According to tradition, bourbon whiskey should be aged in charred American oak barrels for at least nine years, preferably 10-12 years – at least the really good stuff, like Woodford Double Oaked or Knob Creek. But in Cleveland, Ohio – not far but far enough from the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky – entrepreneur Tom Lix is busy pumping out 1000 bottles of Cleveland Whiskey a week and selling out. Lix can do this because he has discovered and has a patent pending on a process that significantly accelerates the aging process of typical bourbons.
Instead of aging the spirit for 9-12 years, Lix ages them only six months the old-fashioned way, then dumps the 51% corn spirit [which also contains rye, barley and wheat] into an agitating bin which contains chopped up staves from those traditional charred American oak barrels. The agitation squeezes the spirit into the pores of the wood staves – essentially speeding up superficial portions of process that would normally all those years of aging – and produces the finished product in only six days. While Lix is unable to coax subtle flavors and nuances out of the spirit via the process, he is able to get a reasonable facsimile of high end bourbons that has been compared favorably by some to venerable old favorites like Knob Creek.
Cleveland Whiskey began selling for $35 a bottle on March 1, 2013 and is mostly only available in Ohio – at the moment.