October 15, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm #590587
According to one of the Kashrus organizations single malt scotch is fine as long as the label does not say aged in sherry (or other grape based barrels).
I sent an email to a popular distillery and asked about their product.
Here is the email exchange:
Sent: 12 October 2009 14:24
To: theglenlivet admin
I read an article that in todays global economy many distilleries may use alternative raw alcohol bases for their scotch products. Does the glenlivet use either whey or grape based raw alcohol base in the process? Is the product aged in barrels that have contained grape or other products?
I appreciate your taking the time to read and respond to my query.
All the best,
When maturing our spirit, we use ex-bourbon barrels, and ex-sherry butts, both of which are oak.
I hope this answers your query. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Visitor Centre Deputy Supervisor
The Glenlivet Distillery
Thank you this has been most informative. re: the barrels – does the product go through both the bourbon and the sherry oak barrels or does only a select variety get the sherry barrel?
In addition I found this article by Gary Regan:
Over the past decade or so, many single-malt Scotch producers have issued bottlings of their nectar that have spent the last few months of their maturation period in a variety of different barrels: Port-, Madeira-, Sherry- and even Claret-Wood. Finished Scotches have captured the attention, and sometimes the hearts, of many a whisky buff, and there’s no doubt we’ll see more experimentation in wood management in the not-too-distant future.
Most malt distillers use bourbon casks to age their whisky before transferring it to a different type of cask, but one Speyside distillery insists on aging all of its malt exclusively in sherry butts from start to finish. Recently, I was invited to Spain to see what all the fuss is about.
The Tevasa Cooperage in Jerez, Spain, is responsible for keeping the Scots in Craigellachie, Scotland, supplied with sherry-seasoned barrels. The process is far more complicated than I’d ever dreamed. I always believed that it would be quite simple to buy some used barrels from sherry producers, but it turns out that nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that this particular distillery needs far more barrels than the sherrymakers can supply on a regular basis, so it’s up to the Scots to provide their own.
Here’s how it works: The Scotch distillery actually buys trees grown in Northern Spain and commissions the cooperage to construct a certain number of barrels per year. Then, because demand for sherry is low, they are forced to “rent” oloroso sherry to season the wood over a period of about two years. “They literally have us over a barrel,” quips master distiller David Robertson.
The sherry then is returned to the sherrymaker, and the newly seasoned barrels are shipped to Scotland to be filled with newly-made whisky that will remain in the wood usually for between 12 and 18 years before the distiller deems it ready for the glass.
How much does it cost? Quite a lot. According to the distillery’s calculations, if they used bourbon barrels, which can be filled three times before losing their aging capabilities, it would cost them around $45 per fill. But sherry butts, which can be used only twice before they’re spent, average a whopping $300 per fill — not a negligible amount. So what makes those barrels so special?
According to Narciso Fernandez Iturrospe, owner of the Tevasa Cooperage, it isn’t only the sherry seasoning that makes the barrels ideal for aging single malts. The wood itself plays a large part in imparting special flavors to the whisky.
Sherry barrels are made from Quercus Robur, a Spanish oak that is felled when it reaches 60 to 70 years of age and contains approximately 10 times more tannin than does the 30- to 40-year-old Quercus Alba, or American White Oak, which is used to make bourbon barrels. Research has shown the tannins in the wood act as a catalyst that aids oxidization during the maturation period and hence is highly desirable to malt producers.
Obviously, nothing is wrong with using bourbon barrels to age scotch whisky; it’s common practice in many Scottish distilleries, and it yields some spectacular malts. The barrels are relatively inexpensive because bourbon producers, by law, can use the barrels only once, and therefore they make them available at reasonable prices to Scotch, rum and even tequila producers. The exclusive use of sherry butts, however, goes toward differentiating one malt from all the others. And, just like the other whiskies, finished in all sorts of different barrels, that makes the whole category more interesting to the whisky-drinking public.
What’s next on the horizon for single malts? Whisky aged in Chardonnay casks, perhaps? Or maybe a malt or two finished in used Marsala barrels. Whatever comes, it’s bound to fascinate whisky buffs. The powers that be at one distillery, however, figure that their formula isn’t broken, so they aren’t planning to try to fix it.
