Whiskey Charred Wood




Introduction: Whiskey Charred Wood

Aging whisky in a barrel can take time. A long time. Using pieces of charred wood inside your glass bottles can make this aging process exponentially faster. In as little as a few weeks you can achieve some amazing results in both color and taste using pieces of charred wood. I will demonstrate the steps I took to achieve charred wood at a fraction of the cost of buying it.

Step 1: The Supplies

- Wood: I'm going to assume no one reading this is an idiot; so mentioning how ignorant using any kind of treated or poisoning wood would be just plain silly of me, correct? If however, you want to experiment with creosote or pressure treated lumber or waterproofing lumber, construction lumber or any poisonous woods... it's all you baby. My advise is to stick with only cooking woods. You were warned.

- Aluminum foil: any kind you have

- Permanent Marker: to identify your wood

- Ziplock bags

- Stove: one that will bake to 400F

- Spirits: Whisky, Ever Clear or Vodka. Really anything but I'm using a clear whiskey.

*** This method of charring wood creates a strong earthy, creme brûlée, vanilla ish type smell. ( wife statement) She loved it!! It can be pretty strong but is nice. I used the vent hood and a fan to circulate the aroma.

Step 2: Getting Your Wood

So I wanted to experiment with the effects various types of wood have upon the flavor and aesthetics of the whisky I had placed within my 5 oz glass bottles. I also wanted to compare them to a control bottle (no charred wood, no barrel, no wood aged whisky). I obtained the wood chips from my meat smoker supply. Hickory, Pecan, Cherry, and old Whisky barrel wood (oak).

Step 3: Turn Up the Heat

- Preheat your oven on BAKE for 400F.

- Set timer for 2Hrs

Step 4: Packaging and Putting Your Wood in

While you are awaiting the arrival of 400F make the packages that will go into the oven.

- Tear off a good 8" of aluminum foil. You will need two pieces per package to adequately cover you wood.

- Place more than a handful of your wood onto first piece of foil.

- Take second piece of foil and place over the top of your wood.

- Fold edges over to create an envelop. Ensure all edges are folded and sealed. I tried to lay my wood evenly in one layer but I don't think it's critical for this scale of operation.

- Turn your package over and with your permanent marker write the type of wood you just sealed in there. Omit this step if using only one type of wood.

- Take any pointed instrument and poke about 10-12 small holes into the top of your package.

- Place packages on oven rack and place in oven when 400F is achieved.

- Start 2Hr timer

Step 5: Take Your Wood Out

- Once the two hours are completed and your entire house smells like a hippie hangout carefully remove the packages from the oven. They will be hot. Duh.

- Open the packages and allow to cool

- Admire the perfectly charred wood you just created using this Ible.

Step 6: Storing Your Wood

- Once your wood is cool, store in ziplock baggies. Be sure to label each bag with the corresponding woods.

- I weighed out about 2 grams per 4.5 oz of clear whiskey. I don't have a reference so I will begin the R&D portion of this experiment regarding the taste and appearance.

- After completing this project I have to say it turned out very well. There was a nice even char on all the pieces and the cost was mere pennies. When you consider the novelty aging spikes are almost $10-$15; this is a very easy and inexpensive way to go. Will post an update on this project in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading.

Step 7: So It Begins

Here you can see I have added the various woods to my glass bottles. As stated, will update in a few weeks with the progress

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    Nicolas N GenevièveC

    Looks like a nice project! Ill do it for sure! Do I need an convection oven or a regular will do the job?


    Reply 1 year ago

    Is waiting 3 years to respond adequate?? So sorry for the Uhum...delay. A regular oven is what I used. Thanks for looking at my Ible


    Reply 4 years ago

    I just used the Bake setting on my regular oven. So after a year has gone by I will say. The charred hickory was by far the best flavor. Ive had numerous compliments on this one. The lighter woods all taste the same and seem to just have a char taste. Not bad but MEH.. you definitely will not taste the peach or apple or orange in any of the wiskeys. On a side note. I placed a Tbs of ground coffee per 6 oz of white spirits then after a month strained/filtered the grounds out for an exquisite coffee shine!!!
    Finally, a handful of tabascos in a bottle of shine for a month makes an excellent spicy w a kick shine as well. I usually drop in a single red pepper (kinda like the tequila worm) for aesthetics. Enjoy


    Reply 1 year ago

    Espero tus comentarios


    Question 1 year ago

    Hello, great project! How did the pecan wood turn up? Do you mind sharing the flavour profiles? I am considering aging whisky with pecan wood and trying to find some research about it online though it is quite limited ...


    Answer 1 year ago

    You will find most all the woods impart a wood char taste with no significant differences in taste. I’ve had numerous taste tests and hickory was by far the best resulting flavor in my own humble opinion. I’ve had people actually tell me they like the hickory char flavor more so than some store bought bourbons. So much for humbleness. Lol.
    Flavor profile? Hmm, well I’m no expert on it but definitely a hearty char taste, earthy and heavy. I sampled mine every week and found after about a month it was just right. You can decide what’s good to you. I also felt it had a burnt toffee/ caramel with a toasty mexican vanilla note. Hope this helps some. Just remember to write your experiences down. If you aren’t writing it down, you’re just Fking around.


    5 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback. I as well was in Aberdeen for two weeks and enjoyed the whisky distilleries. The charring process was very awesome to watch. Least I forget to mention all the beautiful samples.

    Tecwyn Twmffat
    Tecwyn Twmffat

    5 years ago

    Excellent and inspiring ! I'm working on a Green Chartreuse clone and almost forgot the cask conditioning step, so thanks for reminding me!

    I once visited a cooperage in Scotland where they had a special room for charring the inside of whiskey barrels with gas powered blow torches. Fascinating!

    Apparently oak does indeed give a vanilla taste to the spirit and the 'crème brulee' flavour you mentioned is probably due to caramelisation of some of the sugars in the wood. You're also creating 'activated carbon', which will remove some of the ketones and aldehydes responsible for giving us a banging headache.

    Looking forward to the update and I think there's an instructables home brew competition coming up.