There’s a lot about making bourbon that we don’t understand, but we do know that the barrels are a big deal. The unique flavors of bourbon come from the barrels. Without aging the liquor in a charred oak barrel, all you have is a clear liquid spirit – fermented grain that is distilled. The barrel, how the barrel is made and how it is stored, is the key to bourbon. Contrary to popular belief the unique shape of oak barrels used for bourbon making has nothing to do with flavor and everything to do with mobility. Barrels are easy to turn, with their “bulging middle” and can roll on tracks.