Oak is a mighty tree. There are altogether about 600 species around the world. Natural oak growth regions are located in the northern hemisphere with moderate climates.
The American white oak (Quercus Alba) is different from its European counterpart and grows mostly in the east of the United States of America and a few parts of Canada. Its characteristics later provide the typical American whiskey Bourbon vanilla taste.
Here in the U.K., however, we are dealing mostly with the European oak (Quercus Robur) which grows all over the European continent including parts of Russia and Turkey. It contains Gallic acid that is considered a pseudo tannin, and in combination with water, it gives the whisky a slightly bitter note.
Use of Oak-wood in shipbuilding, furniture production and other areas dates back to ancient times. When it comes to making barrels, there is no clear timeline available, but it is known that oak barrels were used for storage and transportation of beverages, especially when Europeans learned how to make spirits and discovered that keeping a wine or other elixir in a barrel of oak wood for a long time, the drink changes its character in the right sense. In contrast to glass or metal, a wood barrel is able to breathe and transfer its specific characteristics to the beverage.