Casks ageing at the House of Hazelwood


What is the Angel's Share?

The journey of whisky from distillation to the glass is a fascinating one, rife with tradition and craftsmanship. One of the most enchanting aspects of this journey is the phenomenon known as the "Angel's Share." This term refers to the portion of whisky that evaporates during the aging process, a gift, as lore would have it, to the celestial beings.

Whisky aficionados often find the concept of the Angel's Share endearing, as it encapsulates the passage of time and the marriage of science and art in whisky-making. As the spirit matures in oak casks, a small quantity escapes into the ether, leaving behind a more refined and enriched liquid.

The amount of Angel's Share varies depending on the climate and the conditions of the distillery. In regions with a temperate climate, like Scotland, the evaporation rate is about 2% per year. However, in warmer and more humid climates such as Kentucky, this evaporation rate can be much higher, sometimes reaching up to 10% annually.

The Angel's Share is not just a poetic phrase but a crucial element in the maturation process. It's a natural filter, removing impurities, and allowing the remaining whisky to interact more intimately with the barrel in which it is ageing.

How much does Angel's Share vary around the world?

Coastal and Island Scotland

In the coastal regions of Scotland, the aging process of whisky is influenced significantly by the maritime climate. The salty sea air permeates the casks, adding a unique briny character to the spirit. The relatively cool and stable temperatures lead to a lower Angel's Share, averaging around 2% per annum, preserving the rich flavors over many years.

Highland Scotland

The Scottish Highlands provide a different backdrop for maturation. Here, temperature fluctuations are more pronounced, and the Angel's Share might be slightly higher compared to the coastal regions.


Japan’s diverse climate, varying from the cold winters in Hokkaido to the temperate climate in Honshu, plays a pivotal role in the maturation of its revered whisky. The Angel's Share in Japan can vary but is typically between 1 - 5% depending on the region.


The state of Kentucky, a heartland of bourbon production, experiences a more temperate climate with distinct seasonal changes. This climate accelerates the interaction between the spirit and the cask, leading to a higher Angel's Share, often around 4% annually, but often even higher. The warm summers allow for a deeper penetration of the spirit into the wood, enriching the bourbon with robust flavors and a vibrant amber hue.

The Caribbean

The Caribbean, with its tropical climate, offers a unique setting for rum production. The high temperatures and humidity cause a significantly higher Angel's Share, often reaching up to 10% per annum. Despite the loss, this region’s climate accelerates the maturation process, imparting a rich, robust flavor and a smooth texture to the rum, characteristic of the Caribbean spirit.


The Cognac region of France, known for its temperate maritime climate, provides a gentle maturation environment. The relatively stable temperatures result in a moderate Angel's Share, often around 2% annually. This slow evaporation allows for a gradual interaction between the spirit and the cask, enhancing the elegant and refined flavors synonymous with Cognac.

Country Spirit Type Typical Angel's Share (%) per annum
Scotland Whisky 1 - 2%
USA Bourbon 4 - 6%
France Cognac 2%
Caribbean Rum 10%
Talisker distillery on Skye

Love Whisky?

Browse over 1,000 single malts and blends - from everyday drams to rare discontinued drams and independent bottlings...