Once in a rare while when I crack a new bottle of whiskey open and take the sip of my first dram I’m not entirely happy with the resulting taste. There’s usually little which can be done about things at that point, and I’m stuck with an open bottle that will likely gather dust except when friends are over for a party. One outfit thinks they may be able to change the flavor profile game though, recently introducing to resounding crowdfunding success a product known as Whiskey Elements.
Whiskey Elements, by Portland, Oregon based Time and Oak, are essentially small staves of wood sourced from the same barrels in which quality whiskies are aged. The staves go through a so called “proprietary curing” and creation process to make them ready for dropping into your favorite bottle of bourbon or Scotch to augment its existing flavor profile.
The slice of cured wood, containing some select aspect of natural flavoring such as maple, oaky or peaty, sits in the bottle for a minimum of 24 hours. During this time the element in question is imparting itself into the whiskey’s taste, among other processes, creating a new product that reflects more of the style of which you are looking for in your drinking glass. The changed whiskey is, in a way, aged three years in regards to the different flavor.
The science and thought process behind how this was conceived is quite fascinating. According to Time and Oak, their product is a step up from wood barrels because “if the goal is for the whiskey to filter in and out of the wood to remove toxins, get infused with flavor, and pull out those rich colors,” then the design of barrels themselves is not best suited to handle this. Instead, their Whiskey Elements, they say, utilize what they
like to call “accelerated transpiration through capillary action,” [in which] we have harnessed nature’s amazing capacity for simplicity and effectiveness. And in a way, we redesigned the whiskey barrel by removing it altogether. By allowing more access to the wood’s capillaries, Whiskey Elements provide a shorter distance for the whiskey to travel, allowing it to filter more quickly. Combined with our proprietary curing method and unique design, Time & Oak has managed to accelerate the maturation process, and reduce the impurities.
More of the science of this product, including some info on how chemical contents of the whiskey are impacted during the time the wood is in bottle, is learnable in the video below. As for pricing and availability, you should head over to the Kickstarter page for the time being to get the latest information on that or check the company’s website. As I had mentioned the project has been a run away hit in the crowdfunding world, netting close to $150,000 over the funding goal in the waning hours of the campaign.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...