The Future Is Not What It Used To Be: The IRS’ Plywood Barrel Aged Whiskey

Recently I discovered a TTB bibliography of their past scientific publications. The bibliography contained quite a few references from old un-digitized journals I’m dying to get a hold of plus a few notable IRS documents that I have no idea how to obtain. I’ve written an email to the TTB requesting information on accessing the publications and of course I’ve received no reply. These are citations I’m looking for if anyone wants to help:

1965 WHISKEY BARRELS, DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERISTICS OF NEW AND USED CHARRED OAK BARRELS Riley, C. H.
Alcohol and Tobacco tax laboratory Internal Communication, Report No. IRS-D.C.-58171

1955 A STUDY OF WHISKEY STORED FOR EIGHT YEARS IN PLYWOOD BARRELS
Schoeneman, Robert L.
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division Laboratory Internal Communication, IRS Publication #156

1950 A STUDY OF WHISKEY STORED FOR FOUR YEARS IN PLYWOOD BARRELS
Simonds, Paul W.
Alcohol tax Unit Internal Communication, July 25, 1950

1950 BLACKBERRY AND OTHER BERRY AND FRUIT WINES: THEIR METHODS OF
PRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS
Valaer, Peter
Alcohol Tax Unit Internal Communication, November 1950

1949 WINES OF FRANCE
Valaer, Peter
Alcohol tax Unit Internal Communication, January 15, 1949

Perhaps somebody from the right vantage point could track down the documents. Or maybe we could all file a Freedom of Information Act request together which they might take seriously and cough up the goods.

The idea of aging spirits in plywood barrels is particularly interesting and its very surprising that the IRS of all people experimented with it so long ago. A patent actually exists from 1944 for making plywood barrels.

It makes you wonder if they could use an adhesive that would make the product food safe. If it was plain pine pitch it might even contribute flavor. Was the product any good?, why don’t we see any plywood in use now? were they ahead of their time and ruthless adherence to tradition got in the way? If they bothered to do an 8 year follow up after the 4 year paper, I bet the results were drinkable.

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