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Treatt has launched a range of sustainable liquid oak extracts made using controlled toasting and a water-based extraction process, which unlocks the full flavour profile of seasoned oak. The new oak extracts deliver consistent quality and provide a natural alternative to existing products, which are typically solvent extracted from oak chips. The advanced extraction technique means manufacturers avoid residual solvent issues when formulating to meet growing demand for spirits and flavoured ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. The oak extracts can also support brand marketing, given the top quality aged oak used in the manufacturing process.

The range includes a choice of extracts made from French and American Oak and at varying toast levels, delivering authentic flavour profiles that mirror the effects of charring oak barrels used for storing spirits. The lightly toasted American oak extracts are made from wood aged at least 60 years and has a particularly notable maple and vanilla character. The high toast, French oak extracts are produced from timber over a century old taken from a renewable reforesting programme and have pronounced caramel and smoky notes.

"Wood is a very complex material and, if processed correctly and treated with respect, it can unlock a whole new experience in the area of taste," explains Douglas Rash, Group VP – Global Sales, Treatt. "Traditionally, it has been difficult for manufacturers to formulate with oak extracts in alcoholic beverages due to problems associated with residual solvent and variations in the quality of the extract. Now, we have developed a state-of-the-art manufacturing method that means we can tap into the full flavour potential of sustainable oak wood. The water-based technique uses no chemicals, enzymes or organic solvents and allows us to work in harmony with nature to create exciting and on-trend alcoholic beverage concepts."

"In recent months, we have seen an explosion of innovation in the alcoholic beverage sector across Europe, the United States and Asia, with unique flavour combinations spreading from branded vodkas in evidence across all spirit categories and RTD derivatives of established brands," continues Douglas Rash. "There has also been expansion within some categories, to include new developments such as moonshine spirits." grades, which are typically extracted from the by-products of the cooperage industry. The timber is air dried for two years and then slowly toasted using a patented process to ensure each fibre of the wood has been gently permeated. The quality remains consistent in comparison to traditional cruder methods, which can be difficult to dose correctly to get a consistent flavour profile in the finished product. The wood is then milled and water is used as the sole extraction medium. The final step is to use proprietary state-of-the-art equipment to standardise the extract and produce a fivefold liquid product.