Double oaked is not the same as toasted. While both terms refer to a process in whiskey production, they have different meanings and effects on the final product.
Toasted refers to the process of toasting the inside of the oak barrel before it is used for maturing whiskey. This involves applying heat to the barrel to break down the lignin and release the aromas and flavors present in the wood. Toasting imparts a range of flavors, such as caramel, vanilla, and spice, which can enhance the complexity of the whiskey.
On the other hand, double oaked refers to a secondary maturation process where the whiskey is transferred to a second oak barrel after its initial aging period. In the case of Woodford Reserve’s Double Oaked expression, the whiskey spends additional time in a heavily toasted, lightly charred barrel. This extra maturation allows the whiskey to further interact with the wood, extracting additional flavors and nuances.
So, while both processes involve oak barrels and contribute to the flavor profile of the whiskey, they are distinct in terms of timing and technique. Toasting is done before the whiskey is aged, while double oaking occurs after the initial aging process. Toasting primarily affects the initial flavors that are extracted from the wood, while double oaking adds layers of complexity and refinement to the whiskey through extended maturation in a second barrel.
It’s important to note that each distillery may have its own unique approach to toasting and double oaking, resulting in different flavor profiles and characteristics in their whiskies. Woodford Reserve’s Double Oaked expression, for example, has gained significant popularity due to its rich and smooth flavors resulting from the secondary maturation process.
While both toasting and double oaking involve oak barrels and impact the flavor of the whiskey, they are distinct processes with different effects on the final product. Toasting occurs before aging, enhancing the initial flavors extracted from the wood, while double oaking involves additional maturation in a second barrel to add complexity and refinement to the whiskey.