Few drinkers are unfamiliar with the sensation of looking down into one’s glass and wondering, “Where the heck did my drink go?” Bishop Blackie Ryan, the mystery-solving cleric created by Andrew Greeley, constantly complains that the leprechaun has gotten at his Irish whiskey.
Interestingly, the distilling industry also experiences this as well, at least those segments that age their product. As liquor sits in wooden barrels, while it is taking flavor from the wood, that same porous material is letting the alcohol in the casks evaporate. The amount lost is about roughly 2% per year. This can add up to quite a bit of ethanol, as we’ll see in a moment. The industry term for this missing booze is The Angel’s Share, a wonderfully lyrical term, if you ask me.
While most people note the amount of effect the Angel’s Share has on distillers’ bottom lines, a recent article in WIRED details how we are discovering that that errant booze affects the neighborhood as well. In The Mystery of the Canadian Whiskey Fungus, Wired tells us two things:
- They don’t know how to spell whisky in proper context.
- We’ve discovered what angels look like!
In Lakeshore, Ontario are the warehouses which hold vast arrays of barrels of Canadian Club, aging away. Humans may not get drunk by breathing the air in the neighborhood, but something does. Read the article for a fascinating story of these microscopic, black, barrel-shaped “angels”.
I wonder, now that we know what earthly angles look like, think you’ll see a move to change stained glass windows?