Scottish distiller using Crimean wine barrels

Crimea region is shown in dark green, Ukraine in light green.

The widespread practice of employing such used barrels as American white oak bourbon and Spanish Olorosso sherry casks in finishing the maturation process of Scottish whiskies is getting a new twist: used Ukranian wine barrels.

The Glenglassaugh Distillery in Portsroy, Scotland, recently received its first shipment of barrels used by the Massandra winery, the oldest in Ukraine.
The casks already have been filled at the Highlanda distillery, some with new spirit for maturation, others with older spirit for finishing.

Sampling is planned for a year's time to check on the progress of the maturation.

The peninsula in the Ukraine that juts unto the Crimean Sea has been home to a wine culture since the 4th century B.C., according to analysis of artifacts such as grape presses and urns found there. Wine grape cultivation didn't begin in the northern part of the country until about the 11th Century A.D.

Massandra is a state-owned facility that in the days of the Soviet Union was the largest supplier of the wines in the USSR. According to Wikipedia, "It came to a disaster in 1986. About 800 km of the vineyards were destroyed, when Mikhail Gorbachev started a campaign for the delimitation of the consumption of alcohol in USSR. Since 2000, the production as well as the export of the wines increased rapidly."

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