A Russian cooperage has joined forces with a UK firm to target the Scotch whisky industry with its barrels as “a quality alternative to traditional European sources.”
Old Russian Oak cooperage was set up in 2011 at the Fanagoria Estate Winery on Russia’s Black Sea coast. Working with “sustainably sourced” oak from 80-100 year old trees in forests of the Adyghe Republic, it produces barrels that range in size from 225 to 600 litres.
The company has now appointed consultancy business Litmus Wines as its UK agent thanks to founder John Worontschak’s existing relationship with Fanagoria as a consultant on the winemaking side of its business.
Mike Florence, general manager of Litmus Wines, highlighted this background as he commented: “During that time he has witnessed the development of the cooperage and seen first hand the rigorous quality control and craftsmanship that goes into creating each barrel.”
According to the team behind Old Russian Oak, “as well as providing excellent value for money, the barrels impart less oaky flavours than other European oak, making them ideal for spirits production.”
Although many Scotch whisky distillers prize the character given to their product by casks that have previously been used to mature Sherry, Bourbon or Port, Worontschak suggested that innovation within the industry had opened up opportunities for new types of barrel.
“A number of Scotch producers are experimenting and working with new oak for either special blends or to use as a complexifying component to their current blends,” he explained.