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Bluegrass Bourbon Barrels: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Bourbon: the mere mention of it will grab a man’s attention. We’re drawn to the complex taste that comes with each sip.  However, to fully appreciate that sip, it’s imperative to learn about the aging process. And what better way to learn than creating your own custom blend that you flavor and age yourself. With Bluegrass Barrels, you can become a master distiller from the comfort of your own home.

bluegrass bourbon barrel

We recently sat down with Jeff Ames, founder of Bluegrass Barrels, to learn more about the product and what makes it a must-have for any bourbon lover.

How does the aging process work? Can beginners do it?
The aging timeframe is completely up to the customer, and anyone can become their own “mixologist.”Aging allows you to create your own unique spirit that can’t be found anywhere else. The spirit can age anywhere from one week to three years. For example, one customer used a low-grade bourbon, which had already become smoother without the bite from its original state after only five weeks.

We recommend performing a taste test every two weeks to taste the spirit. Once the spirit reaches the perfect taste, empty the spirit into a decanter and the process can be restarted. We also recommend being adventurous and flavoring your spirit while it is aging. Customers have made phenomenal concoctions by flavoring their spirits with honey, cinnamon, chocolate, almond extract, vanilla, etc.

How long does the set-up process take?
Bluegrass Barrels are made without glue or nails to keep the staves in place, exactly like the larger, 53-gallon barrels you’d find at a distillery. Because of this, before you put your spirit of choice in your barrel, you must first “cure” your barrel by simply filling it with water. This process, which takes one to two days, enlarges the wood and keeps the stave joints sealed tight so the barrel won’t leak. It’s very easy and directions are included with every barrel.

Do the barrels work with only bourbon and whiskey?
Nope; many spirits and wines can also be distilled and aged using oak barrels. Even beers are being aged in used bourbon barrels to make delicious bourbon barrel stouts. Customers have used the barrels to age wine, tequila, rum, whiskey, bourbon, etc. However, once you use the barrel with one spirit type, you shouldn’t reuse it with a different spirit because the different flavors won’t mesh well.

Are the barrels reusable?
Yes, barrels can be reused several times when using the same spirit types. Just keep in mind that each time the barrel is used, the aging impacts from the oak will diminish. Each barrel can be used approximately five times with noticeable impacts from the wood. After that, the wood will be “spent” and the barrel will simply become a very cool-looking decanter.

engraved bluegrass barrel

Bluegrass Barrel with custom engraving

What’s your favorite personal blend that you’ve created?
One of my favorite blends actually came from a customer. He took a small amount of shaved and ground dark chocolate and added it to a mid-grade bourbon. The taste wasn’t overpowering, but the hint of chocolate mixed with the bourbon made for a very refreshing after-dinner treat.

Can the barrels be personalized?
Yes, the barrels can be customized making them a fantastic holiday or groomsman gift. Our laser engraver can add groomsmen’s initials and the date of the wedding, anniversary dates, birthday wishes and other personal messages.

For more information and to purchase a Bluegrass Barrel for yourself or as a gift, head on over to The Man Registry’s mini bourbon barrel shopping page.

What flavors would you add to your own bourbon blend? Are your groomsmen bourbon lovers? Would they appreciate this gift? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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