Don’t put whiskey in a barrel – put the barrel in the whiskey!

It might sound crazy, but this is exactly what we are doing in one of our on-going projects. More precisely, a joint development co-operation between Innerstave, a California wine and spirits flavor company, and Librixer – focusing on oak powder for flavor and color extraction.

Librixer recently started toll-milling used oak barrel chips using its unique, gentle micronization technology to further enhance the efficiency and quality of oak additives. The first 2 tons were delivered in 2021 and the remaining 12 tons of oak fine powder are to be delivered in the first quarter of 2023.

For a winemaker, oak flour and powder assist in masking vegetal overtones, help to bind color, and enhance texture. Adding oak flour and powder at fermentation increases mouthfeel with a touch of non-aggressive oak tannin. The oak flavor becomes indiscernible with these additions, but the backbone of oak tannin adds structure, making the future of the wine richer and more full-bodied.

For a distiller, oak complements give a much greater degree of control in adding different oak species, toast levels, and oak blend profiles. This on-demand customization can help drive differentiated flavor profiles across multiple brands from the same make. It is now even possible to make a 6-month whiskey taste like an aged whiskey in a fraction of the time. Incredible really!

The Librixer liberation and micronization of aged and charred old used oak barrels as well as utilization of unwanted parts of the oak tree is the right thing to do to save oak trees in the future.

Environmental benefits:

  • Water Usage – no water is used to clean oak wood complements.
  • Transporting oak wood complements is 10x more efficient than shipping and trucking barrels around the world.
  • The energy used throughout the barrel production process is far more wasteful than producing oak barrel alternatives.

Economical benefits:

  • Oak barrels can be up to 10 times more expensive than oak complements.
  • Wine loss in barrels of 3–5% /year/barrel can be avoided.
  • The barrel storage and labor costs of maintaining barrels continue to increase.
  • Wine analysis costs per wine barrel are more expensive.

The SEM-image below shows an intact single liberated oak fiber just a few microns thick and well over 100 microns long. Large surface area results in both un-matched color and flavor extraction, as well as speed-up, wanted oxidation of the wine or spirit.

This is yet another proof of how the Librixer technology can create value, and to say that the Librixer can be used in various application fields is a huge understatement.