I am very excited to have obtained this bad boy earlier today…
This 5-gallon oak barrel was previously used to age whiskey at Palm Ridge Distillery here in Florida. I have a few concerns about this barrel and was hoping those of you with more barrel experience might be able to help me out.
I was hoping to pick this up and hear some residual whiskey sloshing inside, however the inside is unfortunately bone dry. There are also a bunch of wood-chips inside that I can only imagine were added to help speed the oaking/aging process. I have emailed the distillery to see if they have any records that might be able to tell me when this barrel was used/emptied. I guess it's possible that chips could also just be char that broke off, but it looks like there are pieces that aren't charred at all, which leads me to believe they were added intentionally.
Here is a photo of the inside of the barrel:
So I have a few questions:
1) Am I likely to get any whiskey character from this barrel now that it is completely dried out?
2) Would it be helpful to add some whiskey to the barrel now to rewet the wood and perhaps add some character to the wood?
3) Do I need to be worried about the barrel no longer being sealed properly? If so, should I float it in a tub of water to swell the wood and hopefully reseal?
Any other tips or suggestions on how to save/revive this barrel would be much appreciated!