Used whiskey barrels have been repurposed into a lot of different things before, from sneakers to clocks to charcuterie boards. But Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey has taken things to a new level by collaborating with Sanborn Canoe Co. on a new canoe that is made in part from barrels used to age the distillery’s American single malt.
Merrimack + Stranahan’s Blue Peak Canoe is custom-built from barrel staves, metal hoops, and lids into a 14 foot, six inch, Tennessean Tandem/Solo canoe, one of the company’s signature designs. According to Sanborn, the American oak barrels were first drained of whiskey, then disassembled and dried. Next the staves were steamed to become more flexible and flattened into boards. Stranahan’s ages its single malt whiskey in new charred oak barrels, the same type that bourbon is matured in, so the char is then stripped off most of the staves to reveal new wood underneath (although some are left with the char intact). Finally, the boards are coated with resin because the oak is porous—a positive when it comes aging whiskey, which expands and contracts into and out of the wood to pick up color and flavor, but not something you’d want in a boat.
Staves are also used for the seats and paddles, barrel lids are shaped into deck pieces, and the metal hoops are fashioned into end caps. You can purchase the Stranahan’s X Sanborn Canoe directly from the website for $5,845, but allow about six to eight weeks because each one is custom built.
The whiskey that was matured in these barrels is Stranahan’s Blue Peak, a four-year-old single malt that is finished using the solera method. This means that the whiskey is put into oak foeders, or large barrels, for a few months to finish after initial maturation. The foeders are never fully emptied, so there’s always a portion of older whiskey that works its way into the blend that ends up in the bottle.
According to the distillery, the 10th entry in its Experimental Series, Cold Brew Cut, will be released soon. This whiskey was aged for six years and two months in American oak barrels, and then cut to proof with cold brew from Denver’s Cooper Door Coffee instead of water. This whiskey will be available at the distillery exclusively starting August 6th (SRP $45 for a 375 ml bottle), but you can find the entire Stranahan’s lineup available to purchase from ReserveBar now.