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The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

author:Micro-wine
The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

It's a small step for the Laozhou Distillery and a big step for Chinese whisky.

Text | Qiu Fanxuan

From May 17th to May 19th, Laozhou Chinese Mongolian Oak Casks made its world debut at the Beijing Whisky Festival. At the scene, this new Laozhou product with unique Chinese characteristics won the praise and recognition of a group of wine friends, and also made the Chinese Mongolian oak barrel into the field of vision of more people.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

In the past two years, whisky has become a hot topic in the industry, and Chinese whisky has also gained a certain degree of discussion. However, how to make whisky with Chinese flavor and how to set standards for this has become the core difficulty in exploring Chinese whisky.

"The emergence of Mongolian oak barrels may become a major breakthrough in Chinese whisky", an industry source told Weijiu, Mongolian oak is China's national second-class precious tree species, its material is hard, strong corrosion resistance, is not only a rare good material for making whisky oak barrels, but at the same time there is a problem of easy leakage, which is also a major shortcoming of using Mongolian oak barrels to mature whisky.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

So, what is the process from the discovery of Mongolian oak to the production of the first Laozhou Mongolian oak cask whisky? Today, please follow the perspective of micro-wine to find out.

01Focus on the improved breed plan and explore Chinese flavors

Those who are familiar with whisky know that about 60% of the flavour of a whisky is determined by the oak casks. If you want to make a Chinese-style whisky, it is important to have a good tree species with Chinese characteristics.

After many field visits and rigorous research, Mongolian oak has become the best choice for making Chinese whisky in Laozhou. As mentioned earlier, Mongolian oak is not only extremely rare and expensive, but most native varieties have the problem of leakage due to low water tightness and short flavor absorption time, and it is very rare to have whisky that has been matured 100% in Mizunara casks for a long time.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

Therefore, the study of the protection and rational use of Mongolian oak has always been an important research topic in the whisky industry. To this end, the Laozhou Distillery in Qionglai, Sichuan Province, took the lead in taking action, and together with the team of Professor Li Yun of Beijing Forestry University, launched the "Laozhou Mongolian Oak Improvement Plan" with the long-term goal of green and sustainable development, hoping to form the Chinese flavor of Laozhou and help the long-term development of Chinese whisky.

It is understood that Laozhou has established a clear goal at the beginning of the project, that is, to improve the water tightness as a breeding direction, and cultivate Mongolian oak varieties that are more suitable for barrel aging spirits.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

To this end, on the one hand, Laozhou gathered Professor Li Yun's team and forest tree genetics and breeding experts to conduct special research, and on the other hand, it also set up a special Mongolian oak scientific research scholarship to reward research on Mongolian oak genetic diversity, breeding scientific and technological innovation, etc., and empower it from the perspective of sustainable development.

As we all know, Chinese whisky is still in the exploration stage, and it is the most difficult to take a road that has not yet been taken, and Laozhou has taken the first step as a "pioneer". In the past two years, Laozhou has always focused on the improvement plan, continued to explore the integration of whisky with Chinese terroir and culture, tried to carry out the research and development of various new flavor barrels, and strived to create more possibilities for the flavor of Chinese characteristic whisky.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

02Two years of dormancy, achieving the first "gold standard" in China

Weijiu learned from Laozhou that two years have passed, and the core research results of Laizhou and Professor Li Yun's team have established the "gold standard" of Mongolian oak barrels in China. The so-called gold standard is an excellent tree species that fully meets the aeration and water permeability of the raw material, and can give whisky its characteristic flavor.

Professor Li Yun said, "We found that the bubble-like filling in the Mongolian oak wood conduit, called the substance of 'encroachment body', is the key to affecting the wood, the intrusion in the conduit is less, the ventilation and permeability are strong, the oak barrel is easy to leak, the whisky flavor is also difficult to be rich, there are many intrusive fills in the conduit, the ventilation and water permeability are poor, and the liquor in the barrel can not be fully breathed, which is not conducive to the oxidative maturation of whisky." ”

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

In order to find the proportion of gold in the encroached landfill, Laozhou and Professor Li Yun's team conducted a large-scale survey and sampling in several Mongolian oak distribution areas across the country. In the end, it was found that only the wood conduit had a pore diameter of less than 280 μm, the number of conduits per 4.5 square millimeters was between 42 and 73, and the proportion of invading and filling in the pores was more than 67%.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

The establishment of the gold standard is the first standard in China to be set for Mongolian oak barrels in China. For Chinese whisky, this standard is undoubtedly groundbreaking, and it may be a small step for the Laozhou Distillery, but it is a big step for Chinese whisky.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

In the future, Laozhou will also take this standard as a guide and strictly select Mongolian oak varieties from all over the country. With the debut of the Laozhou Mongolian oak casks, the gold standard of Chinese Mongolian oak casks will also be shared with more Chinese whisky "fellow travelers". At the same time, the China Mongolian Oak Cask is the first cask of the China Whisky Single Cask Program, and in the future, the China Whisky Cask Program will introduce more casks that represent the flavor of Chinese whisky, bringing more diversified choices to Chinese and even global consumers.

