Ever wondered what sets high end, expensive barrels and staves apart from lesser ones? If Colonel E.H. Taylor's recent cured oak is any indication, naturally weathering the wood used in barrels makes a huge difference. Industry standard for good bourbons is 6 months. Many cheaper producers use wood that was not naturally weathered at all. Often the wood found in consumer level, smaller barrels was never naturally weathered at all. The CEHT Cured Oak Bourbon used wood that was naturally weathered for 12 months, which is double the industry average for good bourbon production.. The French Oak used in the Beyond Barrels Bottle Aging Staves was naturally weathered for roughly 5 years! Below are two brief articles that I believe are very informative on the topic of naturally weathering wood:
Chuck Crodery Blog - Of Quercus Alba and Eumycotians
Also, Another advantage that Beyond Barrels Bottle Aging Staves have over 99% of the barrels out there is that staves do not have to be kiln dried. Based on my experiments, I believe that the kiln drying process imparts a chemical note into the wood, but it is somewhat masked by the char layer in barrels. This chemical note is not present in non kiln dried wood.