After 25 years of restoring and converting early American barns into unique custom homes, and an 8-year spiritual odyssey into the restoration of an 80-year-old Alaskan wooden fishing boat, I had become deeply passionate about historic things old and wooden. Objects deliberately and delicately crafted by hand from wood to serve basic and simple utilitarian functions, like harvesting and storing grains from the fields, or transporting the sea’s bounty to market… hand-hewn things.
That love of hewn objects, coupled with, among other things, a small still I received from my crew of timber framers one Christmas, led me down the path into the forbidden art of distillation. Inevitably my new-found fascination with distilling collided with my love of old wood and good whiskey and an idea was borne…. Why not experiment and study the effects of various old, rare and even extinct woods on the aging process of different spirits?
American White Oak has long held the title as the king of barrel wood in this country, but what would happen if other unique woods were used for secondary aging on spirits? The Ancients chose the term “spirits,” because they knew that the essence of a thing — its “spirit” — was called out when they distilled a grain, fruit or type of sugar.
Experts suggest that between 60%-80% of the character of an aged spirit comes from the wood that it rests in, so it all started to make perfect sense to me. As lovers of all things old and wooden, we now endeavor to again call forth the soul of these unique woods as they impart their character and undeniable spell on our Hewn Spirits.
“Spirited” Founder and Head Distiller