying whiskey on the face is not a recommended skincare practice. While alcohol is a common ingredient in some skincare products due to its antiseptic properties, applying undiluted whiskey directly to the skin can lead to irritation, dryness, and potential long-term damage.

It’s crucial to use skincare products specifically formulated for the skin and to consult with a dermatologist for personalized recommendations.

What are the benefits of applying whisky on face?

Applying whisky on the face is not a recommended skincare practice. Whisky, like other types of alcohol, can be harsh on the skin, leading to dryness and irritation.

The high alcohol content can strip the skin of its natural oils, disrupting the moisture barrier. For skincare, it is advisable to use products designed for the skin, such as cleansers, moisturizers, and serums, rather than applying alcoholic beverages directly to the face.

How do you use a whiskey infusion kit?

Using a whiskey infusion kit involves adding flavor enhancements to whiskey for a personalized and unique taste experience. Typically, the process includes placing desired ingredients, such as fruits, herbs, or spices, into the provided container.

The whiskey is then added, allowing the flavors to infuse over a specified period. The infused whiskey can be strained or poured directly, depending on the kit design. Experimentation with different ingredients and infusion durations allows individuals to tailor the whiskey’s flavor to their preferences.

It’s essential to follow the specific instructions provided with the infusion kit to achieve the desired results and enhance the drinking experience.

All Things Considered 

Whiskey aging sticks help impart new flavors to your whiskey for a short period. But based on our experiment, you can’t expect much from it. 

You shouldn’t rely on using whiskey sticks to make “not-so-good-whiskeys” into a “better” spirit.  

If you want to experiment and taste a new flavor, then using whiskey aging sticks is helpful. But all in all, we still prefer the usual aging process. Cheers!

References: 

  1. Whiskey distilled liquor
  2. 6 Common Distilling Myths and the Facts Behind Them
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