03 Received rave reviews, and the Mongolian oak barrel became the focus when it debuted

At the Beijing Whisky Festival, the Laozhou Chinese Mongolian oak barrel became the absolute focus, and Weijiu also saw the Mongolian oak barrel that meets the gold standard for the first time. In appearance, the Mongolian oak barrel has a cylindrical shape, which facilitates the blending and aging of the wine. The capacity is about 200 liters, which is the same as the cask capacity of regular matured whisky.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

It is understood that the barrel type needs to be naturally dried for 12 months, and the barrel density is lower than that of American oak and French oak, so there are more opportunities for the wine to come into contact with the air, in addition to bringing more angels to share, it can also promote the emission of pungent aroma substances in the wine, so that the aroma of the wine becomes softer.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

Because of the use of rare Mongolian oak and the use of Char 3 grill, the Laozhou Mongolian oak cask whisky has a rich woody, caramel, smoky aroma and a light amber color. Take a bite, the entrance is sweet, full, oily, and slightly tannin-like, giving people a high sense of complexity and layering.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

A number of whisky lovers told Weijiu, "We have been paying close attention to the trends of Laozhou, two years ago, Huangjiu cask whisky has been a big innovation in the whisky industry, allowing us to see the possibility of the fusion of Chinese flavor and whisky, and the release of Laozhou Chinese Mongolian oak barrel this time has brought more surprises, I think this product is expected to become an exclusive business card of Chinese whisky." ”

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

For whisky lovers who are unable to make it to the Beijing Whisky Festival, Laozhou also provides a special channel for tasting and soliciting opinions. From May 20th to June 20th, Laozhou Bars in Shanghai and Guangzhou will open offline limited drinks for members.

In addition, wine lovers can also scan the QR code below to participate in the "Chinese Mongolian Oak Cask Flavor Collection", which Laozhou hopes to invite whisky lovers to create the flavor of Chinese Mongolian oak casks together, so that more Chinese consumers can participate in the exclusive flavor customization of Chinese whisky and create Chinese whisky with unique Chinese characteristics and Chinese flavors. The deadline for the collection of flavors is June 15, and the flavors of the Chinese Mongolian oak barrels will be announced on June 20.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

▲Scan the QR code to participate in the "Chinese Mongolian Oak Barrel Flavor Collection"

04Solid as a rock, promoting the development of Chinese whisky

In recent years, there has been an almost unanimous consensus that whisky will be the next big thing in the industry. Well-known domestic and foreign liquor giants, including Pernod Ricard, Diageo and Langjiu, have successively established whisky distilleries in China and put forward the goal of making Chinese whisky, which is enough to confirm the above view.

But at the same time, it is extremely difficult to make Chinese whisky, on the one hand, from brewing to the construction of talent teams, you need to explore by yourself, there are no successful cases in China to learn from, on the other hand, this matter requires extremely high capital costs, time costs and patience.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

Zeng Guofan once said: "Only the most clumsy in the world can win the most clever in the world." It means that there are thousands of smart people in this world, but those who can successfully laugh to the end are often those who seem clumsy. Compared with the above-mentioned liquor giants, Laozhou obviously has more pressure in terms of funds, but this time it has priority to stand on the "starting line".

In the eyes of industry insiders, on the road of exploring Chinese whisky, Laozhou not only shows its respect for traditional craftsmanship, but also demonstrates the courage to innovate and pioneer. By debuting the Mongolian Oak Cask Gold Standard, Laozhou has not only set a new milestone for the future development of Chinese whisky, but also proved to the world China's determination and strength in this field.

The first Chinese Mongolian oak cask gold standard, Laozhou Distillery opens a new chapter in Chinese whisky

With the world debut of the Mongolian oak casks, there is reason to believe that this is just the beginning of the international whisky scene. After the first rice barrel, Laozhou continues to move forward, and its determination to make Chinese whisky is as solid as its carefully cultivated Mongolian oak, deeply rooted in this ancient and vibrant land of China. In the future, Laozhou will continue to bring more surprises to whisky lovers around the world with its unique Chinese flavor.

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