Aged spirits bring rising expectations at Onyx

June 13, 2013 by  

Small boutique wineries are springing up all over the country, as are microbreweries; but here in Connecticut, just a few miles from Middletown, we can boast our own micro distillery. Just like the big well-known whisky producers in Tennessee and Scotland, the Onyx Spirits Co of East Hartford has announced that it will be making aged whiskey in oak barrels.

Onyx Spirits Co. will no doubt need to redesign its next business card printing to include the aged whiskey made from its Onyx Moonshine, which it has been producing since 2011. The moonshine spends six months in five-gallon barrels where it acquires color, and a smoky flavor. It takes corn, malted grains, and water to make the moonshine, but only time and charred oaken barrels to transform the moonshine into whiskey.

If a six-month time frame to turn moonshine into whiskey sound short, it is due to the use of small barrels. Large distilleries use 53-gallon barrels and take three years to age their product; however, by using smaller barrels, the process takes less time because of the increased surface ratio. A batch of 33 five-gallon barrels of whiskey will be released every six months for distribution to Connecticut stores and restaurants. The first batch will be released in December.

No location in the state will be able to reserve more than one barrel per batch. Each barrel yields approximately 30 bottles of 91 proof whiskey. The bottles are 750 ml and carry a retail price of $60 each. Each bottle will be hand-labeled and show both a barrel and a bottle number.