Which is better American oak or French oak?

Undoubtedly the barrels play a very important role in the wine and spirits industry, with white oak being the best wood for the industry, many producers or consumers are in the dilemma of which is better French or American, although both are white oak its influence when using them is very different.


Some of the characteristics of these woods are:


The American oak is harder than the French, with wider pores which allows it to be easier to make the barrels, it also provides more tannins than the French giving results in an agile and aggressive way, the aromas it provides are intense, several of these aromas are smoked, coconut, tobacco or coffee This wood is mainly used for aging drinks such as whiskey, tequila, rum and mezcal.

200 liter american white oak barrel.
200 liter american white oak barrel.

The French oak despite being a softer wood has thin pores and this makes it fragile when making the barrels, this wood makes its contributions slowly and with less tannins giving us sophisticated aromas such as honey, vanilla or fruit. This is the most used in red wine, white wine and champagne. 

225 liter french white oak.
225 liter french white oak.

Many will wonder what are the tannins, they are chemical compounds that mainly contribute astringency to drinks, oak is a wood rich in tannins but they are also found in various plants, for example grapes and black tea have tannins.


The good thing about all of this is that there is nothing that limits what type of wood you should use since these industries give you the opportunity to experiment. We know of cases that have had excellent results in tequila with French oak barrels and many others that have used American oak in their wines obtaining very positive results, therefore, there is no better or worse depending on the results you are looking for.


Another very important factor to have the result you are looking for is the type of toast or interior char, the greater the toast will add contributions that will be more aggressive, you must define what you want in your drink and based on that experience.


We invite you to experiment and form your own opinion as to these two woods, if you are not a producer you can do it from home, there is a great variety in barrel measurements that will allow you to make tests and play with times, toasts, sizes and types of wood.


In Barriles la Arboleda we use American oak the reasons why we manufacture and us American oak are; in the first place American oak barrels are more in demand and in second place it is easier to obtain than French because of our proximity to the United States.


Any questions or comments do not hesitate to contact us.


Made by Barriles la Arboleda


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