____October 15, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm #675691
mdlevine – just drink bourbons or scotches aged in bourbon casks. Why look for trouble??October 15, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm #675692
London Bais Din: All Scotch is ok.October 16, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am #675693cantoresqMember
Assuming the scoth is aged in sherry casks, it might not not make a difference. IS the taste really nikar? And is it notein ta’am lshvach?October 16, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am #675694
how do you know what they are aged in? a leading kashrus agency says to read the label and see what is says. There is nothing on the label of GlenLivet 12 or 18 about aging in sherried oak barrels. The Company was very forthcoming with the information.
The point is, if it doesn’t have a hechsher, we shouldn’t drink it, no matter what the label does or does not say.
here is a response that I received to the same question from an American Whisky:
Dear Mr. mdlevine,
Thank you for taking time to contact George Dickel. Your feedback is important to us.
We value loyal consumers such as yourself and we appreciate your enthusiasm. If there is anything else we
could help you with now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please be advised that at this time we cannot guarantee that George Dickel does not come in contact with those products. George Dickel is not Kosher certified.
Once again, thank you for contacting George Dickel.
George Dickel Consumer Representative
Enjoy George Dickel Tennessee Whisky ResponsiblyOctober 16, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am #675695
This is by no means a new issue. This is just another one of a number of halacha questions and scares that make their way around every few years. Although some people do hold this issue is a problem, most poskim I have spoken to are not bothered by it. Indeed, most kashrus agencies are not bothered – and not because they don’t know the facts.October 16, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am #675696
mdlevine – those that say aged in Bourbon caskes, like Auchetoshen Classic, shouldn’t be a problem.October 16, 2009 12:54 am at 12:54 am #675697rabbiofberlinParticipant
mdlevine- in my days in yeshiva there was a big debate about scotch whuky-especially blended (as most were)The maskonoh was that whisky is “muttor’ and there was no problem with any additves and-if i remember correctly- there is a teshuva from R’Moshe that there is no problem with the sherry casks, as there is no real sherry in it , no “mamoshes’ and hence no issur of “stam jenom”. don’t rely upon fully uopn what I said because I don’t have the teshuvo handy.
I don’t know why the kashrus organization you mention would single out whisky aged in sherry casks as not permissible. please indicate the source.October 16, 2009 12:59 am at 12:59 am #675698
Yes, they know the facts and they say to avoid the scotch that says aged in sherry casks on the label.
So I guess that we can agree that sherried scotch is a problem and needs to be avoided.
what about the sherried scotch that does not say it on the label? Do we all just pretend that it is fine?October 16, 2009 1:07 am at 1:07 am #675699JotharMember
mdlevine, I heard that Rav Dovid Feinsetin is mattir all bourbon, even with sherry casks, as it’s not nosein taam. I heard from my rav that even though he’s right, we don’t drink sherry-casked bourbon because *they* claim it adds taste, even though we don’t think so. However, if it doesn’t say, why should we assume a flavor hiddur that they don’t mention?October 16, 2009 1:32 am at 1:32 am #675700
From the Star-K Website:
Scotch, a most complex spirit, presents a challenge when trying to formulate a definitive kashrus policy. As we have noted in previous articles, scotch is aged in a combination of used bourbon and used wine casks, predominantly casks that were used to age sherry, port, Madeira or olorosso wines. By far, the greater percentage of casks used to age scotch are pre-used bourbon casks. Does the smaller percentage of sherry casks present a halachic problem? Some distillers will first age the scotch conventionally and then refill the scotch into sherry casks to complete the aging process, in order to impart a sherry taste into the scotch. Unquestionably, scotch that is aged exclusively in sherry casks has a sherry look, taste and smell pervading the scotch.
Star-K halachic policy maintains that any scotch that advertises on the label, neck tag, website, etc. as being aged, finished, double aged or refilled in sherry casks, or other wine casks, are not approved and are not acceptable. If there is no mention of sherry casks, or any other variety of wine casks or refilling, the scotch is acceptable because the amount of sherry present would be botul1 in the final product.
