It finally arrived. The barrel. Now it's happily soaking in hot water in the shade on the side of my house. He was thirsty, let me tell you. I never realized until now just how much oak affects the flavor of whiskey. As I was filling the barrel, I questioned whether it was really new or not. Maybe it had been used for whiskey? But no, it was new. It's not that it smelled like whiskey; it's whiskey that smells like the barrel.
Three days from now, the RIS is going in, and there's no turning back from that point.
Wish me luck, brothers, and happy beering.