We get the occasional inquiry from people who have purchased a bottle of our whiskey (and other barrel aged spirits) and have found a hazy cloud floating or sunk in the bottom of the bottle (see video below). Don’t panic, what you’re seeing is flavor!
During the fermentation, distilling and oak maturation processes various phenols and esters are produced. These components make up a lot of the flavors we enjoy in whiskey. The large volume producers use chill filtering to remove the visible components. Why? because it makes the product look pretty, it is strictly for cosmetic reasons that they do this although it also takes away some flavor and mouth-feel from the product. Chill filtering in whiskey production has been a common practice for most of the last century although the big producers still occasionally release smaller batch products without chill filtering.
While we do filter out wood particles from the barrels, we do not employ chill filtering at Great Lakes Distillery. We want to provide our product to consumers with the maximum flavor of the whiskey as it came from the barrel. Don’t like how it looks in the bottle? Simply shake the bottle twice and these flavor components will be dispersed.