I just checked the glenlivet website:
nothing is mentioned in the website or on the bottle about the sherry, yet, the rep of the company wrote the scotch is sherried – why should we not believe the company that they are adding sherry as an imparted flavor into the scotch?October 16, 2009 3:13 am at 3:13 am #675701Feif UnParticipant
I was told by my Rabbi that R’ Moshe Feinstein zt”l held that sherry casks are not a problem.October 16, 2009 4:01 am at 4:01 am #675702JosephParticipant
Reb Moshe’s kula’s are good; but his chumras go out the window?October 16, 2009 4:37 am at 4:37 am #675703iluyishParticipant
The reason for looking at the labels is not the same as looking at the labels of any other product. Looking at a scotch label tells you all the flavors that the company expects you to taste in that particular whiskey. If they make a specific mention of it’s being aged in Sherry casks, this is an indicator that there really is a Taam L’shvach of Yayin Nesech. If the label does not mention anything about Sherry in it’s taste description, you can safely say that they don’t believe there is any hint of sherry in that particular whiskey- even if it was aged in sherry casks. (Up to here is what I’ve heard B’shem Rabbonim. My own footnote to this is that we should be able to rely on their tasters as a Kefeila Armaah especially because if they fail to highlite a key taste in the whiskey, they would be fired immediately!)October 16, 2009 5:06 am at 5:06 am #675704starwolfMember
I have been collecting and drinking single malt for a very long time.
I have heard from many Rabbanim their opinions about the kashrut of the ones matured in wine casks. There are a variety of opinions, and the answer is clear (just as it always is)–ask your own Rav.
(There is no question about the malts that were not preserved in wine casks. This is also why there is no question about the kashrut of bourbon. It is illegal for bourbon to be matured in any cask that has been previously used).
I have also discussed the process of distilling, maturing, and bottling with several distillers as well. Each whisky is matured and finished in one or more casks, some of which may have held wine of some type (including sherry or port). These days, it is very much in style to drink these whiskies that are preserved in wine casks. Therefore, many distilleries say outright on their bottles which kind of casks have held that whisky.
However, not all do. Again: Not all whiskies state the types of casks that they use for maturation and finishing. If they do make such a statement, one may rely upon it. The laws about this in Scotland are extremely strict. However, they are not required to make the statement at all. These days, most distillers and bottler that use casks that have previously contained wine put it on their label. Since these are popular these days, it increases the desirability of the bottle. It is to the bottler’s advantage to label it as such.
However, many brands have been using these wine casks for decades, long before anyone imagined the value of advertising them as such. Their labels have not changed over the years, and make no statements.
If you hold that it does not matter, then no problem. However, if you hold that it does matter, you must be careful. An example: My brother-in-law’s Rav holds that it does matter. When he bought a bottle of single malt for a simcha, he was very makpid that it did not state that it was matured in sherry or port, and he purchased the whisky that was recommended by that Rav. When I got to his house, I noticed that, regardless, it was a bottle that I personally know was matured in a sherry cask. It put me in an uncomfortable social situation, halachically–as the bottle was half gone.
Back to topic: Yes, the sherries, ports and other wines really do change the taste of the whisky.
Now, for those of you who hold that you should not drink something that has been in a cask that previously contained wine but are nevertheless wondering about this taste, I have a solution. There are now a series of malts that are matured in casks that previously contained wine (not sherry). The casks were purchased from the Carmel Wine company in Israel–and the wine inside was kosher. If requested, I can provide the distillery name and suggest places that it can be purchased (It is not that common of a label). Several caveats: 1) The wine in the casks was kosher, and produced under Rabbinical supervision. The whisky–like other single malts–is not produced under Rabbinical supervision. If you only eat or drink product that are–well, this will not help you. 2) This whisky, being a specialty item, is not cheap. 3) Although I had something to do with this process, I am not associated with the company other than being friends with the distiller.October 16, 2009 5:20 am at 5:20 am #675705Jersey JewParticipant
Instead of hocking about it here why not pose the shayla to a competent posek who actually has a knowledge of the food industry and the actual m’tzius involved. I would suggest calling the cRc in Chicago (www.crcweb.org) and asking them. Rav Gedalia Shwartz Shlita was involved in the psak and thus extensive research has been done.October 16, 2009 7:54 am at 7:54 am #675706barlevParticipant
Harav Padwa ZL, the previous Rov of Keddsia, London, allowed whiskey of all sorts, weather blended or single malt
another point to take into considration is that sherry casks are used for colour too and not only for flavor
?????October 16, 2009 9:40 am at 9:40 am #675707geshmakamirrerMember
b”h the winter zman is starting and we will all have something to do very soon instead of debating age old issues that aren’t going to change!!!! a gutten vinter and a gutten shabbos to allOctober 16, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am #675708seventytotheOneMember
Please call them and let us all know what they answer you. THAT is the point of this forum.October 16, 2009 2:01 pm at 2:01 pm #675709chochomatikMember
Nothing new here, other than all the talking heads. R’Moshe and the Minchas Yitzchok, among others, have long ago paskened that scotch aged in wine barrels is OK.October 16, 2009 2:05 pm at 2:05 pm #675710
chochomatik – “R’Moshe and the Minchas Yitzchok, among others, have long ago paskened that scotch aged in wine barrels is OK.”
