Alligator char is a term used to describe the level of charring in a barrel used for aging spirits such as whiskey, bourbon, and rum. It is one of the most commonly used types of charring and is known for its distinctive flavor profile. But when exactly is alligator char used in barrels?
Alligator char is characterized by its deep black color, which resembles the rough, scaly texture of an alligator's skin. This type of charring is achieved by holding the barrel over an open flame for a specific period of time, usually between 45 and 60 seconds. The heat from the flames causes the wood inside the barrel to break down and caramelize, creating a layer of char that helps to impart flavor and color to the spirit that is aged within it.
Alligator char is typically used for spirits that require a stronger, bolder flavor profile, such as bourbon or rye whiskey. The alligator char helps to extract more flavor from the wood and create a more complex taste that is prized by whiskey enthusiasts.
Some distillers also use alligator char for aging rum, as it can help to bring out the sweetness and complexity of the spirit. However, alligator char is less commonly used for aging other types of spirits, such as tequila or gin, which require a lighter flavor profile.
One of the key benefits of using alligator char in barrel aging is that it can help to mask any impurities or off-flavors in the spirit. This is because the char can help to absorb and filter out unwanted flavors, leaving a smoother, more refined taste.
In conclusion, alligator char is typically used in barrels for aging stronger, bolder spirits such as bourbon and rye whiskey. It helps to create a complex flavor profile and can mask any impurities or off-flavors in the spirit. While alligator char is not commonly used for aging other types of spirits, it remains a popular choice for those seeking a more intense and robust taste in their whiskey or rum.