Skip to content


Age verification

By clicking "Enter" you are verifying that you are of the legal drinking age in your location.

Whisky words: charring

Whisky words: charring

Charring is a heat treatment whereby the wood of the cask is ignited. It helps to break down the structure of the oak, allowing for an easier and deeper penetration by the spirit and a more intense interaction with the flavours produced through lignin degradation. 

The charcoal layer also acts as a filtration system, helping to remove unwanted flavours, such as sulphur, from the new spirit. 

There are generally four grades of charring:

No.1 = 15 seconds

No.2 = 30 seconds

No.3 = 35 seconds

No.4 = 55 seconds

This heavy char creates layers of charcoal on the inner surface of the staves, hence its nickname, the ‘alligator char’. 

‘Exhausted’ and ‘tired’ casks can be rejuvenated by going through a process called ‘de-char and re-char’. Essentially, a few millimetres from the inside of the barrel is skimmed off and removed, thus removing the old char. The cask can then be charred again (or toasted - see toasting), thus regenerating the char and also producing a new ‘red layer’ further into the wood. More lignin is thermally degraded, generating more compounds that are water and alcohol soluble. This action grants the ‘exhausted’ a new lease of life in terms of its use for further maturation.

Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Related posts

EWA Alumni: Martijn van Opstal

Tell us a bit about yourself. I'm a 34-year-old whisky enthusiast who decided to turn his passion into his career. ...

EWA Alumni: Xiaoyan Tao Lenz

How did you first discover whisky?  I discovered whisky from my job, working in a Swiss distillery (Säntis Malt Braue...

EWA Alumni: Mark Hickey

How did you first discover whisky? I have always been interested in Irish and Scottish history and how whisky was cra...

EWA Alumni: Rudy Delattre

Tell us a bit about yourself. I live in Belgium, about 50km south of Brussels and split my time between a) working as...

EWA Alumni: Don Howarth

"Tell us a bit about yourself.I'm Don, and I love the water of life! It all began for me on our regular holidays to I...

EWA Alumni: Zerlina Zhuang

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am Zerlina, and I am the managing director of Spirits Castle Pte Ltd. Our company imp...

Shopping Cart

Announce discount codes, free shipping etc