The whiskey rules are pretty strict when it comes to straight whiskey. It has to be aged two years or more, in oak. But for many other types of whiskey, the rules have gotten pretty lax, and it seems like it only has to be aged but a moment.
Where you have a whiskey not designated as straight, it’s ok to age it let’s say one month, but the regulations require an age statement, any time the total age is less than four years. Here are a few examples of such age statements, roughly from shortest to not so short.
- High West Silver Whiskey. STORED IN OAK FOR MERE SECONDS (2013)
- High West Silver Whiskey. MINIMALLY AGED IN TOASTED OAK (2016). This label is also noteworthy because it is one of the very few that actually mentions TTB, and such administrivia as class/type codes, right on the front label. WHISKEY is big but the actual c/t is quite small.
- Old Natchez Trace Rye Whiskey. RESTED FOR ONE MINUTE IN A USED WHITE OAK BARREL.
- Clark New Whiskey. BARRELED FOR MAYBE 5 MINUTES; STORED 5 MINUTES IN REUSED COOPERAGE.
- Jersey Spirits White Whiskey. STORED IN AN OAK BARREL FOR A VERY SHORT TIME.
- Mayberry Whiskey. AGED TWO WEEKS IN TOASTED OAK.
- Blue Mountain White Whiskey. AGED IN NEW OAK BARRELS FOR 30 DAYS.
- High West Utah Whiskey. AGED … IN NEW AND USED BARRELS FOR A MINIMUM OF 1 YEAR.
* Some of the statements are paraphrased; you can see the full context at the linked approvals.
In many cases, the age statement is fairly small, on the back, mixed with other text, or some combination thereof. If you prefer whiskey aged more than “a very short time” — you may need to keep your eyes peeled, or just look for straight whiskey. Let us know if you see other good examples.
The full regulation is here and a key excerpt is in the image below.
Finally, TTB has a helpful FAQ here. It tends to say this sort of thing is no longer ok. Not ok because it tends to overstate the age (AGED LESS THAN TWO YEARS). It is hard to know whether it’s aged 12 seconds, 1.99 years, or — 0.00000038052 years.