Why Rickhouse Positioning Matters
The position of a barrel in a rick house, or a storage facility for ageing spirits, plays a crucial role in the maturation and final outcome of the liquid inside. In the rick house, barrels are stacked on top of each other in rows, and the position of the barrel in the rick house determines the amount of heat, light, and movement it is exposed to. These factors, in turn, affect the maturation and final outcome of the liquid in the barrel.
Heat: The temperature in the rick house can vary greatly, with the bottom of the rick house being much warmer than the top. Barrels stored at the bottom of the rick house are exposed to more heat, which can lead to increased evaporation and a faster maturation process. This increased evaporation can lead to a higher concentration of flavours, which can be beneficial for some spirits. On the other hand, spirits aged in barrels stored at the top of the rick house are exposed to less heat, leading to a slower maturation process and a more consistent final outcome.
Light: Light can also have a significant impact on the maturation of spirits. Barrels stored near windows or other sources of light are exposed to more light, which can lead to the oxidation of the liquid inside. This oxidation can lead to changes in the flavour profile of the spirit and can negatively impact the final outcome. Barrels stored in dark and cool areas are exposed to less light and are more likely to maintain their original flavour profile.
Movement: The movement of the barrels in the rick house can also have an impact on the maturation process. Barrels stored near doors or areas of high traffic are more likely to be moved, shaken, or jostled. This movement can lead to increased agitation of the liquid inside and can result in a faster maturation process. On the other hand, barrels stored in calm and stable areas are exposed to less movement, leading to a slower and more consistent maturation process.
The position of a barrel in a rick house has a significant impact on the maturation and final outcome of the spirit inside. Distillers and ageing professionals carefully consider the position of each barrel in the rick house to ensure that the final product meets their desired flavour profile and quality standards.