Distillers know that aging your spirits requires two things: a wooden barrel and patience. But a number of DIY kits are purporting to speed up the process. Many of them come in the form of a charred stick, which can be dropped into a bottle of whiskey, wine, or even a cocktail to “oak” the contents in as little as 24 hours. They’re quick and cost effective—Time & Oak, Clawhammer Supply, and Uncommon Goods sell them for $14–$20—although they’re not always entirely successful. Photo: Uncommon Goods

Barrel Aged Spirits Kit, $20 from Uncommon Goods

The Oak Bottle is one of the more recent additions to the market. It has greater surface area than a stick but holds less liquid than a barrel—which means more infusion in less time. Here’s a clip showing how it works.

This contraption isn’t just for adding extra woodiness to Chardonnay or bringing out the flavors in bourbon; apparently, it can turn moonshine into whiskey or unaged tequila into Reposado in less than one month. Normally, that process would take years. Photo: Oak Bottle

The Oak Bottle costs $60–$80, and is good for 50 uses

And it should take years, according to Chad Walsh, beverage manager at The Dutch, who isn’t a fan of speeding up the barrel aging process. “I hate that there is this trend of products created to ‘infuse’ oak flavor into spirits. I think it completely misses the point of oak aging,” he says.

“Yes, a spirit picks up oak flavor as it rests in the barrel, but there is no replacement for time when it comes to the interaction of the spirit with the air, and the seasonal contraction of the spirit in and out of the pores of the wood.”

Photo: Oak Bottle

We’re pretty sure he wouldn’t be impressed with the Oak Bottle’s multiple “flavor” options either, like cherry, coffee, citrus, vanilla, and smoke. “The only way to take new whiskey to old whiskey is to hop in the Delorean and fast forward a decade or two,” he says. “These guys should work on perfecting the hoverboard instead of trying to speed up nature.”

[via The Awesomer]