Not good enough for the trouble makers. Got anyone better?October 16, 2009 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm #675711
The amount of misinformation being promulgated here is astounding. By US law to be classified as bourbon it must be aged in new, charred oak aging barrels, thus all the old bourbon casks for scotch production.
As to Sherry casks if one actually goes to the distilleries you will find that it is against Scottish law to add ANYTHING other than the standard 3 ingredients. Sherry casks are cleaned multiple times both hot and cold bec they do not want any sherry in the scotch they are fined if there is any sherry in it. to their best understanding there is a chemical reaction in the wood after the sherry ages in it. which would not be a kashrus problem.
Most organizations take the black and white – sherry cask bad stance because it is what their constituents demand. they think they know everything but half the picture is not the whole story.A little knowledge is a dangerous thingOctober 16, 2009 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #675712dmgMember
it’s kdai to know that this is a mefurashe halacha in shulchan aruch that sherry casks, etc. are 100% mutar. Many but by no means all chashuva poskim are not comfortable being somech on this because it’s not so geshmak to drink something deliberately made using nonkosher processing. They whey and grape ingredients is a different shayla.October 16, 2009 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #675713
While the sherry-cask discussion is ages old, this information actually DOES add to the conversation. If one wants to be Machmir and avoid sherried whiskies, they are limiting themselves to a very small number of widely-sold bottlings (Ardbeg 10, for one), and other single-cask bottlings that use NO sherry casks in the aging process (i.e. all ex-bourbon casks). What people don’t realize is the information provided above: that even those bottlings that are not WHOLLY aged/finished in sherry (and other wine) casks, do have SOME AMOUNT of sherry-casked whisky in it.
How is this so? It is because of a process called vatting. People assume that they just pop a tap on a cask and then fill bottles to be sold. However, in reality, what the distilleries do is combine many many casks together to achieve a desired taste. The casks may be different ages, and the number of years stated on the bottle is the YOUNGEST whisky in that vatting (i.e. in a Glenlivet 12, there may be 18 year old whisky in there). If they did not do this, one bottle of Glenlivet 12 could taste wildly different from another bottle; obviously, the distilleries want conformity. For example, Balvenie 15 is a single-cask whisky, and those with discerning palates can taste differences between them.
So, the moral of the story is that more than 95% of the whisky on the market has some sherry-casked (or other wine casked) whisky in it, and for those that REALLY want to be Machmir, they should not just avoid whisky stating that it is wholly matured/aged in sherry casks, they should avoid all whisky unless the bottle states, or they have some other confirmation, that the whisky is wholly aged in ex-bourbon casks.
For those interested, I did a two-part piece on this topic on my blog some years ago.October 16, 2009 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #675714
dmg – ” Many but by no means all chashuva poskim are not comfortable being somech on this because it’s not so geshmak to drink something deliberately made using nonkosher processing.”
There is a kosher product used by everyone and with top hashgacha that has bacon dropped into it as part of the process. Anyone know what this product is?October 16, 2009 3:53 pm at 3:53 pm #675715truthsharerMember
I don’t understand the issue. I heard a shiur a few years back about someone who actually traveled to Scotland and saw the process, and spoke with LBD people.
