The Allary cooperage sources oak from France's historic forests of Allier, Tronçais, Center of France, Vosges, Fontainebleau, Limousin and more. Jacky Allary himself travels to the "merandiers" to select the best oak and lay the foundation for the high quality production for which the Allary team prides themselves.
Mastery Of Oak
SELECTING AND CRAFTING OUR OAK PRODUCTS
Tonnellerie Allary receives first choice oak from the best of France's forests including; Allier, Vosges, Troncais, Fontainebleau, Russy, Blois, Center of France, Pays de la Loire, Limousin, Normandy, Vosges and others. The Allary cooperage uses only top-quality oak from Office National des Forêts (ONF), which manages
public forests. Respectful of the procedures of the ONF, the company has surrounded itself and has worked for many years with European Program of Certified Forests (PEFC) certified sawmills.
CUTTING THE LOGS
Logs are cut into three or four sections called billot. The French oak is split to preserve the grain structure and avoid breaking the veins. The bark and sapwood is discarded. The oak is now called merrains. Laser technology allows for further precise cutting of the merrains into 3' x 1 1//2" staves
SEASONING THE OAK
To achieve an optimal product we soften and wash away the oak's harsh tannins by stacking them with crossing layers to allow ventilation and optimal seasoning. Each stack is labeled with origin and history. As Allary has their own micro climate the weather and seasoning imparts some of the Allary organoleptic style. 24-36 month outdoor seasoning is common as we do not rush this important process.
MISE EN ROSE
Further sawing and shaping of the stave takes place. The staves are shortened to 95cm and made narrower at each end. At this stage the oak is called doulles. Master coopers select each doulles to build the barrel. The oak must be a good fit and when lined up the measurements must be presise. The mise en rose is the raising of the barrel and metal hoops to lock the staves in place.
ELEVATING THE FLAVOR
Water and fire are used to bend the staves. Additional hoops are set and with the assistance of a metal cable the bottom hoop is set and the oak takes the shape of a barrel. Toasting methods range in length, temperature and the use of water. Based on the toasting methods there is an increase in compounds producing characters such as nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate flavors.
The outside is sanded and polished. New hoops replace the ones used while making the barrel with the help of a hydraulic machine. It is the skill of the cooper that makes the barrels water tight. Each barrel is filled with air pressure to check for leaks.