Now that I have permission from the man and the company I am happy to start being able to talk about a great project that I had mentioned earlier. My friend Dave Brown (owner of Coastal Cigars) and I have an idea that we hope is going to provide us and a select few a wonderful after dinner treat. Chris Morris, the master distiller of Woodford Reserve, has graciously given us a couple of used casks to age tobacco in. You can find a link to the Woodford site on the right hand side of the page (but you must be 21 to enter). From this Dave and I plan on experimenting with the aging of tobacco in various ways.
Some of the greatest sherries and vinegars come from what is called a solera system of aging. Basically sherry and some higher end vinegars are aged in barrels where new wine (sherry) or vinegar is put into casks or wine barrels (both are usually preused for aging another product). These barrels are stacked in numbers ranging from 3 levels to 9 levels. The youngest liquid is in the top level while the oldest is in the lowest level. Periodically, a portion of the wine in a barrel is moved into the next barrel down (this happens after bottling, see below), using tools called the canoa (canoe) and rociador (sprinkler) to move the liquid . Once the finished product has reached the desired age, viscosity, flavor, etc., then the product from the bottom level barrels are partially drained for bottling. This allows the younger product to interact with the older product when the different levels are once again shuffled around.
This is what we intend to do with our tobacco with a lesser degree of dificulty. Each barrel will be divied into three sections. The bottom of the barrels will be used to age the longest. Our intial thoughts are for six months. I am not sure if this is based on fact and research or merely the ease of the math. With that said, the middle section will be aged for exactly half the time of the bottoms, or for three months, with the top third being rotated once a month. See, like I said, easy math; top=once a month, middle=every three months, bottom=every six months. This in theory should allow all of the stock to age together for a brief period with the bottom receiving the luck of time and the pleasure af getting to know a total of eight different batches of tobacco.