The end result of the whole shiur is that sherry casks was just a marketing ploy and adds nothing to the taste of the scotch and it’s also 100% kosher.October 16, 2009 5:06 pm at 5:06 pm #675717
Anyone who thinks that the use of sherry casks is merely a “marketing ploy” is grossly misinformed.October 16, 2009 5:31 pm at 5:31 pm #675718destro613Participant
Please dont call other posters by pet names.October 16, 2009 5:35 pm at 5:35 pm #675719truthsharerMember
The sherry casks, by the time they are through with the cleaning, soaking, coaling, smoking, etc. is no more a sherry cask than it is a beer barrel. It was a way for the company to distinguish themselves from all the other people and companies selling scotch.October 16, 2009 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #675720esmith92000Participant
We have become the FRUM generation. Various poskim (Rav Moshe and the Minchas Chinuch among others) have said there is no problem. However, “there are those who want to be machmir.” The Vilna Gaon is reported to have said that “those who go beyond what they are obligated to do are fools.” Whether this is true or not, if one is not obligated to do something they are not “machmir,” they just have a minhag that perhaps nobody else has. For example, if you want to stand during davening when nobody else stands (nad it is not krias shema) go ahead. Just don’t tell anyone else they are doing something that may be wrong.
By the way, if you’ve ever had maple syrup, all maple syrup has bacon dipped into it while it is being boiled in large, shallow wooden pans. It is used as an anti-foaming agent. It is suspended by a string and dipped in when the syrup threatens to overflow, and then is pulled out when the danger is eliminated. Rav Moshe, as well as other poskim, have said it is fine. If you don’t think it is, never use any brand of maple syrup.October 16, 2009 6:19 pm at 6:19 pm #675721
smith – lard, not bacon.October 16, 2009 6:37 pm at 6:37 pm #675722JaxMember
pour me a shot please!October 16, 2009 6:45 pm at 6:45 pm #675723I can only tryMember
“By the way, if you’ve ever had maple syrup, all maple syrup has bacon dipped into it while it is being boiled in large, shallow wooden pans … Rav Moshe, as well as other poskim, have said it is fine. If you don’t think it is, never use any brand of maple syrup.“
While I’m not familiar with Rav Moshe’s position on this, the following info makes it seem that lard is not used in the processing of kosher maple syrup:
2) At one point, maple sugar farmers would add small amounts of lard (pig fat) to the syrup to minimize foaming during the boiling process. More recently, however, virtually no maple sugar producers continue to do this: the ones who use stabilizers almost always use small amounts of vegetable oil. You can check to see if any stabilizers are used just by checking the nutrition facts. But if you are concerned about what kind of stabilizers are used, buying certified kosher maple syrup would definitely be a safe, pig-fat-free way to go.
3) It may be difficult to determine whether a particular brand of syrup has an animal or vegetable based defoamer. Most syrups do not use lard, with the exception of certain small-scale products. Brands which are kosher certified, such as Spring Tree or Maple Groves, are unlikely to contain animal products in their defoamers. Holsum Foods, which produces pancake syrup, also uses vegetable oil as a defoaming agent, and their product is labeled by food chains such as Dominick’s, Supervalue and Superfine.
The above info is cut-and-pasted from three different sites. I won’t include the URL’s since they are non-approved sites, but a google search can find them for you easily enough.October 16, 2009 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #675724
ICOT – you are correct. The kosher maple syrup is made without using lard. Though I don’t know what the havve amina was. I didn’t realize that smith was talking about kosher maple syrup.October 16, 2009 7:08 pm at 7:08 pm #675725
here is the cRc Policy from: http://www.crcweb.org/liquor_list.php#Scotch
The following list contains several brands of Scotch that have been researched and found to be acceptable.
Please make sure to take note of the vintage or special variety listed as not all types under a particular label are recommended.
This listed is a work in progress and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Only those varieties of Scotch that were found to be recommended will be posted. The criteria used to establish this list was to check the label and packaging of each particular brand, type and vintage and ascertain that it was not produced using any possible questionable methods. Some questionable methods include scotch aged in wine casks such as sherry or port, dual casks, French casks or European casks.
Omission of a particular brand or vintage does not necessarily indicate that it is not kosher. The cRc simply does not have any information on that scotch and therefore we can not comment on its acceptance.
You may wish to investigate the status of any scotch not listed by using the criteria listed above.
so now we know that the cRc holds that scotch produced using any possible questionable methods is not recommended. Some questionable methods include scotch aged in wine casks such as sherry or port, dual casks, French casks or European casks. As do other organizations, they recommend reading the label.
with the example in the OP we see that reading the label does not always provide all of the information.
