If brand new oak barrels are so great, then why don’t the Scots use them to age their whiskey?

Because Scots are cheap, reader Tom. Being Scottish myself, I know what I’m talking about. Barrels are expensive things to make, especially when there’s not much indigenous wood left in your country (visit the moors sometime and you’ll see what I mean). For the Scots, barrels were always doubly expensive. Not only did they have to be made, the wood had to be imported. And when you’re as tight as the average Scotsman, the very idea is offensive. Better to just get the bloody things used.

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