Mention the word Oak and for the average person it brings to mind thoughts of tall trees gently swaying in the breeze, representing strength and maturity. Mention the word Oak in the distilled spirits world and it brings to mind images of barrels quietly maturing in rick houses scattered around the countryside. We often get the question, “Why Oak?” Here’s your answer.
Oak (Common Name: White Oak / Scientific Name: Quercus alba) Is an excellent choice for distilled spirits barrels. It contributes a wide variety of desirable flavors, it is ring porous allowing the oak extractives to be more accessible, and oak is liquid tight when quartersawn (American oak) or split along the grain (French/European oak).
While there are over 500 species of oak (scientific name Quercus) in the Northern Hemisphere, many of these oak species are shrubs and quite unsuited to barrel production. Only three species are commonly used when crafting oak barrels.
French & European Oak
Across the Atlantic, forests in France and Eastern Europe also offer ideal conditions for slow tree growth. The two species Quercus petraea and Quercus robur exist in nearly equal proportions.
American oak is a traditional choice for whiskey barrels. However, both American oak and French oak are important to the spirits industry.
Differences between American Oak and French Oak[table “” not found /]
Cooperage Oak Species
Quercus, is derived from the Celtic Quer, meaning “Fine,” and Cuez, “Tree.”[table “” not found /]
Independent Stave Company offers wooden barrels of different sizes and species for all your distilled spirits needs. Visit the ISC Barrels website here to fulfill your barrel quest.
Barrels for the World’s Finest Spirits
Find the Perfect Match Here.
Independent Stave Company – A Barrel to Fit Your Spirit. We’ll help customize your barrels with our wide range of options.
- Classic Whiskey Barrel
- Cooper’s Select Barrel
- Cooper’s Reserve Barrel
- Small Batch Barrels
- Finishing Products
Ready to Get Started on your Barrel Journey? Let’s Talk
Contact: Chad Spalding, ISC Account Manager
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