A question that I have to all those that claim that there is no imparted flavor why does it say in the website that it has a fruit note to it. if the only three ingredients are barley malt, water and yeast – where are the fruit flavorings coming from?
as a side note, I contacted both the Star-K and the cRc and I am waiting for a response. I will post if and when I receive it.
have a wonderful Shabbos!October 16, 2009 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #675726
one more note: years ago I worked in family business selling suits. one of my customers worked in the mixing facilities for Nabisco. At that time, some of the Nabisco products started putting a note on their packaging essentially saying: made with 100% vegetable shortening. I ask my customer if this was true and his response was that it was 100% not true. He told me that they do not clean the vats out from the previous shortening so there is to some degree some animal shortening in the product.
I guess labels can be deceiving in what they say and what they don’t say.October 16, 2009 8:00 pm at 8:00 pm #675727
truthsharer – While I do think the effect of sherry casks is often overstated, to say that, after cleaning, etc., it is no different than a beer barrel is simply incorrect. For one, sherry casks are made from Quercus Robur wood (aka Spanish Oak). This type of wood imparts a much different flavor than Quercus Alba (White American oak). Next, as a general rule, sherried whiskies are sweeter than those aged in purely ex-bourbon casks. Try Glenlivet 12 (primarily ex-bourbon), and then try Macallan 12 (100% sherry); the difference in level of sweetness is largely due to the sherry casks.
Finally, many single cask bottlings are denoted as being stored in “first-fill” sherry casks (the first time it was filled after it stored sherry), while others are denoted as being stored in “re-fill” sherry casks (held sherry and then whisky before being refilled again with whisky). According to what you are saying, there would be no point in doing this. Of course, there is, and the reason is because the sherry cask (aside from the Robur vs. Alba wood differences) influences the whisky to a greater degree the first time it is filled vs. subsequent times.October 16, 2009 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #675728
Yes esmith92000, it is maple syrup and all your info is absolutely correct.October 18, 2009 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #675731
London Beis Din and Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu – All scotch is OK.
R’ Don Yoel Levy of the OK in a shiur which I attended explained that the barrels are burnt before reuse and that there is no chashash of any contamination let alone noisein taam. It is all marketing.
Rav Landa: Very little whisky is acceptable. All I remember is that Woodward Reserve bourbon is on his approved list.
Admou”r meCreedmoor: Only whisky aged in barrels which have been burnt for insurance purposes, in a similarly immolated distillery, is acceptable. Otherwise, it is meshibich to make kiddush on Iranian crude under the hashgocho of Ayatollah H. Rafsanjani.October 18, 2009 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #675732
Just to clarify, R’ Levy did not pasken at that shiur as he does not give statements regarding products that he does not certify. He did present photos of the distillation process, and for the record after hearing the shiur I did run out and buy a bottle of Caol Ila (sp) after not having purchased scotch the week before for a kiddush because of the news from Rav Landa.October 18, 2009 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #675733
A600KiloBear- what does The Admou”r meCreedmoor drink simchas totah & purim?November 4, 2009 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #675734
With the exception of a few posters, most of you are getting some things wrong. Regarding those who claim Shulchan Aruch says it’s mutar, there are two seifim frequently quoted, both in Yorah Daiah: 135:13 (wine only penetrates kdai klipah) and 137:4 (you can store water or beer in such vessels). The first is in a simman talking about prepping a new cask with wine before use, and the Shach says that if you know for sure it contained wine for a 24-hour period, then kdai klipah doesn’t work and you’d need a far bigger shiur of bitul. In the second seif, the Taz says the reason it’s mutar is because the taste of the wine went bad in the walls and so it’s pagum. But what if sherry makes scotch taste better? To address such reservations, Kashrus authorities came up with a collection of assumptions so as to pasken l’kulah. Only problem is, I’ve discovered those assumptions simply are not true. I just happen to have written a paper just over a week ago about this. The objections I raise are not a rehash of the same arguments seen everywhere else; they are mostly new. A friend of mine posted it on his blog. Please read it. Then let’s have a serious discussion.
EDITEDNovember 4, 2009 8:23 pm at 8:23 pm #675735
Do a google search on the exact expression “is scotch kosher?” and you’ll find the paper.November 5, 2009 4:24 pm at 4:24 pm #675736
A600KiloBear- what does The Admou”r meCreedmoor drink simchas totah & purim?
Pure Iranian crude oil under the hashgocho of the Islamic Revolutionary Council of Iran is all the Admou”r ever drinks!November 5, 2009 5:36 pm at 5:36 pm #675737
A600KiloBear – what types of casks is the Pure Iranian crude oil aged in? Does it have a picture of Achmeyechamshojad in a shtreimel on the bottles??November 5, 2009 5:42 pm at 5:42 pm #675738haifagirlParticipant
Does that have the regular IRC of Iran hechsher or the Mehadrin hechsher?November 5, 2009 9:12 pm at 9:12 pm #675739
It is aged in metal casks formerly used for smuggling weapons into Gaza. The hechsher is the most machmir “Beis Din Zichroin Ruhollah” which has a picture of Khomeini YMS on the seal.November 8, 2009 2:47 am at 2:47 am #675740
I’d like to address some of the misinformation here, even by those claiming misinformation here.
To those who claim sherry casks are just a marketing ploy: Please explain why a distillery would use sherry casks when they cost around 9 times (yes, 9 times) more than a bourbon cask. And why would a distillery like Glenlivet use sherry casks in the vatting for Glenlivet 12 when it doesn’t advertise it and for the most part only tells you if you ask? Not much of a marketing ploy for the money invested.
To those who claim sherry casks don’t give taste: You may not be able to taste actual sherry, but a connoisseur can usually tell if a scotch is sherried: among other things, there is a taste of mellow dried fruit. There’s a kid in shul who can tell if the scotch he’s given is sherried–he hasn’t missed yet.
To those who think there is a direct and reliable connection between not saying on the label and not using sherry casks, I am sorry, but it just ain’t so. I can even list some common scotches that are 100% or almost 100% sherry cask aged that say nothing on the label.
It’s not such a secret which distillery did a run of scotches finished in Carmel wine casks: Bruichladdich. There were two bottlings, 1989 and 1994.
Somebody mentioned he ran out and bought Caol Ila after hearing a shiur suggesting there’s no problem with scotch. Research suggests Caol Ila’s main bottlings, the 12 and the 18, both are 100% ex-bourbon cask, so if that’s what you bought, you could’ve walked, not run.
To those who claim sherry casks are cleaned multiple times, soaked, coaled, and smoked: When the casks are first made, they are toasted. Only after that do they soak in sherry for a while, then are shipped to Scotland and filled almost instantly without any of those things done to it. They generally only fill with water if testing for leaks. The better distilleries discard casks after the second fill, which means in general none of the above were done. Other distilleries refurbish casks by shaving off a very small inner layer. They don’t like to do a full re-toasting if they don’t have to because it won’t come out so good with the sherry already in the walls being heated up that way. Regardless, they often re-soak with sherry or cook sherry back into the walls. Bottom line: the claim in the first sentence does not hold in general.
How many here have actually read Rav Moshe’s tshuva? Did you know he didn’t write about sherry casks? Rather he wrote about the practice of adding wine directly into whiskey to sweeten it, and mattired (even if you could taste the wine) as long as the ratio of whiskey to wine was at least 6:1. Yes, it would be a kol shekain to scotch in sherry casks, but only if there would be 6:1 against the entire wood, and there isn’t. Without this some poskim (if they knew this) might be troubled to mattir. Did you know Rav Moshe in his own tshuva gave four reasons why a baal nefesh shouldn’t drink? Do you know why? I’m not saying not to rely on Rav Moshe, but many Kashrus organizations do not want to rely (at least solely) on Rav Moshe.
How many here have actually read the Minchas Yitzchok’s tshuva? Did you know he has an additional requirement over Rav Moshe that it also must be true that even an expert cannot be able to discern the taste of actual sherry? While this may be true in general, would you bet your life this is so for every scotch aged 100% in first fill sherry casks?November 8, 2009 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #675741JotharMember
Sherry, are you saying the chashuva rabbonim who run the kashrus agencies are machshil the rabbim with their acceptable liquor lists? Oh Sherry, my emunas chachamim holds on. Of course, I’m more than happy to find a reason to buy cheap blended scotch, but I won’t be machmir on others until the gedolim who run the kashrus agencies agree with your chiddush.November 8, 2009 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #675742
Jothar, I’d rather call it new information that is being brought to the attention of the Kashrus agencies, which can incorporate it and adapt if necessary.
Since you mention blended scotch, a little research shows that most of them use as their base filler single malt scotch known to have a sherry influence. I’m not paskening, I’m just saying.
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